Love and Cheshires.

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Re: Love and Cheshires.

Post by supermooboo » Sun Aug 29, 2021 3:58 pm

"So what makes an animal an animal anyway? I've always thought if I can kill it and eat it then that's that. But I've killed plenty of people and well it tastes like pork." ~ Alvin the One Armed Baker

"It's strange you see, holding up a conversation with a big bird. Not some'ing I've ever done before. Nor really wanted to. I mean it's easier to eat em' if you don't think of them as the type to invite you to a spot of tea. But there it was: Rapid Strikes to the Heart or so Cusa translated."

So we talked to the Owlbeast. I say "we", but it was mostly Cusa working his magic. That said I was able to communicate to the beast the same way I might any other through body language, simple instructions, and the standard practice of asserting ones dominance. I quickly discovered while an Owlbeast will respond to such typical practice they are by no means typical. An equal, or perhaps something close to that, was my initial perception of my new relationship. I'm quite fond of animals. Get attached too easily mind you. But for some reason I couldn't shake this feeling, this feeling of dread from my mind when forming a bond with Rapid Strikes to the Heart (ominous name that it is). Perhaps we humans are not as high up on the food chain as we like to think.

Most interesting was this "friend" of the Owlbeasts who reportedly made and provide the clockwork measuring device to them. This tracked with my own research into the device as the clockwork construction appeared to be created using the imperial standard of measurement. Rapid Strikes to the Heart would not or did not go into much detail on who this person might be, but whoever they are, they must be British and a genius clockwork engineer (or at least one better than me a genius in his own right!).

I managed to track my new acquaintance to a degree. Direction and time towards the mountain was the best I could do given the situation. More than enough for now. No reason to stir a hornets nest I say. Besides we had originally come out to capture a Cheshire.

And capture one we did. I can't say I recommend reattempting the method we choose.

Capture and cook a Josisaur as bait
Use a man of the cloth and a dog along with the bait to lure in the beast
Use the dog to bait the Cheshire with the meat into a cage
Pray (I did say to bring a man of the cloth)

So that somehow worked and so off we went with our new friend back towards our fsr camp where Shustal was waiting for us. After convening about our plans to return to Fort Alice as quickly as possible, he told us to hold off because the elders of his village wanted to talk future plans about the lake.

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Re: Love and Cheshires.

Post by ChrisDDickey » Sun Aug 29, 2021 10:39 pm

Old Cusa continues his story. 

As Shushtal led us to Mothermouth, Alvin Baker started to make friends with the captive Cheshire (whom he named Chester), which seemed to me at the time to be counter-productive, as I was hoping to either give it to our employer, or sell it to a zoo. I started to worry that he might try to keep it. Mothermouth turned out to be a cave in the mountain. We entered the cave and traveled deep into the darkness. Inside we found a huge crystal (possibly quartz), gleaming in a shaft of sunlight entering through the roof of the cave, the crystal was shot through with veins of granite and golden metal, and had a very strong magical aura. Geritral and two other elders sat upon carved stone benches. The others were introduced as Katsuo (a shaman), and Cichaszesh (a clan chief). They were smoking a pipe (not tobacco, Trunkatte, a saurid acquired taste). 

We offered to help them with their frozen city, and they asked us why we wanted to. We explained our position until they decided we were do-gooding busybodies who liked poking our noses into situations that were not our concern. They agreed to accept our help, but they told us very little. They said that they (could or would) not discuss the nature of the problem. They mentioned that the lake was named Caldirae and that it was under a curse. We had to specifically ask if they wanted the curse lifted, and they said yes. The curse has been there for decades, and they have not been able to lift it. They doubted we could lift the curse, but said they would  owe us a great debt if we could. While they could not or would not tell us anything about the situation themselves, they said that there was a great and powerful spirit named "kisses of spider" that resided in another cave about a days travel away, and that it would be able and might be willing to provide detailed information about how the curse came about, and guidance in lifting it. They agreed to look after our captive cheshire while we were away. 

We set out, and arrived at a great chasm that crossed our path, with a powerful torrent of water coursing along the bottom. The chasm was only about 20 feet wide at the top, and maybe 12 feet wide at the bottom, and about 20 feet deep. We looked around and spotted what appeared to be a cave entrance at the bottom of the far side. I turned into a flying creature and scouted several miles up and down the the river, but was unable to find a crossing place that was much easier than our current location. The others felled a tree. They were unable to find a suitable one that could be felled directly accross the river, so had to drop a nearby tree and manhandle it near the river, then stand it up and drop it over. With their brute strength, the horses, and a clever pulley arrangement, they managed. They crossed the log and then we all (I had landed already on the far side) used a rope to descend to the cave. Our more physical members shepherded us down the rope in safety. 

The entrance to the cave was knee deep in rapid water and we quickly moved in and up until we were on dryer ground. The walls were covered in thousands upon  thousands of spiders. When we used astral sight we saw a very, very massive spirit in the shape of a spider. The spirit was roughly the size of an Orca! I tried to use Spirit Talk to explain our task, but, while I did not know if he understood me, I could most certainly not understand it. It used it's many legs to quickly weave four silk cocoons and seemed to be inviting us to crawl inside, an invitation none of us were very eager to accept. 

600 + 600 + 100 = 1300 + journal

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Re: Love and Cheshires.

Post by supermooboo » Sat Sep 04, 2021 8:08 am

“There’s a fine line between courage and stupidity. Time to find out which one I am.” ~ Alvin the One Arm Baker

Chesire in tow we made our way back to the Saurids encampments where we were eventually told to go to this cave that they referred to as the “Mothermouth”. Glistening gems of quartz with rainbows and light shimmering as gold. A sight truly to behold. One that I was told was only enhanced for those with the knack for magic. The Saurids there were three and served as representatives for our discussions about the frozen lake. The talks themselves were interesting, in that they were more than happy to accept our involvement on the account of being ‘busy-bodies”. Although I’m not sure if that is a good thing (or even a particularly strong reason) in Saurid culture. I later got the impression that it was most certainly not given the intense nature of the trials we were to undergo following our discussion to truly earn their trust.

The talks themselves ended up being relatively simple. “It turns out we could swear to them till our bloody throat was horse and they still wouldn’t trust us. Instead they wanted us to go talk to someone they referred to as Kisses from Spiders. Not exactly the most pleasant of names but well whatever. I ain't afraid of nothing. Certainly not some weirdo who clearly likes spiders a little too much.”

The talks continued but I was more interested in the smoker circle that was quickly forming around the Saurids with them, myself, and Bernhard. I certainly didn’t expect to have to join in a smoker circle as part of a cultural exchange, but at least this was more comfortable than all the talking and good natured exchange that everyone else was doing. “Trunkatte they called it. Not exactly designed for the British palette, but not terrible either. Heavy, thick flavors that catch easily in your throat, Trunkatte takes no prisoners and holds no punches. Not exactly for the faint of heart or casual smoker for that matter. I’ll have to take some back to the office in case we get any Saurid smokers to visit. Poor Bernhard though. It took a lot out of me just to hold my own with the Saurids, but he didn’t stand much of a chance. Was hacking like a sick baby he was. Never seen a troll practically roll over like that.”

After the talk completed we agreed to meet this spider fellow (who I later realized was some kind of powerful spirit) and they agreed to look after Chester in the meantime. “Whose Chester? Why the Chesire we wrangled earlier. What do you mean why am I bothering to name an animal I have no means or reason to keep. I’ll have you know that animals deserve names just like the rest of us! And Chester is a kind soul at heart, just takes a bit of knowing is all. Besides, it’s a great name for a Chesire. Maybe I’ll keep him after all.”

We made our way to the cave where Kisses with Spiders was said to reside. As the cook of the group I was watching our rations carefully by this point. Because our initial journey did not include this 3 day side trip to this cave. We still would have about 3 days worth of provisions left after all said and done with the Saurids but we would need to stock up before heading back up to Fort Alice lest we risk running out of food. And that, as my mother used to say, is a fate far worse than death. Regardless, that is a problem for another day. For now we decided to focus on the trip to cave which ended up being relatively easy enough. Our little group was built for this kind of excursion into the Gruv Woods and by now this kind of light travel was second nature to us. No, getting to the site of the cave was not the issue, but rather descending the perilous ravine of where the cave sat at the bottom. It would seem that if we wanted to get to this cave we would have to find a way across this dangerous decline and then descend directly downward where the cave in question was. I could have sworn I heard the sound of three Saurids laughing as we stood there dumb trying to figure out how we were going to navigate this unexpected challenge.

The solution we came up with was a bad one. But a solution it was nonetheless. I do not envy Bernhard for being on the receiving end of it.

1. Cut down a tree of appropriate dimension
2. Woodwork an improvised bridge. Ideally one that could be a drawbridge. More ideally one that has footholds and could act like a ladder which everyone could crawl across on.
3. Tie horses and one Troll to the bridge in case everything goes wrong
4. Attempt to move the log with the assistance of those tied in
5. Pray that nothing goes wrong

But of course something did. If not for the raw strength of Bernhard many of us (including my horses) would have been taking a drink at the bottom of this ravine. His gut certainly took a bruising after the tree slammed into him, but we managed to position our best attempt at a bridge where we needed it so we could cross. Nasty business that was but not as nasty as the vertical climb we would have to do next to get to the cave. Fortunately Bernhard had climbing gear and the experience to use it. Unfortunately he was the only one. I was not so fortunate climbing down the cliff side. If not for Bernhard watching my back I’m not sure i would have made it. Now I’m not saying I didn’t manage the climb. But it was the experience of someone who knew how to climb who made my job easier (the gear helped as well).

So we made it in and the only thing I can tell you about it in truth was that there were a lot of small spiders. Those with magic said something about an Orca Spider in the room but I didn’t see anything like that (at least not yet). But I imagine something was there because four silk beds were woven right before my eyes. Unsettling to say the least. I got the distinct feeling we were being invited into these silk contraptions that could best be described as a coffin. At least they looked comfy.

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Re: Love and Cheshires.

Post by ChrisDDickey » Sun Sep 12, 2021 10:47 pm

Old Cusa continues his story.

We all hesitated, but the next thing I knew, everybody else was crawling into the cocoons the spider had wove. When I crawled in, the many tiny spiders bit me many, many times, and I let the poison pull me under. I immediately awoke in a different cave. The new cave was huge. It had no visible exit. There were crystals embedded in the walls, and large mushrooms growing from the floor.  There was a 100 foot wide ball of webbing suspended (by some unseen means) 20 feet off the ground with many small holes.. A stream of green liquid streamed from the ceiling onto the ball, and apparently flowing though the ball and streaming from some of the holes in the ball of webbing into a small pool on the floor. 

We quickly determined that this was some sort of dream world. Whenever we took a breath it burned our lungs horribly, so we held our breaths and spoke as little as possible. I examined the pool of green liquid. It looked like an acid of some sort, and I determined that it was a mild poison of some sort. The reverend Rowen was looking at the crystals, and determined that they could be attached in some way, but neither he nor I could figure out what could be constructed from them. Alvin determined that the mushroom shafts were very highly sticky, but the caps could be handled safely. He quickly started sticking them to a wall in the form of a ladder, which Bernhard started to climb. He got to the roof, and continuing to plant mushrooms and use them as climbing holds got above the ball of webbing and dropped down onto it. Alvin followed but instead of climbing across the ceiling, swung on a rope made of mushrooms. He then lowered a rope for the rest of us. 

We all climbed into the ball of webbing and it quickly became pitch dark. We navigated by feel toward the center of the ball, and soon we were all able to talk to the spirit who lived inside the ball. 

The Spirit "kisses of spiders", after some prompting, told us the story of the curse upon Lake Caldirae. It seems that about 120 years prior, a tribe of Aquatic Saurid had lived in the lake. This tribe had raided the Spider Silk villages excessively. To put a stop to the raids, the Spider Silk Shamans and Kisses of Spiders enslaved a very powerful water spirit and encased it in a vessel made of ceramic, glass, and wood. A team of warriors carried the entrapped spirit to Lake Caldirae, and activated a compulsion to produce great cold, then dropped the artifact into a deep part of the lake. The lake froze almost instantly, killing all members of the aquatic tribe (this was done when all members of the tribe were likely to be in their homes) and also killed the Spider Silk warriors who delivered the spirit vessel. This sort of attack was considered extremely dishonorable, and the spider silk shamans now have an extremely poor reputation with all the local elemental spirits, and also with any Saurids who know the story (which the Spider Silk tribe has managed to keep fairly quite, such that few other Saurids know of it). 

Kisses of spiders told us that if we could remove the "anchor" from the lake, the lake would recover. And if we could Destroy the anchor, the spirit would be freed unharmed. But until any of that happened, the spirit was likely to be very hostel to everybody. I figured that with creative use of some spells, I might be able to move ice and carry air under the water. We returned to the Spider Silk Elders to ask their Shaman to teach me the spells needed. 

AP: 600 + 400 + 100 = 1100 + journal.  Spent all (8970) AP.

The Control Water spell allows Cusa to move (at spellcasting rank 6), six times his own volume of an element.
Assuming Cusa weights 150 pounds and assuming he has about the same density as water, he can move 900 pounds of water or 828 pounds of ice (0.92 density of water).
1 foot cube of water weights 62.4 pounds, and 1 cubic foot of ice weights 57.37 pounds, so whether you calculate by ice or water, he can move 14.4 cubic feet of ether (the true measure is volume, but had trouble finding volume of a human in cubic feet).

At 50 unc rating, and 3 strain per casting (due to my strain discount by having to buy all the spells separately), I can cast it 16 times before needing to do recovery tests or healing. If I use all my recovery tests and Rowen keeps casting healing on me until HE is out of recovery tests we should be able to quadruple that. Call it 65 castings per day.

WWII escape tunnels were as small as 24 inches square. Assume Bernhard will need 30 or 36 inches square.
at 24 inches square, need 4 cubic feet per foot, so 3.6 feet per casting. Which will give a 234 feet of 24x24 inch tunnel per day.
at 30 inches square, need 6.25 cubic feet per foot so 2.3 feet per casting. 150 feet of 30x30 inch tunnel per day.
at 36 inches square, need 9 cubic feet per foot, so 1.6 foot per casting. 104 feet of 36x36 inch tunnel per day.

Needed materials:
Cold weather gear for everybody else.
A lot of rope. At least the length plus depth of the lake. 3 times that would be better.
draft harness for the horses (very different from riding harness and includes horse collar).
A small sled for drawing cusa out of the tunnel.
Other ice working and moving tools. axes, saws, wheelbarrows, etc.
At least one very large, very tough leather sack that can hold 900 pounds of ice, with a strong yet quick drawstring closure.
At least one large sled to carry the full sack.

Needed plan: how to locate the actual artifact under the ice.
I have one or two ideas, but they probably will not work, Will ask the Elders for the name of the spirit their ancestors bound. (this is the sort of thing that shamans would teach their apprentices). Will also ask the elders if they have any ideas for locating it. Cusa is not the sort to think of scientific ideas for measuring temperature, but maybe somebody else can come up with a clever way to actually locate the thing?
Last edited by ChrisDDickey on Sun Sep 26, 2021 5:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Love and Cheshires.

Post by supermooboo » Sun Sep 26, 2021 5:36 am

"I can't remember when I first started having this nightmare. I'm still waiting to wake up." ~ Alvin the Fearless Baker

There was really only one thing to do at this point: "Bottoms up friends. I just wish what might be my last drink was something a wee bit stronger than this watered down crap." Liquid courage downed we decided to chance the silk coffins. Cusa was to be our watch. If everything was fine he would "join us" afterwards (whatever that means). I'm not exactly sure what I did in me life to deserve this kind of punishment but now that it's come to this I suppose there's no point in complaining.

So I did it. "Got right into the silk coffin I did. Not a shred of Fear. Not I, Alvin the Fearless Baker. No sir. Put up a right good fight too. Those spiders didn't know what hit them. Sure I got bitten all over and I'm still not sure what really happened next. But! I showed them, and that's what matters. I also got these weird magic scars on my hands now that only magicians with "the sight" can see or some lot. But that hardly concerns me."

After what felt like an eternity struggling against the countless spiders that were mobbing me I passed out. I'm not sure how long I was out but I don't imagine it was long. "The air itself was poison. I could feel it right in the lungs like I was hit by a lory. I must not have been passed out that long lest my longs be dead by now. But where was I anyway?" The surrounding area had a basin filled with a liquid that immediately reminded me of poison. A waterfall that flowed from an unknown source fed into a large silk cocoon with 4 holes (1 for each of us) that dripped into the basin. We got the impression that we needed to get up there but there wasn't exactly a staircase to help us up.

Looking around I found the most curious of mushrooms that seemed to stick together with a stronger force than any adhesive I've used to date. "You want a foothold? Done. A rope? Easy. I even worked on a ladder for a bit. Those mushrooms were incredible! Too bad I couldn't take any of them with me." Using these mushrooms Bernhard was able to get a foothold along the walls and ceiling with his climbing gear to make it to the cocoon. Not quite the climber that Bernhard is I decided to fasten a rope from mushrooms and swing myself over. Once there Cusa shouted out to me to drop a rope for them to climb up. Good idea. We all eventually made it up safely.

"Why have you come into my Palor" was the first thing the spirit said. And what a creature it was. Large, imposing, and perhaps most noticeably everywhere. I could feel it's words seeping into my bones with every fiber of my being. It was not pleasant. But I had come here willingly so I could do little but put up with it. Kisses with Spiders went on to explain all the missing details about the 'shame' that the saurids from before were so evasive about. That said it was all pretty straightforward. "So basically the saurids pissed off some powerful creature and that creature is related to the frozen lake. There's some more magic involved but the sum of it was this: not good. Honestly curses might not be my wheelhouse but even a layman like me knows that dealing with crap like that is nothing but trouble."

I've asked for an explanation about I really experienced that day on many occasion and the most I could understand was I went to a 'magic place.' Well if that's what magic feels like then I want nothing to do with it that's for sure! Regardless before we knew it we were back in the cave. "And then before anyone else knew it I was out of there. Honestly, if I never see a spider again then I'll be good!"

All of these experiences has led me to realize how important crafting can be in the field. I'll need to redouble my efforts if we are to succeed in solving this curse business without all of us dying.

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Re: Love and Cheshires.

Post by ChrisDDickey » Sun Sep 26, 2021 9:30 pm

Old Cusa continues his story.

We trained and re-equipped at the saurid village, before we set out to the frozen lake. They taught me the spells Gather the Water, Gather the Air, Control the Water, and Control the Air All of which I felt would probably be helpful to know for the upcoming project. 

The lake is long (almost 10 miles) and narrow (varying between one to two miles, with windings and many inlets and peninsulas. The remains of the three towers are about in the middle, but at a narrow point of the lake so only a bit more than a half mile from shore. We learned that the towers were about 5 stories tall from the bottom of the lake at that point, but mostly underwater, so the lake was 4 stories deep at that point. 

I had been expecting the lake to be frozen solid with no liquid water, but we were shocked to learn that the ice was only about 4 feet thick at the top of the lake. Inside the towers the water was thinner at only about 2 feet thick, and the water was not quite as cold. I used gather the water to make a large hole in the ice, we could watch it slowly refreeze from the ice edges only (in Alaska ice forms from the air down as well as from the edge of the ice inward). I then used Divination to ask the spirits of the people who once lived here (as opposed to elemental spirits) where the vessel the Elemental Spirit was bound to was, and I got the feeling that the vessel (which had been described to us as being about 30 pounds and 4 feet tall, made of Ceramic, Glass, and Wood) was spiked into the root of one of the three towers. 

However as soon as I asked my question (and got my partial answer), the clouds dissipated and  I felt a scratching under the ice. 4 cadaverous (dead - with flesh literally hanging from sometimes exposed bones) Aquatic Saurids leaped from the water and attacked us. Several of us were sorely wounded before the undead were dispatched. It seemed that the dead of the area were just as angry as the Elemental Spirit. We had been hopeing that the dead would not be angry with US, just with the spider silk clan.

Sh-kem volunteered to dive under the ice. It was too dark for him to see much, but he easily found a large stone dome between (and built into the bases of) the three towers. There was a hole 3 or 4 feet across that had violently pierced the dome. He saw something moving below him, returned to report. 

AP: 600 + 600 + 100 + 100 = 1400 plus journal. 

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Re: Love and Cheshires.

Post by supermooboo » Sun Oct 24, 2021 7:46 am

“Lots of people have lots of opinions about what happens after you die. Personally I just hope THAT doesn’t happen to me. One word: CREMATION!” ~ Alvin after recounting this story

We found ourselves with a plan (again). Honestly we should know better by now. “We ain’t exactly the planning types. Well, that’s not exactly true, but we sure ain’t very good at it. Can’t remember the last time a plan of ours went half way, nay, a quarter ways to plan. Nothing to be done about that suppose. Although, we ain’t dead yet, so I guess something went right. Maybe I shouldn’t be fussing so much.” That said we decided to take our time with this one.

We gathered our spirits and took our time to rest up and improve upon what we had available to us. I decided it was high time I figured out this fancy engineering business. There’s been one too many times that we’ve been stuck somewhere and I’ve had to work together an improvised solution on the fly to some problem or another. Truth be told I’m a bit of a hand with all manners of bits and bobs. “Not braggin or notin’ but that’s just how it turned out. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Even Alvin the One Armed Baker’s not perfect at everything. But I don’t have to be and honestly that magic stuff nevers quite sat right with me anyway. So yeah. Turns out I have a knack for the bits and bobs of the world be they clockwork, bolts, wood, or otherwise (mushrooms for one).” After I sat down and reflected on this I got to realizing that all these things are related. I can’t really put the how into words but if I had to define the outcome of my thinking it would be “jury-rigging” as I believe it’s called. And well I ended up testing out my rigging technique when we got to the lake and well it works (kinda). Not exactly perfect but it’ll do.

But I’ve gotten ahead of myself. Right, the plan. Well it was pretty simple really. And I guess the real problem was a simple omission on our part. Anyway it was basically, identifying where the relic is closest to through a combination of heat and astral sight. If that doesn’t work, break through the ice with a combination of magic and muscle so Shi’kem can dive in and investigate further. We also planned to use my horses to haul away any chunks as needed. I rigged up some “snow shoes” for the horses to walk on the ice. They didn’t hold for very long but they worked for long enough for us to realize that the horse part of our plan would not be necessary. The plan went well enough. We determined that there was an unnatural heat source near the towers on the ice and that the areas near the towers were generally warmer than the rest of the lake. We deduced that the artifact must be submerged near one of the towers. Which one we could not determine immediately.

About this time Cusa decided to use magic. “An I don’t know what kind of spirit nonsense he did but he certainly DID something. Something real bad. Now I’m no coward but you didn’t see what I saw. Shambling Saurid corpses. Moving despite themselves. Moving despite having no right to. Moving despite missing the features that should allow them to do so. I’m not exactly religious but I’ve never been gladder to have someone who was on our side (Father Rowan). I ought to ask him what in the nine hells that was. Although somethings are better left unknown.” So we fought off the undead Saurid corpses. It was about this time that I realized we had forgotten something important with this plan. I’ve mentioned it before: Praying. We didn’t do that this time and look where that got us! Anyway, the magic types among us got a few bruises along the way. Naturally, they were no match for the great Alvin Baker! I mean honestly, they really had no idea what they were doing. Couldn’t even hit me once! Although they did freeze me in place with their strange ice magics. When they did I felt my newest scars start to tingle in a weird way. But nothing came of it so I figured it was nothing.

After we finished that up we decided to move on to the secondary part of our plan. As mentioned the horses ended up not being needed as magic made way where muscle could not (or did not in this case). Shi’kem then took to diving to investigate which tower the artifact was on while the rest set up a warming tent and stirred the hole in the ice lake. We found the stirring necessary as the lake seemed to freeze itself back unnaturally quickly if we did not. Even a large hold like the one we made was apt to refreeze in 15 minutes give or take. Shi’kem went under and fortunately was able to determine which tower had the relic on it and even caught sight of it (most likely) although it was very dark. He also said something about a strange presence that was stalking him the whole way. The way he put it was that it was large and probably dangerous. Go figure, story of my life.

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Re: Love and Cheshires.

Post by ChrisDDickey » Wed Oct 27, 2021 7:14 pm

Old Cusa continues his story to the listening children. 

We were all concerned about the huge shadowy shape that Shekem reported seeing on his first dive into the lake. We fashioned a makeshift wooden hook most of a foot across and tied the hook to our strongest rope. We harnessed the horses up to the other end of the rope and killed a Josesaur to impale upon the hook and went fishing. I held the rope and twitched and bobbed it, hoping to make the Josesaur look like it was still alive but drowning. After 20 minutes without catching a lake monster, Shekem volunteered to go swimming down again. He proceeded carefully. This time he got a better look at the dome, and realized that it was huge. The three towers that pierced the surface of the lake were about 50 feet from one another, but the dome was not between those three towers as we had assumed, but rather the dome was about 150 feet across from edge to edge and the three towers were all about 25 feet from the center of the dome. 

Shekem went back to where he had seen the shadowy form before. He could see better now, since I had cast "see by the light of the moons" upon him. He found the form again and could see that it was a huge amoeba like blob, maybe around 15 feet long. Shekem got the blob to chase him, and lead it back to the point under the hole in the ice where we had our fishing hook. He grabbed the hook, and since the amoeba-like blob did not have a discernible mouth, shoved the hook right through the thing's skin, embedding the hook. He got a bit burned with that maneuver, but managed to get away and up to the hole in the ice where eager hands hauled him out while he yelled that the thing was right behind him. In the meantime, Alvin, having been informed that we had something on the line got the horses moving, but despite the horses high speed the monster was moving straight towards us faster. 

The monster (which when I saw it, I realized was more spirit than creature) breached the surface of the water and made several attacks against us. By far the most serious attack fell upon our good Priest Rowen, who was impaled upon its spines, immobilizing him and doing significant damage. Rowans' screams alerted us of far more serious concern was that the thing exuded an acidic ichor that was eating through the poor priest's flesh. The slack in the rope between the horses and the creature ran out, and the thing was jerked out of the hole, and slid over the ice towards shore as fast as the panicking horses could tow it. We all scrambled after it, I cast a stun spell to try to disable the creature, while everybody else unloaded on it with every weapon that could be brought to bear. 

We chased the creature being dragged by the galloping horses until Shekem made a brilliant shot with  his bow, and cut the thick rope dragging it. The horses continued running off while the creature slid to a stop. I freed the heroic Rowin while the others finished slaying the creature, whose acid ichor ate deeply into the ice. I cast "bathe in the invisible river" upon Rowin, which washed the remaining acid off of him and cleansed the wound of all the acid that had not yet entered his blood stream. In the meantime Rowin himself cast heal upon himself, which reformed much of the flesh that had been eaten away. It took a minute, but very soon the acid was neutralized in Rowins system. 

Despite the excitement, we pushed on with our explorations that very afternoon. She'kem dove a third time, and this time explored the dome fairly thoroughly, outside and in. He found the normal entrances to the dome and used one of them rather than the hole that he had found (which he examined and could tell was many decades old). Inside the dome he found the artifact we were looking for. It was a two inch thick wooden staff, with one large ceramic sphere on top, and several blown glass attachments. The artifact was held in place perpendicular to the tower by 4 chains of iron with one inch links spiked to the tower. The chains and spikes looked to be of Saurid manufacture (the Saurid's can do metalworking, they just choose to do little of it), those chains would have been a rare item 120 years ago and probably would have had to be traded for from one of the very few mountain tribes that do such work. Also inside the dome are 5 more cadaverous saurids that on this trip were ignoring She'kem and were apparently reenacting routine daily tasks from their lives.

AP 700 + 700 + 700 + 200 = 2300 + Journal. 

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Re: Love and Cheshires.

Post by supermooboo » Sun Nov 21, 2021 6:58 pm

“Perhaps you’ve heard of using live bait? This is really the same, but, I should add, this one requires wee more courage to use.” ~ Alvin the Fearless Baker

We were near enough to our objective that we could taste it. Yet, there was the issue of the shadowy figure that Shi’kem spotted in the depth. When I heard Shi’kem describe the figure as ‘stalking’ I knew it did not bode well. “Dodn’t take a genius to know what that is. A predator, and a right sneaky one at that. An’ this is the Gruv friends. Notin’ small comes out of there.” But regardless, we couldn’t proceed without dealing with the threat so we devised a plan to lure it out.

Step 1, use Shi’kem as bait. Step 2, well there isn’t really a step 2 but if I had to make one it would definitely be pray and slaughter. Pray and then Slaughter whatever abomination comes out of this cursed ice. “Honestly, I was impressed by the balls on that Shi’kem (do Saurids have…). Not an average person who could act as a bait for a monster of the Gruv. Mind you I would have done the same! No, no, I would have done it twice if asked. But I wasn’t. See?” So down went Shi’kem into the murky depths of the ice lake. Down, down, with only a single rope as a lifeline he went. Eventually the moment came. I was not underwater so I cannot comment on what must have happened down there but I can only imagine what happened next was a frantic chase between the monster and Shi’kem. What I do know is that Shi’kem had done their part as bait and had managed to tangle up the monster in the “line” so that we could use my horses to fish up whatever this thing was.

And so we did. And so we began to regret almost immediately. What surfaced was an amalgamous blob pitcher than the blackest night, and whose girth shifted, twisted, seemingly making mockery of reality. “I would describe this thing more, but I can’t. Honest. Even looking at this thing was a headache. Something about a spirit but not? Ah, whatever. No idea what this thing is, but that doesn’t change what needs to be done. Shoot the damn thing damnit!”

Well there was one more point of note. The blob was highly poisonous. More so than anything I’ve seen in a good while. Father Rowan took the brunt of the blow. Felt bad for the good priest. I do not envy the unfortunate soul that gets grabbed and caught by such a monster. He’s fine now but it took the best out of us just ensuring he stayed in the land of the living after the fight finished and we had time to deal with the poison. And what a fight that was. You should have seen me! “A bullet! Bam! Another! On and on, and we showed ‘em aye? Didn’t stand a chance really. And the kicker was that this thing was clearly weak to bullets. Must have been a shock to find people had developed something like that huh! Serves that blob right if you ask me.”

After the fight we treated the poison in Father Rowan. I was curious about it myself. You see I have heard of people using various poisons in cuisine in light quantities to add a certain spice to the meal. So I tried it. “Not my smartest move. But what a zing that was. Hit right to nose, legs, brain, and well everything else. But you know it had peppery notes to it. Maybe not the spice of life I was looking for, but I could probably use it in an opposite way (if you know what I am saying).” After all was said and done we did another round of reconnaissance (and I say we but it’s Shi’kem doing the diving) and we found the artifact in question. We also found some undead

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Re: Love and Cheshires.

Post by ChrisDDickey » Mon Nov 22, 2021 5:11 am

Old Cusa concludes his story to the village children. 

We rested the night and in the morning attempted to get the artifact. We talked the problem over, and agreed upon a plan. We decided to try to lure the undead Saurids out onto the ice rather than attempt to fight them in the water. We decided to attempt to descend inside the tower that had the Anchor chained to it. Several of us arranged ourselves upon the tower wall, prepared to strike if the undead attacked, while several others broke through the ice, and pulled the ice chunks out, leaving the new hole clear. When the hole in the ice was clear we could see the undead Saurids swimming in circles below. We talked about how to lure them within range, but Rowin said that he was sure that the undead were not hostile to us. To test that theory Alvin Baker jumped into the water to see if he was attacked. He was not. He then allowed himself to sink down to the base of the tower, looked around, and climbed back up the rope we had dangled down. The Saurids ignored him, and just continued to circle. 

We talked about all descending together using my control air spell to give us a breathing bubble, but Sh'kem volunteered to fetch the Anchor solo. We got the warming tent all setup (and after Alvin stopped shivering), Sh'kem swam down, and used a crowbar stuck through links of the chain to slowly pry the 4 iron spikes loose from the wall. He dragged the Anchor inside the tower and tied the rope to the chains. He told us later that at one point he had accidentally brushed up against the spell Anchor, and that it was bitterly, bitterly cold. Doing all that prying took him a long time, and he spent several sessions in the warming tent before he was done. When he finally reported that he had unstappled the item and tied it to the end of the rope, he went off to the warming tent again, while Alvin and Bernhard pulled the rope up. The Anchor was surprisingly heavy. 

When the magical artifact was pulled from the water all hell broke loose. The 5 swimming undead Saurids seemed to have seizures, and they regurgitated some black substance, after which the bodies went (truely) dead and sank. The black substances formed into shapes that quickly fled the area. I believe that what I saw were lesser water elementals that had been enslaved by the greater water elemental, and that the lesser elementals were animating the corpses under the command of the greater. When the greater elemental was removed from the water it lost its control over the lesser elementals, who fled. 

As that was happening, there was an ice quake as the whole surface of the lake started to break up, first into large ice flows that were hard to run across, and tended to tilt alarmingly, these large flows quickly broke up into smaller and smaller pieces that were much harder to run across, but still large enough to crush a person so unfortunate as to be caught between them. All of us were running across the ice trying to reach shore. Bernhard was carrying the Anchor, and fortunately he was one of the few of us who made it ashore without falling into the water and being crushed between the hunks of ice. By the time the last of us waded ashore, several of us had broken bones and other crushing wounds. 

We spent three days resting and recovering a short hike from the lake. After its violent upheaval it seemed to be turning back into a normal lake, and the ice quickly melted. The lake was dead however, with almost nothing within it having survived its century long winter. Each of those three days I attempted to use Spirit Talk upon the spell Anchor, but despite several fairly good attempts, I never felt that I was close to understanding the Spirit, and the Spirit did not seem inspired to spontaneously speak to any of us. I did gain impressions that the spirit was very powerful, and very angry. I felt that the spirit could be freed by smashing the Anchor, but also felt that doing so would be a very bad idea. 

After three days we returned to the Spider Silk clan village. Sheshtal was visibly surprised to see us alive. We told our story and they were very impressed with  us. Our negotiations went well, and before we left for Fort Alice they taught me several more elemental manipulation spells. They also told us a lot about Cheshires that we had not picked up in our scant days of observation. One of the best things they told us was to be on the lookout for a certain type of very large insect. While Cheshires are great at hiding and sneaking, they are often followed by this one species of very large insect, which is not as inclined to hide or sneak. If this insect is hanging around, there are probably Cheshires hiding nearby. If the insects are not present, it is doubtful that Cheshires are ether. We left the Anchor with them. I figure that if their ancestors could create it, then they could figure out how to deal with it. (I suspect that in the near future a large gathering of some very senior Shamans are going to attempt a Banishing). 

After the Spiker Silk clan village, we returned to Saints of Westminster and from there caught the train to Fort Alice. Lady Jennings was ecstatic over our captive Cheshire and all our information about them. We also presented her with what we had learned about the Owlbeasts (that they are intelligent, and can use tools if somebody else builds them). She told us that near Bolthole, a big game hunter named James Baldwin and several other people had been captured by Owlbeasts, and that when the army patrol had found their lair (a large tree and gully) the heads had been mounted on the tree, reminiscent of how the big game hunter had mounted heads in his cabin. She informed us that Owlbeasts enthusiastically ate Saurids and Earthlings.

Lady Jennings suggested that we should share our Owlbeast information with Colonel Hewitt, who was in charge of security at Ft Alice. We did so, and the Colonel paid us a £25 retainer for that information and to encourage us to learn more about the owlbeasts and to keep him informed. 

600 + 500 + 600 + 100 + 400 = 2200 AP. Since last downtime 5900 + 3 journal. 
40 pnd, + 25 lb,  90 / 5 = £18 each. minus expenses (our own cost of living, plus losses from fairiday Gruv) (£8/8)! leaving us £9 12s profit each. Learned: Disperse Elements (base), Move Elements (base), Gather Earth, Gather Fire Control Earth. Increased Durability, and Hypnotize!

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