AAR: [1st] Marking the beginnings (2020-01-04@20:00 GMT)

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Re: AAR: [1st] Marking the beginnings (220-01-04@20:00 GMT)

Post by utsukushi » Sun Jan 05, 2020 2:20 am

(The opening of Shel Vondevang's journal is written in Throalic)

Followed the old road, escorting surveyors Jorank and Mumin out to the 50th mile marker. And if you only read Throalic, go look up someone else's journal with the other ujnort. There were five of us. Caedda seemed nice.

(After that, she switches to Or'zet)

The lands beyond Throal are a sight to behold, but not a sight made for Orc-kind. I had to research the words for half of what we saw when I got back. The "sky" is like the great cavern roof over our heads, but it's made of air instead of earth and it changes constantly. When we first went out, it was blue, with this giant... bright... ugh. It's called the "sun" and it's at least 98% overkill. It's like someone crammed a thousand Light Quartz into one lantern and enchanted them all to eleven. Someone needs to find a way to turn it down a notch. I wrapped a thin scarf around my forehead and let a bit of it hang down as a veil, and that helped a lot, but ugh. Thankfully it goes away at night, and the sky is blessedly black, filled with little white specks.

Days passed nicely. We marked the path, dug down a bit to find the stones, and followed the route. Jorank and Mumin were pleasant, giving direction without being bossy, and everyone pitched in. First night we set up camp, and I've gotta say, if you're going out there, pack a tent! I didn't actually need it that first night, but later, whoa.

Anyway, I was on watch with Alari, and found out he'd been alive before the Scourge! He's one of those T'skrang that slept since Throal closed its doors, and just woke up, he said, three days ago. T'skrang are crazy! I asked him about Orcs in his time, and it sounded awful, though he said he hadn't really known many personally. Of course. But much like the history books say, in the days before the Scourge, our people were largely pressed into slavery, our culture broken and our past erased. I'm glad my forebearers got into Throal, at least, where we were treated with a modicum of decency and the same rights on paper, if not always in practice, as anyone else. I shudder to think how our people are being treated today in the kaers they were forced at whipcrack to dig with their own hands. I cry to know how long it will take to reach them.

But for us, just a few miles out from the Kingdom, the night passed quietly. Karl Tommson, a Human who carried a bow, was on last watch, and woke us all up early because he "heard something." And yeah, there was a thing. Some kind of really scrawny... four-legged thing? Kind of horse like, I guess? We didn't see it very well because it ran off. Scary enough to lose an hour of sleep? In hindsight, probably not, but I don't blame Karl. You go out there and see how comfortable you are with all the noises all night long. When I was first trying to get to sleep I heard something like a giant knife being sharpened right outside, but when I looked all I saw was some tiny little bug rubbing its legs together. It was like an inch long, but damn it was loud.

Day two was about the same, but that "sky" changing thing I mentioned? Today it started out all bright, and then this grey stuff slid in and by night time it was dripping water. I don't know what's going on up there, but it was a lot of water coming down. I was fine in my tent - actually the sound of it was surprisingly relaxing. But everyone else looked cold and I felt a little guilty being the only one with real cover. The dwarves slept under their cart, at least. But hey, they could've bought tents, too, right? Otherwise, though, the day and night went almost exactly the same, right up to Karl waking us up because he Heard A Noise.

Honestly this time I was about half awake before he even got to me, because it really was loud, like a bunch of people trying to make weird animal noises or something, but probably actually weird animal noises. After a little while Jael said, "Relax, the frogs are just having sex." And that's about when the big cat thing - a "lion", according to some pictures I found back in the library - jumped out and mauled the pony. So even if the thing Karl woke us up for wasn't the thing we needed to be up for, it's a good thing everyone was ready. We all ran at it and beat it down. It started to run off, but Karl hit it with an arrow and knocked it down. Then Jael said it was still breathing and told everyone to stay back, and he sat next to it until it woke up. Elves are crazy! He wanted to make friends, apparently, but it, too, thought he was crazy, and ran off. So lions, at least, have some sense.

Unfortunately, the pony - which had a name that started with Q or K or.. something, I didn't quite catch it - was too hurt to move. Jorank and Mumin assured us they had padded their plans in case we got delayed, so we stayed in our camp. Caedda and Alari sparred a bit, which was fun to watch. Then we started taking turns going a little ahead to keep digging and marking the road as far as we could go on foot, just to make it a little faster when we did start out again. Until two of us didn't come back for a while, and we all went to see what was keeping them.

Luckily it wasn't because they were dead. They just couldn't find the road. None of us could. We went out a ways where it should have been, nothing. Dug another few feet, nothing. Went a little off to each side, nothing. Then somebody noticed that if you really looked out, there was this kind of weird shift in the ground that ran... as far as we could see. So we followed the edge of that, and about 30 yards to the South, there was the road! So we marked it out and called it a day, because, frankly, it'd been a day.

That was pretty much the pattern; nice, hard-working but fruitful days followed by loud but mostly harmless nights. Nothing else tried to eat anyone, at least, though by the end of day five we noticed something weird. Everyone just sort of... hurt. Me a bit less than the rest; I think my scarves helped. But the humans, dwarves, and elf were all turning weirdly red. I noticed my own skin was darker than usual, but hurt less than they seemed to. We think it might have something to do with that "Sun", but who knows? Could just be some kind of acidic contamination left in the air by the Horrors. I'm not the one who's going to figure that piece out.

We also saw something draconic off in the distance. Smaller than the Dragons were supposed to be, we're pretty sure. Or maybe farther away than we thought it was. It... can be hard to tell out there. Sometimes there's just nothing to measure against, and sometimes when there is, you don't know how big that thing is, so it doesn't help much. Anyway, whatever it was, seems worth mentioning. It was kind of Northeast of where we were then, which was just a bit before the river.

The river was an ordeal and we had to deal with it in the evening. Might've been warmer to wait a day, but we already felt behind from the lion thing, so we pushed it. The maps all show a bridge, but that was gone - no big surprise. It's not like there's been a maintenance crew out in the last five centuries. Alari went out into the water and determined it didn't get deeper than, well, five feet. I'm not a whole lot taller than that, but enough to keep myself bouncing up out of it without having to really swim, thank Greeb. I've gotta say, rivers are something to experience! And a lucky thing we understand giving yourself to new experiences, because I had to experience it for better than an hour while we bounced things across from one to the other, climbing in and out and keeping everything dry. Then the couple of us who had ropes used them to tie up the cart and we dragged it across, empty and floating, and hauled it up the other side all together. Then we helped the surveyors over and tried not to think about doing it all again on the way home.

And that was pretty much the last thing of new interest we saw until near the end. Right where Marker 45 should've been was this huge dirt mound, more than three times my height. Caedda started walking up it, and spotted some big bugs crawling around. Really big, like cats. He just grinned and turned back, calling out, "Hey, Jael, I found some new friends for ya!" Which was fair enough, because Jael had already tried to make friends with something a lot scarier than these. Of course, there was only one lion, and what must've been a dozen of these came crawling out and started spitting and snapping at us. They looked like termites, but did I mention big? Good meat on them, though, I bet! Not that we tried it, though - not till we know if it's safe to eat anything from out here. Anyway, while we fought the soldiers, a bunch of the workers started making off with our food from the wagon, but we squashed 'em quick enough and saved it. Actually, I'll be honest, I didn't help much; the things are quick, and my blade kept sliding off their chitin. Next time, though, I'll be ready for them!

We set out a fresh marker on that one - didn't seem worth digging through all that dirt just to find the old one. The last five miles seemed pretty OK, and then we just had to head home. Prakarool must've been watching over us, because nothing gave us any trouble the way back.

When we came back to Throal, of course, we had to perform our Rituals of Greeting to confirm we weren't twisted. I don't know if you even know when you are, so that was a bit terrifying, especially because, no surprise, they were basically looking for Dwarven "standards of beauty". Fortunately I've studied those a bit - I know how to keep my hair fit for their styles. They spent longer talking my Greeting over than any of the others, but they let me back in, and that'll have to be enough for now.

No matter the hassle of getting back in, I'm itching to go back out. Throal took our people in, along with thousands of others, and kept us all alive and safe and I'll never speak ill of them, but once you've set foot outside.. the mighty Kingdom, that was my whole world yesterday, suddenly starts to feel awfully small.
Last edited by utsukushi on Sat Jan 11, 2020 12:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: AAR: [1st] Marking the beginnings (220-01-04@20:00 GMT)

Post by BattleChad » Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:22 pm

From the Journal of Ceadda, Human Warrior

Finally! Finally, I've set foot outside the Kaer and into the wider world! It was more than I could have ever hoped for, and so much better than reading about it in some dusty old book in the library.

I was lucky enough to be selected for a job setting up the old mile markers along the old trade road that ran out of Throal before the Scourge. In addition to my two employers, a pair of Dwarven surveyors by the Names of Jorank and Mumin, I was joined by Alari, a T'Skrang Swordsman, Jael the Elven Beastmaster, Karl the Human Archer, and Shel, an Ork Thief.

We set out early in the morning, traveling the old route and noting the position of the markers that survived, as well as repairing or replacing the ones that didn't. It took some time for my eyes to adjust to just how bright it can be outside, but the headache was worth it. As the sun went down, we set up camp. We set up a watch, as had always been advised in the manuals I've read since I was a kid, but I had a hard time actually getting to sleep. You just can't understand how amazing stars are until you see them for yourself!

Karl woke us before dawn, having heard a noise that had set him on edge. It ended up being some kind of scrawny creature near our campsite, but it ran away too quickly and it was too dark for anyone to get a proper look. We took advantage of the early wake up call to go ahead and get a start on our day. It was a good thing, too, as it decided to actually rain that day! It was incredible! Water falling from the sky! It did make for slow-going though. Setting up camp that evening was a little trickier as we all tried to find somewhere dry to rest, but we eventually got it all figured out.

Again Karl woke us before dawn to alert us to some strange sounds. While we were preoccupied with sussing out the source, only to discover it was a bunch of frogs getting in the mood, our horse was unexpectedly attacked by a Lion! We mustered quickly and were able to save the horse and downed the cat. Since the Lion still lived, Jael made an attempt at befriending it once it roused from its injuries. That did not go well.

Given the state of our pony, our employers decided to stay at camp for another day to give the beast of burden a chance to recover a little. I spent that morning sparring with Alari, something I'd been wanting to do since the moment I discovered he was a Swordmaster. He's very skilled, but I wonder if maybe his tongue is sharper than his sword.

We decided to scout ahead a little bit that afternoon to get a head start for the following day, but came upon a little mystery. The road simply wasn't where it was supposed to be. After a little puzzling and poking around, we discovered that the ground itself had shifted, moving the road a full 30 yards from it's original location.

Later on, we came to a river, and had to figure out how to get ourselves, as well as the cart, pony, and all our supplies across. After Alari went for an exploratory swim, we decided to line up across the river, and hand the supplies across to each other. Then we used a bit of rope that we'd packed to help guide the cart as we floated it across.

Nearing the end of our initial trek out, we came upon an unusual dirt mound. I decided to climb it to see if I could get a better look, but maybe that wasn't the best idea. We were almost immediately swarmed by a group of giant termites, but with some quick teamwork, we were able to dispatch them with relatively little trouble, though we did suffer some injuries in the process. Maybe I learned my lesson. Probably not.

Having completed what we set out to do, we turned around and made our way back to Throal.

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Re: AAR: [1st] Marking the beginnings (2020-01-04@20:00 GMT)

Post by ottdmk » Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:46 pm

The Great Library of Throal thanks Karl, Shel & Ceadda for their contributions. +10 Legend Points, +37.5 Silver.

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