Love and Cheshires.

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ChrisDDickey
Posts: 957
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:02 pm

Love and Cheshires.

Post by ChrisDDickey » Mon Apr 12, 2021 12:21 am

Old Cusa looks at the gathered youngsters. Today your fathers and older brothers are going out in the umiak to hunt whales. This reminds me of a hunting trip of a sort that I went on as a young man. 

It was January of 1880 in England, though that made no difference to the weather in the Gruv. We had set up the Faraday Faraway office in Ft. Alice.  In addition  to the Hulk and Professor Blaine, we now had a clerk and an accountant. We all took turns at the reception desk.  Our first major customer was Mrs Middlestone (Lady Jeddigs) who was a naturalist of great fame for her research in  the Gruv. 

She had reports of a Cheshire breeding  ground. Cheshire are named for the famous Lewis Carrol cat, but the joke is that instead of it disappearing behind it's smile, you tend to disappear behind it's smile. Cheshire are 5 foot long lizards with huge teeth and a tiger stripe pattern. They are solitary ambush hunters, hiding in shrubbery and pouncing upon their prey. They occasionally took Saurids or Terrestrials. The breeding grounds she told us of was in the foothills of the gladstone mountains, about 3 days north of Saints of Westminster workhouse. She was told about the breeding grounds by members of the "Still Waters" tribe of plains saurids. She wanted detailed reports of Cheshire mating habits, with samples and measurements. We took along incubator parts in case we got an opportunity to take some fertilized eggs. 

We made some preparations and took the morning train to Saints of Westminster. Upon the way there were two strange occurrences. The train made an emergency stop, and when we looked we saw a massive golden scaled creature as big as an elephant laying across the tracks. It seemed quite happy laying upon the tracks, and the train crew were unable to persuade it to move using either the trains whistle nor by shooting over it's head. I figured out that it liked the heat that the metal rails had been soaking up in the morning sun, and so summoned a water spirit and asked it to rain upon the Gangit, which it amused the spirit to do. The Gangit was less amused to have his nap interrupted, and looked with consternation at this whole big plain in dry sunshine, and this tiny little cloud directly above itself, raining on it. It grumbled, but it decided to move. 

Just as we were deciding that the problem was solved, some of the others noticed some creatures hiding in the grass not far away. As soon as they noticed that they had been spotted, 8 large Owlbeasts broke cover and ran for the train. Owlbeasts look a bit like owls. Quite cute actually. except that they are larger than most men and have a limited ability to glide. They also have razor sharp claws and leeth. The beasts ignored us and the train crew who were all out in front of the train dealing with the Gangit up until we started shooting at them, when one, and then another got diverted into attacking us. Instead all the rest ran for the train, where they quickly started wrenching loose any items they could. One managed to wrench off the brake lever, which the engineer assured us had been bolted on very solidly indeed. He said that he would have sworn that a troll could not have wrenched it loose! It was all that the Faraday crew and the train crew could do to drop two of these creatures. 

Three of the creatures assaulted the empty locomotive, while two jumped on top of the first passenger car and 2 more pushed into the passenger car. We later learned that creatures did not appear to be specifically targeting the passengers, but several passengers were injured quite severely simply by being between these creatures and something they wanted. After a half minute of intensive looting, the ones still upon their feet scrambled up on top of the train and used the height to glide some distance away. They took with them as much stolen gear as each could carry. Among their haul was: The trains brake lever, the engineers stool, a rifle, a crate (contents unknown), and a clockwork gyroscope (quite valuable), along with other things that we did not inventory. It was bizarre, because I have never heard of any creature that stole such stuff.

Note: remember, animal talk. Also when we have a chance, look into getting a contact who obtains animals for zoos. Also look into export/import (luckily we know lawyers). Look into selling the two owlbeasts. Two owlbeasts. 350 + 350 + 100 = 800 + journal. 

ChrisDDickey
Posts: 957
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:02 pm

Re: Love and Cheshires.

Post by ChrisDDickey » Sun Apr 25, 2021 9:12 pm

Old Cusa continues his story.

I talked to the Gangit a grumpy beast but with a certain charm. He did not admit to taking orders from anybody to block the train, nor to working with the Owlbeasts. While I was doing that the two captive Owlbeasts woke up and escaped. The train crew took several hours to check over the train to make sure it was safe, but the train was moving again in time to arrive at The Saints of Westminster before full dark. After dinner we met a character named Benjamin Resnick who worked at the powder mill. He took us to a Speak Easy Bar for a very nice evening, which ended when the authorities raided the place, which was no problem since everybody ran in different directions and they were so indecisive as to who to follow that they did not succeed in catching anybody that we knew. 

We wanted to ask about transporting dangerous animals via railroad, and so went to talk to Miss Rioghnach MacPherson switchyard supervisor and got the details, which is that we could. 

We set out and made good time. As we approached our survey area we met a group of Saurid who told us that we were about to enter Spidersilk Shroud territory, and that we would not be welcome there. When asked, they said that they were Spiderskilk Shroud themselves. They kept telling us that we are going the wrong direction. They finally convince us to wait while they get some Elders who can talk to us. They then left us, which gave Alvin the opportunity to take his horse and quickly ride ahead to scout. He came upon a most curious lake. On the one hand, he described it as vast, but on the other hand, said it was only several acres (I would never describe a mere several acres as being "vast"). The lake seemed completely frozen. It seems to have frozen almost instantaneously, since some fish were frozen in the ice near shore. The tops of some stone buildings were jutting out of the center of the lake. He chopped the ice a bit, and the ice chips  melted normally and tasted normal. 

I spent the time studying a huge flying dinosaur, which I later learned was called a Storkasaur. As soon as Alvin returned, we were set upon by a group of Spidersilk Shroud warriors.

AP 350 + 200 + 100 =650 + journal. 
Last edited by ChrisDDickey on Sun Jul 04, 2021 5:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.

ChrisDDickey
Posts: 957
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:02 pm

Re: Love and Cheshires.

Post by ChrisDDickey » Sun Jun 20, 2021 11:37 pm

Old Cusa continues his tale.

The war party consisted of 5 Saurids. An elderly Shaman seemed to be in command with a lieutenant and three warriors. They also commanded a Salamander, a fire breathing lizard. As they approached I did a wood skin and a spiritual defender, so was feeling quite safe as I stepped forward and called out that we come in peace. They called back that we were trespassing and had no business going to the lake, and that we had behaved quite dishonorably by doing so while they were gone. The warriors used Atlatl to fire arrows at us, which struck like thunder, completely destroying my defender spell in just two hits and leaving me with a nasty wound, but still in the fight. 

The fight was long and hard. It turns out that the Saurids had Lord Carnavon captive, and during the confusion of the fight, he escaped, but by the time he got himself untied and got to his feet, Alvin Baker had stolen the harpy that had all of his weapons tied to it and ridden to a different section of the fight. Eventually we dropped the elderly shaman and the salamander. The Lt picked up the shaman and attempted to carry him to safety, but was brought down by Bernhards rifle. With both leaders down, the three warriors agreed to surrender upon the promise of honorable treatment. Rowan and myself then stabilized the two leaders and brought them back to consciousness. 

With everybody calm again, we had a good and productive discussion. The Shaman admitted that there was a valley that the Cheshires mated in, but that it was a number of miles away and if we truly wanted to go there, we had no business whatsoever going anywhere near the lake. If they had just told us that when we first met, we would have been more than happy to have been redirected to our destination. They agreed to send the Lt (whose name was Shushtal) to guide us to the cheshire valley. 

We discussed why we had been heading towards the lake, and we told them that we had been told that the Cheshire breeding grounds were there by a great British scholar, who said that she had been told of the breeding grounds, and its location, by members of the "Still Waters" tribe. The Shaman said that the "Still Waters" tribe raid into their lands and steal their game, but that such a whopping lie was underhanded even for them. 

They requested (nicely) that we destroy the map that we had been making and make a new one without the frozen lake, and to swear on blood not to reveal the existence of the lake to anybody (I tell you this now, young ones, more than a hundred years later, because the lake has long since been revealed). In fact I immediately warned the Saurids that the British have a great love of maps, and that before too long (a dozen years at the very outside) I was sure that they would overfly the lake and note it on their maps. The British would wonder about a frozen lake so low in the mountains and in such a warm place, and would undoubtedly investigate. I suggested that they ought to have a story prepared for the British long before then. I suggested that in fact they might want to plant the story with the British even before the British discovered the lake for themselves. 

I asked if there was any way we could help, but was told that the lake was not a simple problem. Rowen told us later that every time any of the Saurids mention the lake they felt a deep sense of shame. 

We decided that Shushtal would guide us to the valley that the cheshire mate in, and that we would conduct our study there, Then we might visit their village.  meanwhile the Saurids would ponder what to do about the inevitable discovery of the lake, and if there was any story they wish to propagate, or if there was any other way we could be of service to help them. 

AP 500 + 700 + 50 + 200 = 1400 + 100 journals. 

supermooboo
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2020 6:06 am

Re: Love and Cheshires.

Post by supermooboo » Sun Jun 27, 2021 7:25 am

Alvin the Loveless Baker,

“You know, it’s been a rough couple of days. The days get rougher by the minute. Everyone seems to want a piece of the Great Baker these days. That said if there is one thing that helps me push past all that it’s exploration and mystery. After all these years being a Pioneer of the Gruv that’s the one thing that keeps bringing me back. Monster sloths? Owlbeasts? Bloody Hell I’ve even fought off an entire platoon of Harpy mounted Saurids and their pet lizard recently. But I would do it all again just to get another taste of how my heart pounded with excitement the first time I stepped out on that magic frozen lake.”

It’s been a few days since my last entry and that’s mostly due to the chaos of recent events. To be brief the gang has been hired by a superstar in the Pioneer industry. Nancy Milestone (Lady Jennings) who is someone any Pioneer of the Gruv has heard of at least once. Chances are if you have read any description of any animal or plant in the Gruv her name will come up as a contributor or author at least once. She has single handedly helped document the newest threats and monstrosities that stalk the Gruv. So needless to say when she came into our new building to request our services I was excited. At first.

“Now I’m not going to say it’s a conspiracy or no nothing. I respect Lady Jennings and she has been good to me with the information regarding creature information I discovered in the past. But look ‘ere now, Mind Controlled beasts that steal metal and technology? And now this business with the frozen lake. I just don’t know what to make of all of it.” Now okay maybe the Lake was actually my fault. I led the group on this little ‘shortcut’ through Saurid lands. Now how was I supposed to know the path we took would cut us right through their ‘shame’ or whatever Rowan called it after it was translated to us (priests tend to have an ear for the shame business so I didn’t question it).

“And yeah the Saurids that initially intercepted us told us to wait and sit still. What a joke that was. Imagine the Great Alvin Baker sitting still knowing there might be mystery and exploration afoot. Clearly these Saurids didn’t know who they were messing with. Haha, well, they do now, and best they not forget Alvin the One Armed Baker again.”

So yes my curiosity got the better of me and I ended up doing a wee bit of nosing where my nose probably shouldn’t have been. But you should have seen it! A massive lake of solid clearly unnatural ice with carved structures jutting out of it. What purpose could this location possibly serve? No clue, but I am interested in finding out.”

I’ve already mentioned the fallout of peaking around this lake. The pissing contest with the Saurids They must have been mad because they showed up with a full platoon of mounted warriors and a salamander. “Now I’ve certainly read about these fire breathing monstrosities in the past, but seeing is believing. It was right something from a story book! What’s next real dragons? Perhaps I shouldn’t say that. Words tend to have a strange way of coming true in the Gruv.” Regardless, after we finished up our little skirmish with the Saurids we reached peace accords with them in exchange for promising to keep the lake a secret. I even altered the map I made to strike out the Lake itself. A temporary fix at best as the British will surely find their way there soon enough, but the Saurids seemed to realize this and were debating a solution to this amongst themselves as they also agreed to escort us to the Chesire breeding grounds (our original purpose in these lands).

P.S.

My only regret regarding this whole incident is Hairy. Alas, Hairy you were a great stead. It was my first time riding a Harpy and I have to say I understand why the Saurids prefer them as mounts now. Fast, elegant, and yet also capable of battle in a pinch. But Hairy wasn’t exactly mine to lay claim to in the first place (not that such a claim has stopped me in the past). And well peace with the Saurids was important at the time so I ended up letting it slide. For now. I still plan to negotiate for Hairy’s release into my care.

ChrisDDickey
Posts: 957
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:02 pm

Re: Love and Cheshires.

Post by ChrisDDickey » Sun Jul 04, 2021 8:43 pm

Old Cusa resumes his story. 

Now children we come to the point where we observed the Cheshires, and they observed us. We traveled several days to the rim of the valley that the Cheshires were said to mate in. I turned into a storkasaur (this was the great beast I turned into last summer during the chief's potlatch) and overflew the valley. It was a small valley, only about 20 miles long, and widened out to about 6 miles at it's widest point, but was mostly smaller. I overflew the entire valley looking for Cheshires and for good places to observe them from. I saw two packs that were using pack tactics to hunt large game, one pack of 6 and one of around 12 members. Driving prey, separate one, and bring it down. I also saw a few individuals hunting smaller game. In that first flight I saw several places which we might be able to observe the Cheshires, but none in which I felt we could all observe in safety. I did hit upon the idea of landing myself high in a tree and observing alone, trusting that no Cheshire would be able to climb quietly enough to sneak up on me. 

In the meantime, Sh'Kem made a solo scout down the valley, and very nearly got himself eaten. The others (between their turn on watch with the spyglass observing the valley) started constructing the cage they had brought. At dusk I made a 2nd overflight of the valley. The Cheshires are very good at camouflage and while I spotted some activity, I was too far up for close observation. We felt we made adequate progress for the first day. We kept careful watches at night, and while my own watch passed uneventfully, but when Alvin Baker awoke for the dawn watch, he quickly noticed 5 pairs of eyes watching him from the predawn darkness. 

Note: 2 successes on observing, 2 of 4 on building a cage. AP:  300 + 300 + 50 = 650 + Journal

supermooboo
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2020 6:06 am

Re: Love and Cheshires.

Post by supermooboo » Tue Jul 20, 2021 3:51 am

“The thing about peace is that it is hard fought. I’ve found it easier to think about it as the time in which people prepare for more war.” - Alvin The One Armed Baker

So we made peace with the Saurids and they agreed to lead us to the Chesire mating grounds. All these peace talks can’t help but make me a bit itchy. “A lot of people been fleeing me lately. Which is all well and good but it would be nice to meet a chap who knew how to square up for once. I ain’t asking for much. Just a wee battle to the inches of one's life. You know. Manly stuff.” And I know I already mentioned this but I am traveling with the leaders number two Shustal now and they do not seem inclined to join us on what they are calling a bad idea into the Chesire’s mating grounds.

Their survival and camping techniques sure are interesting though. As we watched each other make our respective camps it became immediately obvious that we come from two different cultures. I was most interested in how Shustal constructed a teepee-like structure around the fire to conceal the smoke and increase the time in which fire would actually burn. Shustal was also interested in my methods and we had a conversation about the differences in our approaches to survival in the wilderness that was both interesting and productive.

After several days of travel through the Gruv we finally arrived at the Chesire breeding grounds. It is a valley (22.4 mile diameter), nestled around a rugged mountainous region that runs through the breeding grounds. Creeks and streams trickle through the area and various outcroppings jut out from about the midpoint down the mountainous valley. It was in one such ridge that we made our camp. “Not with everyone mind you. I’m not about to leave poor Buttersnatch to the wolves (or lizards I guess). I’d cry the most manly of tears if anything happened to my Snatch.” I told Shustal to guard them and make sure nothing happened to them. Lord Carnavon also stayed behind to recover from his injuries.

“And then the elf strips. Yeah, that’s right, right there in front of us all. Weird thing that was. But not weirder than the Storkasaur that quickly took his place. The transformation cannot be unseen. Surely I’ve seen it all now. A grown man turning into a bird. Well, I suppose that’s just how it works out here in the Gruv, no use complaining about it now after everything I’ve seen and been through.” Cusa (a bird) and Shi’kem decided to do some forward reconnaissance from our base into the breeding grounds. When they returned they had plenty of interesting information regarding the Chesire’s current movements and behaviors. They tend to travel in packs (of males as we later found out) but there are a few lone wolves who prefer to hunt alone. They are about 5ft long and carry themselves at 200 pounds give or take a few.

As for myself I had other plans. “Me and my troll bud Bernhard had the plans to build a cage. One big and sturdy enough to hold one of these smiling lizards long enough to lug ‘em back to Fort Alice. Now there was a bit of miscommunication. Bernhard was using some kind of weird material made of lighter stuff than I was used to. My efforts to make a lock failed, “frustrating, stupid, honestly what the bloody ‘ell is this stuff anyway? Bamboo? Ah, forget about it. I’ll just make a simple latch and be done with it then.”

Night quickly approached. We decided on our typical watch where I take the last one so I can prep breakfast in the morning for everyone. “I like it honestly. Cooking out in the wilderness far away from the concerns of my family or any other such foolishness is nice and relaxing. I can just cook, and if anyone has any problems with that, well, as the saying goes, never mess with the cook. But that said I can sometimes get lost in my own world when I start to think about cooking and well yep. Big mistake, 5 big red mistakes staring out at us hungerly. Time for some more peace talks I suppose.”

ChrisDDickey
Posts: 957
Joined: Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:02 pm

Re: Love and Cheshires.

Post by ChrisDDickey » Tue Jul 20, 2021 9:07 am

Old Cusa continues his tale to the village children. 

As I was saying, on the morning of our 2nd day camped on the rim of the valley, Alvin awoke to find eyes staring at us though the predawn darkness. He awoke all of us, and I cast "Befriend the Beast" on the Cheshire that I took to be the leader. I then cast "Animal Talk". This had the beneficial effect of the leader deciding that we did not all need to be killed and eaten, but that only one of us should be a sufficient source of meat to serve as a mating gift to be presented to the female. I gave them the side of smoked bacon we had brought with us, apologizing for its small size, but suggesting that its unique taste might impress the female. 

That morning I did my reconincince as a purple winged zinger. I followed the pack until they met up with a female, and then followed the female for the rest of the day. As it turned out, the side of bacon was not a sufficient gift for the female. The pack of male Cheshires gifted the 3 pounds or so of smoked pig to the female, and then started to perform dominance displays. The female ate the bacon, and seemed to enjoy it, but then wandered off and eventually mated with two of the members of a pack that brought her a whole harpy. She then spent the rest of the day napping. We later found that Cheshires, while active both day and night, have excellent night vision and sleep much of the day and are active most of the night. 

While the female was napping, I observed the spirits of the valley. There were a very unusually large number of Air and Earth spirits, and they were all very active and exuberant. I queried an air elemental, and it commented upon the "shaping" of my purple tentacle. It said it had been a long time since it had seen beings who could do such shapings, and by "long time" I got the sense of aeons. I tried to follow up on that line of conversation but the spirit grew upset and flitted off with a large blast of turbulence. I also tried to talk to an earth spirit,but they were running around so much I was unable to attract any of their attention. 

At the end of the day, having spent most of two days observing Cheshires, I transformed myself into one and strolled out of the valley. I avoided meeting any real Cheshires on this stroll. In my time spent as a Cheshire I learned that Cheshires have a very good natural Stealthy Stride, and Great Leap. Once the sun went down I found that they have a very excellent Heat Sight, similar to a troll or dwarf. Females are about 25% larger than the typical male. The solo males look hungrier and more ragged than the males that are members of a pack. 

When I got back to the camp it was well after dark, and I discovered that the Reverent Rowen had thought to set wards against Cheshires entering the camp. I had to spend the first part of the night outside the wards, so I took the first watch that night until my transformation wore off. When I returned to my elvish form I woke up the next watch, and compared notes. He told me that the team building the cages had seem a glint of metal a bit further down the rim of the valley, and upon investigation had found what appear to be Owlbeast tracks. 

The next day we decided to suspend our observation of the Cheshires and look into the owlbeast mystery. We quietly approached the spot where tracks had been seen earlier, we observed an owlbeast and a piece of technology. The box on a tripod bore a slight outward resemblance to a photography camera, in that it was a metal box with some lenses on a tripod. However this box was not painted black, but was shiny metal. We fought the owlbeast, and it was very vicious. During the fight, my magical skills indicated that this owlbeast was extremely intelligent, but not in the same nature as a human or a Saurid. The Saurids are not at all human-like, but their intelligence is human-like. This owlbeast was as or more intelligent than humans, but in a totally and completely inhuman and insaurid way. Eventually the owlbeast was rendered unconscious, We then bound it thoroughly and examined it and its gear. 

500 + 500 + 350 + 50 = 1400  + journal - 13 karma
Note: Gather all, Move Earth, Water, Disperse Fire, Air. Maybe water.  Control Air and Water.

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