[Taocow PBEM] Chapter XVIII - Into The Heart Of Darkness

Aaron Clausen mightymartianca at gmail.com
Thu Mar 12 20:56:11 GMT 2009

OOC: Wow, this was like one of those uncomfortable silent moments when
you say something really weird or terrible, and then everybody
shuffles their feet and looks at the floor.  Anyways, reading it now,
I think I ended on a crappy, or at least not-much-happening note, so
I'll amend my evil ways and add to it, since I know how much you all
love action... ;-)

>> > [GM]
>> > As the company is wiping off the dust and getting ready to go, a somewhat
>> > faint and scratchy voice comes through their comm sets.
>> >
>> > "Osiris, I think I have encountered him but there is something wrong. He
>> > is not conscious".  It is their wilderness scout companion, Alex.
>> >
>> > In the midst of that, Ted suddenly doubles over and starts vomiting.
>> > [/GM]

>> [Talas]
>> Talas casts sense evil and see the invisible.
>> [/Talas]

> [GM]
> There's nothing invisible or supernaturally evil anywhere near the company.
> [/GM]

>> [Sia]
>> Sia seems distant and deep in thought as she stands near the felled
>> rock creature.  Then suddenly she snaps to attention, her eyes wide
>> with alarm, as Ted starts getting sick.  She runs to his side.
>> "This scratch," she says, pointing to a barely noticable mark on the
>> lizard man's face, "how long have you had it?"  She gulps.  "There's
>> some kind of force, like a shadow, creeping from this wound into his
>> body.  I don't know what it is but I think he may require an exorcism
>> as well."  She casts Sense Evil to get a better sense of the damage.
>> [/Sia]

>> [Ted]
>> “Exorcism?” Ted mumbles, barely comprehending as he reaches
>> for his canteen.
>> [Ted]

>> [Sia]
>> "What's more, we've got a problem.  My familiar just spotted our guide
>> Maiea from the air- she's dead.  And from the looks of the body it
>> looks like they sacrificed her to drain her psychic energy.  I don't
>> know how these pieces fit together yet, but we'd better get moving."
>> "I have an idea... this might be a little crazy but if Ted and I ride
>> in one ATV and the rest of you go in the other, I might be able to
>> remove whatever taint is in the wound while en route.  You'd have to
>> keep your distance from us while driving though unless you want a
>> repeat of what happened to Om.  Do you feel up to driving just a
>> little further Ted?"
>> [/Sia]

>> [Talas]
>> Talas turns from Ted to Sia "I will ride with you. I am immune to
>> Possession."
>> [/Talas]

> [Louissa]
> "And you'll protect me." Louissa says, looking dreamily at Talas.
> [/Louissa]

>> [Ted]
>> Eyes closed, Ted stands hunched over while resting one hand on
>> his knee and holding his canteen in the other. He spits a quantity
>> of water from his mouth and then takes another gulp, hoping to
>> wash the aftertaste from his mouth and tongue. He had enjoyed
>> good health throughout his life—combat injuries excluded—and
>> feels a little confused by the sudden episode.
>> He recaps the container and slides it into the holder on his hip.
>> Wiping his eyes, he keeps his eyes on the ground. “I am fine for
>> driving,” he states weakly. “What make you think I am possessed?”
>> [Ted]

>> [Koba]
>> Koba walkes over to Ted and puts his hand on his shoulder. He
>> bends over to get a close look at the small wound. "What do you
>> feel from him Sia? A small cheek scratch is hardly enough to
>> convince me he is possessed." Koba says with an air of defiance.
>> "An exorcism is hardly a benign thing Sia. We do remember
>> Osiris is yet to wake up from the last one you performed, don't
>> we?"
>> [/Koba]

>> [Owen]
>> Moving towards his cycle to prepare to leave, Owen states, "If Ted
>> here is possessed or not, we still need to keep moving.  We don't
>> know how much time we have."
>> [/Owen]

>> [Ted]
>> "I am not possessed," the lizard man insists. "Let us forget the
>> whole matter and move on with the mission."
>> [/Ted]

>> [Sia]
>> Sialillion states, "I know what I saw.  I know you don't care for me
>> much and I know my previous exorcism was fouled by that tree man's
>> ineptitude, but there's a shadowy force creeping into you.  I can't
>> say for sure what it is but out of the tools I have at my disposal an
>> exorcism spell would be most appropriate."
>> She sighs.  "Our guide has been eviscerated and sacrificed for Gods
>> know what purpose, you just suddenly got violently ill, I'm telling
>> you I can sense it's from some supernatural evil, and you just ignore
>> it.  Fine.  Forget it.  But I'm not riding with you."
>> She mutters something in Elven under her breath, then turns and moves
>> to ride in whatever ATV Ted isn't in.
>> [/Sia]

>> [ Ted]
>> The lizard man watches Sia walk away. Loudly enough for her and the
>> others to hear, he states, "I trust you. I trust your powers, too, but I feel
>> fine now. Please save your strength for the battle ahead. All of you. Let
>> us be on our way."
>> [/Ted]

> [Alister]
> Alister eyes Ted for a moment, not quite sure what to make of this.  It
> was bad enough entering some demon's lair, but bringing along someone
> potentially possessed seemed a real recipe for disaster.
> "Some practical matters." Alister says.  "Did anyone else get that message
> from our fine wilderness scout?"
> He replays the message "Osiris, I think I have encountered him but there is
> something wrong. He is not conscious." Alex's voice can be heard saying
> over the static.
> "Now I may not be the brightest guy in this wasteland," Alister says, "but that
> sounds like trouble to me.  If she's ready to break radio silence, that means
> she's got problems."
> Alister opens up a channel and replies to Alex, "We copy.  Have had a bit
> of trouble, but we're on our way.  What's Lady Frost's status?  Over."
> While waiting for a response, Alister fires up the damaged ATV, which
> despite being used like a football by the demon, seems to start alright.
> [/Alister]

> [Louissa]
> "Alister and Owen are right." Louissa says.  "Alex and Lady Frost may be
> in trouble.  I think we should go."
> [/Louissa]

> [Carlos]
> Carlos hops on his Skycycle and waits for everyone else to depart.
> [/Carlos]

> [GM]
> Once everyone is in their prospective vehicles, the company heads out
> again across this black and blasted plain.  A few minutes later they
> pass a tall stone, and there see the body of their Elvish guide, horribly
> mutilated.  Above can be seen three large ravens, huge and with blood-red
> eyes, circling.  One of them flies away from the others, circling the
> company, seeming to pay particular attention to Lady Sialillion's familiar,
> but thinking the better of it and rejoining the others after a minute.
> Half an hour later the company reaches the river.  About half a mile
> upstream can be seen the ruins of an ancient bridge.  Much closer,
> the river widens out into a ford that should allow the vehicles to pass.
> There are the remnants of some sort of a small building, built out
> of the black stone, which might have been a toll booth.
> Across the river the land seems somewhat healthier.  There's tall
> green grasses.  There's no road, or even trail, but a few miles distant
> the great swamp can now be clearly seen, a thick fog covering it.  A
> wind blows from the east, and the air that comes from the swamp
> seems thick and cold.
> It's slow going in vehicles, as the land becomes much more
> treacherous, grassy areas suddenly revealing themselves as mud-filled
> mires.  But, within an hour, the company now finds themselves gazing
> upon the southern extremities of this vast swampland.  Further south
> can be seen the ruins of an old town, part of it still on dryland, the other
> part swallowed by the swamp.  To the north the fog is thicker, and no
> clear feature, save perhaps for what might a woodland of tall trees,
> can be seen, and maybe, just maybe, what looks like tall, irregular
> stones, that must be incredibly tall.
> Suddenly, off in the distance, very near or atop the standing stones,
> there's a crack of lightning, the blue flash lighting up the mist.  Very
> muffled by the fog and distance, but still audible, are what must be
> battle cries, along with weapons fire and swords crashing.  Is this
> Lady Frost's army?  It must be, and if it is, the company must find
> their way into the swamp and to the dreaded Rath-Iren, quickly.
> And just as important, where is their indomitable colleague, Alex
> Hawk?
> [/GM]

The company's reverie is interrupted by a distant scream coming from
somewhere to the north.  This is followed in a few moments by more
screams coming from the swamp.  Suddenly there are a dozen blue-skinned
midgets in loin cloths, some carrying knives, some carrying swords and one,
dressed in what looks like a suit of gold armor, carrying a staff.  For a moment
they don't seem aware of the company, keen, it seems, on finding the source
of the first scream.  Then they notice the ATVs and begin shouting.  Their
leader spits out a strange multisyllable command that sounds like

The gold armored midget stops and holds out its staff, seemingly preparing
to attack, while the others continue running northward.

Aaron Clausen
mightymartianca at gmail.com

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