[Taocow PBEM] Chapter XVII - On The Border Of Doom

Aaron Clausen mightymartianca at gmail.com
Fri Oct 17 21:40:11 BST 2008

> > > [Carlos]
> > > Carlos reports from above that there are two possible hiding places; a stand
> > > of odd-looking purple trees farther to the west with thick enough foliage to
> > > block anyone from seeing them.  Another option is three miles south, but
> > > closer to the road where the troops will be coming through, that might be
> > > better as cover.
> > > [/Carlos]

> > [Amanda]
> > "If those ruins are closer," Amanda says, "I'm for heading there.  Ruins
> > offer better cover than trees.  What about the rest of you?"
> > [/Amanda]

> [Sia]
> "I'm a magician, not a tactician.  I trust you military types to choose."
> Sialillion still seems preoccupied.
> "Just make it quick- I need to get some rest if I'm going to be of any use
> to the group," she adds a little crankily.
> [/Sia]

> > [Ted]
> > "Just be careful, guys. We might have to clean the ruins out before
> > we are able to rest there."
> > [/Ted]

> [Alister]
> "I agree." the technowizard says.  "I came up this way, and there's
> some nasties hanging around.  Besides, maybe that army has scouts
> around those ruins.  It seems a natural place to set up some sort of
> base to me.  I dunno, what do the rest of you think?"
> [/Alister]

> [Owen]
> "I don't think we should be looking to put ourselves in a position where
> we will have to fight.  That may attact the attention from the passing
> army.  If we have to fight to clean out the ruins, it might bring down
> unwanted attention on us."
> [/Owen]

"Very good point." Amanda says.  "There's no point trying to evade
these guys just to have them come down on top of us because we're
too noisy."

> [Ted]
> "It sounds like the trees may be the better option then," Ted
> summarizes. "Any objections?"
> [/Ted]

> [Alex]
> Alex shakes her head, "No objections with me either although I
> would not be surprised if that is not the wrong choice too."
> [/Alex]

Amanda chuckles.  "Oh come on, we've had a fantastic string of
good luck!"

> [Ted]
> "Then maybe we should just keep driving," the lizard man suggests.
> [/Ted]

"Some of us are pretty tired." Alister says.  "It's tough getting any
sleep in these things."

> [Talas]
> "I hate to be a naysayer. But I fear that both sites my be a poor
> choice. The ruins may well be occupied by others that will cause
> the approaching army to notice us. And the Purple trees may
> well be a phase shift zone. Lady Sialillion, Lady Louissa, are
> you familiar with these purple trees?"
> [/Talas]

> [Sia]
> Sialillion smirks.  "Really now, Talas.  I understand that the events
> of the last 24 hours have made us all very edgy, but these are just
> trees.  Bizarre purple trees that smell awful come springtime, but
> still merely trees.  It is one of the peculiarities of this region.
> And I agree," she says addressing everyone, "there are too many
> unknowns about those ruins... and a natural setting provides us with
> more fodder for camouflage.  Now, some of you superheroes and giant
> lizards might not need sleep, but even we Kindred are quite mortal and
> need rest.  I urge you, let's hurry up, go conceal these vehicles, set
> up some tents and get some sleep."
> [/Sia]

[Lady Louissa]
Louissa giggles.  "You're so silly, Talas.  Like Lady Sialillion said,
those are stink trees."
[/Lady Louissa]

> [Alex]
> Alex suggests, "Why don't I scout out the trees and see if there is any
> concerns? I have a sense of danger which should warn me. I mean, you
> have scout in the team. I know I have been mostly a shooter lately but
> that is not what I have been trained for."
> Looking at the ones who can cast magic, "Does anyone have any nifty
> camouflage spells that will let me sneak through there.
> Unless there is some objections, Alex will being sneaking towards trees,
> hading from area to area. Her eyes are keen on any bird movement or any
> noises which seem out of the ordinary.
> [/Alex]

"I don't have the energy to turn someone invisible for long periods." Alister

> [Sia]
> Sialillion chuckles.  "Unfortunately the 'nifty' spells I know will
> work only on me.  But I trust the Coalition's training to keep you out
> of harm's way."  There's a slightly patronizing tone when she mentions
> the Coalition. "I can accompany you if you like, though.  I've found
> that my mystic ability to pull the shadows to where I need them, so to
> speak, works just as well or better than mere sneaking around."
> Should Alex suggest Sialillion come along, she will do her best to
> stay quiet and low, following the scout's lead.  She brings along her
> compound bow and quiver of arrows.  If there is anything out of the
> ordinary or dangerous, Sialillion will immediately use Shadow Meld to
> hide.  If Alex says she's alright on her own, Sialillion will just
> stay in the ATV, looking lost in thought.
> [/Sia]

> [Alex]
> Before she departs, Alex adds, "I think it would take too much time to
> scout out both locations unfortunately."
> [/Alex]

OOC: Unless there's no objection, Alex and Sia will head off together.

While the rest of the company keeps guard, Alex and Sia made there
way into the forest.  Alex's adept wilderness abilities allowed her to
quickly find an animal trail that lead nearly directly in the direction that
Carlos had said the trees stood.

The way isn't difficult.  The forest floor is covered with autumns'
rotting leaves, but there are few obstacles save, in some areas,
rather frequent remnants of old concrete foundations.  After about
fifteen minutes snow begins to fall, at first softly, but then much faster.
This both conceals the scout and her companion, but also makes
navigation very difficult.  Still, Alex is a skilled wilderness expert,
and never loses her way even as it begins to thicken into a blizzard.

It takes nearly an hour of cautious hiking to finally reach the stand
of trees.  They're odd looking things, with needles much like a pine
tree's, but purple. They're not all that tall, not more than thirty feet or
so, but the branches begin close to the ground, and to Alex's
trained eye, ought to offer both cover from this weather and
from any watching eyes.

There is evidence of a camp, not used in the last few weeks,
but not all that old, and used often. Sia knows that though
this land is uninhabited, that hunters often come here in the
autumn, and perhaps this is a camp.

Running along the northern edge of this stand of trees is a
small stream that has been partially dammed up to create
a pool.  Fish can be seen swimming near the bottom.

Most importantly, there is no sign of anyone in or around
the trees, and no sign that anybody has been here in weeks.
It's three or four miles away from the road, and can be
reached fairly easily by vehicle, though the blizzard
threatens to turn into a full-blown snow storm.

Meanwhile, back at the ATVs, the same snow storm is
making keeping a lookout all but impossible.  Carlos loses
sight of the army, though hopefully any chance of them
catching sight of him is also eliminated.

A fierce wind is howling, but the company can almost sense
some sort of canines, maybe wolves as well.  The temperature
outside is also plummeting, and is now nearly -4 degrees
(-20 degrees celsius).

It's then that Owen and Carlos pick up distant voices, though
how distant if they can be heard in this wind and snow?
Somewhere a little ways to the south a guttering blue flame
appears, then, maybe twenty feet away, another, and quickly
another and another and another, quickly moving to encircle

"We've got to go." Amanda hisses into the radio, hoping that
Alex and Sia are listening.  "I think we're about to be under

Both Alex and Sia, miles away, can hear a staticy transmission
from the rest of their party.

"We've....go....we're...be under attack."

Aaron Clausen
mightymartianca at gmail.com

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