Within the Beast (Tassadar)

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#1
"This way, this way, come along, now." The old priest speaks as if he couldn't be bothered by all this, but his duty to the church could not be ignored. He beckons you as if you were a child while he navigates through the halls of whatever mercenary guild you both entered, and soon enough he stops in front of a slightly opened door. A few knocks are answered by a gruff but feminine voice, and at hearing this the priest opens the door and waves a hand to show the way.

Once you enter you notice a woman jotting down some notes in what appears to be a small ledger, but it's only when she finishes her work that she pays you any heed. Her rather plain looking face follows your body from head to toe and back again. She leans back in her chair gathering her thoughts for a moment before nodding to the priest. He quickly excuses himself, and in a couple of seconds the door is closed. You can barely hear the priest hurrying back the way he came most likely to return to the church where you discovered him.

The woman you are left with doesn't strike you as anything special while she appears to be planning her next few words, but when she opens her eyes once again you notice a rather intense stare that you swear can see into the very pit of your soul. A moment later her gaze shifts to the door. One of her fingers raises into the air, and once it comes to a rest she simply mutters a single word, "Silence." The door behind you locks itself, and the large amount of noise coming from the main hall suddenly dies leaving the two of you in an uncomfortable silence. "I take it you've heard the rumors of Helmoth." Her voice no longer sounds as harsh as it had before. "I doubt anyone hasn't, otherwise we wouldn't be talking. Before we continue I need to know one thing." She has somewhat relaxed now that she's returned to her chair, but her eyes are still as sharp as ever. "Just how much of that rumor do you believe, Miss..."
 
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Tassadar

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#2
Re: The Beast of Helmoth (Tassadar)

My sheet:
Spoiler


Sera ignores the elderly mans rude behavior, writing it off to him being human. Her experience with their kind had been rather limited, and she had always bought into her own races preconceptions that humans were all impatient and discourteous. She ignores the man as much as he ignores her, not even acknowledging him as he departs from the room and closes the door. She keeps her eyes on the womans face, passively waiting for her to finish writing and speak.

Sera is caught of guard by the intensity of the womans stare, but doesn't let herself appear outwardly shaken. It was a surprise to see a human with such eyes, but when the woman spoke a word and caused the door to lock and the sounds from behind it cease utterly, the pieces began falling into place. She had never met a mage before, but she'd heard stories like anyone else.

"I am Sera. And I believe little of what I hear until I see the truth of it for myself. Many of the settled people that I have met consider the creatures of the wilds to be mere monsters, and many of them are wrong. So, I think that it is best to not prejudge any situation with the false expectations gained from the words of those with neither knowledge nor wisdom of what they would speak of. So, when I hear tales of abominations lurking within dark woods, and of an unspeakable horror that can take the mind from a person lording itself, unseen, over a village, I am skeptical. The only part I believe is that a Priestess of Temteir has gone missing. Would you give me the truth from which the tales I have heard sprung? Miss?" Sera replies, her voice even and her gaze unflinching from the other womans eyes. Her body remains perfectly still as she speaks, her poise nearly statuesque as her light blue eyes bore right back into the mercenaries gaze.
 
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#3
Re: The Beast of Helmoth (Tassadar)

Spoiler


"Roberta." The woman tips her head in respect as she offers her name. "As far as the rumors are concerned your skepticism is correct. The only information that has been confirmed is the disappearance of Priestess Corrine. That doesn't mean there isn't some truth to the other rumors." Roberta pauses for a moment to rest her arms against the small desk. "This guild likes to keep an ear to the ground, and after some investigation we've learned that random people either passing through Helmoth or the forest surrounding it have disappeared. Our investigators did enter the village itself, but the people there either never saw those who've gone missing or very nervously dodged the question. We can assume that some of those people became lost in the forest or possibly killed by some of the creatures that live there, but the rate at which these people go missing seems extraordinarily high.

"Even if we do assume this forest is far more dangerous than normal the fact that Priestess Corrine has gone missing cannot be ignored. Temteir has its own sect of Inquisitors and Warrior Maidens, and Corrine is said to be one of the best. She's not the type to suddenly vanish for no good reason. The Church is up in arms, but they are a tad busy to spare any manpower for a search and rescue. That's where I come in. They've asked the guild to retrieve their wayward Priestess, but we're dealing with our own problems even if the main hall outside didn't exactly look like it. So we're acting as an intermediary. We find some capable warriors and hire them as temporary mercs. Your contract will only be bound to this one mission, but you'll have full access to our armory and any other support services we can offer. The reward is hefty, and even though we will be taking a rather large portion you will still receive a rather handsome payment. So what do you say, care to become a Valkyrie?"
 

Tassadar

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#4
Re: The Beast of Helmoth (Tassadar)

(It's okay, this is supposed to be an RP after all. It takes as many posts as it takes.)

Sera listens intently to every word that Roberta said, nodding every once in a while. Her gaze never wavers from the womans eyes, and she doesn't blink even once during the entire recital, her attention utterly focused on the details of what the woman had learned. The details about the frightened villagers didn't much phase her, as she'd known even some of her own people to give in to fear, and she expected far less of humans than she did of other elves. If they went missing because they were too afraid to fight or go for help, it was their fault as far as she was concerned.

The knowledge that this Priestess, Corrine apparently, had also been a warrior was what interested her. It meant that she'd at least been able to defend herself from any lesser beast that roamed the woods, so either the creatures that roamed the woods were much more dangerous than she thought, or humans were even less capable than she imagined. Somehow, she doubted that the gods would accept weakness among their chosen warriors, so she considered it more likely that it was the former rather than the latter.

"I will accept this one contract, but I have no need of more weapons or supplies. What I have will be enough. As for becoming a Valkyrie, so long as I receive my reward when I deliver the Priestess Corrine to you, alive or otherwise, I find no reason to argue against taking such a position. At the very least, mention of your mercenary band might make talking to the villagers a little easier." Sera replied, and she wasn't kidding about having enough to take care of herself. She had her longbow strung across her back with a quiver of two dozen arrows next to it, with nearly a half dozen different heads. She also had a small blowgun disguised as a musical pipe at her side, with a quartet of darts coated in deadly poison. For the up close work, she had a shortsword and a pair of daggers, as well as her hunting knife if all else failed. Her packs was also filled with provisions that would last her at least two weeks hard journey, as well as a little bit of money in case she needed it. If she needed anything else, she could easily find it in the wilds.

"Is there anything else you would have me know? What does the Priestess look like? If I were to find her dead, would the information be enough, or must I recover her body? And, if I am attacked, do I have the right to defend myself as necessary, even from the villagers? It may become necessary, if something more sinister than frightened peasants and frequent disappearances is in the works."

(In case you haven't noticed, she's kind of a racist.)
 
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#5
Re: The Beast of Helmoth (Tassadar)

Roberta listens as you continue, her eyes shifting to your gear before she nods. When you offer your questions she simply waits for them all to pass before she starts to answer. "I don't know what Corrine looks like first-hand, but the representative from the Church said she was a woman of striking beauty bearing a rather distinctive tattoo across her chest. It's said to resemble a cross merged with the blade of an axe. They would like her returned intact no matter what shape she's in, but they will understand if nothing more than word of her demise can be brought. Those are the only guidelines to this mission. You are free to act as you see fit if you happen to face any other challenges." With all the important details laid out the woman raises her hand again and snaps her fingers. The noise from the main hall comes billowing in just as the door unlocks itself, and a moment later Roberta offers you an apologetic look before she turns her attention and yells. "JACKSON!"

A rather short looking man with dirty looking hair opens the door a few seconds later. "You called, Bob?"

A scowl appears on the woman's face, but she continues without incident. "Let the old man know we have a new recruit looking into Helmoth."

"Yes, ma'am."

----------

You aren't quite sure why people seem so terrified of this forest. It's actually quite a lovely stretch of land. The road you travel is well worn from travel, traders the most likely culprit, but aside from that the land seems almost untouched. A number of songbirds can be heard overhead, the trees themselves are old and sturdy, and off in the distance you can hear the faintest hints of larger beasts moving through the underbrush. Even on the road the canopy overhead filters out most of the sun leaving only flecks of light to slowly dance along the ground whenever a small wind swept by.

But... There is a slight nervousness that starts to build the closer you come to your destination. Every once in a while you feel as if a pair of eyes are watching your every move. When you turn your head to investigate you are greeted by nothing more than a few shadows from the trees shifting around. For all you can see there is no real reason to be concerned, but you can't help but feel a little unsettled.

With Helmoth finally in sight that nervous sensation starts to pass, and as you look you find what appears to be a rather active little village set in a massive clearing. The people moving to and fro are occupied with whatever task they have, and it isn't until you actually step into the village that its first citizen notices you. She stops a moment to look you over, then she simply hurries away to finish whatever it is she started. Another woman seems a bit surprised to find a visitor, but after a bit of hesitation she lowers her head and quickly returns to the home she had just left. The people here are indeed acting rather strange.

Now that you can see more of the village you begin to notice that there aren't as many people as one would think. The more you watch them the more you feel that something truly is missing, and that's when you notice it. These are only women. You can't find a single man, and you can't hear even the slightest bit of squealing that almost all human children feel compelled to shriek as they play. From what you had learned earlier Helmoth shouldn't have felt this deserted, and a village of women would have been a rather important detail to include in the mission briefing.

There was obviously more to the troubles here than meets the eye, and the first step to learning anything was to talk. But that could be a problem. The women here look utterly defeated. They nearly drag themselves with each step, and even when they continue to live their lives you get the distinct impression that they would rather just curl up into a ball and disappear. Trying to talk with these humans would be a rather taxing experience, and even then there was no guarantee they would be the least bit cooperative. It will take a very strong willed person to break through whatever fears and defenses are reducing these people to a distraught mess.

As you prepare to try and start a conversation that nervous sensation returns again, but this time it feels even stronger than before. You quickly turn your head and notice a faint shadow hiding be border of the forest. It watches you for a moment or two before turning and quickly dashing behind a nearby tree. There wasn't much to see, but you can tell one thing. That figure was human. There had been someone watching you behind the cover of the forest, and whoever it was had vanished as quickly you noticed them. But now you know they are there. It should be simple enough to track them. The mere thought that a human could evade an elf in the forest was absurd. But they did have a head start. And they had gone unnoticed until now. This human could prove to be wily, and unless you move now you may not be able to run them down.

Option 1 - Stay and speak with the villagers - Spirit
Option 2 - Pursue the fleeing shadow - Explore



Spoiler
 

Tassadar

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#6
Re: The Beast of Helmoth (Tassadar)

A sense of peace drifts over Sera as she travels parallel to the road, preferring to remain in the cover of the forest rather than stay out in the open, but she does at least keep within eyesight of it. The woods around here didn't seem to be any more dangerous than those she was familiar with, and she even recognized most of the plants and creatures that she saw or heard. All in all, this forest would have seemed entirely pleasant, were it not for the odd, looming presence that seemed to follow her. Even when she paused, and listened intently, Sera could hear nothing that seemed to be following her, and whatever might be causing the feeling didn't reveal itself. Even when she tried to set a trap for it, she waited in vain for nearly an hour before giving up and continuing on her mission. 'Stop jumping at shadows. You've got a job to do.'

When she reached the village, Sera stopped short, taking in what she believed to be the most miserable sight she'd seen in her entire life. The people here were terrified, that much was obvious from what she'd been told, but Sera had been utterly unprepared for the stillness, and the apocalyptic despair that seemed to radiate form this place. The settlements she'd been to before had been unnatural, but at least they'd all clearly been places where life flourished.

This place wasn't a village. It was a graveyard. Sera couldn't even imagine how a living being could live here by choice, and she now understand why she'd seen so few living things near to the village. No animal would live near place that was so horribly.... Silent. And where were the sounds of life? Of children at play, or men and women at work? Speaking of, where WERE the men and children? She hadn't been told that this was a village populated exclusively by women, and she thought that would have certainly been a detail that she should have been given.

Sera was distracted from her thoughts, however, as she finally caught a glimpse of a dark figure in the woods. It apparently noticed that she noticed, and bolted, but she was on to its presence now. And since it ran when she detected it, that meant that it didn't want to be detected. That meant, of course, that she was going to follow it. It would be much easier for her than trying to get any information out of any of the frightened human women that lived in this village.

Sera calmly walked into the woods, looking for signs of the shadows trail, and following them when she found them. Only a fool would run through a forest when it wasn't necessary, and a slow cautious pace would hopefully allow her to avoid any ambushes by wild beasts or the human that she was tailing.

(Follow the shadow!)
 
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#7
Re: The Beast of Helmoth (Tassadar)

1d20=18
Pursue the fleeing shadow - Explore - 15 vs 24 (8 + 18) - Pass


The person you saw was either a fool for rushing off or someone who wished to be followed. Signs of their retreat can quite clearly be seen, and you can easily follow their trail as they travel deeper into the woods. The farther you travel, however, the more you notice your quarry's tracks starting to fade. A few times you almost lose sight of their trail, but after moving a few feet in the direction you would take you catch the faintest of breaks at the very tip of a branch. The small amount of sap gathering at the tip tells you the break was fresh.

You continue for a few more minutes, your tracking skills managing to recapture the trail whenever it seems lost, and soon enough you come to a nook created by a partially uprooted tree clinging to the ground. The angle at which the tree hangs in the air seems impossible, but that is a fact largely unnoticed. The small figure nearly hidden by the exposed roots is far more interesting, and after ducking behind the nearest bit of cover you notice that it has not yet discovered your presence.

Now that you finally have a leg up on it you quite easily sneak forward and get a better look at your stalker. It appears to be another human woman, though this one isn't as crushed as the others. But she is quite nervous, that much can be seen. Most of her attention is placed on the path you would have used to follow her, but every few seconds she spares a glance in the other direction.

As you watch your target you begin to notice that the forest isn't quite as lively as it was before. You can't hear any of the songbirds that seemed so plentiful earlier in the day. You can't hear much of anything save the woman's controlled breathing. The only other sign of life within yards are the few scant insects you can find crawling around the forest floor. This could make an approach tricky, but with her attention focused elsewhere it wouldn't be impossible. All you need to do now was decide how you would announce yourself.
 

Tassadar

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#8
Re: The Beast of Helmoth (Tassadar)

Sera gazes upon the nervous human from within a bush of thorns, almost perfectly hidden. She tries to find details that might differentiate it from one of the others, but all she can see is that it seems less soul-less than the rest of the humans from that village. Perhaps this one was working with whoever or whatever had so broken the people of Helmoth. As she observes the human, she also quietly takes note of the sudden absence of the sounds of life in this area. That meant that some kind large predator, perhaps even an unnatural one, lurked nearby.

That in mind, Sera silently drew her bow and readied an arrow, though she didn't pull back the string yet. Then, shifting slightly, she threw her voice so that it sounded like it was coming from somewhere off to her right and said; "Please, do not attempt to move, or I will be forced to harm you. What are you doing all the way out here? Why were you hiding in the woods? For how long were you following me?" As she speaks, she remains hidden in the thorn bush, confidant that the tiny pricks of pain she was receiving from its thorns would be worth the fact that few would think to look here, where nothing would generally think to hide.
 
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#9
Re: The Beast of Helmoth (Tassadar)

The moment she hears your voice the girl's arm flicks itself to the side. The glint of metal catches your eye, and before you have even finished your warning her arm sits ready to throw what appear to be small knives held in between each of her fingers. She does hold herself from action, however, and as you continue to throw your voice you can see her eyes trying to locate whatever piece of cover you would be hiding behind. A slight scowl starts to take over her face, and you can tell she's mentally cursing herself for letting you sneak up behind her.

After a little hesitation she finally decides to speak. "I could ask you the same. What business does an elf have in these woods?" Her hand starts to shake the more she searches and finds nothing, and as she continues she occasionally pauses for a couple moments to wait for an answer, her eyes constantly darting around in an effort to locate your position. "It's not often I spot your people in this area. It's not often I spot the Church, either. Or their hired goons. So, Miss Hired Sword, who are you with, and what are you doing out here?" The look of frustration in her face only builds until she realizes she has no way of finding you before you could act. Her arm starts to droop, and with one final glance she finally admits defeat and slowly opens her hand. The knives are still held, but with her fingers extended it would take a miracle for her to beat you on the draw.
 

Tassadar

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#10
Re: The Beast of Helmoth (Tassadar)

Sera remains silent for a moment, waiting for the woman to finish or spot her. As she draws her knives and looks around, Sera slowly and silently draws back the string on her bow, the weapon aimed right at the womans heart. Throwing knives were difficult weapons to master, but she didn't want to risk showing herself to this human and finding out just how good she was with her weapons.

As soon as the woman lowers her eyes, Sera speaks once again, throwing her voice toward the same place as before; "My business is one of coin, and the rescue of one who came to this place intent on doing good for it. Since you have implied that you have seen the one that I seek, I will take for granted that you know something of her fate. It may even be possible that you are responsible for the fate of this town, and you have ignored my warning. Please, drop the knives; I do not wish to soil my hands with your life, human, brief as it may be. If you do so, and prove that you have no other weapons, than I swear upon my honor and soul that I will do you no harm in this meeting."

"I serve the world, and all things that would live in it in harmony. Gaea, nature, the gods, call it what you like; it is what it is. But, in this instance, I am working as a Valkyrie, in search of the Priestess Corrine of the Church of Temteir. What might you know of her?"
 
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#11
Re: The Beast of Helmoth (Tassadar)

The woman starts to turn red in the face at your words, but she eventually splays her fingers and reluctantly allows her weapons to fall to the forest floor. A small bit of hesitation hangs in the air before she lifts herself from her hiding spot and takes a few careful steps out into the open. She then begins to remove an assortment of knives hidden on her person. Her sleeves are pulled back to show a makeshift harness around her wrists, the legs of her pants are rolled to reveal another pair around her ankles, and a couple blades more are taken from the more obvious hiding places, her hips and her lower back. "Is this enough, or do you wish to search me?"

Now defenseless and with her pride injured the girl simply stares at the ground. "I know nothing of Corrine, but I did spy a Priestess enter the village none too long ago. She seem rather interested in the people and the forest, and after a couple days she entered the deeper area that meets the mountains. She would return with her lackeys every other night or so, but that stopped a little while ago. It's about the time the village started getting really weird. If you really wanna find her there's a game trail to the West of here. It leads to the same area."

With her piece said and done she nearly retreats back to her hiding spot but thinks better of it after taking a quick glance back. "Um..." She seems to be gathering herself, and a moment later she actually tries to lift her face and look you in the eyes should you have revealed yourself. "You said Valkyrie, right? I'm guessing you've seen the... What will you do with me?"
 

Tassadar

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#12
Re: The Beast of Helmoth (Tassadar)

"That will not be necessary;" Sera calmly replies, still throwing her voice so that the girl couldn't tell where she was. She was beginning to become impressed despite her preconceptions about humans, and decided that she should probably be careful about this young woman. The elf waited patiently for the girl to finish telling all that she knew, holding perfectly still. When she finished, Sera waited another few moments in silence, contemplating what to do next.

Then, she slowly stood up, her bow lowering as she let the string down slowly, but not completely. They may have been followed by those who did not have their best wishes at heart, or randomly attacked by one of the strange creatures that had allegedly been seen in this area, after all. She stepped forward so that she was out in the open, getting more scratches on her legs from the thorns but not really caring about them, her bow half-lowered and with a blank expression.

When she spoke, her voice was even and honest; "You should not be ashamed. If you are half as skilled as you seem to be with those knives, you are almost as good as I am, and with a weapon that is much more difficult to master than my own. Not to mention in less time, by the look of you. You were bested by someone with years of experience on you, when on their own terrain of choice. Tis nothing to be ashamed of, especially since you will live to learn from it. I am called Sera. What is your name?"

Once introductions were completed, Sera continued; "The Priestess you speak of is likely the Corrine I was sent to find, as the Church hasn't sent anyone to look for her as far as I knew. I did not know that she had come with assistants, but they are of no consequence to me so long as they do not hinder my mission, though I would ask, since you mention it: What was the Priestess supposed to be doing here? Also, would you be able to show me to this game trail? I would ask nothing further of you, if you did not wish to provide me any further aid, but I will tell you that I intend to find whatever it is that is causing Helmoth to become so... Horrid, and put a stop to it if I may. Might you know anything about what is happening in that village? Such as where the men and children have gone, and why all who live there are so terrified? I have never seen a place where living things dwell that so resembled a cemetery."
 
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#13
Re: The Beast of Helmoth (Tassadar)

"Abigail." As genuine as that compliment had been the girl doesn't appear to take it as such. Instead she seems a bit surprised and put out. Her eyes had been shooting back and forth once you revealed yourself, and now that she realizes just how outmaneuvered she had been she sighs to herself and mutters something about tricky elves.

"I don't know what Corrine was doing. I'm not exactly the kind of person who plays well with authority..." She pauses for a second, the shame in her voice thick enough for even a troll to notice. "And I don't know anything about the missing people. When Corrine went missing I returned to town to sell some things I...found...and when I came back the people were gone."

As she talks Abigail starts to gather her discarded weapons, but she also makes sure she is slow and deliberate. She understands that her life is under your thumb, but the nervous glances she still occasionally throws to the sides tells you she's still on alert for some reason. "I'll show you the trail, but I won't go any further. Ever since I came back the forest has been...dark. Something just doesn't feel right, and it keeps spreading little by little every night. I'm not going after whatever's causing that, even if you payed me."

----------

True to her word Abigail did lead you to the trail she mentioned. She looks up and down the trail for a second before she points you where you want to go, then she heads in the complete opposite direction. Something really must be bothering her because she completely abandoned any sense of stealth to escape as quickly as she could.

Alone once again you continue toward your destination. As you travel this darkness the girl mentioned starts to feel stronger. You see nothing. You hear nothing. There is absolutely nothing that could pose any sort of threat within a couple dozen yards, but you can't shake this feeling. It's like some intangible force is reaching for you, its claws closing from all directions as they prepare to dig into those pinpricks and scratches to draw your very life from your veins.

A loud thud in the distance catches your attention. You stop to listen, and you quickly notice that something large seems to be barreling through the brush. The closer it comes the more you can hear the labored breaths of an animal, and soon enough you spot a large bear breaking onto the trail. It charges straight toward you, but before it has a chance to bowl you over it veers to the side and runs straight into a nearby tree. The beast bounces off the trunk and lands in a mess, but it wasn't enough to knock it out. Instead it starts to roll around on the ground as if it were wrestling itself, and as it does you notice some strange injuries that seem to be swelling with each passing second. The bear attacks these bulges with tooth and claw, and as it tears into its own flesh it only seems to become more desperate.

You are in a very bad position. The bear looks as if it has gone mad from pain. It has yet to notice you, but with it struggling with itself so close it could quite easily roll right over you on accident. If it does discover you there is no question it would try to rip you apart in a heart beat. There is still a chance that you could sneak away while it's preoccupied, but there is no guarantee you could. Maybe it would be best to strike this creature down and grant it the relief it needs before it tries to do the same to you.

Option 1 - Sneak away before the bear finally notices you - Explore
Option 2 - Kill the beast before it tries to kill you - Combat


Spoiler
 

Tassadar

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#14
Re: The Beast of Helmoth (Tassadar)

"Very well, lead the way." She says, and then Sera silently follows Abigail through the forest to where she says the trail is, her bow half-readied the whole way in case something should attack them. She is no longer worried about Abigail attempting anything, as the girl seemed to have her head in the right place, even though she had implied that she was a thief. Sera keeps track of the terrain, attempting to draw a mental picture in her head in case she needs, for whatever reason, to come back this way. The elf seems about to say something when Abigail points out the trail to the Priestess alleged location, but when the girl immediately turns and practically runs in the opposite direction, it turns into a shake of the head.

Sera travels down the game trail, keeping to it, and feeling the oppressive force grow stronger and stronger with each step. The odd menacing feeling, accompanied by the silence, quickly begins to wear away at even her hardened nerves. Sera stops in her tracks when she hears the thud up ahead, almost jumping out of her skin as she hears the first sound other than her own breathing and footsteps. Mentally berating herself, she waits for whatever it is that made the sound to come closer, her bowstring drawn and an arrow nocked.

So, when the bear suddenly rushes at her, she is at least slightly ready for it. She holds her shot, however, backing up down the path to try and get out of its way. Her demeanor was calm, but she was still on edge due to the oppressive atmosphere of this forest, so she barely kept form letting her arrow fly at the creature before it slammed into the tree. Sera looked on at it, indecision keeping her from either attacking or moving away as the mighty beast claws at itself.

Eventually, however, the obvious pain the the bear is in accompanied by the threat it represents to her forces her into action. She quickly aims and releases her arrow, firing for the bears eye. Despite her proximity to it, her hand reaches back into her quiver, grabs another arrow, and nocks it into her bow before the first shaft has even struck the beast. If her first arrow hadn't been precisely on target, it would likely bounce off of the beasts skull almost harmlessly, as it had had a shaped stone head. Her second arrow has no head attached, only a wooden tip sharpened into a point, so it should penetrate the beasts skull, assuming it hits. She pulls the string back again, but waits until the bear reacts to her first shot, making sure it's necessary before she fires another arrow.
 
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#15
Re: The Beast of Helmoth (Tassadar)

1d20=15
Option 2 - Kill the beast before it tries to kill you - Combat - 17 vs 22 (7 + 15) - Pass


Your first shot flies true. The beast's eye simply disappears as your arrow hits, but it isn't enough to kill it. The bear's attention immediately shifts to you, and a moment later it rears up on its hind legs and bellows a pained roar practically right into your face. With the arrow still lodged in its skull it only makes the creature seem that much more fearsome as it lumbers forward to tear your face off with a single swipe of its paw.

With the animal towering over you the second shot is impossible to make. You consider making a shot for its exposed heart, but the kill wouldn't be clean. It could still land a lucky blow in its death throes. Instead you quickly back away while veering toward the bear's injured side. With one eye missing you created a massive blind spot, and though it does manage to follow you for a bit it can't turn its head and body fast enough while it's standing. It needs to come down to reposition itself, and with its vision hindered it can't see you as you let your next arrow fly. Its head actually turn into the shot, and in a matter of moments the beast stumbles forward and falls dead.

With the threat dealt with you have the chance to relax a bit. That oppressive atmosphere doesn't seem to be lingering in the air at the moment, so you take the time to give the bear's body a quick inspection. The injuries that sent it into such a rage have been so torn into that you can't tell what caused them. You can't even tell where they end and the claw and teeth marks begin. The only thing you can tell is that the affected areas seem far more swollen than they should.

After taking however long you need to inspect the body you continue forward. The trail isn't as quiet as it once was. You catch the sounds of a few small rodents either scurrying along the floor or dashing around in the trees, but eventually those sounds fade once again. That hostile intent has returned, only this time it feels like it's only watching and waiting, lying in wait for you to stumble so it can pounce. A little while later the underbrush begins to clear a bit, and off in the distance you catch what looks like a man leaning against a rise in the ground. You can't be sure whether it's human or not, though. You'll need to approach to verify.
 

Tassadar

Panda King
Moderator
Nov 10, 2008
16,011
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#16
Re: The Beast of Helmoth (Tassadar)

Sighing with disgust, Sara turns away from the dead bear after she inspects it, and stops only to try and retrieve her arrows. Killing the unfortunate beast had been unpleasant, but not unnecessary, and at least she hadn't been injured by it. If only she had been able to figure out what had been causing it so much pain...

While she continues on, Sara finally notices that the feeling had receded after she had killed the bear, and was slowly returning, but didn't pause to consider why. Either she'd find out later, or she wouldn't, standing around and thinking about it would only leave her open to another attack. As the underbrush clears, Sara reflexively sticks close to the trees, darting form one to another while staying as low as she possibly can. When she sees the human-like figure leaning against the rise, she tries to get closer without being seen, her attention focused on it entirely.
 
OP
OP
Termite

Termite

A bug
Moderator
Apr 8, 2009
2,090
63
#17
Re: The Beast of Helmoth (Tassadar)

With every quiet step in your approach you begin to notice more and more about the person sitting on the ground. It's definitely a human. It's definitely a male. He's...not really moving. At all. His head looks like it rolled to its side, he hasn't once looked around for any possible threats, and his body is completely relaxed. You begin to fear the worst, and your fears are confirmed when you step close enough to notice his chest no longer moving. This man is dead.

With that realization in hand you also notice that the feeling of dread is still rather strong. In fact it feels even stronger than before, but a quick survey only reveals some trees, a few random vines hanging around, and a thin layer of leaf litter covering the ground. This lingering oppression leaves you unsettled especially with a dead human nearby, but you can't just leave him be. This could be one of the humans from Helmoth, and if something did kill him there will definitely be some clues to his demise. At the very least you'll know what to look out for.

The remains seem mostly intact, so the kill had to be fresh. At the very most this man has been dead for a couple days. He's definitely a peasant. His clothes are well worn and slightly soiled by work. But all of that pales when you get a good look at his chest. There are a number of holes that look as if they punch almost clean through his torso. They look about as wide as one of your arrows, so maybe some foul play was involved. If he were simply shot, however, it wouldn't explain the myriad scratches and cuts found all over his body. They were far too thin to be caused by any known blade, and the fact that one cut actually looped around his wrists twice was far too much work for any person to cause.

As you sit and examine the body you begin to notice something else. This man should be covered in blood. With the injuries he's suffered his clothes should be soaked as well as the ground around him, but he seems surprisingly clean. You do find a couple trails where he clearly bled freely, and after you follow them you find one of those odd vines sitting under his body. The trail ends right there. You try to move the vine to see if it's possibly hiding some more clues underneath it, but a sudden jerk whips the thing straight out of your hand. You stumble backwards in complete surprise when you see the plant move on its own to settle under the body once again.

For a moment you stare in disbelief, but a small pain in your hand tells you there's a cut on your palm. It's nothing much, maybe slightly worse than a superficial scratch to match the others you received from the thorny bush, but you can see a faint trace of blood starting to form. The vine under the body starts to move a little closer to you, and as it starts to rise from under the leaves you notice a number of thorns on its side starting to slide out of its body. A second starts rustling off to your left, and a third can be heard to the right. The malicious feeling returns with a vengeance, and now that you can smell your on blood in the air it has become an almost palpable blood lust.

This is a bad position. You can see vines rising from the ground all around you, and with them all coming closer you have no question about their intent. You briefly consider hacking your way through them, but a sudden rustle from behind causes you to quickly shift to the side. One of the vine shot straight through the space you were in, and once it stops you find it impaled in the dead man. It easily pierces his flesh, and a moment later it breaks itself free.

Fighting directly against this mess of growth is complete suicide. You need to find someway to escape this unnatural plant before it has a chance to catch you. You briefly consider trying your hand at magic. An appropriate spell could buy you some time to find some way to escape, but that also left a problem. It would leave you exposed, and if these killers managed to somehow weather whatever spell you tried there's no telling how they would react. It may be better to take your time and plan an escape. These things do seem a bit sluggish as if they'd just been awakened. A burst of speed could bring you your freedom, but one misplaced foot or miscalculation could leave you fighting for your life.

Option 1 - Use magic to defend yourself - Spirit (Naughty)
Option 2 - Try to escape before you are trapped - Explore (Combat)


Spoiler
 

Tassadar

Panda King
Moderator
Nov 10, 2008
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#18
Re: The Beast of Helmoth (Tassadar)

Sara cursed quietly as she noticed that the man was dead, but very quickly regretted her decision to try and figure out why. The cut she had received, while not serious, was obviously drawing the vines toward her, and when she saw one of the things tear through the mans corpse like tissue paper, she knew that her weapons would be largely useless. That left her two options: Try and escape, hopefully avoiding the things and getting a safe distance away, where the plants could not follow; or attempting to call upon her peoples magics. While it was something she had rarely needed to test, when she had, her naturally ability to become in tune with nature had never failed her, though she had never once used it for something like this.

"Ancestors. Grant me strength." She muttered under her breath, before Sara closed her eyes, depriving herself of not only her sight, but attempting to blot out her other senses as well. She imagined a pristine pool of water, visualizing it as the perceptions of the vines, which now hungered for her blood. A drop fell into the pool causing ripples, and disturbing the peace of that seemingly sacred place, imagining herself as the drop. In her mind, she attempted to use only her will to make the ripples disappear, and make the pool pristine once more, unspoiled by her presence. If it worked, she would be invisible to the vines, and they would, hopefully, allow her to pass unhindered. If it failed, she would grant them a few brief moments to attack her in which the elf would be utterly helpless.

Her mind still empty, Sara opened her eyes, trying to see if her spell had worked, and at the same time looking for an avenue of escape. she had to keep her concentration on the spell, the image of the pristine pool dominating her thoughts, for if she lost concentration on it, she would be left with no other choice than to run for it. For the time being, she ignored any thoughts of how such moving plants had come to exist, and why the sense of dread had intensified as they had come for her. Such questions could wait until she was in a more safe location.

(Use magic.)
 
OP
OP
Termite

Termite

A bug
Moderator
Apr 8, 2009
2,090
63
#19
Re: The Beast of Helmoth (Tassadar)

1d20=18
Option 1 - Use magic to defend yourself - Spirit - 15 vs 23 (18 + 5) - Pass
(These dice are just loving you.)


Your mind is clear. Blank. A clean slate that radiates an inner peace into the world. You can quite easily feel the spirit of nature surrounding you, and as you take it in the spiritual world manifests before your mind's eye just as you see fit. The pool of water you originally pictured lies at your feet, but now that you've stepped into this world your astral form finds itself floating over an entire lake that seems to stretch almost to the very edge of Helmoth. The cut on your hand remains, and every second or two a drop of blood falls quietly beneath you. The ripples each one creates is most definitely exciting the water, and using whatever means you see fit you manage to stop those drops from falling any further. Peace returns to the lake, and even though you can still see trace amounts of your life force swirling within the water a feeling of serenity is enough to say that you were successful.

When you decide to open your eyes the first thing to greet you is a single vine staring you in the face. The thing is dangerously close, and you can see the hardened tip of the plant as well as the rather sharp thorns running down its length, but that sense of peace keeps you from acting out. A number of the vines are surrounding you, but before you can begin to wonder what will happen next the vines begin to coil around themselves. Their movements are slow and lethargic, and as they crawl along the ground you notice their spines starting to retract. In a few seconds the peace of the forest is fully restored, and you are left standing within a cluster of tangled weeds bearing odd little bumps on their sides.

Now seems as good a time as any to escape, and escape you do. The blood thirsty growth does nothing to stop you as you step around and over them. Some even slightly shift out of your way before coming to a full rest. You can still feel a piece of your mind connected to the spirit realm, and as you continue on your path you keep that connection alive to mask your presence. That dark presence never returns, and as you make your way farther into the forest you can't help but think that the unnatural vegetation was what caught your attention.

With your presence now masked your travels are much easier. You continue undisturbed, the forest itself starting to show some scant signs of life the farther you follow the trail. It's only when you suddenly feel a pulse in your soul that you notice the very slightest of pressures within your mind. It isn't much, your spirit feels it as nothing more than a slight wind, but there is a scent in that wind that catches your nose. At first you can't quite place it, but the more it lingers and drifts by the more it seems so familiar. A few seconds later you realize what it is you smell, a human.

The fact that your spirit managed to detect a human can only mean good things, and you press forward to find the source. Your travels eventually bring you to a cave digging through nearly solid rock. A quick peek reveals nothing of interest from outside, but the scent is strong here. There's no denying that someone lies further in.
 

Tassadar

Panda King
Moderator
Nov 10, 2008
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#20
Re: The Beast of Helmoth (Tassadar)

(Lol. Apparently.)

Sara contains her elation at the fact that her spell had worked, and not only worked, but worked flawlessly. She noted inwardly that it seemed to be much easier to maintain than she'd originally thought, as well as the fact that the odd otherworldly pressure she'd been sensing seemed to dissipate when she left the vines behind. Apparently, they had been the source of the strange unease she'd been feeling.

As she stands at the entrance of the cave, Sara keeps her spell up, allowing her to sense the presence of what she believed to be a human, though she wasn't sure whether it was a good sign or not just yet. Humans were consistently inconsistent, as far as she was concerned, and she wouldn't be surprised if some mad human sorcerer of some kind was behind the disturbances in this area. That could easily account for the mobile plants, odd behavior, and even the disappearance of the Priestess. Still, it was best not assume anything at this point, when she still knew so little.

Unfortunately, Sara was about to be forced underground, where the advantage of surprise would almost assuredly be with any foe that might try to stop her. she had learned to fight underground, but she was hardly an expert at it, and the limited cover and close quarters made her bow and blowgun almost useless. Even her sword would be of limited use if things got too constrained. Still, it was better than nothing, so Sara put her bow over her back and placed her hand on the hilt of her blade. Her people had little trouble seeing in the dark, and she still had her spell active that allowed her to vaguely sense nearby presences, so she hopefully wouldn't be caught by surprise. She didn't draw her blade yet for fear of the light that might glint off of the blade, since she would much prefer to see anything long before it had a chance to detect her. Prepared as best as she could be, as far as she could tell, Sara calmly entered into the cave, going as quietly and cautiously as she could.