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ZONE - Brookpasture ((A Dying Breed))


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#1 Lord_Klaus

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Posted 03 June 2018 - 06:53 PM

Sheep.  So. Many. Sheep.  Kate found herself somewhere in the zone between never wanting to hear another “baa,” and desperately craving mutton.  Needless to say it was a very confusing experience for her, but there was still a job to be done. She squinted at her map and her own notes scrawled upon it, then looked over at her Venatori companions.  

 

That looks like the crossroads to me.  Brennus said Silvius and Loke’s contact was an old lady named Chessa, in the house to the right with...animal bones and holy symbols scattered around it.  Huh. Should be hard to miss.

 

As it turned out, Chessa’s house was nearly impossible to miss.  The stench of old garlic and the glint of myriad holy symbols, sun-bleached animal bones, and even bottles of holy water formed a network of defenses against all kinds of evils.  Just finding one’s way to the front door was a daunting task. Keva helped Crestwell maneuver through the veritable maze with his crutch, with Bullseye bounding behind them. The dog supposed they kept looking down because they had lost something, and was trying to find it.  Sivan, Asti, and Cyrus were on their own to navigate the symbol-ridden yard.

 

When they did manage to maneuver into knocking range, they were greeted by a wrinkled face peering through a barely-opened door, eyebrows arched suspiciously, her hands furiously working a crocheting needle as she rankled at the intrusion.  

 

“More of you?  And with an Inquisitor this time?  By Zeus, if those two brought magic AND monsters upon our heads, there’ll be no end of suffering, I tell you!”

 

Kate smirked at her crocheting and crotchety snarling.  “Nice to meet you too, lady.  We’re actually here to check on the two Venatori you mentioned.  They haven’t reported back, and we were wondering if you could fill-”

 

Chessa did not let her get any farther than that.  “Of course you never heard from them again! I told them whatever was raiding our flocks was not to be trifled with, but they went anyway.  Those bone-headed fools in the village should have just accepted the price of a few sheep, but nooo, what does crazy old Chessa know about anything?”

 

With nose wrinkled and eyes narrowed, Kate was clearly losing what little patience she had.  “Look, ma’am, we promise not to make things worse.  Perhaps if you let us in we could explain…”

 

The Inquisitor stepped forward, but the crone would have none of it.  The door narrowed further, and a crocheting needle was brandished through it like a miniature hoplite’s spear.  “Absolutely not! I’m not that easily tricked, missy. You want blood to drink, you’ll have to find it somewhere else!”

 

Kate sputtered in bewilderment, then clenched both fists.  Her breaths grew slower and more deliberate, and her shoulders even trembled slightly.  Bullseye, sensing mistress’ ire, started to growl in the old woman’s direction, and Keva found herself holding the dog back.  Someone else was clearly going to have to intervene.

 

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#2 Sephsekla

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 02:25 PM

"Absolutely not! I'm not that easily tricked, missy. You want blood to drink, youll have to find it somewhere else!"

Crestwell took in the mounting tension with something approaching exasperation.

"Forgive us for alarming you madam, that wasn't our intention." He smiled lopsidedly.

"We're happy to stay out here, perhaps you would be willing to talk if we don't cross your threshold? Lives may be at stake."
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#3 El Taco

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Posted 06 June 2018 - 10:40 AM

With her dark complexion and cloak full of contraband, Asti knew she had little place in the spotlight in matters of Archaen diplomacy. Her eye tucked beneath her wide brimmed hat, the smaller Venator allowed her silhouette to fade into the background of the hunting party.

 

Sivan, meanwhile, knew exactly where he stood with these sorts of people. His dwarf-blooded build and fully armed wagon would do little to calm the woman's spirits, but his negotiation ability was well practiced. He offered a calm and friendly smile as he stood at Crestwell's side, allowing the older man's non-threatening demeanor to carry the conversation for now, but ready to join in with his well practiced talent for appeasement. 

 

((Acknowledging that Crestwell has a diplomacy talent, I also do, so just ready to back up an ability roll with a second one if necessary))


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#4 Lord_Klaus

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Posted 06 June 2018 - 01:36 PM

"We're happy to stay out here, perhaps you would be willing to talk if we don't cross your threshold? Lives may be at stake."

 

Chessa yelped in anxiety upon seeing Crestwell’s misshapen face, and withdrew further behind her hinged, wooden shield until only one eye was visible.  “And I’d be happier with all of you farther away from my home, but sometimes we don’t get what we want, cursed one. Whatever foul magic your parents or some witch brought on you at birth, you can keep to yourself.”

 

Out came the crocheting needle again, and the crone jabbed it multiple times in an eastward direction.  “But if you insist on carrying on with this needless task, I’ll point you in the same direction I sent the first two hunters on.  The sheep were disappearing from the eastern pastures there. Just keep following the footpaths until you find footprints.  Giant ones.”

 

She then slammed her door shut, loudly engaging the lock.  Kate shook her head, muttering curses as she turned to the Venatori.  “Guess that’s all we’re getting out of the old bat.  Righty’o, monster hunters, who here’s good at tracking surprisingly stealthy giants?


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#5 Sephsekla

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Posted 06 June 2018 - 02:21 PM

"Guess that's all we're getting out of the old bat. Righty'o, monster hunters, who here's good at tracking surprisingly stealthy giants?"


Crestwell snorted.

"Charming woman."

He nodded to Asti, hoping that her conversation with Brennus had gone smoothly.

"I'm quick on my feet, so I think I should take the lead." He smiled lopsidedly in a genial way.

"There are a lot of creatures with big feet. I'd advise the utmost caution until we can find a footprint and try to identify what we're dealing with.
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#6 Dalton Westmoore

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Posted 06 June 2018 - 07:37 PM

Cyrus was not amused by the Chessa, the crazy old woman whose yard was full of both bones and holy symbols. 

 

His thoughts on the contrast were interrupted by Kate talking to the group.

 

"Guess that's all we're getting out of the old bat. Righty'o, monster hunters, who here's good at tracking surprisingly stealthy giants?"

"Charming woman. I'm quick on my feet, so I think I should take the lead.There are a lot of creatures with big feet. I'd advise the utmost caution until we can find a footprint and try to identify what we're dealing with.

 

"Since we're so close to the Jagged Edge," the Venator said "my guess is that it's some kind of Chaos Race spawn, maybe an ogre or chaos beast. But if we're really unlucky, maybe its a rouge troll: I've heard old stories about how they love mutton, but it could be nothing but stories."



#7 Sephsekla

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Posted 10 June 2018 - 10:09 AM

Crestwell nodded slowly.

"Any of which is enough to be trouble. Or maybe something else entirely."

He looked down at himself in mild irritation. "The trail's cold, and getting colder. Sometimes I wish I'd stuck with trying a peg leg, no matter how much the damn thing hurt."

He turned to Kate.

"How's your dog at following a scent? We might be able to pick something up at the footprints."
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#8 Lord_Klaus

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Posted 10 June 2018 - 08:04 PM

"I'm quick on my feet, so I think I should take the lead." He smiled lopsidedly in a genial way.

 

This elicited a quick, amused snort from Kate.  Then Cyrus offered a possible solution, and her face returned to neutral.

 

"There are a lot of creatures with big feet. I'd advise the utmost caution until we can find a footprint and try to identify what we're dealing with.”

 

"Since we're so close to the Jagged Edge," the Venator said "my guess is that it's some kind of Chaos Race spawn, maybe an ogre or chaos beast. But if we're really unlucky, maybe it’s a rogue troll: I've heard old stories about how they love mutton, but it could be nothing but stories."

 

"Any of which is enough to be trouble. Or maybe something else entirely."

 

Kate shrugged apathetically.  “Never seen any of ‘em, not really my expertise.  Just tell me where to shoot it if it decides to sample human next.”

 

He turned to Kate.

 

"How's your dog at following a scent? We might be able to pick something up at the footprints."

 

Bullseye had returned to Kate’s side, and the Inquisitor patted his head.  “He’s decent. More used to finding wounded game or something that I’ve got a scent sample for, but I doubt something gigantic will be hard to miss, anyway.”

 

As it turned out, the footprints were nearly impossible to overlook.  After a bit of math, Crestwell could reasonably infer that whatever made these impressions was easily the size of a two-story building, perhaps bigger.  There were no toe marks, though, implying that the creature was wearing some sort of covering over its feet.

 

Keva frowned at this development.  “So not a full giant, that’s a relief.  But whatever it is sure won’t be easy to deal with, especially if it’s intelligent enough to make shoes, of all things.”

 

This brought a resolute scowl to Kate’s face, and she snapped her fingers to spur Bullseye on the trail.

 

---

 

The prints led further east, not that any member of the party could lose track of them.  Whatever was leaving them probably could not hide even if it wanted to. Bullseye kept sniffing in and around the footprints, pointing his snout in the obvious direction to the annoyance or amusement of mistress’ companions.

 

After more than an hour of walking and tracking, they came across another set of pastures.  These, however, were enclosed with fences of wooden posts and beams fashioned from branches.  Normally this would not be particularly remarkable, except for the fact that the posts were roughly the width of young adult trees.  Actually, closer inspection seemed to imply that was exactly what the posts were, before something gigantic had cut them into a more manageable length.

 

Fortunately, the crossbeams were not too high to clamber over.  Crestwell would need a bit of help, though, as would Bullseye. Kate leaped up and scrambled over the fence with only minor issues, plopping down on the other side before turning back and bowing comically at her teammates.  “Nice and stable, I’d climb it again for fun. Almost makes me think this giant of ours is keeping his own sheep over here.”

 

Reaching a hand through a gap between the beams, the Inquisitor beckoned.  “If someone’d help poor Cresty up, I can ease him down from here. Same for my dog, too.”

 

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#9 Dalton Westmoore

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 09:04 PM

If someone’d help poor Cresty up, I can ease him down from here. Same for my dog, too.

 

"I'll help him," Cyrus said un-shouldered the majority of his weapons and slid them through the gap "of course, if he's willing."

 

He pointed at his back with his thumb, leaning slightly to make it easier for the old man to climb aboard "Hop on, my friend. It may not be dignified, but it's the easiest way I can think of."



#10 Sephsekla

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 10:38 AM

"If someone'd help poor Cresty up, I can ease him down from here. Same for my dog, too."

Crestwell raised an eyebrow at the nickname, but said nothing. He viewed Cyrus' back in silence for a beat, before exhaling.

"Well, this trip is definitely giving my ego a beating." He gingerly moved towards the other Venator, passing his crutch through the gap to Kate before placing a hand firmly on Cyrus's shoulder.
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#11 Lord_Klaus

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 01:15 PM

"Well, this trip is definitely giving my ego a beating."

 

This drew an undignified snort from Kate as she accepted the offered crutch.  “Oh, so you’re as fragile inside as ya look outside? You should see what I come up with for people I don’t like, Crestwell.”  She deliberately slowed her enunciation of his proper name, to make it clear she was at least trying to accommodate him.  Somewhat.

 

Cyrus managed to support Crestwell’s weight adequately, but helping him clamber over the fence was another matter.  Keva helped support one of his feet until he was halfway over and out of her reach. Kate did the same once Crestwell had shifted his weight around to try climbing down the beams instead of simply dropping.  Cyrus made it over on his own without incident while Keva gingerly picked up Bullseye for his own crossing.

 

Suddenly, Crestwell’s grip slipped, and his missing hand could do nothing to stop his plummet to the ground.  Kate still had a hold of his foot and yanked it across her body, hoping she would be able to break the Venator’s fall.  She did, and both of them ended up on their backs, with Crestwell sprawled perpendicularly over her chest, spine twinged but not permanently damaged; and Kate underneath, hysterically laughing with what air had not been knocked out of her lungs.

 

“Well, that’s just dandy for both our egos isn’t it, Crestwell?,” Meliora guffawed from her resting place.  She was still giggling as she helped the mangled Venator back to his feet and handed him his crutch.

 

Then, footsteps in the distance.  Rhythmic, measured, almost like a soldier’s march, or maybe twenty of them, somehow in perfect cadence.  Everyone made the same conclusion in short order: The giant was on patrol, and too close to clamber back over the fence to evade.

 

Moments later, he came into view, armor gleaming in the midday sun.  His dark iron plates radiated with more menace than sunlight, and the battleaxe he carried was easily twice as tall as anyone in the party.  The opening in his barbute revealed a full auburn beard, and a single, gigantic eye in his forehead...now focused on them. He scowled, then charged, roaring in anger and brandishing his axe above his head.

 

Kate had just caught Bullseye after Keva had shoved him over the fence.  “Holy turdballs!,” the Inquisitor exclaimed before unceremoniously dropping her dog and unslinging her crossbow.  Bullseye plopped into a heap and rolled to his left, then his right, struggling to remember how to get to his feet.  It took a few more moments of thrashing, but the bewildered little pointer figured it out. Eventually.

 

The cyclops was still out of bowshot when the Inquisitor had spanned and loaded her crossbow with well-drilled rapidity.  “Wait!,” Keva shouted. “We should get back over the fence and see if we can reason with him.”

 

Kate spat back, “He’ll be on us before we all climb up, and he doesn’t look interested in talking.”  She knelt to steady her aim and lined up her crossbow. “Just tell me where to loose to drop him fast.  The eye? His gob? His jambags? Someone speak up, or I’ll just start guessing and shooting!”

 

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#12 Dalton Westmoore

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Posted 11 July 2018 - 06:43 AM

"Well, this trip is definitely giving my ego a beating."

 

"Well, your ego isn't going to help you over the fence." Cyrus said as he, with Crestwell perched on his back, began to clamber over "I on the other hand..."

 

The Venator was able to make it over easily enough, but the older Venator was not so lucky, and slipped off his back on the way down. Cyrus frantically tried to grab him, but it was Kate who ended up catching Crestwell before he hit the ground.

 

Well, that’s just dandy for both our egos isn’t it, Crestwell?

 

Cyrus finally finished his climb and reclaimed his items, before turning to Crestwell and asking "Are you alright? I'm sorry I-"

 

However, approaching footsteps quieted him.

 

Very loud footsteps.

 

And that's when the Cyclops came into view. He apparently did not like trespassers on his land, as he roared in anger and charged them.

 

Wait! We should get back over the fence and see if we can reason with him.

 

He’ll be on us before we all climb up, and he doesn’t look interested in talking. Just tell me where to loose to drop him fast.  The eye? His gob? His jambags? Someone speak up, or I’ll just start guessing and shooting!

 

"His eye, if you can hit it," Cyrus said as he unslung his crossbow, loaded it, and took aim at the Cyclops' unarmored nether-regions "though hitting him in his...jambags might slow him down quicker."



#13 Sephsekla

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Posted 23 July 2018 - 10:48 AM

Crestwell tensed at the sight of the Cyclops.

"His eye, if you can hit it, though hitting him in his...jambags might slow him down quicker."

Crestwell nodded approvingly, drawing his dagger in a determined but somewhat useless gesture.

"Don't let him hit you, or I'll be carrying you home this time."

He raised his voice to a raspy shout, addressing the Cyclops.

"WE HAVE NO QUARREL WITH YOU, BUT WE WILL SHOOT IF WE HAVE TO!"
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#14 Lord_Klaus

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Posted 26 July 2018 - 10:45 AM

"His eye, if you can hit it," Cyrus said as he unslung his crossbow, loaded it, and took aim at the Cyclops' unarmored nether-regions "though hitting him in his...jambags might slow him down quicker."

 

Kate sneered and winked at her helmeted companion.  “Oh trust me, boyo, I can hit his eye. You just keep aiming at his crotch, I won’t judge.”  She totally would, though. It was more fun that way.

 

"WE HAVE NO QUARREL WITH YOU, BUT WE WILL SHOOT IF WE HAVE TO!"

 

Oh, bother, that was less fun.  Silly Cresty wanted to try talking it out anyway?  Kate just kept aiming, focusing in on the giant eye that was steadily becoming an easier target...

 

The attempt at diplomacy seemed to work, though, as the cyclops drew to a stop as suddenly as he had begun his charge.  Chest heaving with exertion and rage, he pointed his battleaxe in the adventurers’ direction...and started to laugh. An honest-to-gods belly laugh, it was.  

 

He then managed to gasp between amused spasms, “You...you have some courage, interlopers, I’ll give you that.”  

 

Kate leaned back with mouth agape.  “The hells? It actually speaks common?”  

 

This drew the cyclops’ ire AND attention to her, and he gestured angrily with his weapon.  “Yes, HE does, and I understand you just fine, too. Now stop pointing that toy at me before I lose my patience.”

 

Instead of complying, the Inquisitor once more levelled her weapon at the giant’s face.  “No one threatens me, big guy. How about you stop wavin’ that axe at me before I pincushion your eye?”  She closed one of her own eyes and scowled as she adjusted her aim. “It’d be really easy at this range, and I doubt you’ve got a spare lyin’ around.”

 

This earned a sharp growl from the cyclops, who was ignoring the mouthy Inquisitor while pleading to the sky, “Hephaestus’ heaving bellows, do these humans have no manners?”  One hand shouldered his axe while the other pointed a finger at Crestwell. “I will allow your elder to explain your intentions. The rest of you will be quiet, or you will be removed from my property by force.”  It was clear he had no other options on the table, and he had now drawn within easy striking range, though he appeared to have no intention of doing so...for now.

 

“Sure, no pressure, Elder Crestwell,” Kate muttered gleefully.  Bullseye offered no commentary as he crept up next to her.  Recognizing the scent of the large creature that they had been tracking, he straightened his tail and aimed his snout at the cyclops, indicating its presence to mistress.  He was being helpful.


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#15 Dalton Westmoore

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Posted 27 August 2018 - 05:22 AM

You...you have some courage, interlopers, I’ll give you that.”  

 

Cyrus almost dropped his crossbow in surprise.

 

The hells? It actually speaks common?”  

 

Yes, HE does, and I understand you just fine, too. Now stop pointing that toy at me before I lose my patience.

 

No one threatens me, big guy. How about you stop wavin’ that axe at me before I pincushion your eye? It’d be really easy at this range, and I doubt you’ve got a spare lyin’ around.

 

Hephaestus’ heaving bellows, do these humans have no manners? I will allow your elder to explain your intentions. The rest of you will be quiet, or you will be removed from my property by force.

 

The Venator glanced at Crestwell and nodded, as if indicating for him to speak.

 

 





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