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PRP: Scouting The Lyceum - Part 2

Something is amiss in the Lyceum. Dreams and portents have set them on edge, telling tales of those that pass through the land, seeking to do it harm. Some say the city of Granato is in danger, others Ostria. Still more say that Tor is in danger, and then there's Setarco. It's concerning enough that the Lyceum has called for scouting parties to be sent out into the midst and see what can be discovered.

OOC: This is a multi-part plot for the Lyceum with some signups done in advance. @mail Quenia if you can make the time to be considered for a back up.

Date

March 6, 2020, 7 p.m.

Hosted By

Quenia

GM'd By

Quenia

Participants

Yelana Esme Mabelle Ras Giulio Vicente

Organizations

Location

Outside Arx - Lyceum near Granato - Woodlands and Villages

Largesse Level

Small

Comments and Log


The Mirrorguard has once more assembled a team of people to go out scouting for the Sylv'alfar that are rumored to come and destroy a few of the Hundred Cities. Reports have been coming in of their passage here and there; the latest was an abandoned village in the heart of the Lyceum parallel to the Volkov Woods on the eastern side of the river. Today, the group is going out in search of rumored reports just west of Tor, which means the Sylv'alfar are keeping the Mirrorguard pretty busy these days since the Watch Towers of the Lyceum have yet to be built. They are the early warning system. Some are on foot and others are on horseback, and apart from the group mentioned, there are one or two other Mirrorguard. Tommaso Fiorente among them, who seems /more/ than a bit skittish to be out and about again. There might have been talk amongst the Mirrorguard about how much he hated the last mission, but he hasn't said much about it since getting back. It's early in the day as they travel along a trail along some rocky and craggy hills that gently loll up and down.

Mabelle is traveling by carriage. The views make her face and nose produce some sort of wrinkle. She's not too happy about being in this part of the Lyceum again nor dealing with that particular group of people, yet here we are.

While Ras is not particularly close with the Mirrorguard, the sneaky Lowers investigator had been with them in Southport a year ago, and here he is again - looking just a little older and more experienced, wearing the same shabby dull-colored leathers. He skulks along the path on the outskirts of the trail, pausing here to examine something between craggy rocks, or sprinting ahead to peer over a rise, basically maintaining an alert perimeter on the right side of the group. All the while he has a linen bag of jerky in one hand, and can't seem to stop munching, moving along with the vaguely satisfied air of someone who's content with being silent and cautious.

The Corvini count rides along as well. Not particularly well, but, not entirely without some talent. Those dark eyes survey the land as they ride along. While he may be uncomfortable in the saddle, he does not appear to be so in the road -- or even in other rough environs. There is a certain amusement on his lips however, as if the days travels were pleasant (save for the riding). His cassock is divided in the center, unbuttoned to the point where he can ride with ease. The weapon that hangs at his waist is a vicious, utilitarian thing and a spelunker's pack is bound instead of saddlebags.

Esme is proudly upon horseback and loving every moment of it. The wind. The area. The smell of being near Tor. This is her lands as a Fidante and she's enraptured in everything. Her eyes stray to the carriage from time to time and to those in the party. Her emerald eyes scanning the area, but it's more like coming home then being off put. She's silent this time, but her smile radiates any time soemone looks at her.

If anyone's looking for an expert rider in the group...it's not Yelana. She manages all right though, perched on her horse's back as she squints at some pieces or parchment, the edges ragged. Once Tommaso has made clear that he's not interested in being peppered with questions she's mainly kept her own counsel. A bow is slung across her back within easy reach.

Yelana checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 25 higher.

Mabelle checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 21 higher.

Giulio checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 29 higher.

Vicente checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 17 lower.

Esme checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 8 higher.

Vicente is riding along with the rest of the group, he's looking like he hasn't slept well before this endeavor but in spite of that, he's alert but appearances are always deceiving At his age, he's probably needing glasses but there's no such luck for him. Still, he's got the hilt of his sword in hand and he trots along with head shifting here and there.

Ras checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 5 higher.

Esme lowers her brows a bit as she slows her steed to glance around. There isn't one direction that the woman is looking in but swinging her gaze to the left and then to the right and then back again. She glances before her and then turns around to look behind her. She loosens her sword for ready, but does not yet pull it. Her auburn brows are lowered as she looks around.

Mabelle pokes her head out of the carriage, asking to rider to halt. She peeks outside and squints. Her eyes carried to the mountains toward the ears, "Can you hear that?", she frowns and gets immedietly suspicious, "It sounds like a young boy crying, but what would he be doing out here?"

Ras didn't hear anything. Maybe he was munching too hard on some jerky and the only sound in his ears was chewing. He glances eastward when Mabelle points it out, though.

A brief tilt of Giulio's head follows and those eyes track towards the east. A nod is offered towards Mabelle. "I concur. It does scream -- trap. On the other hand, we should look regardless. Just, well. Be cuatious." The smile is faintly amused. "We will have to deal with it if it is a trap. And if it is not, we are duty bound to attend to such." His tone is calm, cool and collected. His eyes? His eyes say nothing. He looks to the others, before turning in that direction.

Vicente lifts his helmet slightly to try to get a better gauge of the noise but he shakes his head and says, "I don't hear anything." He looks to each of the others to see if there's any confirmation. He lowers his helmet back onto his head and allows his eyes to turn towards the east where he squints and scans slowly.

Yelana reins her horse in when Mabelle's carriage stops, turning her head in the same direction. "Heard it too," she notes to the others quietly. When Giulio turns his horse, she does too.

Finally tucking that small linen sack away into his vest, Ras uses both hands to climb a nearby outcropping of boulders, squint around eastward, then slide down and trot a bit to keep a sort of loose formation alongside the horse trail led by Giulio.

Tommaso goes still when everyone points out that there's someone screaming, and that it's potentially a child. His face also goes pretty darned white. And then he catches the look from Giulio and a sense of dread washes over him. He takes in a deep breath and slowly lets it out, then gives the leader of the Mirrorguard a sharp nod of his head and moves his horse to follow after Giulio. As the party heads over to the hill to the east, there are no sign of thorns, or any sign that anyone has been there really, except for one thing. There's a child curled around itself on the ground. It's indistinguishable of it is male or female, as it's covered, largely, in cuts and bruises, and other sundry wounds. But, the child is alive, and crying a keening, mournful wail, coupled with wracking sobbing breaths of someone who's in deep distress.

Upon arriving toward the child, Mabelle exits the carriage with a little leather bag. Trap or not, a person in pain flares up the physician units in her brain and she rushes toward him, leaning down in front of him or her to beging tending to them.

This screams trap. However, Esme doesn't even think, she reacts. She hops off her horse and sprints towards the child on the ground. She doesn't take any notice of anything but the child. She's not a medic, but she is concerned about said child on the ground.

Giulio wields Shatterer, a war pick with a brutal hammerhead and a sharp nail.

"We should form a perimeter," the Corvini count says, nodding to those that follow. "While Lady Laurent attends to the child." He would dismount, drawing the vicious looking warpick. Hardly a martial figure, but, nonetheless, he sets himself at the ready. "Keep a watchful eye." Dark eyes move to survey the area about him, though the final track of each lands back on Mabelle.

"Oh, yeah, that's definitely a-" It's no good. People already rushing in. Yelana reins in her horse and dismounts, nocking an arrow in her bow as she watches Esme and Mabelle run to the child. Her eyes are on the surroundings, muscles tense.

Ras looks at the child, but noticing the movement from the party, doesn't approach. He grows tense, though, and begins to skulk out in a slow circle, examining the surrounding area and keeping an eye out. There's no move immediately to draw a weapon, but one arm is crooked at his side, ready. When Giulio mentions the perimeter, he seems to already be on it.

"I think it's a child." Vicente says rather flatly as he looks at the thing which appears to lack gender. He squints at it but doesn't do anything other than look at it then he slowly scans the horizon, wheeling his horse in a circle as well. He goes ahead and pulls his sword out but pulls back from the child before doing do so.

Mabelle checked intellect + medicine at difficulty 30, rolling 15 higher.

Mabelle glances over her shoulder and before she can even say "Cover for me", she notices everyone has her back. A small smile forms on her face as she leans over and begins to estimate the child's condition. Distinguishing deep cuts from mere scratches, she begins to clean them up and stitch where needed, washing their face with a clean cloth and trying to soothe them. "Drink this", she encourages the child by giving them a small vial to help ease the pain. Perhaps they will uncurl and reveal their gender.

Mabelle glances over her shoulder and before she can even say "Cover for me", she notices everyone has her back. A small smile forms on her face as she leans over and begins to estimate the child's condition, which is poor, dehydrated and seems to be very weak. Distinguishing deep cuts from mere scratches, she begins to clean them up and stitch where needed, washing their face with a clean cloth and trying to soothe them. "Drink this", she encourages the child by giving them a small vial to help ease the pain. Perhaps they will uncurl and reveal their gendrer, a young girl, maybe 11 of age. "Ras! Get me some of that jerky, does anyone have water?", she murmurs then to the girl, "How did you get here?"

Esme drops near to Mabelle and the child. There is a glance over the girl to see her condition. She's not a doctor, but she can see the treatment. Something in her eyes seem to darken for a moment. A dread thought or a feeling that wraps over her. It is here that she lifts her head finally to look around the area. A soft, soothing somment of persuasion towards the child. "She right, you'll be okay. What's your name?" So soft her voice that it rivals the fierce gaze to her eyes. For a moment, she lifts her eyes to move across the rest of the party to see their reactions.

Ras narrows his eyes at a scrubby tree on a rock outcropping, but is torn away from his perimeter work to approach Mabelle. His arm loses its tense crook as he nears the physician and the child, and he pulls out the linen sack from his vest and sets it down next to her.

At first, the young girl flinches away from Mabelle, trying to get away from her, but then she slowly realizes that she's being helped, just as she'd been begging and praying for. She greedily takes whatever she can from the vial, but immediately wrinkles her nose at the medicinal taste, and then when water is passed to she greedily drinks that up too. When Esme draws close, she seems to lean into Mabelle, like the woman will protect her from anything bad that might happen, clinging to the first person who gave her any sort of help. And then there are people asking questions. She glances between Mabelle and Esme, and eyes the warriors, then glances back to the women again, and leans in ever closer. "M'names Crista," she answers, her voice timid and meek. "Ran here."

Mabelle deftly smoothes the girl's grimey hair, really, without wrinkling her nose as she tries to soothe her, "We're here to help, Crista", she promises her as she inspects the thorn like slashes on her arms, cradling the child to ensure her safety, while others might question her some more.

Ras checked perception + investigation at difficulty 35, rolling 2 lower.

"No water, just vodka if you need that later." Vicente says in his own lack of humor way. He looks over the girl, his hand skill holding the sword as he scans then looks to Esme and asks, "What was she running from?" Not directing the statement to the girl, he's not the most friendly looking individual.

Giulio checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 17 higher.

Having overheard the child's words to her tenders, due to proximity, Ras straightens and looks around. He paces a few steps fruitlessly around the rocks, huffs a breath out, and then continues to walk around the area.

Mabelle checked perception + investigation at difficulty 35, rolling 14 higher.

Esme looks over at the thorn like slashes. Esme takes off her helm to shake out her auburn hair as she smiles radiately at the girl. "Esme. My name is Esme. Can you tell me what you are willing to about what you were running from?" She doesn't try to find the area, she's focused on the child for now. Her voice soft, her smile friendly. Her accent making her from Tor, though all her words are soft and soothing.

Yelana checked perception + survival at difficulty 35, rolling 5 lower.

After a few minutes, Giulio nods to Tommaso and beckons for him to follow. There's a nod as he dismounts, glancing to the trail, before nodding once. After a few minutes, he remounts. "The tracs fo that way," he says, nodding to the northwest. "But, Esme has the correct idea," he says, nodding to the woman. "We should learn more as to the what of the current hour, before continuing further. If we can."

Takes one to know what. Mabelle knows how to seduce a child because she's an enternal eternal one. She reaches into her personal bag and gathers a small packet with three cookies. She hands them to the famished girl while Esme tries to make her speak, but her every meanwhile squint toward the direction pointed at by Giulio, nodding to herself as she sees the faint tracks and she asks the child, "What's all the way over there?", she points.

Crista glances up at Vicente, eyes wide at his question. She uses her index fingers and folds them over so they make points, and then puts them just above her ears. "Ran from the bad people," she explains, and then squeezes her eyes very, very tight as she shakes a moment. Tears flow once more, streaming tiny puddles of dirt down her cheeks. She lowers her hands back in her lap, takes a sobbing breath, and tries to steady herself again now that she seems to be with others. "Kilt my ma, and my pa. My brother too. Back at the village." She has a clear Arvani accent, tinged with local dialect of Tor. "Most everyone too, and almost kilt me, but I got away." She lifts her chin at that, but then winces when she looks down at her arms and rubs at them. She glances between Giulio and the others as they talk about tracks and things, and points her tiny hand in that direction. "The village is that way. They had swords, and stuff that grows out of the ground."

Vicente lifts his beard to show his neck, there's a few scars on it, and he then lowers it and looks to the Esme and says, "Ask her if they're vines that come out of the ground and squeeze you?" His tone flat, no emotion or excitement in it, "Or not like that?" He doesn't directly talk to the girl still but then glances over to where she points and looks to see whether there is anything on the horizon he might see the direction she pointed.

Ras turns toward Giulio as the count makes out the trail among the rocks, and nods slowly. Then he takes up a lookout post nearby and watches the surroundings while listening to Crista with a perplexed frown. One hand rises to tug loosely at the feather in his hair.

There is a tick in Esme's jaw to those that might notice. Her eyes move towards Vicente for a moment. There is a look of failure in those green depths before she smiles. "Crista, you are safe now. Perhaps Mabelle could help you back to the carriage so that you will have more safety?" She asks this question of the girl and Mabelle. A quick silent question 'if' the girl can move. She slides her hand into the curve of the gown within her armor. She comes out with a heart-shaped green precious stone. Torean emerald. She offers it to the child. "I'm a Fidante. Torean. You know about emeralds, they are protective. You hold this one and when you get scared or worried, rub the surfaces. They are smoothed. Heart to heart. Torean to Torean. We will protect you."

Yelana just keeps a lookout, close enough to hear Crista's answers but not adding at all to the questioning herself. Though her bow is lowered, there's still an arrow ready to fire at a moment's notice.

Mabelle nods quietly to Esme, as she had a similar idea. She cradles Crista and rises with her every so careful, "You're safe now, child. There's plenty of room for you in the carriage". She hefts her and stands upright, gazing at Giulio and Ras as the begin to head toward the village.

A faint brow rises, ever so slightly as Giulio hears Esme speak. A sort of dark amusement toys his lips, but, he allows the others to attend to that, as he considers the area about him. He waits, however, for Mabelle to enter the carriage. "We'll move out. Everyone, please remain alert." His tone is wrought in that cool, collected vein. And with that, he would start forward. Slowly and cautiously, but forward. "Esme, Vicente, if you would join me?" The question is uttered as a request.

Quenia GM Roll checked composure(2) at difficulty 15, rolling 7 lower.

Then suddenly everyone is giving Crista stuff to take. She's oh so very hungry, so she greedily takes those cookies and starts to eat them, setting them against the dirty grime of her lap without a care so she can take the emerald from Esme. She gives Esme a wide eyed look as well, the blue of her eyes standing out when she's given such a precious gift. She nods her head at the Torean women, gripping the emerald ever so tightly. "Thank you," she says in mumbled words, while bits and pieces of cookie drop out of her mouth as she tries to shove more into it. She cranes her neck around at the carriage, and for a moment looks like she might get into it, and then the question about vines hits her, and she starts whimpering, the cookies forgotten. "You can't go there. They'll get you too. You can't," she bursts out.

Mabelle checked charm + empathy at difficulty 30, rolling 6 higher.

Esme checked charm + leadership at difficulty 30, rolling 13 higher.

Ras moves to collect his sack of untouched jerky, tucking it back away in his vest. He's not going to leave his snack behind while the kid gorges on cookies -- and then Crista starts getting upset. There's a step back and he knits his brow in a frown, but doesn't seem to have any idea or plan of what to do about that.

Vicente looks to Esme and almost seems as if he's about to say something to her when the child speaks. He seems to grimace at the creature's outburst. Instead he looks as if he's about to say something, looks down to his palms, rubs his chin, decides that apparently this is best left to other people instead. He moves over towards Giulio and draws in closer assuming there is some information the man is wanting to relate.

Esme nods towards Guilio and starts to go that way when she hears the Crista. There is a look of pain in her eyes as if she's uttered those words or feelings before. She holds up a finger to Guilio and moves in Crista's direction. Her smile curves to something deep within her of an assurance, a calm, that almost seems to come around her as she lowers to the girl's level. Her green eyes meet the blue ones. "Crista. I'm the leader of the Calvary of Roses. I know that this is very scary. You are doing /so good/ at this. You are being so brave. In fact, if you want we can get you to train with the calvary after this. We have to go. We have to protect the others. It's an oath and an honor to do that. Limerance will shine upon our paths. Please get in the carriage. We will protect you." Then she will wait before she comes to her feet and straightens a bit more and if all is well, she'll move back towards Guilio.

Mabelle smoothes the child's head all the time Esme is speaking to her. She further murmurs to the child, "There are plenty sweets in the carriage, and two of my fiercest dogs are in there too, come now child, no one will harm you", she holds onto her and puts her inside the carriage.

"Esme, Vicente. We are like to serve best as the van. Tomasso, you are with us as well." Those dark eyes track towards the ground, then the area around them. He resolves to move as quickly as can be done without undo haste -- but also attempting to prevent the lovely status of becoming 'ambush victims'. He glances towards Ras for a brief moment, before back towards the ground ahead. "Everyone -- be alert."

Ras checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 45 higher.

Vicente checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 12 lower.

Mabelle checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 20 higher.

Esme checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 4 lower.

Giulio checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 52 higher.

Eventually, the young girl is swayed. However it is not not Mabelle's words that sway her, but Esme's. She listens quietly to what the other woman says, looks down at her emerald, and finally nods, emitting a single, meak, "Ok." She then rises to her feet, and as she does her tattered clothes, ripped and torn in places, fall into place all around her. Wherever she came from, she put up a good fight to get out of the place. She goes over to the carriage and climbs inside; and probably no amount of convincing can get her back otu of it unless they are in a town that's not filled with dead bodies. This allows the party to move on. And as they do, they travel for several long miles before they see what looks like the outskirts of a village, just like the girl described. They haven't encountered anything during the entire trip, making it a pretty easy journey to the village itself.

At realizing that the conversation was not going the direction he though, Vicente nods to Giulio and says, "Of course." He's not pressing anything about anything and is largely moving along the direction set since he's only reserves here. Of course as he's focused on Giulio, he notices little else.

Yelana checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 5 higher.

What kind of weird girl isnt swayed by puppies and cookies? Either way they begin their travel and they reach the village. As they get closer, Mabelle notices a perimeter of vines around the village, a wall of about 10 feet tall, "Goodness me", her eyes widen in about as big as possible, "I heard talk about this, but this is alarming. How do we get through it?"

Ras catches Giulio's look, and gives a nod. He stops watching the debacle with Crista, and speeds up his step here and there as he hikes around some rocks in order to keep a vantage point, watching out ahead and on each side. As they come into sight of the village, he bites his lip and pauses for just a single second. Everything around those razor-thorned vines is quiet. Too quiet. "I don't hear any birds anymore," he calls to the group from a position standing atop a boulder. "Real creepy." Like anyone needs to be told.

Yelana stops again at the vines, peering at them with curiousity and only a little bit of surprise. "Don't get their attention," she says quietly.

Esme watches Crista enter the carriage and moves forwards. There is a more determined look to her features as her jaw is tense. It's almost like something just got personal, which could be a bad move for her. A glance towards Vicente for a long moment as she falls into line. Then the others point out the thorns and her green eyes narrow as the helm is lifted back onto her features and she takes a deep breath. It's as if she's breathing in the decay, breathing in the elves, breathing in her version of calm. One can watch her body lurch as if all she wants to do is rush in, but Yelana's words still her. She turns to look at Guilio.

There is a moment's pause as the Corvini count considers the path in and out. "This screams trap. But..." There is a pause. "If we don't do something about this, the consequences are likely to be far worse. Shall we?" There's a nod towards the entrance. "They were penned and slaughtered. But they appear to have gone for now. I, for one, wish wanswers. He looks to Yelana and Esme, then to Vicente, then on to Mabelle and Ras. He would wait for consensus, or discussion. If there is agreement, however, he would head into the village proper.

"Let's burn them," suggests Ras, hopping down from the boulder and approaching Giulio's horse.

"As a warning" Vicente begins rather flatly, "last time I went into one of these areas, a vine shot up and wrapped around me and my neck. Take extra care if you can." He's still got his hand on his sword. He takes a careful watch around then at Ras' words he almost looks ready to lose it but then draws back.

Ras gives Vicente a wary look, tensing as if he might expend a sudden attack from the grumpy nobleman with a hand on his sword - just as much as from the vines.

Esme steps close to Vicente and there may have been words before she too pulls her sword and nods towards Guilio. "I need more than answers. Lead on."

Upon closer inspection of the wall made solely of razor thorn vines, there is only one ingress and egrees, which correlates to what Giulio was saying. It's easy to consider that the wall of vines was grown in short order, and then they set to work. In this case, the Sylv'alfar seemed to make the slaughter a more personal journey. From just outside of the entrance, the scouting group can see a few bodies, already in various states of decay. The vines, at the moment, seem to be in a dormant state. Though the usual clusters that suggest they might be feeding on something appear to be missing, at least upon first inspection.

Mabelle quietly leaves the carriage after she sedates the girl into deep sleep, leaving her with the horseman and the dogs for protection. She joins the group and begins to step closer, wondering hushedly, "Is there anything you learned that kills it? a herb, some mix? I can try to see if I have anything on me", she suggests.

Esme wields Kindness, a diamondplate longsword.

"Well you know I want answers too," Yelana replies to Giulio with a lopsided smile, though her dark eyes are wary on the vines and she reaches for her bow again. To the others, "Don't do anything to disturb them. And don't use our names in front of them." Someone's been doing her homework. She goes a bit sallow when the bodies begin to appear, but swallows hard and moves on.

With a nudge, Giulio will lead his horse forward. "There are some reagents. Unfortunately, they are exceptionally expensive. And rather rare." One shoulder rises in a shrug and he nods to Yelena. "Lets gather what information we can. We should remain close," he says, before letting his gaze range around to seek things of interest. Anything that screams 'pattern' and 'out of the ordinary'.

Ras glances at Yelana with something akin to respect, though he creates some distance between himself and Vincente. Whether the man is nervous or angry, he apparently doesn't feel up to banking on it. "Y'know if they burn?" he asks the archer, seeming to consider her some sort of expert on the vines now.

Esme nods her head to that comment about names. Then she moves forwards as well. She's on foot and not on her horse, the horse is left by the carriage. The blade is in hand for now. Her eyes slide to her horse though in thought before she looks between Ras and Vicente. No words. This might be the longest she's been quiet. A breath eased out as she moves to go within the city as well.

Vicente glances over the area, though there may be nothing particularly notable above the vines, that's where the older man is looking. His fingers drum on his blade for a moment as he's looking.

Vicente glances over the area, though there may be nothing particularly notable above the vines, that's where the older man is looking. His fingers drum on his blade for a moment as he's looking.

Vicente checked perception + survival at difficulty 25, rolling 11 lower.

Yelana, sudden vineologist, shrugs one shoulder as she looks over at Ras. She's left her horse outside the tangle. "From the reports I read, burning might wake them up and I don't think it eradicates them. The details were a bit fuzzy on that but leaning towards 'burnt vines still an issue.'"

Through the ingress the scouting party goes; and as long as it seems no one messes with the vines, the vines do not seem to mess back with them. The smell is what hits them first. The smell of so many decaying bodies. There they lie, villager after villager, right where they were struck down. It goes to show that vines are not the only tool that the Sylv'alfar employ; and the evidence before them shows that there is no doubt that swords, bows, arrows, axes and other weapons were used to kill these villagers; villagers who were once vassals of Tor. No one was spared, from the youngest to the oldest. Everyone laying in the streets of the village within the eyesight of the scouting party is dead.

Ras nods at Yelana, mouth tightening in disappointed understanding. From the manner in which he walks among the vines - wary, but not afraid - one might gather that he's never seen them in action before. Dead bodies, though, he's seen those before. It doesn't lessen the gravity in his eyes when he looks at them, but his gaze doesn't linger long. Instead, he keeps an eye on the surroundings, and keeps an ear out for any alarming noises.

"It takes a great deal to ignite green materials," Giulio adds, almost casually. "And if it might awaken them... it seems, let us say, unwise. Especially should it alery their masters." Those dark eyes survey the corpses, attempting to gather a rough estimate of time of death, before continuing his examination of the area. The slightest narrowing of his eyes is all he shows by way of discomfort.

Mabelle covers her mouth and nose as she steps inside, eager to find a sign of life but there is none and you can tell on her face she is heartbroken. She gazes a Giulio and inquires with her gaze, 'Now What?'

"If they're the same ones I've seen before, they're fast enough too." Vicente adds as an afterthought. The smell does not seem to bother him, given his eye sight, and hearing, it seems sound to reason his sense of smell is pretty weak too. Good thing there are younger people about. He does see what remains of the villagers here and he than adds, "Last time, there was an abysmal bear so ... perhaps those non combatants might take care to stay behind someone?" This is given more as a recommendation than an order.

Esme steps in and the smell hits her. It's not the first death she's seen. However, it doesn't stop her emotions. If one were to just look at her, the Devotion of Limerance seems very calm. Nothing amiss with this one. Unless one happens to see her green eyes. They are filled with rage. Not fear. A touch of guilt, okay more than a touch of guilt, but rage. It simmers as she looks from one body to another. She looks at the weapons that were used on the people. She steps forwards more into the area if not stopped. She's not looking beyond the bodies and devestation that is found there. The tightening of her hand on her sword as if she wants to see it colored with blood. There is much spoken without words. Then she looks towards Guilio until Vic speaks and her head spins in his direction. "Bear?" A narrow of her eyes. "Of course, it was a demon bear. By the thorns." That may have been a curse.

Yelana blows out a breath as they pick their way through the carnage, keeping her wits about her but it's a clear struggle. "If we can look around without rousing them, perhaps we could find more information about what happened here. And then come back later with the proper poisons." Her gaze flickers to Vincente when he mentions abyssal creatures, and then to her bow.

A slight nod follows at that, though the Corvini count continues to observe the area. "I've little particular skill with such, but, more than none at all," he admits. Those eyes flit to Mabelle. "We learn what we can from the area. We look for patterns. Anything that looks out of the ordinary. Beyond the obvious. And, of course, stay alive. Staying alive is an important part of this." One corner of his mouth quirks, darkly, though Yelena does get something of a real smile for a moment. "Yelena, I assume you can cover us while we investigate? I know you've talents in such arenas -- but you're also the only person with a bow." One brow lofts in question.

Vicente checked perception at difficulty 10, rolling 12 higher.

Ras checked perception at difficulty 10, rolling 3 higher.

Mabelle checked perception at difficulty 10, rolling 10 higher.

Yelana checked perception at difficulty 10, rolling 16 higher.

Esme checked perception at difficulty 10, rolling 0 higher.

Giulio checked perception at difficulty 10, rolling 14 higher.

Yelana rubs her thumb over the little metal phoenix on her bow near the grip and nods to Giulio. "Of course. I'll do my best," she tells him and then, more quietly and more to the bow, "No pressure." Then her head tilts, birdlike, and she arches an eyebrow and jerks her chin in the direction of a building. "Anyone else hear that?"

Vicente is silent, he's looking around carefully then motions over towards one of the buildings with his hand, not the sword and then starts to make his way over there. He's silent though, not speaking and not rushing. He almost looks as if he's trying to exercise a degree of stealth.

Mabelle doesnt hear anything, distracted by still hoping to find life. As some begin to walk toward the building, she follows, but at the rear. She's not skilled with the sword.

Esme shakes her head to that. "I don't hear anything." She does fall into step and her words are clipped as she's trying to rein in her own anger at this situation around her. Disappointment perhaps as well.

The Corvini count nods to Yelana as he considers the situation at hand. "Yes, there," he says, nodding in the general direction of the sound. "Let us find out what is going on."

As they get closer to the building, all can hear a noise. Thump. Thump. Thump. It almost sounds like fists pounding on wood.

Ras checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 14 higher.

Yelana does hang back from the others as they approach the building as promised, offering what cover she can. The big guy with the big broadsword seems to be a more sensible point person in this particular situation.

Mabelle perks as she hears the thumping, "Could someone might still be in there?", she hopes, hastening her feet and trying so damn hard not to bypass those who actually can protect them.

Ras scuffs around quietly, peering at a scrap of abandoned fabric that has nothing to do with anything - then glances towards Yelana, and pans his gaze over to watch Vicente. He scratches at his head, and studies the building for a long moment. Rather than get close to the grumpy nobleman, he skulks around the side of the structure.

Ras checked dexterity + stealth at difficulty 30, rolling 19 higher.

Vicente looks to the people around and says, "If no one sees an easy way to open it up, I can try to bash in the door but if we do that, be prepared in case it's not villagers. If someone has a better idea, I'm all ears."

From that corner of the building, Ras glances back at the group, and lifts a finger towards his mouth. There's a lift of his chin towards a window, and after pulling what he probably hopes is a meaningful expression at them, he climbs soundlessly inside.

"I guess he had a better idea," Yelana comments with a wry yet somehow amused crook of a smile as Ras clambers in the window. "Might be good to be ready to bash it in though if things go south in there."

Esme considers Ras going in and then she strides towards the structure. She moves to where there might be a door or an opening and just attempts to open it. No bashing, just seeing if it's actually locked or barred. Her head tips a bit to hear if she can hear Ras' death on the other side.

Thump. Thump. Thump. The sound is louder the closer they get to the building. Then Ras is disappearing in through a window. Esme tries the door, and it easily glides open. The room itself is dark, with the only light coming into it from the windows that are available and uncovered. However, even in the dim light he can see several bodies on the floor. The thumping sound seems to come from underneath one of the bodies on the floor.

Ras checked wits at difficulty 10, rolling 64 higher. Ras rolled a critical!

Mabelle carefully steps behind Esme, but stops as she sees all the dead bodies. "I dont like this", she murmurs as she closes her eyes to listen in further to where the sound is coming from.

Ras is standing inside, in front of the window. He nods to Esme, and squints at the thumping under the dead body. Decisively then, he's moving towards it, and takes hold of a stiff limb to drag the corpse aside.

Yelana tiptoes to see past Vicente into the building, but stays outside. Close, but outside. No one wants an archer going off in an enclosed space.

Vicente may be the last one in but that's partially due to him continuing to look around the village, not seeming at ease with moving into the area there was banging coming from. He ends up not going in entirely either as Yelana stands in the door way, Vicente seems find to continue to listen to the sounds.

Esme nods towards Ras and seems almost to be praying as she enters into the room. It might be the best funeral prayer she knows, not really her shrine following. She moves in the same direction as Ras. She's not trying stealth, but she is graceful.

Giulio checked wits + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 51 higher.

Ras seems to be pulling a body from where the sound is coming from. THUMP. THUMP. THUMP. A pause. A tentative. "Hello?" comes a young male voice, but not so young as the girl earlier met.

Ras makes a gesture of his head to the trapdoor below the corpse as he continues dragging it aside. Once it's clear, he sets the arm down politely across the chest and closes the person's eyes. He seems to be leaving interfacing with the young male to somebody else.

Ras seems to be pulling a body from where the sound is coming from. THUMP. THUMP. THUMP. A pause. A tentative. "Hello?" comes a young male voice, but not so young as the girl earlier met. (repose for Giulio)

Esme narrows her eyes for a moment and then looks towards Ras. There is a silent 'watch my back' not to be misunderstood with watch my backside. She lowers through the bodies of people from /Tor/. "Hello?" Her voice is soft as she looks at the floor to see if there is a hatch or something.

The Corvini count will follow along, nodding to Ras. "We're friends," he says, calling out to the voice below -- but only enough to carry that far. "Can you open the door from below? Is it barred? We can get you out of here." His tone is pleasant and he attempts to project calm -- at least as much as he might given the scenario at hand.

Vicente is not the type to come across as friendly to anyone in all likelihood. He's content to simply watch the entrance with his hand on his sword. He is listening inside though.

When the body was removed, a hatch does appear. It's not easy to see at first, but then when people start looking around the outline becomes noticeable. There's a tiny ring that can pull it up. Not knowing that the body has been moved from atop the place he's been hiding, the boy answers back. "I've been trying for days. It's stuck. Is there something atop the door?" He goes to thump on it again, giving it another try, and it pops up just a bit. "Oh!" he calls out in surprise.

Mabelle remains at the back of the party, but still inside the building. Her hands folded in front of herself as she takes in what's unfolding before her

This is not good. Esme pauses. "For days?" There is a pause as she looks around at the bodies and then back towards the door. A look of suspicion moves through her eyes almost like something doesn't line up. She looks towards Ras and then offers. "What is your name? I should warn before you step out, it's ..." Her words are lost for a moment. How does one explain the bodies? "... like a war field and there were very few victories." There's death and bodies everywhere. Smells and ick.

After setting the corpse to rest nearby, Ras takes a few steps around to examine the room further, almost habitually. Then he stops, and watches, pocketing both hands.

The young boy comes up from the cellar he'd been in for the last few days. In the cellar, there have been various food supplies stored, as well as bottles of wine and fresh water; so he didn't lack for food or drink. He explains that his name is Patar, and he's about 18 or so, and that he'd fallen asleep in the cellar, hiding from chores he was supposed to be doing for his family when he woke up to a commotion and a very loud THUD! He uses the term in exactly that exclamation as well. And, ever since he's been stuck down in the cellar. He heard screams and other things, and people talking in strange language, and then the smells came. Of course, the cellar doesn't smell so good itself, nor does the boy, after being trapped for three days. He takes notice of the bodies, whom were members of his family, and he seems in shock. And then he asks after his sister. He goes on to describe what she looks like, and the description fits for the young girl they managed to find just hours before. The young girl who thought her brother was dead; the brother who is now standing before the scouting party.

Mabelle is overheard praising Quenia.



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