“As I was walking among the fires of Hell, delighted with the enjoyments of Genius, which to Angels look like torment and insanity, I collected some of their Proverbs; thinking that as the sayings used in a nation mark its character, so the Proverbs of Hell show the nature of Infernal wisdom better than any description of buildings or garments. A Devil picked me out his Favourite Portion, and it said ‘A dead body revenges not injuries.’”Tahoe Lumber Camp, California State, Late October, 1859“Six, no, seven now. All men I knew well, and hard-up with scars from Injuns and mountain cats. None of ‘em would trouble none with what small calamities are on that road.” Whittier’s jaw shivers from the chill, turning his speech into a series of half-stutters. He steps in close to you, face spackled with saw dust settled into old pockmarks, presumably from a former encounter with plague. He lowers his voice even further, “Mary, that is, Mary Wallace, who came up with ya in that Irishman’s cart, she said ye told ‘er stories about things, things in the woods, things in the dark, she said ye knew about ‘em.” You grind your jaw at that, not much to do in a wagon other than drink and tell stories. The run of stories in question were shocking in their cruelty and certainly not fit for any sort of lady, though the haze of your recollection implies that Paddy’s whiskey shoulders most of the blame. At least you have an explanation for why he and Mary stopped speaking with you this last week. The trees crack in the frost, the watery morning sun illuminates your breath rising up to the peaks, Whittier motions toward his tent and you follow, cracking the mud slush as you go. “Listen,” he says, “Ye got no horse, ye got nothin’ for prospectin’, nothin’ I can see ‘cept a gun and a satchel. Got any money? Cause this ain’t fit habitation for a beggar.” He kicks a snow drift for emphasis as he finally stops in front of a tan hide tent with a double flap and a stone-ringed fire pit outside. You breathe deep, deep enough that the frost feels like glass dust, perforating your lungs. You stop outside the tent and look him in the eye, “If somethin’ is happening out there beyond expectation, and if it’s somethin’ I happened to be familiar with, and if it happens that I can do somethin’ about it, you would not be able to afford the rate.” Whittier scoffs, “I disagree! My brother-in-law was on that last wagon to the Comstock and I have my foreman’s bonus in hand.”
>>5718998You press your tongue to the inside of your cheek, “Alright…$300, that’s the rate.” Whittier splutters wildly, “The Lord himself could reach out and smite all the wickedness of this place and it would not be worth $300!” “No need to blaspheme foreman, it’s only yer own relation that means so little to ye.” you say, sending him into further apoplexy, “Relation by marriage!,” he exclaims, “and I would have thought factors of survival would necessitate a more demure position from you!” You arch your brow, “What ‘factors’ might those be?”, “Yer impendin’ starvation for one! I know ye don’t got money, that Mary girl told as much.” God dammit woman. You try not to let the despair show on your face. You do not, in fact, have anything to your name aside from your effects and Three Silver Dollars. “Alright,” you say, “We will table any talk of remuneration for now, until I know more of what I might be doin’ for ye,” You shift yourself towards Whittier’s tent, “You said there’s a witness left alive?” “Yessir, my deputy foreman, Anson Collier.” He looks down at the ground, choosing his words carefully, “He…is not in a good way mister, he came back just before dawn and I’ve kept him here in my tent since, so as not to spread any ill omen.”You take a moment to regard yourself, the old fear lumping your throat, the old tremors quaking your hands, the memories of being out in the dark and the cold, things passing before your eyes . Iridescent horrors, their breath, the texture of their fur, their skin, the dull shining of their teeth. A small voice sobs inside you, not again please, please never again, never. Whittier sees your face turn black and sober, he pulls the tent flap aside and you both walk in.On the bed is the man, Collier, rank fear and sweat pouring off him, he stinks like urine and like one of them. Pale sick is pooled on the ground by his cot, fresh, and still dripping, drop by drop from his overhanging mouth onto the dirt floor. He’s crying, and for a moment you’re afraid he might set you off too, the tiny voice inside you keeps pace with his hiccups and the sounds of mucus bottled in his throat. Whittier picks up a bottle of laudanum, feeding it gently into Collier’s open mouth. “Now, Anson, I’ve brought a man to see ye, tell him what ye told me, it’s alright now boy.”
>>5718998It takes a moment, you both wait for the laudanum to line his gut, five, ten minutes, in the meantime you take him in. He’s uninjured, except for a pair of gashes on his left arm, above the elbow. They’re blunt and heavy, not like a cut, like a rip. Big too, deep, each at least 4 inches across. His arm is in a linen sling, as you approach to inspect the wound more closely he screams at you, “NO DON’T!!”, and tries to move away. He manages, pathetically and despite Whittier’s attempts to pacify him, to force himself off the cot and into his own vomit, dragging himself through the mud towards the back of the tent. His breath comes double quick, and you could swear you can hear his heart all the way from where you’re standing. He looks at you with owl eyes, huge and terrified. You’ve seen enough. You motion Whittier outside and step back into the frost. After some time spent corralling young Anson back under a blanket he joins you. The air is very still, very quiet, this far away from the lumber men and the thoroughfare. The trees crackle, the sap contracting from the temperature. After several minutes of silence you speak without looking up, “I want the money in advance,” He looks through you for a moment, “Do ya know what he saw?” You turn your gaze back towards the tent, then to him. Slowly, you nod once. “I think so.” He gives a long, tired sigh, rubs his eyes, then looks at you.“Alright then, now pardner, remind me of yer name.”You were born here, in America. You are a 36 year old veteran of the Mexican-American War, much of your past is yours to choose and discover, some of it is not. For now,
>>5718998Choose A Name>Maurice Campbell: Your people are Scottish, from Fife, and settled in Appalachia, in Virginia. Advantages: To Be DiscoveredDrawbacks: To Be Discovered>Emmanuel Stieglitz: Your people are German, from Hesse, and settled in PennsylvaniaAdvantages: To Be DiscoveredDrawbacks: To Be Discovered>Ptolemy Price: Your people are English, from Kent, but have lived in America since before the revolution, in North Carolina.Advantages:To Be DiscoveredDrawbacks:To Be Discovered>Titus Hendricks: Your people are Dutch, from Utrecht, and have lived in America since before the revolution, in New York Advantages: To Be DiscoveredDrawbacks: To Be Discovered Relationship EstablishedJohn Whittier: Tahoe Lumber Camp, ForemanNow, there’s matters need attendin’ to…>Argue with Whittier again about that rate. $300 may be too high, but he doesn’t know what he’s asking. You deserve something more than a Foreman’s quota bonus.>Make your way to the thoroughfare. There are 3 buildings, the rest are tents. You need many things, but it’s questionable which, if any, you’ll find.>Try and round up a posse. Do your best to bribe, cajole, lie to, or bully anyone with a gun to go out with you tonight.
>>5719003>Maurice Campbell: Your people are Scottish, from Fife, and settled in Appalachia, in Virginia.https://youtu.be/VTW30Q4B3Go
>>5719005Oh and >Try and round up a posse. Do your best to bribe, cajole, lie to, or bully anyone with a gun to go out with you tonight.Gather the boys
>>5718998It's bedtime Scot, I'll be back in 8 hours.
>>5719003>Maurice Campbell: Your people are Scottish, from Fife, and settled in Appalachia, in Virginia. >Argue with Whittier again about that rate. $300 may be too high, but he doesn’t know what he’s asking. You deserve something more than a Foreman’s quota bonusLet’s see if we can get $100 for supplies and sundries.I have the feeling that collecting a posse won’t be much help until we know what we’re hunting and how to kill it. If we get a whole posse killed our job becomes much harder.Better maybe to scout things out, set up an ambush, and kill the devil/monster/beast with overwhelming firepower.
>>5719003>Emmanuel Stieglitz: Your people are German, from Hesse, and settled in Pennsylvania>Try and round up a posse. Do your best to bribe, cajole, lie to, or bully anyone with a gun to go out with you tonight.
>>5719003>>Titus Hendricks: Your people are Dutch, from Utrecht, and have lived in America since before the revolution, in New York>Advantages: To Be Discovered>Drawbacks: To Be DiscoveredEyy im walking ova here>Relationship Established>John Whittier: Tahoe Lumber Camp, Foreman>Now, there’s matters need attendin’ to…>>Make your way to the thoroughfare. There are 3 buildings, the rest are tents. You need many things, but it’s questionable which, if any, you’ll find.
LOCKED>Maurice Campbell: Your people are Scottish, from Fife, and settled in Appalachia, in Virginia. >Try and round up a posse. Do your best to bribe, cajole, lie to, or bully anyone with a gun to go out with you tonight.WRITING
>>5719003>Emmanuel Stieglitz: Your people are German, from Hesse, and settled in Pennsylvania>Make your way to the thoroughfare. There are 3 buildings, the rest are tents. You need many things, but it’s questionable which, if any, you’ll find.
”Maurice Campbell,” You put out your grip and he meets it with a single, firm shake. “Now I’m about my business, tell me where could a man find some others willin’ to traipse about them fir trees in the dark?”. Whittier scratches his beard thoughtfully and motions back down towards the camp. ”Got men swingin’ axes and saws all day down there, we get some indigents but by and by they’re more decent than any ye might find wasting themselves in drink at the saloon this time a day.””Well I’ll go about poachin’ then Foreman,” You say, adjusting your satchel strap and starting back down the road to the camp. You hear Whittier’s voice shout after you, ”You go about doin’ as ye like but I ain’t payin’ ya anyone else!” You smile to yourself as you walk on, hypnotized by the inhalation and expulsion of the razor air. Your thoughts turn towards whatever it might be. You know some Indian, but the names were hard to remember. Mostly, there were no names, but you think you have an idea. Claws didn’t hurt that boy, antlers did, his arm was near enough run through by some. That narrowed it down but little. Still, Whittier had said no bodies. Even they usually left some pitiful remnant of the human form, if only to leer from the shadows at the wailing of any kin unfortunate enough to find it. Yeah, you probably know what it is. What you don’t know is if you can kill it with a rifle. Cornelius was with you last time, probably the only reason you survived.Your eyes refocus, and suddenly you realize you hear the call and response of men at work. A half dozen enormous sugar pines are on their backs, getting worked over by teams of almost a dozen planers. You make your rounds, talking to any man who looks capable and isn’t busy, and waiting until some that are busy get on break. After an hour or so you figure you’ve reconnoitered the whole of the camp and have come up with three possibles.
One, Mack Donnelly. A short, wiry man with a head of red cow licks. His cousin Sean was on the first wagon to disappear. He has an old Barnett Trade Gun, A muzzle loading smoothbore with a 36” barrel. Two, Quinton Aimes. Short as well, but bald and mustachioed. His nose is crimson in the sun and his breath makes it clear that he does not leave his drink for the end of the day. He is one of the most muscled men you have ever seen, and he speaks to you while cleaving through wood as though it were already paper. He does not own a gun, and mutters something about the depravity of the Faro table. Three, Edgar Welles. Medium height, brown eyes and brown hair. He shares his coffee with you and regales you with stories about his time as a Captain in the Army. To hear him tell it he single-handedly set the rancheros to flight in ‘47, marauding his way from Monterey to Mexico City. You ask if he was in Sonoma at the Bear Flag Revolt. He nods and smiles. He does not seem to know what that is. He carries an underhammer Blunt & Syms pepperbox carbine, .36 Caliber. All you say at first is that you need some people to go into the woods tonight on an errand. All three men are willing to range out, but they won’t do it for nothing.First, decide whether to>Tell the truth. There’s something out there, something unnatural, and it needs to be killed. None of them will be safe in such an exposed place as this, things will just get worse.or>Lie. You need a posse to search for an errant cougar that lamed your horse. You don’t know the area, so you figured you’d ask some locals.Then, decide what to offer>Money. You have the $100 Whittier promised you, you can promise what you like of it to any or all of them. This is the most likely to work in almost any situation>Favors. Sometimes people need things done that they can’t do themselves. See if any of the men need a favor. Maybe they don’t, if not, your shit out of luck.Note:You can approach as few or as many as you like, you can also take separate tacks with each of the men, but understand that not having everyone on the same page might not turn out well.
>>5719318>Tell the truth. There’s something out there, something unnatural, and it needs to be killed. None of them will be safe in such an exposed place as this, things will just get worse.Don’t hold back - you’re hunting something worse than wolves and bears. Be clear with all three that teamwork is critical to survival and the THING out there doesn’t care about bravado. Make it clear to Quinton that he stops drinking the moment he accepts the job - if he doesn’t like those parameters, you won’t take him on and you’ll leave him out there drunk otherwise.
>>5719318>Tell the truth. There’s something out there, something unnatural, and it needs to be killed. None of them will be safe in such an exposed place as this, things will just get worse.>Money. Maybe a favour to sweeten the deal if not enough?>Quinton Aimes.
Locked>Tell the truth. There’s something out there, something unnatural, and it needs to be killed. None of them will be safe in such an exposed place as this, things will just get worse.>Money. Maybe a favour to sweeten the deal if not enough?Writing
The sun stabs from the center of the blue. It’s a curious thing to muse on, there you are buttressed by chill, as the great, burning thing goes mad trying to pierce you with at least one of its speartips. You look back down to the cookfire in front of you. You’re seated in a ring, staring at the three men who’ve took you up on your offer. The girls who work for the camp prepare the lunch in big batches for the laborers. Sausage, tomatoes, cornbread, coffee, a ration of whiskey, and some smoked venison. A woman brings you a plate, assuming your business with three of the lumberjacks entitles you to something like an official position for the day. You all eat in silence for a while. Quinton downs his ration and produces a flask. ”Can you hold that pardner?” you say, chewing some gristle. ”I don’t take on sick men, if you can’t stuff that drink for tonight then there won’t be no happy endin’ for ye.” You’ve dealt with hard men all your life, and you’ve grown accustomed to how they might react to a laying down of things. What you do not expect is for Quinton to sleepily nod, and without comment stow his flask back under his goat hide vest. Mack eyes you somewhat warily over his plate. Edgar keeps his head down. Still, head down or no, he’s the first one to speak, tapping his heel on the ugly wood chair he’s laid up in. ”Alright now you know I gots me a very fine eye for men of quality and a fellow man of quality you is sir yes sir but I do need to be knowin’ now what exactly this nightly thing we doin’ is gonna be about now.” Mack breaks off from looking at you to look at Edgar. He seems about to speak, then decides against it and looks back at you expectantly.
”Well now,” You take a deep breath, and let it out. A lick of the fire shies away from you. ”There’s somethin’ been killin’ people these last two weeks. That’s told to me by yer foreman. I think I might know what that somethin’ is-” Edgar peals out a high-pitch guffaw. “Ah that ain’t no nothin’ man that ain’t nothin’ just some mean coyote, some dog or sumpin’ dressed up big and scarin’ folks, folks piss they pants and run and hide and get mauled by nothin’ hell” ”Shut up” Mack’s pair of words take up as much space as Edgar’s tirade. His freckled gaze turns again. Incensed, Edgar spits back, “Donchu talk to me that way you mick bastard I was a decorated Captain the Army of the United States of America I was and yer poor cousin Sean got et by some little wild dog he did and got shit out all over the-” ”ALRIGHT” You bellow, ”Quit bitchin’ and listen up now! This ain’t no god damn coyote, this ain’t a bear or mountain cat neither. This is somethin’ more dangerous and if we don’t get to killin’ it, mark me feller it will get to killin’ you. Every last one of ye. Now we may yet forestall that outcome, but we must work in tandem to do so. I have money, good money, and for that money you can save the pissin’ for afterward. Now, meet me north of the road out of Martyr’s Valley, on the east slope at midnight. Bring yer iron.” Mack looks at you and nods, slowly. ”I’ll be there.” Edgar nods as well, much more vigorously, ”Oh my good god damn man we are makin’ out to be heroes now I tell ya you have bought the service of a genuine Captain of the Army Rangers now and I will see you in the evenin’ strapped and ready for hell.” Apparently deciding to finish lunch without breaking silence, Quinton also gives you a vacant nod, his face flushed red from the fire and booze. As he turns to get back to work you call after him, Quinton! I’m tellin’ ye, you lay off that liquor. You come sauced tonight, you do not get paid.” He shuffles off without a reply, but the flask stays holstered as far as you can see.
You make your way back toward the thoroughfare. This is not the first time you’ve gathered a posse, but you do usually go it alone. It’s easier that way, harder to, but you suppose you prefer one set of difficulties to the other. Most of the time anyway. You can count on yourself more than most people can claim to, particularly because of>Your great size and strength. At 6’4” with a barrel chest and broad shoulders you have beat men to near death without trying. You were the boxing and wrestling champion of your entire Brigade in the army, you still carry the tooth of your gunnery sergeant. Out of ammunition and charged by lancers, you still shoved a tent stake through a Mexican's skull at Resaca de la Palma. Advantages:Heraclian Form:+5 to all rolls involving strength, fortitude, or endurance.Disadvantages:Towering:-5 to all rolls involving visual or social concealment. Cover is less effective. >Your keen senses. Whether it be smell, sight, or sound you can cut the sign like few others. You were a scout in the army and brought back a dozen bounties for Guerrillo positions. At El Embudo, you were the one who spotted the snipers before the company blundered into the canyon, something General Price never forgot.Advantages:Emmetropia:+5 to all rolls involving sensory information. [Patronage]:General Price is now Governor Price of Missouri, a long way away, but one can always write a letter. Disadvantages:Hyperfixation:-5 to all rolls while under any kind of extreme sensory shock.>Your unnatural pain threshold. You do not feel pain as others do. You feel it of course, but it is a dull ache, you are its master. You’ve been shot, stabbed, drug, burned, and beat. It’s all the same to you, and at Mexico City you went over the wall of Chapultepec, got shot, went over again, were shot again, and went over again. The third time there was no one left to shoot you, and you still dragged yourself inside the city proper with Quitman’s division to accept the formal surrender.Advantages:Schmerzromantik: Any time you would be incapacitated from an injury, unless it’s extremely severe, you instead get another action.Disadvantages:Schmerzromantik: Be careful.
Dwelling on your gifts helps, at the very least it keeps you from dwelling on the woods. You’ve got time until midnight but you’ll need some of it to prepare. Meanwhile, there’s still enough daylight for one more errand.>Go back to see the witness. Anson Collier was not helpful last you spoke, but it’s been several hours and surely several more doses of laudanum. You could see if his head is clear enough to get more information.>Go to the thoroughfare. you are still in need of much, and taking stock of whatever you have left from your journey here is an important task, if unexciting.>Scout the wood. In the daylight there is little worry of anything truly dangerous. You are, as of now, wholly reliant on the three men you’ve hired for the lay of the land, changing that may be prudent.
>>5719697>Your keen senses. Whether it be smell, sight, or sound you can cut the sign like few others. You were a scout in the army and brought back a dozen bounties for Guerrillo positions. At El Embudo, you were the one who spotted the snipers before the company blundered into the canyon, something General Price never forgot.>Scout the wood. In the daylight there is little worry of anything truly dangerous. You are, as of now, wholly reliant on the three men you’ve hired for the lay of the land, changing that may be prudent.Full scout mode
>>5719697>Your keen senses.>>5719698>Go to the thoroughfare. you are still in need of much, and taking stock of whatever you have left from your journey here is an important task, if unexciting.
>>5719697>Keen Senses>Scout The WoodLeave no trace, kill all you see
>>5719697>Your keen senses. Whether it be smell, sight, or sound you can cut the sign like few others. You were a scout in the army and brought back a dozen bounties for Guerrillo positions. At El Embudo, you were the one who spotted the snipers before the company blundered into the canyon, something General Price never forgot.>Scout the wood. In the daylight there is little worry of anything truly dangerous. You are, as of now, wholly reliant on the three men you’ve hired for the lay of the land, changing that may be prudent.Its really tempting to go back and see if this victim is going to turn but knowing the terrain is essential and daylight is fading.
>>5719697>Your keen senses. Whether it be smell, sight, or sound you can cut the sign like few others. You were a scout in the army and brought back a dozen bounties for Guerrillo positions. At El Embudo, you were the one who spotted the snipers before the company blundered into the canyon, something General Price never forgot.>Scout the wood. In the daylight there is little worry of anything truly dangerous. You are, as of now, wholly reliant on the three men you’ve hired for the lay of the land, changing that may be prudent.
Locked>Your keen senses.>Scout the wood.Writing
[Spoiler]Your accrued character choices will be compiled into a full sheet in a couple more posts. Anyone who would like to suggest a general physical appearance for Campbell is welcome to do so.[/spoiler] You will not be caught unawares again. Not with one of them. You commit yourself to a survey of the grounds where you will be killing tonight. You look at the sun. Two hours to make it down the trail from the lake camp to the edge of the wood, a half hour to the area of the disappearances, and another hour or so to thoroughly take in the varieties of the location. That would put you done and dusted at around 4:30. So be it. You set off north down from the lake, prickled pine breeze tickling your nose, the sovereign sun at full glory for an hour or so, slowly melting some of the rime that’s settled into your bones. You measure your time at first in the cut outs of conversation you make from the comers and goers of the area. This place looks like a colony of termites. The three buildings in the thoroughfare fade into the background, as do the small, overherd problems of people’s days. You haven’t walked this much in a while. Two weeks in that wagon from Sutter’s Fort seemed a blessing at the time, but it feels good to be on the scout again. You reach the road to Nevada and head down, examining the forest around you as you go. More of the pine those men at the camp were working on. You reach a mile down the road from Silver Stream, and enter into the forest. The smell shifts from pine to cedar, but immediately you feel something else. The grime, like grease fat sliding down your fingers, smearing across your cheeks. Your hackles stand attention, raising and lowering with your heartbeat. The air tastes of cedar, but the further in you go, the more rust and copper fills your mouth. There are no animals here, no birds, squirrels, foxes, or anything else. You set on to your work as quickly as you can.
The terrain is sloped, trending downward at a mildly sharp degree, you make a note to stay on the south side if you can. The trees are spaced apart, at a good twenty feet on average. Silver-tip fir, white pine, and lone cedars. Plenty of space to maneuver, not many places to easily hide for longer than a minute. The trees themselves have weak branches from the season, and would not support much weight. The ground is frosted, with some snow cover, but small battlefields of green rage on every so often, especially further down the slope. A few snow drifts have settled, but not enough to worry about hampering movement, and none big enough to hide behind.You spit, trying to get the god damned copper off your tongue when blood floods to your ears. You whip yourself around at a small shuffle of something behind you and with half a dozen long, loping strides you’re behind a gnarled lodgepole pine. You wait as the irregular crunching of frost gains ground towards you. You are too experienced to peek your head around the twisted, dead tree. You hold still. Silent. A large animal, but not large enough to be what you’re after. Besides, the sun is out. Flagging maybe, giving up its supremacy of the blue to the other celestials, but its power still holds sway for a little while. You finally make a decision. Too loud for a cougar, too light for a bear, a wolf wouldn’t make any sound. A deer then. You slowly make your way out from behind your guardian tree. As you thought, a deer, but small for a buck. It stops its shambling steps and raises its head. Blank. No eyes, no nose, no mouth, simply smooth fur up to its head. Something pushes through the skin of where its face should be. Not quite breaking through.
Like seeing fingers pushing on the other side of a canvas tent. It stays in place, but whatever it is pushes the face skin out further. Towards you. You keep your eyes on it and back up a foot at a time. It tries to take a step towards you. A step towards you however, is a step towards the sun. It fails, placing its hoof back down in the same spot. The shadows pull around it, uprooting themselves from the nearby trees that cast them, leaving them empty, and rush to cloak it. The thing inside reaches further, the buck’s empty face pushed out now at least three feet towards you. A movement, then the outline of a human hand. Pressing towards you from inside. The sun is going down behind you. Autumn, the days are shorter now. You back up another step. It tries again to follow. One hoof up, and out. It cannot. The hoof comes back down. The sun is warm as you step back once, twice, three times, again and again and again. It does not move. It never looks away from your face. After it’s out of sight you turn and run, sprinting back to the road.You spend the whole way back to camp looking over your shoulder. It should not be out here during the day. That should not have been possible. Your heart beats bruises into your ribs. The old fear courses through you again, replacing your blood with ink, your marrow with gelatin. As you spot the early evening fires of the logging camp, you know you must kill it. There is no other way, it’s what you are for. This is not the life you chose, but you are not an average man. Seven hours till midnight. It is time to prepare. You are not an average man, through the events of your life you have gained a degree of power, choose what that power is. Note:Each of these disciplines permanently precludes the others, a man may only follow one throughout his life.
Faith in Christ”...and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them."The power of Christ shall defend against the wicked. Channeled most often through a cross, it is defensive in nature. Things that are beyond the scope of nature are outside of God’s intended creation, and will be repelled by light of the true faith. The power of this light is all but impossible to pierce as long as one’s attention is fixed to channeling it. However, it does nothing to stop your fellow man, and smarter things in the dark may figure out that faith does not stop a thrown boulder from crushing your head. As this is the accepted and expected faith in America, it requires no secrecy and genuine devotion is a form of serious social currency.OccultismThe tygers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.”The power of the Occult is the power of the human soul to shackle the hidden things of the world. Occultism is an arcanum of rituals, implements, and knowledge that serve many functions. The most versatile form of power, it can be used for anything from ensuring a woman lives through childbirth, to locking a man’s soul into a piece of jewelry. The Occult costs, and the costs are vile. Others may pay them for you, but who would willingly suffer such things for your sake? Of course, the unwilling pay just as well. Occultism is reviled in society, not only among the white man, but among the Indian as well. One must keep their methods a secret. There are a few however…a few who share your journey, even out here. The dark things of the New World can be affected by Occult magicks, but they cannot be commanded by them.Mukua”I was a warrior in this land when the sun rose. Now I come from where the sun sets.The power of the great spirits of the land is the power to channel the earth, sun, and spirits of the air. To bind and banish, to know the rules. The rules of the land are intricate and varied, but they must be obeyed. Even and especially by the things in the dark. You may speak to the dark things and hear them only with this path. However, you are not a shaman of the blood. You do not follow the blessing way. You will never have the true power, the power that they have to channel the truly mighty spirits of the earth, sun and air. You must make do with second hand power and use your wits to make up the rest. The Indians will respect you for following the Mukua, though the spirits of the land do not require you to treat them in any specific way. The white man will find you strange and gone astray, but you will not be outcast or barred from society. >Faith in Christ>Occultism>Mukua
>>5720093>Faith in ChristYeehaw! Also fine with Mukua.
>>5720093>MukuaHonestly these are all cool options.This whole quest sort of reminds me of that Apocalypse movie with Natalie Portman in the bayou of Louisiana, which is a good thing.Also the deer creature was mega freaky, good job QM
>>5720093>Faith in ChristHave you done other quests before, your name sounds familiar
>>5720093>Faith in Christ
>>5720093>>Faith in Christ
So here me out. Occultism because we are likely poor and in need of funds. We use our knowledge of the occult to help like in Ghostbusters.
>>5720093>Faith in ChristWe can throw ourself to the deamon, or we can only stand our ground?
>>5720730>So here me out. Occultism because we are likely poor and in need of funds. We use our knowledge of the occult to help like in Ghostbusters.Why not become priest? We will be paid by the power of our spirit and our words.Although I really don't know why we would need money in a quest. We always end up in more debt if we do that.
>>5720237I'm happy to hear that, it's what I'm here for.>>5720320I don't know if someone else had this name before but this is my first quest.I start writing at 8:00 PM (PST). I'll keep the voting open until then.
>>5720737So we could afford train tickets, room and board, buy exciting things we find during our travels, to avoid ending up a time stereotypical christian, etc...
>>5720732The power of Christ will keep most dark creatures from being able to harm you physically, and it will damage them while doing so. However, it is not meant to smite, and is universally less effective offensively as Occultism or the Mukua
>>5720744>he doesn't want to recite bible verses while beating the shit out of evil, and people possessed by evil, and things that aren't evil, and honestly everything
>>5720745I see.I wanted to ask why many times the powers that only work to repel monsters and escape, not to fight.>>5720744People who do not believe and do not know about occultism will not give us money because Occultism Bad.People who believe in the occult but don't know about it may offer us money for work, but when it's all over they can turn their back on us without a second thought because otherwise we would have to explain to the police why we are threatening normal people. And saying that it is because they owe us money for doing rituals will not make us look good. Dresden suffers a lot from this.People who know about the occult are nice, but they know how to fix their problems and some shithead may try to scam us and hurt us to get power or just because.Only people with political connections succeed in being an occultist.
Because, not why. Sorry
>>5720761Do you know who studies the occult without consequence? Rich people with disposable income. Do you know what bible thumpers don't have? Actual knowledge of the rules governing what they hunt. The difference is one is a casual observer with bias and the other has knowledge of fundemental principles and structures.
>>5720780>Do you know who studies the occult without consequence? Rich people with disposable income.>>5720761>>Only people with political connections succeed in being an occultist.>Do you know what bible thumpers don't have? Actual knowledge of the rules governing what they hunt. The difference is one is a casual observer with bias and the other has knowledge of fundemental principles and structures.No. The occult is old world knowledge. It's like taking a rhino expert from the time and sending him to investigate poisonous snakes in the Amazon. He can surely use some of the investigative techniques and skills he learned in Africa, but all of his rhino knowledge can only be used to compare behaviors and make assumptions based on that.So the best that the occult offers for now is knowledge of how deamons exist and how they behave, plus maybe, maybe, an offense or defense worth the sacrifice. Because there will be sacrifices. And it seems that, if they are worth of it, they will surely be specific or/and weak.With faith any magic or trick to attack us physically becomes ineffective, being the weak point if a rock the size of a bear is thrown at our faces, faith will not miraculously defend it. Something so far I don't see the occult offer much protection either.
>>5720798I think it's clear that JESUS is the full defense option, (maybe at some point there'll be some buff like options to help offensively but no direct DPS shit) with De power of de Devil being full tilt offense with some shitty defense options, and leaving Peace Pipe enjoyer being the balanced choice. They probably all are extremely conditional. With bible-boy requiring focus and not affecting the material world in the slightest. Witch bitch needing grisly sacrifice and probably watching your butthole to make sure Satan doesn't tickle it. The dank toker probably needs you to convince the spirits to actually help you, and spirits are mischievous and aloof as hell, so who knows how viable that'll be at times.
>>5720832>who knows how viable that'll be at times.I know what will be viable.>"Wanting to kill something, huh?>Look no further then good man, I present to you Little Wills.>This beauty can pierce the bow of a war-ship as easily as a rifle can pierce your little head.>The bullets it uses are heavy and rare, and you can only shoot once before you have to reload. Don't worry too much about that though, because you'll only be able to fire it twice.>One per arm."
>>5720883God bless America.
Locked>Faith in ChristWriting
>>5720952Ignore that guy
>>5720953>B-but he is the duke!
The dying light goes down in the west, shoving sunset lances through the trees. It seems to flail, drawing down into the enormous gullet of pitch that waits for it behind the mountains. The streams of red, its waving arms, desperate for someone to help. You watch the monstrous night close its jaws from the outskirts of the camp. Your cheek is twitching. No wind blows through you and for a moment you can’t move. You hear a voice speak. Your own. “Though he slay me, I will hope in him; yet will I argue my ways to his face.”The words ignite inside your mouth, smothering your fears behind His enormity. It is time to prepare. A cross, a wooden cross. You remember well what Cornelius taught you, Pine, Olive, Cypress, or Palm. Any would do, all had been a part of the True Cross. There are places in the world where this is difficult. Here however, you pick one pine out of hundreds and set about it. Two branches flayed of bark. Cut to a two foot length and a one foot width. A long nail through the center.You borrow tools from a tent by the outskirts. You do not have long, you can feel the pulse from further north, the smallest whisper of rot blowing towards you. You’ve become enough of an adept to finish these quickly, but there is one aspect that is always difficult. The lumbermen have all gone to drink and gamble by now. You take out a small tin from your satchel, filled with turgid red jelly. Weeks old Lamb’s Blood, but some water will loosen it up enough. At least you hope so. You smear the rehydrated blood on the cross and it’s done.You’ve always hated that there was no way to tell. No hum of energy or blessed hymnal from above. You simply have to have faith. You’ve been doing your work by that first tent’s lantern. It has stayed unmanned so far, but the oil light casts tall and gangrel shadows through your face. It’s enough to summon a distant hail.
You look up and see Whittier walking towards you. ”Campbell! Hell, where have you been pardner?” “Scoutin’.” you reply. ”Right…” He runs his hand through his hair, looking at the ground. ”Listen uh, I was feelin’ a bit put out by not goin’ out with ye. I ain’t got any facility with weaponry. I have shot myself twice in fact.” ”Twice?” you ask. He glumly holds up two fingers. ”Two times”. He furls his brow looking you over. ”Anyways. I want you to know that I will be good for it. The money I mean.” ”I believe ya.” You say softly. ”That all? I best be goin’ on out” you say. Whittier nods and begins to walk away, “Actually,” he stops, sighing into the cold wind, ”I didn’t wanna say nothin’ before you left but…that boy, Anson. Well it don’t look like he’ll be convalescin’. His voice breaks a little, he doesn’t meet your gaze. ”Wound spiked hard on ‘im, swollen three times the size, scarlet like the devil ‘imself. Smells sweet like rot. He stares empty past you, down the north road. ”I hope whatever did it to ‘im dies tonight.”. Whitter slaps you on the shoulder and trudges off. You stay mired in place. The flickering lamp playing out puppets on the ground. The wind blows fierce into you as you clutch your jacket tighter. No, probably nothing. You close your eyes and hold the cross to your breast. The cold dies down a little, and you survey what you have to hunt with. Colt Patterson Revolver .28 Caliber, single-action, 5 Barrels. It was a revolution in firearms and has served you well since you were in the army. Out of date nowadays, not to mention a small caliber model. The ammunition is easier to find that way at least. You had a carbine as well, but that was sold to pay your way onto Paddy’s wagon train. You thought the road to Nevada would be more straightforward. The gun is fully loaded and you have 25 Rounds in your satchel. Rifleman’s KnifeStraight, double edged blade. 12” length, 5” oak handle. Sharp, serviceable, and dangerous. Even though it’s a combat knife by design, you have used it for a hundred miscellaneous purposes. Currently residing in a leather sheath on your hip. Another gift from the army, or at least from the drunk warrant officer who traded it for an old Zuni headdress you found in Santa Fe.Makeshift CrossSlapdash, but competent. It’s consecrated and you’ll be happy to have it tonight. Beware, it will not be difficult to break.
What a sorry state. All you had to do was make it to Nevada. Yet here you are, waylaid and going Hunting with an old pistol, three lumberjacks and a beggar’s cross. You straighten yourself up and look at the stars. You are afraid. The Lord can only do so much. This is what you are for. You begin to make your way to the meeting spot. Midnight replaces the thrushes with snowy owls on their silent wings. You hear their peculiar questions, repeated in intervals of three or four to nobody in particular. The wind is up tonight, blowing pine needles in swathes. The road narrows, you pick out flying squirrels gliding from branch to branch. The wind makes the trees shiver and they heave themselves about, their arms beckoning you. You see figures outlined against the forest by moonlight, and your heart immediately falls. There are only two. You hope that somehow you’re wrong, that there’s some explanation. No such luck. Quinton Aimes and Mack Donnelly turn and walk to meet you. Edgar is not here. You try and stay polite, but the words come out clipped and brusque regardless, ”Where is Welles?” Mack responds, his smoothbore over his shoulder, ”That man is spit in the wind, my guess would be he turned yellow the moment he heard the plan wasn’t quail huntin’.” Your teeth clench so hard you can hear them. “That little shit.” ”Forget about him.” Quinton’s deep voice rumbles over the wind. He has a large, single edged lumber axe. On the bright side, he does not appear drunk, even partially.”So, what is the plan Campbell. Where do we find this thing?” Mack asks. Quinton follows up,”And what do we do if we find it? Well, you think to yourself. That is a question.You could have everyone split up. The quickest and easiest way to find what you’re looking for. Also the biggest chance you’ll be able to surprise it. You could have everyone stay together. No chance of getting picked off, but if one of you is caught, you’re all caught. Combing the woods at night is also tiring, take too long and you might be tired when you find what you’re looking for.You could send Mack and Quinton aheadwhile you trail them. You know how to hide yourself and you have a great degree of skill in forestry. Making yourself veiled and silent will all but ensure that you personally have the advantage, but it will also almost certainly render Mack and Quinton vulnerable. There is something else…just a feeling. That kid that was attacked. Whittier said he would be dead by morning but… you could Send Mack or Quinton back to camp. Just to check on him. Though that would leave only two of you out here in the cold and dark. >Split up>Stay together>Send Mack and Quinton ahead>Send Mack or Quinton back to camp
One more thing. Just as there was something that put you above the common man, in your case all five of your excellent senses. There is something else that happened to you, something bad. A piece of your past that has marked your body. What is it?A Disfigured Foot.When you were eight years old your family took you out of the Virginia hills out west. You made it all the way to Oklahoma before your wagon train was set upon by Comanche. You saw your family butchered, not just for robbery, but for the sheer joy of cruelty. You were saved till last, the Comanche braves dragged you into a circle and skinned the sole off your left foot. They would’ve done the other too, and made you dance on them if a combined force of Cherokee scouts and U.S Army Cavalry hadn’t appeared and put them to route. Against all odds the foot never succumbed to infection, and you were young enough that it eventually scarred over, white and thick. It throbs with the seasons, but doesn’t hurt much anymore, though it does make keeping up with groups at speed difficultDe-soled:-5 to all rolls involving running, or long distance travel at a fast pace.Enemy of All:+5 to all rolls involving combat against Comanche tribesmen.A Disfigured FaceAt 14 you worked as a ranch hand in Oklahoma. You were not paid well, and you were not treated well. Still you did your job, and when cattle thieves set upon the ranch you were given a rifle and told to return fire. You did so without success, but one of the rustlers shot you in the face. Through one cheek and out the other. Fortunately you were screaming as it happened, and the damage to your teeth was manageable, and in the end only a few in the back had to be pulled. The shot did leave an inch and a half hole through both cheeks, which scabbed over and eventually scarred with a hideous amalgam of cracks and rivets. It is something people notice, and civilized places will treat you differently for it.Cattle Brand:-5 to all rolls involving persuasion or diplomacy with city folk and townspeople.Black Yawn:+5 to all rolls involving intimidation or coercion with city folk and townspeople.A Disfigured HandAt 19 you were herding cattle for the Rancheros in California. You and a few fellow cowboys got into it with some friendly Cauhilla as to who could best rope a wild stallion. When you took your turn you rode one down well enough, but while you were tying your lasso to your saddle horn he made a break right. Two fingers on your left hand were caught in the rope and ripped off. The Cauhilla felt guilty and took you back to a shaman who managed to save the hand, but you’ll always have an awkward grip and reduced dexterity.Three-Fingered:-5 to all rolls involving the use of items in your left hand, including two-handed items and weapons.Horsewise: +5 to all rolls involving horsemanship.>A Disfigured Foot>A Disfigured Face>A Disfigured Hand
>>5721016He's also a loser who rolled a 2 on his first project
>>5721076>Send Mack and Quinton ahead>>5721080>A Disfigured Face
>>5721080While I regret that occultism was lost I think the best option here is >disfigured face The other two malus options will have too much of an effect on combat. Most notably dodging and shooting.
>>5721076>>5721101>Send Mack and Quinton ahead
>>5721076>Send Mack and Quinton aheadThey are bait, unfortunately. >a disfigured face I want to preserve our DEX given the scout background
>>5721076>>Send Mack and Quinton ahead>>5721080>>A Disfigured Hand
>>5721080>A Disfigured Face
Part of my post got ate.>>5721123>Send Mack and Quinton ahead
>>5721076>Stay together>>5721080>A Disfigured Hand
>>5721076>>Send Mack or Quinton back to camp>>5721080>>A Disfigured FaceOr faith may balance the malus of the scar
Locked>Send Mack and Quinton ahead>A Disfigured FaceWriting
The Hunt BeginsBoth men look at you expectantly. You set your jaw firm as you come to your conclusions. These men are not Hunters, they are truly here for but one purpose; to allow you to do the work of the Lord. You meet each of their eyes in turn. ”We’ll be lookin’ for any corpse sign, that means bits of gut, loose skin, teeth, anything. Also, you see any doe or buck, discharge. Now you fellers stay up about 10 feet in front. This creature is fond of pouncin’ unawares. I’ll stand rear and holler first flash of its imminence.”[i/]You expect questions, but whether it’s the chill that leeches them of it or they are simply not interested in particulars, they both nod and turn toward the forest. A few minutes pass, your party hesitates. You stand showered in starlight, loathe to leave it. After an uncommonly long pause Quinton reaches inside his jacket, ”Ah, hell”. He unsheathes his flask, relieves the cap, and takes a long swig. Just the one, then he passes it to Mack. He takes a series of gulps, each deeper than the last. Mack passes it to you. There’s about a quarter of nectar left. You stare at Mack, then Quinton, then the almighty flask. Finally, you make your stare toward the deep empty within the trees. Pointing the flask like a saber you whisper, ”Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.” You drain the rest, and toss it to Quinton. ”Hosanna.” he says. Mack grunts, and the three of you take your first forward steps. The moon illumineth. A spider’s web of shine between the trees. The very act of piercing this place seems to wear the light thin. Mack and Quinton press forward, crunching the settled snow with their heavy footfalls. To a voyeur, they would be the only men in view. You keep behind. The trees are wide apart, but you spent the afternoon making your piece with this land, feather fleet and swift as sin, you pass without sign to eye or ear.The air stills just like before. The wind that whipped your blood into your cheeks and ears evaporates in the course of a minute. This awful stillness. The settling of something on your soul, running down your chin, staining your belly. The Cheyenne fog rolls around your ankles. You watch the jerked motions of Mack and Quinton ahead of you. They walk like puppets with strings on their knees. This feeling to them must be the feeling of the rat, the hare, the robin. There is something here.
A crack. In the distance. A crack. The two men in front keep on, the sound unheard. A crack. This time Quinton lifts his oil, the only manufactured light your posse can claim. A crack. Ahead and north-east. Mack looks back for you. You make yourself known to them. Quinton is breathing hard. A crack. Mack opens his mouth, but Quinton and yourself motion silence. A crack. It’s rhythmic, no doubt about that, a purposeful rhythm, not just some tree sap bursting from the cold.Mack confirms the shot in his Barnett, unslung, Quinton chokes up on his axe, all three of you nod to each other and move for the noise. As you move on it gets louder. Crack. Yet as you close in, there’s something else. Very sparse. Just a small, lonely sound. You prick your ears to make sure. You think…yes. Crying, a choked sob, to the north. The others can’t hear it. You unholster your Patterson, and half-cock the hammer.You can Move towards the steady sound. Something is making that crack, it’s too regular to be natural. Or you could Move towards the crying. Alert the others and make north. Maybe human…maybe. Note:Dice rolls will be a standard 1d100. Each poster can roll once, best of the first three rolls will be taken. Modifiers will be explained in the notes if they apply.If I forget a mod that you think should apply let me know For this roll, putting Quinton and Mack in danger has guaranteed Campbell will keep stealth, so you’re rolling for those two’s stealth.Critical successes and Critical Fails will happen on 1’s and 100’s The higher the deviation is from the DC will have a further effect on how much of a success or failure the roll is. Now, >Move towards the steady soundOr>Move towards the cryingWhichever you choose, roll me three 1d100’sStealth Roll, DC 60(DC 40, Live Bait:+20)
Character Sheet so farhttps://docs.google.com/document/d/e/2PACX-1vQrgAfW3HDDpPDQjGBmim1bLygbLBJHRYEALENLK4XqKA30qTL8aPFcyDNotboTRwcvZJvpELqNKd9e/pub
Rolled 48 (1d100)>>5721823>>Move towards the steady sound
Rolled 51 (1d100)>>5721823>Move towards the steady sound
Rolled 49 (1d100)>>5721823>>Move towards the crying
Rolled 19 (1d100)>>5721823>>Move towards the crying
We'll give it 30 minutes for another vote until I roll a tiebreaker.
Locked>Move towards the steady soundStealth Roll: Failed by -9Writing
You think it over, and determine not to tell your fellows about the crying. It doesn’t fade, but it doesn’t gain any ground on you three either. You approach the sound. Crack. The pressure mounts. Crack. Just ahead. Crack. You slip back behind Mack and Quinton, off to their south, capturing the incline of the sloped forest ground. You hear…words now. You’re short on clarity, but you can parse that they’re the same words. Repeated right before each crack. Your companions have decided to angle their approach from the north, down slope, where the trees give them extra cover. You edge forward a foot at a time. That foot is your entire world. Breathe in, breathe out, step. The words render clear now, at least as clear as Indian can be to one who does not know it. ”Deeu Yúli jit náwaya.” Crack. ”Deeu Yúli jit náwaya.” Crack. He shuffles around a broad-branched cedar, barely lifting his black, oiled moccasins. His head is down, his face hidden. ”Deeu Yúli jit náwaya.” Crack. He carries a staff of black oak, the head a gnarled, club-like knot. He circles the tree once. ”Deeu Yúli jit náwaya.” and cracks the head of his staff on its trunk. His voice sounds as if it were being torn from ragged remnants of hide, from his head and shoulders sprout enormous black feathers. Each crack, and your muscles tense, each crack, and your spine is held rictus, each crack, and your ruined cheeks draw tight. You notice the great cedar twists to the ground like some grandfather with a boot on his back. It does not move, but you’re sure with every crack and strike of the Indian’s black oak staff, its crown is somehow lower to the ground. You grab hold of your courage, and decide to take your chance to move closer, when you hear the unmistakable sound of a twig snap from the vague position of your two partners.
The snap is wildly violent in the obscene quiet of this place. The Indian’s face heaves up from its downcast gaze, and you take him in. A white mask, whether skin or lime chalk you couldn’t say. Soot around the eyes, red eyes. He drips corruption from his face and nose, scars and stains where it has dug itself in. He is of medium height, his body spindly, his shoulders slumped. He leans his staff into the crook of his arm and stares south, towards Mack and Quinton. You pray they don’t step out. They step out. Mack’s gun leveled and ready. You can hear Quinton’s labored breathing from twenty feet away. The Indian’s mouth turns up into a small smile. ”Deeu Yúli jit náwaya.” The words seem more focused somehow, more directed. Quinton clears his throat. If he’s looking for your position at least he doesn’t make it obvious. ”Adwai’il”, he says, the language sounding uncomfortable and un-practiced coming from his mouth. ”Adwai’il, Obot núwya.” He gestures to Mack and himself.The Indian smiles wider, then wider, looking at Mack. He points towards him and cocks his head. He laughs, a hoarse, breathless laugh. He points towards Mack again and holds up a hand, the universal sign to wait. He puts his hand to his face, and like tearing off a rag, tears off his face. Underneath is another, one that looks much like Mack, eyes sodden with tears, mouth open, screaming. The screams go on and on. Horrible, inhuman things. Then he puts his hand and its short yellow nails back to the screaming face and rips it off again, to reveal the original Indian behind it. Both of your men look shocked, mouths agape. Mack’s eyes are bloodshot. Still chortling to himself the Indian looks off far into the darkness past them, and clicks his tongue. The faint crying that’s been on the edge of your hearing for the past while begins to grow slightly louder.Before you can sort what just happened you hear Mack bellow out, ”GOD DAMN YOU!” and the report of his smoothbore thunders forth. The Indian turns at the shout and as the ball erupts from the gun he opens his mouth, and eats it. The skin of his cheeks split, his jaw dislodges from its perch an extra foot and a half, and he devours the bullet in flight. He chews on it for a moment, and spits a black slime that catches Mack in the face. He topples to the ground, clawing at it. Before he falls Quinton is already charging, shoulders forward and axe in both hands. The Indian is turned away from you facing Quinton, and you have the slope on him. That crying is getting louder. God help you.
You could Charge the Indian with Quinton. You aren’t a serious knife fighter but you’ve killed with it before, and there must be an advantage to both of you dividing his attention.You could Try and pin him with prayer. A cross has never worked for you on a human before, but you’re not sure what this Indian is. At the very least you might drive him off.You could Try and distract him from the trees. A whistle, a thrown voice, these are tricks you’ve used before. Perhaps the Indian does not want to deal with any more than two people tonight.You could Just fuckin’ shoot ‘im. Whatever he did to Mack’s ball, he’s facing away from you and doesn’t know you’re there, you figure you have a better chance at doing some injury.>Charge the Indian>Try your Cross>Try and Distract Him>Shoot Him>Write In
>>5721916>Charge the IndianSave the gun for the follow-up attack. Harder to miss a shot in close range.
>>5721917>Charge the Indian
>>5721917>Try and Distract Him
>>5721917>>Shoot HimHate monsters, hate frenchies, hate redskins
>>5721917>Charge the Indian2spooky4me
I'll wait another hour and a half, then roll to break the tie
>>5721917>Charge the IndianThis quest has potential.
Locked>Charge the IndianWriting
As Quinton bullrushes the Indian you break from cover and sprint to help him, your feet falling in tandem over the cold, hard snow. The Indian whips around, his braids slapping against the feathers on his cloak, genuine shock fixed on his face as you emerge from hiding. Quinton is almost on him, he whips back and cuts his staff through the air. As he does the snow under Quinton blackens, shimmering oily in the moonlight. Quinton tries to break through the newly formed tar, heaving his legs up, up, but he falls forward hardly a foot from the Indian, one hand caught in the tar.Quinton bound, the Indian spins to deal with you, but there wasn’t time enough for the both of you, and you slam into him, picking him up and heaving him downward on his back. He’s spry, trying to get out from under you, but your knife is drawn, pale in the moon. You hear Mack pick himself up, moaning, ”God damn you my eyes, god damn you, god damn you my cousin, god damn you cunt. You fuckin’ heathan cunt!”. You can’t spare a glance for him as the Indian manages to crack you in the head. Your vision slithers from the blow. You try your best to bring your blade to bear, but he’s scrabbling good, and you only manage a few cuts, one of them fairly deep on the chest. You think you hear the sound of Mack blindly putting powder and shot back into his Barnett, Quinton is trying to strain out of the pitch, trying to grab one of the Indian’s legs to hold him down for your knifework. The crying is loud now, both men hear it too. More than one voice, but they’re all coming to you. You summon your strength, reverse your grip on your knife, and stab.Note: Please roll 3 1d100 for each of the following actions.Mack is trying to reload, DC 70(DC 20. Blind+50)Quinton is trying to break from the tar slush and help you. DC 40(DC 60, Bear of a Man-10, Fighting for his Life-10)[b[You are trying to seriously wound the Indian. DC 50( DC 30, Better Position-10, Stronger-10, Oily Feather Cloak+40)
Rolled 31, 20, 87 = 138 (3d100)>>5722451Do we each roll 1 1d100 (for 9 rolls total), or do we each roll 1 3d100 (for 3 rolls total)?
>>5722455Also, are we rolling over or rolling under?
>>5722455I require a total of 9 rolls of 1d100, though since 9 people may not respond to this thread, one Poster may roll up to 3 times. If you choose to do this please state which outcome you are rolling for in the relevant post.You are attempting to match or exceed the given DC.
Rolled 53, 95, 97 = 245 (3d100)>>5722451
>>5722451Fuck I'm happy this is a rollover quest!
>>5722451>>5722486I like your cloak. Would be a shame if something were to happen to it.
I am rolling for us to attack or in the alternate first roll for Mack, second roll for Quinton, and third roll to attack.
Rolled 54, 78, 10 = 142 (3d100)>>5722451Here goes
LockedMack, DC 70: Rolled 54, FailureQuinton, DC 40: Rolled 95, SuccessYou, DC 50: Rolled 97, SuccessWell DoneWritingWell done
Mack tries to fumble for his powder and another ball to go back down his barrel, his hand shaking from cold and infirmity. He cannot see. That Indian spit is soaking into his skin like lye powder. Instead of burning he starts hyperventilating, the world becomes a terror in the smallest ways, the trees, Carpathian giants, the snow made up of funeral ash, the moon a hell-light bleaching his skin to a ghoulish tallow, sucking every tranche of marrow up to the infinite, terrible black sky. ”Oh god..oh Jesus, oh Jesus Christ.” He whispers to himself. His hand spasms, and his powder drops straight into the snow. With a wail he drops to search for it, but stops when the crying turns familiar. He cocks his ear to the dark, not daring to breathe. Multiple voices gnashing their teeth, sobbing in pain, crying out the lining of their throats. One familiar. ”Sean?” Mack’s voice is so small even he can hardly hear it. ”Sean? Is that you?”Quinton watches you and the Indian jostle for position helplessly. Stuck in the black, quicksand slush. He heaves himself with every thread of sinew at his considerable disposal. This is not about money, this is about the overwhelming certainty that dying here is a death unlike anywhere else, a death beyond death. This is a primal understanding. He heaves, he…heaves. His left arm is free but his right arm and both legs are still stuck. He heaves, the thin strands of thick slush give almost imperceptibly. His right arm is shaking with the effort. The slush sticks like tar, small patches of skin ripping off with each pull. He heaves! The spit freezes brittle on your lips as you sputter in the struggle to end the Indian. He kicks, he bites, and your head is rang more than once by the blunt knot on his staff. You smash him in the nose with your fist. Again. The Indian’s leg catches on the back of your knee as he flips his weight to the right. You almost topple, your hipbone smacking into a rock submerged in the snow, but he isn’t strong enough to send you over completely and you flip him back to your superior position. You backhand his face for his attempt. Hard, but no blood. He’s stunned and you take your opening, stabbing down with your Rifleman’s knife. He twists at the very last! You don’t get his heart, but his shoulder, piercing a good eight inches into his gristle. He gnashes his teeth, screaming in rage. ”WUAWUA P’ALIYA!” God dammit, no blood still! You do see more corruptive bile in between the ruins you’ve made of his face. It’s spilling now from his mouth, his eyes, his nose. Blue and black. Those same eyes narrow in abject hatred and he purses his lips. Black spit comes flying from him, but you see it in time! Ducking your head down under your coat it splatters against the collar.
The Indian takes his chance as you’re forced to look away, digging his fingers into your bruised hip. You curse as he uses the extra leverage to flip you again, successfully this time. He’s up! Unsteady, but on his feet. He runs.Or he would, if Quinton’s thick hand didn’t catch him by the ankle, the momentum sending him toppling onto his face. Quinton slides forward, prone, but finally free of that evil slush. ”COME ON YOU!” He drags the Indian back towards the both of you and you seize his feathered cloak, ripping it as you force him onto his back. Your hand clasps around his throat. With both of you holding him down, this time, there is no clemency. You thrust up the full foot length of your blade under his ribs, and into his heart.The Indian opens his mouth, working it in silence as his eyes go wide. He spits up blue and black. More follows, even more after that. The chest wound does not bleed. Your heart leaps heaven-high. Then, It appears. The rushing of blood drains from your ears, and you realize that the sounds of misery bloat the forest. You and Quinton both look back from your grisly work towards Mack, and see it. The size of a house. Twenty feet, maybe taller. Crimson crowned antlers broaden into a black horn mask. The eyes are visible, the mouth is a maw built into the chest. Wet, hanging limbs drool from the vacancy where its lower jaw should be. Faintly visible arms beckon into the terrible emptiness. Nooses of flesh dangle like crimson, pale cousins of some morbid, creeping, Spanish Moss. Itis scaled. Rust colored skin staining the spaces between its armor. Behind it trail four bloody “limbs”. Attached to each of these is a corpse. Corpse is the wrong word. They are still alive.You see a man who looks like Mack, and from there you can infer. Whittier said nobody had ever found any bodies. Each of them, three men and a woman, are crying into the darkness. It’s limb goes in through their stomachs, the bloody entrances flowering with Daffodils, Yarrow…Mule’s Ear. ”I’m sorry” one of them whines. ”Oh god I apologize”. The rest of its limb spills out of each of their eyes, the torn sockets also flowering with field mustard and bistort petals. The woman this time, ”I am sorry, please. PLEASE.”. It does not make a sound, it stares at the three of you, silent. Quinton picks up his axe from the ground, and stands. Mack looks up, ”Hello?”It turns its head towards him. ”S-Sean?”. You slowly stow your knife, and bring out your pistol.
”CAMPBELL!!!” Quinton roars. You jerk your head around. The Indian is on his feet! Spewing that bile and clutching his chest. You reach out and grab for him but he twists. A hideous mock of flesh writhes before your eyes and suddenly a Raven is flying away into the night. ”CAMPBELL! Quinton shouts again. “WHAT?” you shout back. You turn your head around and see it take a wide stance, and scream. An unearthly whine, a horrible sound that perforates you, flesh and bone. Each of the people attached to it begin to wail too, their volume twinning with its, until their pitch becomes perfectly in sync. The Cross grows hot as fire under your coat as it rears back on its hooves and tramples towards you and your companions. You can Charge the creature with Quinton. A dangerous, dangerous prospect, but then again, aren’t they all? Quinton has no gun, and will likely die if he is forced to go toe to toe with it alone for long. It is possible that he might surprise you.You can Keep your distance and Shoot. The creature is huge, and your .28 caliber is hardly a cannon. Still, enough lead will always do the job if you manage to place it in the right spot. You can Make for Mack’s Barnett gun. A proper scattergun. It could take the head off a black bear. It is also far away and unloaded, not to mention taking it would leave Mack blind and defenseless. Special Action UnlockedUnlocked via your skill; EmmetropiaThe Indian is gone…flying up high, a black distortion out in the dark. Except…you narrow your eyes. You think you see him, you think. You think you could even Take the shot.You could also Write in your own suggestion. >Charge the Creature with Quinton>Keep your Distance and Shoot>Make for Mack’s Barnett Gun>Write in>Take the Shot(Very Difficult)
>>5722612>Take the Shot(Very Difficult)Nothing ventured, nothing gained. you're a good writer OP
>>5722613Thanks bb. Without you guys I'm nothing
>>5722613We appreciate you. >Take the Shot(Very Difficult)This may be a trap option, but he may be controlling the beast.If this is what occultism can do then I am glad we did not start out with option. We can still learn secrets of the universe but I did not expect to encounter this level of dark magic so quickly. I also feel that this is not a tutorial.
>>5722691With the difficulty, I suspect the "take the shot" option is = "win the fight" if we succeed the roll.
>>5722612>Keep your Distance and Shoot
>>5722612>Take the Shot(Very Difficult)This quest is my nightmare OP
>>5722612>Take the Shot(Very Difficult)
Locked>Take the Shot(Very Difficult)This is it, I need 3 1d100sDC 90(DC 40, Dark+10, Far+20, Small+20)
Rolled 60 (1d100)>>5723232Well this seems intimidating
Rolled 78 (1d100)
Rolled 60 (1d100)>>5723232:(
>>5723232C-can we have a bonus for rolling two of the exact same number? That's rarer than passing a DC 90!
So sorry, tomorrow will be an update when I get up in the morning. >>5723321Yes, we will add a +5 to the roll
LockedDC 90: Rolled 78(+5), FailureYou miss every shot you don't take gentlemen.Writing
Yes…you think you can end that blighted heathen. He was near the end before he changed and as a raven he’s lilting wildly. You close an eye and level your gun, ignoring Mack’s screams, its thunderous hooves, Quinton’s battle cry. Focusing on that one speckle in the night…crack. The bullet races out, but the raven flags downward just as it pings into the branch a few inches above him. Miss! ”Shit!” You lower your gun as it flies out of range, away somewhere down the mountains. A shriek pulls your attention downslope, just in time to see it encircle each of Mack’s arms and legs with one of the grotesque limbs dripping from its chest. He runs the palette of human expression from whine to whimper, squeal to screech as he’s lifted up, up, all the way up to its face. A fifth limb comes forth, encircling his waist. Mack and the world return to silence for one, eternal moment. Then it pulls. Ripping each of his limbs off in rapid succession, and pulling his grotesque trunk with head still attached into its waiting cavern. Your mouth floods with hours old liquor, but there’s no time to let it out. The wails of the corpses impaled on its hideous tails synchronize again, and as one they’re puppeted upwards and set down on the ground. Still attached, they shuffle feebly to its defense. Quinton, head down and ignoring Mack’s death agonies, reaches its legs axe in hand. Raising it up past his shoulders, he lets loose a double handed chop to the back of its leg just above the hoof. You take in the situation, and rush to action. You could Join Quinton up close. You do not need to necessarily use your knife, but taking some focus off of him might lead to both of your surviving for longer.You could Shoot from where you are. The slope provides you a height advantage, and gives you a decent lay of the field. Quinton is doing what he was brought to do, it’s no concern of yours.You could Try and drive it off with your cross. Though this would require you to be right up to it, in front of its face, you could attempt to force it to flee from the two of you. You wont kill it, but it may buy you another few days.You could Write in your own suggestion. >Join Quinton up close>Shoot from where you are>Try and drive it off with your Cross>Write in
>>5723836>Join Quinton up closeFocus on hacking at its legs to destroy its mobility. Once we hobble it, we can stay at a distance and wear it down with some gunfire.RIP Mack
>Join Quinton up closeI sure as fuck hope we learn some lore or knowledge of some sort if we survive this shit.
>>5723836This thing needs to die it is a horror.
>>5723836>Join Quinton up close
Locked>Join Quinton up closeWriting
You race down towards the melee, feet flying over jutted up roots and bristled, cold air brush.. Whatever happens, you decide the only real chance of survival is with both of you working together. Quinton’s axe hews into the black fur above its hoof, the wet snap of flesh and tendon audible throughout the grove. It snaps an ear-splitting whistle of pain and trots sideways away from the dull iron broadhead. As it raises its hoof to crush Quinton underfoot your gun retorts twice, your target the black horn mask enshrouding its eyes. A spineless thump as the bullets make purchase, but fail to do so much as rattle the creature. No vitals will be punctured through that mask with the arms at hand. You may not have injured it, but its attention seizes on you as you make your way near it. Its hoof comes to rest instead of flattening down onto Quinton as it braces itself for the charge. The tail-limbs withdraw from the stomachs of the “corpses” as they reach Quinton. He undercuts one in the stomach, slicing through the bouquet of blooming flowers and lifting the shambler off its feet. It collapses on the ground as he swings the axe head around horizontally, smashing it into the head of another, breaking its neck and leaving it stuck hanging over its shoulder. You think of some way, any way to bring it down with the implements at your disposal. Quinton’s axe felling the shamblers brings it to you. Like a logger hacking down a tree, cut the legs and take it to ground. Quinton’s first hew seems to have made an ugly mark behind one of its legs you wonder if-. It charges, its antlers low, each one as big as a tall man. As close as you are there’ll be no sanctuary from the trees. You take your own stance, shifting onto the balls of your feet as it snorts out red dust into the cold night air as you prepare yourself to roll out of the way best you can.Roll 3 1d100’s for how Quinton deals with the shamblers. DC 30(DC 50, Full Attention, -10, Two Down, -10)Roll 3 1d100’s for whether Campbell dodges the creature’s charge. DC 50(DC 40, No Cover, +20, Semi-Hobbled, -10)
Rolled 71, 72 = 143 (2d100)>>5724133
LockedQuinton, DC 30: Rolled 71, SuccessCampbell, DC 50: Rolled 72, SuccessI was going to wait for three but you passed anyway and I wanted to update again before bed.Writing
You stand at a center, ready to spring, the horrible thing bearing down on you. Scarlet antlers protruding wickedly from its horrible crown. You do not seem to notice the world as is, the creature, the decision, the angle of the spring, the flecks of dirt torn up by churning hooves. All are smashed down into a moment of time so paltry, an experience so minute, that it happens to another man in another place. You watch the antlers run up from the ground. You watch yourself clear them, up and over and to the side. Just in time. The antlers stick in the roots of an old pine, but the creature strains its neck and half uproots the thing, scattering a rain of dirt clumps and needles all around the grove. As it jerks the debris off of its head and back you find yourself anterior to the half-wound you spied earlier. It pulses slowly, leaking a rust colored stream into the ground, devouring the native white of the snow. Two bullets left. You doubt you’ll have much effect on it with this old pistol unless you hit an eye, or find some other course to its vulnerabilities. Out of the corner of your eye Quinton strikes down hard with his axe blade, splitting the head of one of the still alive, yet long dead victims down the middle. The former woman slumps kneeling to the ground. The very last of them makes to embrace the lumber man for some no doubt nefarious purpose. Both hands low on the haft, holding the weapon up by his shoulder, the resulting swing decapitates the last of the shambling victims as much from the force of the blow as from the weapon’s cutting edge. Panting, the big man makes his way over to you as fast as his heavy breathing and wet, bloody strides will allow him to. He looks at you, one eye swollen shut from some wallop suffered by his recent struggles. You speak low, ”Circle it, take the legs.” Your voice is alien to your ears, low and ragged. Quinton doesn’t respond, but he does circle around to its left as you take its right. Small, low droning comes in waves from the creature’s central cavity. You pop out your chamber and fish for three more bullets in your satchel, fitting them in as fast as you can manage. Advantage is a strong word, and not proper to the situation. But…you no longer feel beset by ever increasing impossibilities, and now it’s your time to rend it from a world it has no place in.Your strategy is set, now all that remains is the execution, please roll a general combat check of 3d100, First three posters to roll will be counted.
Rolled 36 (1d100)>>5724376
Rolled 18 (1d100)>>5724376
Rolled 82 (1d100)>>5724376First good quest I've seen since Rage Across Pennsylvania. Good shit QM.
>>5724411Agreed! Great roll!
>>5724411Nice work anon
LockedGeneral check, Rolled 82Writing
>>5724411I miss that quest a lot, I hope he's doing alright
The tension snaps clean in half as you sprint right, drawing its beaded eyes to the whip of your coat. Between its legs you can see Quinton keeping pace, jerking his head from side to side, following its twitching tails-limbs. You take aim at the eyes, one shot sweeps wide and you don’t try a second, running instead to clear an angle on the seeping wound left by Quinton’s first blow. You fire once, and fan the last three into the left foreleg. Each bullet accompanied by a rich splash of rust. It picks the leg up and drones a shrill whistle cracking the glass of the clear night air. Seeing his moment Quinton rushes underneath, and finding his balance among the shifting trot of the hooves, drives his axe full weight into the right foreleg. Its whistle raises timbre, filling your head with resonant splinters. You circle around its front, reloading your cylinder as fast as you are able. Quinton makes for a way out from underneath it, but the tail-limbs drag wildly on the ground, hunting to answer its injury. He doesn’t see them. One pierces through his calf and he falls face down before he has time to scream. The tail-limb drags him over the frosty ground out behind the creature, hurling him like a child. You see him smash back first into the thick, half-uprooted pine tree.You can spare no more thought for him as its full attention rounds on you. It rears up, droning its tin needle song, scales rising and ruffling like the hackles on a dog. The creature’s chest limbs stretch out towards you as you unsheathe your knife to meet them. You hack at the things, shoulder sore with the force you bring to bear, but they neither bleed nor give way to the mundane steel. You’re nimble enough to slip the ones that go for your neck and waist, but a stray catches your left leg, and two more catch your knife hand, winding themselves tight around your entire arm and hauling you closer. You dig in your unconquered right foot and try to pull back, a foolish thing to do and one you know well to be futile. Still, you remember Mack’s fate, and however foolish, you try to resist as mightily as you can. In the end, your sinew is no match for it and you are pulled up, up to where it rears back on two legs, in front of its great horn mask. In front of its milk pale eyes. Your revolver is jarred from your grip, falling to the snow beneath. With your newly freed hand you reach for a fire on your chest. More limbs slither around you, trying to pin your last free arm and leg, Your hand scrabbles in desperation. Under your coat. It burns! It gives up trying to restrain you. A single, great chest-limb latches onto your head…and begins to pull. Your hand reaches the flame.
It is a curious thing when noise exits the world. There are places of great silence, but there is always something. Some flutter of wings, some droplet of rain. Something to remind you that you are in the world, you are of the world. Your experiences are of this world. There is a…voice, as the chest-limbs grow slack, and as you retrieve your makeshift cross. You do not hear this voice, you feel it. There is no sound, only the vibration of an impossible basso staccato. It fills your ear with low motion. You feel it roll through your body, your bones. One word, one short word. What it is you do not know, you can’t hear it.The cross ignites, throwing a blasting, interminable shine out into the grove. The Divinity pulses, you see half of the Lamb’s Blood which consecrates it melt to droplets in the air, up towards heaven. The Divinity turns a terrible hue, a trumpet of light. It pulses again, and like a rushing river half of its chest-limbs, including the ones holding you aloft shiver into ribbons of white powder. Sound cleaves its way back into the world as you fall. Fifteen feet, maybe more. You land on your back right next to your Colt, the wind knocked out of you, and retrieve the weapon. You get up, you take your time. It thrashes about in abject agony, noticing nothing else around it. You look for Quinton, you see him lying still. You cannot tell if he’s dead, his back is broken, or he’s unconscious. Your head clears itself and you move for him just as the creature crashes both its forelegs back down. The resulting quake topples the pine tree onto Quinton, obscuring him from view. There is no time to think, the creature froths that peculiar rust-blood. It carries itself gingerly, bringing its legs down so hard seems to have broken something in one of them. Its still spry enough to lash its tail-limbs out to scourge you, but you see it coming and roll under the flailing things. You come up and fire again into the right foreleg this time. One, miss. Two, miss. Three and four, hit. One bullet left. Before you can place it the creature twists its neck, digging its antlers into the ground, and rakes them towards you, screeching.
This time, the fire is in your hand, and ready. You hold aloft the sign of the Lord as the tremendous Divinity spills forth. “Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand;” Your tongue forms the words, but they are spake with different voice. “A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.” The antlers, the creature’s whole momentum, roots in place. It cannot pass the threshold of the Divinity. The last of the Lamb’s Blood filters heavensward. “And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.” A great bell tolls in silence. Ribbons of white grain run up from its antlers, and with a final wave of light the Divinity blasts away the entire right half of its head. The cross is cold now, simply a piece of wood. Your hand is smoking.It slowly picks itself up, somehow still alive. With the rest of its strength it rears up on its hind legs. You aim your last shot at the kicking foreleg and fire true. The shot surprises it, and letting out a slow, low droning, it stomps back down. It’s a simple enough thing to run clear, and as it comes down there are a pair of distinctive snaps. Both hooves on the forelegs are bent off at an angle, its weight too much to bear. It lays down, taking in breath slower and slower. It’s done. All that’s left now is the true killing. You can Finish it immediately. A creature like this requires a true killing. The fight is out of it for the most part, but wounded creatures have a reputation.You can Check on Quinton. He may be dead, he may not be. Best to make sure and do this together.You can Inspect the bodies of the dead victims It’s grim, but you are a poor man. The creature obviously didn’t care about any possessions they may have had on them, so they are almost assuredly still in place.You can Write in your own suggestion>Finish It>Check on Quinton>Inspect the Bodies>Write in
>>5725039>Finish ItQuinton was at best unconscious and then had a whole damn tree fall on him. Guy's dead or an inch away from it-- I'd be shocked if he lived long enough to get back to civilization. Grave robbing isn't a good look for a man of God, and imagine the consequences if we slipped up and let it go or heal back up after all this.
>>5725039>Finish ItNo half measures.
>Finish ItOne last roll.
>>5725039>Finish it immediatelyI don’t like the idea of leaving this thing time to recover, get it done
[b]Locked[/b]>Finish It[b]I will begin writing at 9:00 PM(PST)[/b]
There is no time to waste, a true death must be dealt out. You approach the creature, with beleaguered step, feet hardly leaving the earth. It breathes in fast and breathes out slow, the snorts buffeting your aching face. Its eyes look smaller than they did, vacant and staring straight ahead as its breath slows. In…and out. In……out. In………out. There is just you, and it. You approach the black horn mask taking your knife in soiled hands. You cut a grin in the palm of your hand and tamp two fingers in the blood.The eyes lazily focus on you. In………….out. For a moment you could swear they turn azure, a gleaming peace that does not belong in this horrible place. In…………….and out. You approach it. It does not flee, the eyes follow your hand as you touch it. The black horn is unnaturally smooth like polished glass. You paint the sign of the Divinity with your blood. A pair of lines dragged slowly across the creature’s mein. The sun is rising. It begins at the hooves, a silent white spreading across the fur, the strange skin, the jagged joints. Then up to the center mass, the scales, the tail-limbs, the chest-limbs. The eyes begin to close as the white reaches the head. It takes one more rattling breath in, and breathes out. A marble granularity lays before you, then the wind comes up, from the East. First one by one, then two by two, the white floats away, a gentle surety gusting north and west. Over the next few minutes the entire creature leaves you, sailing in the breeze to a thousand corners of the land. You limp over towards where you last saw Quinton, unsure of when you developed such a stiffness in your left leg. You can already see a twisted arm and further investigation drives any relish of victory further beyond you. His arm is broken and twisted round, but the falling tree smashed his ribs. There’s blood around his mouth where he tried to expel the blood filling his lungs, but he succumbed in the end. He lies dead under the tree. You cross yourself and reach down to close his eyes.It is common practice on the frontier to try and ensure a dead man’s accoutrements are returned to the closest family possible. You pat down the pockets of his vest and find two things, a picture, and a letter. The picture is of a woman and a boy, the woman is handsome, dark haired and dark featured. The boy is short and thin, with big ears and Quinton’s hooked nose. The tag on the back says Cheshire, Montana, 1855. Four years ago.The letter is less wholesome. A one McMurdock & Ellory banking house demanding a repayment of a considerable sum of money in terms as unpleasant as they are cordial. $2,300. Jesus Christ, if the woman in the picture was his wife it’s all on her now.
Getting the man out from under the tree would require more men than yourself, or at least yourself in a more virile state than present, so you make your way back to the Lumber Camp, the rising sun warming the left side of your face. The robin and the wren don’t sing for you, but it does sure feel like it.You have several choices for what to do with your morning. You could Find Whittier. Whittier owes you money, and arrangements need to be made for Mack and Quinton’s body. He’d be the one to see.You could find Edgar Welles. Welles stood you up with rank cowardice at the beginning of the hunt. His pepperbox might have very well meant the life of Mack and Quinton in the end.You could poke around either Mack or Quinton’s tent. There are nefarious reasons to do this, but also noble ones. You could Write In your own suggestion.>Find Whittier>Find Edgar>Poke around Mack or Quinton’s Tent>Write In Finally I apologize for the update. I've just moved today and it spaced my mind that my IP would change. I'm going to make a new thread tomorrow to regain control of the formatting.
>>5726099>Find WhittierHe's the foreman, right? He needs to be told about the whole deal (plus we need to get the money). Maybe we can ask for permission to search Mack and Quinton's effects, to see if anything could be sent home to their families. If nothing else, the families ought to be sent letters that the men of the households died as heroes.
>>5726099>Poke around Mack or Quinton’s Tent
>>5726099>Poke around Mack or Quinton’s Tent>I'm going to make a new thread tomorrow to regain control of the formatting.That really isn't necessary. We can cope without fancy colors.
>>5726097>Find WhittierWe can hunt around their tents once they’ve been laid to rest
>>5726099>Find whittlerWelles is next, that sumbitch
>Find WhittierIf he betrays us we will have to correct his misjudgment.Congrats to us for our first successful hunt. (I'm not counting the background one since we were probably hard-carried in that fight). Did we gain anything from killing this thing?
Locked>Find WhittierWritingWe'll go ahead without any formatting for the time being but let me know if it starts bothering you guys and we'll start a new thread.
>>5726307You have gained something, though it will take a little story advancement to find out what. Utilizing the actual body of the creature is a part of the Mukua, whereas powerful, deeper knowledge of how and why the Black Shaman corrupted the area is something an Occultist may have utilized.
The morning seems brighter than usual to you, though you have no proof to ascertain it. The frost holds less sway over the ground, the clouds thin out in the grand blue sky, and the sun holsters its spears for gentle hands cupping the face of the land. You are tired. You haven’t slept for over a day straight, and had you caught a ten hour spell this last night would’ve still left you bleeding vigor on the ground. You force your legs to locomotion and bring yourself to Whittier’s tent. The sight is not easy on you.Slashes and rips swirl the canvas, blood stained outside and, as you soon find out, inside. It’s empty of life, but coagulations abound, brown life splashed carelessly on every surface. In the middle, a severed arm, strung through with antler. Growing from the inside through the fingernails, through the top and through the palm and elbow. It lies in the center like an Indian fetish, but its owner is nowhere to be seen. You look for any identification as to the event and find none inside. You return to the fresh air, the glorious morning made an object of fun by the murderous scene. Outside, you circle around the tent and find four graves, dug out and filled. Thin branches lashed with rope make splintered crosses above them, each with a name engraved. You hold your breath and bend down. You only recognize one name, Anson Collier, the young deputy foreman you met when you first arrived here yesterday morning.If Whittier isn’t here, and isn’t in a grave, there’s one other place he’d most likely be. You drag yourself to the lumber camp where some scant activity catches your eye. Only a few of the lumber men take to their trade today, the still attitudes in competition with yesterday’s loud and confident action. Smoke rises from the Foreman’s tent and you make yourself known outside of it. Whittier’s voice is watery as he welcomes you in. He sits on a chair in front of a cobbled desk, a safe by his feet. His seat is uneasy and though he wears his usual double coat and muskrat hat there’s no missing heavy bandages wrapping around his stomach.“You’re alive? God damn and then some pardner I ain’t never been so glad to see a face!” He tries to rise from his chair and thinks better of it, grunting as he regains his original posture. He motions you to the one other chair in the tent and you drag it across from him and sit yourself down. He holds his stomach in one hand and puts a rosewood pipe to his mouth. He tries to strike the match on the table but his fingers fumble and jerk. You finally take a match from his case and strike it in one smooth motion, holding it over his pipe. He puffs as erratically as he handled the match, and it takes a solid minute before his smoke is on. Whittier takes a moment, and you reach into your satchel and pull out an incalculable treasure, a Partagás cigarillo, one of five you have left from New Mexico. You take another match from Whittier’s box, and light it up.
You lean in slow and careful, the table creaking from the weight. “What happened Foreman, I been to yer tent. You look like Cain when the lord asked for Abel.” You can mark Whittier’s sand in pipe breaths. He takes one, two, and three, then meets your eyes and speaks. “The boy, somethin’ were wrong with ‘im. I don’t right know what, I’d guess you would be one who might. We were at ‘is death watch, only he didn’t die correct. He lingered, and after that he changed, changed to some beast from before the flood. Killed three and almost did for me, but for some true luck.”You puff your own smoke, turning the cigarillo from one corner of your mouth to the other. “Did ye kill it?” “No, one o’ them fellers that went to the Lord did ‘im in with an Indian Musket. The arm I left, and I will not go back to that tent fer my life sir.”You straighten up in your chair and look Whittier over. From the cut through stomach, to the shaking hands, to the haggard and sleepless eyes. “You been through it alright. I’ll say only this Foreman, that arm’ll do ye no harm now, but I wouldn’t mind if ye burnt the whole tent regardless. Other than that, our deal is honored and the beast that done the real killin’ is killt itself, I’m here fer services rendered.” Whittier doesn’t seem to hear you at first, eyes flashing back pictures of the event. He starts suddenly and bends down towards the safe. “Aye aye Campbell.” Unlocking it and counting out a flurry of bills. “Here’s a hundred for ye, as agreed.” He hands you the money. As you reach out and take it your heart grows heavy. “You didn’t ask ‘bout them boys o’ yers Foreman. The ones I borrowed.” Another puff swirls ip from his pipe as he stares ahead. “I figured they been done fer when ye come back alone. After what I seen, I’m just glad ye brought yer own self back.” You stow the money in a pocket sewn inside your vest. “Well…they died fer sure. Both in brave fashion, their people should be told as such.” Whittier reaches back down to shut the safe. “Well I know Mr. Aimes were from Montana, and Mr. Donnelly, he were from back East quite a ways. Neither o’ them boys talked about it much, but I do have me an address. Thing is, mail is slow up here, could be as much as three month ‘fore any pony comes lookin’ fer it.” “Well I’d ask ye to trust my lack o’ rougish humors when I tell ye I’d like to search them tents for clues regarding any deeper details. In cause o’ puttin’ their memories to justice.” He waves the thought away with his hand, “Hell Campbell, ye can do as ye like, I trust yer demeanor plenty. You oughta think about runnin’ the mountain mail to the city. There’s $250 in it if ye make collections all down the Sierras and bring it to San Francisco.”
A muscle in your face twitches. Just one. You refasten your mouth on the fading cigarillo. He is back West. You can’t go back there, not ever. You just need to keep running East, don’t let him catch you for the love of God. Whittier enough in your face that he changes topic. “Or ye could do me a favor. I have in my possession two carts o’ lumber ready fer Virginia City. I could use a man to get ‘em down there, and to see a friend o’ mine with a message. There’d be $30 in it fer ye, half a month’s pay fer two days work. You take the day, and let me know.” You rise from your wobbling chair and meet the Foreman’s proffered hand. “I’m glad yer not in the ground Whittier.” He gives you a single, hearty shake. “Likewise.” Brushing the flaps aside you step out into the muted logging camp as the embers of the cigarillo fall out of your mouth. Time to go, but where?NOTE: Please decide two things,ONE: Where does Campbell plan to go next. This can be anywhere you like in the country really, here are some ideas.You could head deeper into the Sierra Nevadas. That Shaman is still alive, and you doubt that any settlements around here will be permanently safe until he’s dead. The Indian tribes in the mountains are the Mono, Maidu, Miwok, and Washoe. They are all reclusive and unwelcoming to white men. However, you happen to know that the type of perversion that Shaman practiced is seen as a terrible, terrible sin among them all. They would be the place to start.You could head to Virginia City. The Comstock Lode is the largest silver mine ever discovered in America, and it’s only been half a year since the first shafts were sunk. There is certainly money to be made, getting there comes with a ready job offer, and you were going there anyway. Unfortunately the Shoshone will not be pleased about the drastically increased urbanization in their land, and the United States Army currently has a very bare presence in Nevada. Cornelius told you stories of the Shoshone holy men and their night giants that ate dreams.You could try and follow your original plan and head to Texas. Your cousin Eustace is a Methodist circuit rider near Lyle, Texas. There are usually settlers coming out on the Oregon and California Trails who will pay good money for a hard man to guide them down to Oklahoma and Texas. To do so, you’d need to travel through Zuni and Navajo land. There’s something there that owes you a death, and it will go as far as it needs to in order to collect.
TWO:What is in Campbell’s immediate futureYou could look around Mack and Quinton’s tent. As before, something, anything would help in identifying and reaching their families, and who knows what else you might find.You could restock and refill on the thoroughfare. With some money now, you can afford some sundries you’ve desperately needed. You could take a drink in a Saloon, or find a bed to sleep in.You could settle your score with Welles. Maybe other men might let him off, but you’ll see him bloody for the memory of the two men who died beside you.One:>Deeper into the Mountains>To Virginia City>To Texas>Write InTwo:>Look Around the Tents>Restock and Refill>Settle up with Welles>Write In
>>5726977>Deeper into the Mountains>Look Around the Tents
>>5726977>Deeper into the Mountains>Look Around the TentsThis is a hard choice. I really like the get-rich option, but we need to finish this.
>>5726977>Deeper into the Mountains>Look Around the Tents“The thing ain’t done yet, Whittier. The mad bastard who called THEM through it out there.”
>>5726830Thank you for answering my question. The combat was great by the way. It just occurred to me that the Abrahamic option while boring can really help offset our social flaw.
>>5726977Deeper into the MountainsLook Around the Tents
Apologies, update will happen around 12:00 PM today(PST)
You step outside the bounds of the logging site, eyes fixed on a series of squat tents that house the lumber men. You hardly put together a dozen steps when a caw strikes the drum of your ear. Your neck snaps attention to the sound and you see a large raven fly over you, bathing you in a second long shadow. It perches on a low branch, staring down the barrel of a freshly drawn revolver. The raven does not seem perturbed, turning its head to pick at a few feathers, all the while staring at you with one unflinching black marble. A bead of sweat runs down your wrist as you remember the Indian from last night, the memory of his cruelty and power dragging your trigger finger closer to the bird’s early end. You gain control over yourself with a breath, and holster. The bird takes flight without a sound. You haven’t had time to think about that Indian, or maybe you just didn’t want to, but he’s still alive and still up to whatever he was doing when you found him in the forest. This camp is just the beginning, there are more and more people making for the area. It’s one of the only natural passes in the Sierras to Nevada, it’s scenic, unsettled, and for the most part rich in timber, hunting, and fishing. More and more people will be coming, and these won’t be frontiersmen running from warrants or looking to get rich in a place with no law, they’ll be families. Families trying their best to make a way under their own strength. You’ve seen what that Indian conjured, what he perverted in this place. Nobody who lives here will be safe as long as he is allowed to further his heresies. He needs to die, and what’s more you need to kill him. This time, you won’t stop at his heart, you’ll gut him all the way across.For now though…you have some investigating to do. Your thoughts have carried you faster than expected to the worker’s tents. You start with Mack’s. A homely place, a cot, a table, a knife and candle sitting on a tin plate. Little else in view besides a malformed chair, apparently a tradition in this place, and a water pot with a smaller coffee pot inside it. He must’ve had somewhere to keep his money at least. You check in the corners and under the cot.
“There.” You grunt and pull out a small, foot long metal box. Inside are small, folded pieces of paper, a money clip, and a book. The book is titled ‘Alphabetics for the Self-Starter’ and more small rectangles of blank papers fall out from inside. There’s $30 in the money clip, which you stow for Whittier’s safe until the foreman sends those letters he promised. At the back of the stack of blank papers there’s an old daguerreotype of four boys. They all look alike, and on the back it reads Sean, Liam, Mack, and Brian, Willem, MA, 1840. There, you’ll tell Whittier to send a letter to the Willem post office back east. You straighten up and cross yourself, head to chest and shoulder to shoulder. “I’ll meet you later pardner, walkin’ the streets of glory.”As you back out of Mack’s tent you turn to Quinton’s across the way and down some, only to find it already occupied by a trio of men. As you approach you’re washed by a current of fatigue. It’s been more than a full day since you’ve slept or eaten. The thick adrenaline pumping through your heart has kept you on your feet but it’s watering down now. This one last errand, then you’ll find a place to rest. One of the men is eying you from your position. You step forward and make yourself known. “Whatchu be doin’ here at this tent gentlemen?” The man holding Quinton’s tent flap open does not respond, but the two others you see inside turn sharply at your voice. “Well hell’s bells do I see Mr. Quinton Aimes here before me? No? Must be one o’ them famous mountain police we got ourselves up here.” The man’s friend chimes in. “Naw now Henry there ain’t no police of any sort up in these mountains.” The other continues to draw out the mockery, “No police? Well if you ain’t the man who this here tent belongs to, and if you ain’t any no policeman, then you must be the Lord hisself risen to preach against our sinnin’. Funny…I thought you’d look more like the windows in church and less like a bedraggled fuckin’ bum with a shot up face.”The third man stays silent still, watching to see what you’ll do. You feel the angry heat in your chest, and have to work mightily at calming your words. “Listen. Feller. I will ignore you to the extent I am able, which is fast approachin’, now I had a spell o’ business with Quinton and I will ask again, what the hell are you doin’ here?” The man called Henry smiles. “Well everyone had a spell o’ business with Quinton. The man was a degenerate drunk who pissed away every dollar he made here. He owes me money, it is that simple. Now that I have satisfied yer curiosity why don’t you-” “Do you know where his body is? The third man who hadn’t spoken suddenly inserts himself.
Your eyes shift to him, “I suppose the gossip might’ve made round that he is dead. Still, why do you care about the corpse? That good a Christian are ye?” “That’s right,” the third man says, “Most important thing for any man is proper care in the afterlife. Many of us need help making our way to our proper place. That’s what I do.” The man’s eyes do not blink. “What is yer name friend?” your question is almost drowned out by a cry of eureka by the two unsavories inside. It seems Quinton had a lockbox of his own that they’d finally forced open. The jubilation immediately turns sour as one of the men throws the thing across the inside of the tent, a flutter of smaller objects falling out as he does so. “There ain’t no fuckin’ money in here Henry!” “Wait now.” Henry says, collecting the ancillaries that fell from the box. “There’s…some letters here, maybe they say somethin’ ‘bout some money, some pictures too, of a woman. Those always sell ‘round here.” The two begin to make their way out of Quinton’s tent, shouldering you aside and heading toward the thoroughfare. You start after them but the third man they left behind grabs your arm. “Sir, would you mind taking me to the man’s body? There would be money in it for you.” You stare at him, then stare at the two down the road fading into the distance. You could Follow the two men with Quinton’s things. Whether it be the memory of a comrade at arms, or the unquenchable desire to answer their insulting tone, something needs to be done.You could stay with the insistent man. The man offered you money. You need that. You don’t know what he wants with Quinton’s body but it does need to be recovered sooner rather than later.You could find a place to Eat and Rest. It’s been about twenty six hours since you’ve slept, and about twenty since you’ve eaten. You are about to drop, it’s time to find a cot.>Follow the Two Men>Stay with the Insistent Man>Find a spot to Eat and Rest NOTE: I'll be back in about five hours to update again.
>>5728153>Follow the Two Men
>>5728153>Find a spot to Eat and Rest
Locked>Follow the Two MenWriting
You tear your arm out of the grip of the insistent stranger with a glare and stalk off to the two men. The crunch of their shoes on the frosted mud covers your approach like a woolen blanket and you gain on them, unholstering your revolver in the process. You take a grip by the muzzle and whistle through your teeth, “Hey pardner!” The man called Henry turns with a sneer on his face and you drive the hilt of your gun straight through his nose. You feel the solid cartilage writhe and flex under the force of your gun butt, until all that’s left is soft, skin-toned gel.Henry’s companion grabs your arm far too late and tries to jerk the armament out of your hand, but he fails to account for your middle finger driven straight into his ear. As he releases your hand to try and suppress his wound you reconfigure your grip and crack him upside the jaw with a sound like a pine tree in a logging camp. The blood wells up out of his mouth like a seep and you hit him again. He manages to cough up a trio of teeth before you hit him a third time, whereupon he fails to act at all, lying still and stupid in the road. You reach down and retrieve the Quinton’s lockbox from the dirt and kick a stern farewell of cold mud over both of the men’s faces as you march off toward the thoroughfare, prize in hand.On your way, you flip the lid on the box and find the two pictures the men mentioned, both of the same woman you found in Quinton’s pocket. One has her pregnant with what you assume is the boy you saw in the previous picture, the other has her much younger, smile all aflutter. Three letters round out your discoveries, one half finished, begun by Quinton himself in a small, tenuous hand. You read enough of it to construe a typical letter home, but incomplete and half-hearted.The other two letters are both violent enumerations of Quinton’s debts, one ending in a firm request to contact an agent in order to negotiate a different rate of interest. The other loses any sort of confrontational tone, limiting itself to a set of factual outcomes. If Quinton does not present himself at the letter writer’s place of business, and does not bring a substantial premium of interest, the letter writer will take substantial measures to produce said interest from his family. Both letters are signed M & E.
As much light as this has shed on Quinton’s desire to find gainful employment in a dangerous, fast-paced, frontier environment, it has done little to elucidate any other aspects of the man. You are not so far from chucking the lockbox to the side of the road as that fool Henry’s friend had when a thought occurs to you. It is a scant chance, but worth at least investigating. You run your fingers along the bottom of the lockbox searching for any sort of uneven pressure. Slowly you cover first one side, then the other. A small imbalance in the back left quarter of the box lifts your spirits, and the subsequent press, reveal, and removal of the false bottom sets them to further heights. They descend again unto depth however, as you spy the lone fruit of your labor. A bullet. One, single bullet. Made of a substance other than lead, your discerning eye brings out an etching of four letters, and a scrawl of script you’re unfamiliar with. You cannot read the letters, your eye squirms past them no matter how hard you try. At first you think it’s the light, but after a dozen attempts and no further progress you ignore the letters. Neither money nor gold, neither deed nor debt, a strange bullet is all you’ve found. You stow it in your satchel and decide that it’s better than nothing. Looking up, it seems you’re in the thoroughfare. What passes for a market in this place. A long strip of churned dirt with tent stalls and three log buildings. You have a long journey ahead of you, to a wild place with little recourse. There is money in your pocket, and need to be fulfilled. Weaponry, supply, clothing, animals, you can search for it all, but finding it is another matter.NOTE: Pick a general type of good to search for, such as food, guns, or animals, then roll a 1d100 to see what’s available/how well Campbell does finding those things.
Rolled 56 (1d100)>>5729018Food and basic medical supplies, we'll be needing that a lot in our build
Rolled 93 (1d100)>>5729018Got a gun for that bullet?
Rolled 42 (1d100)>>5729039great roll
Rolled 19 (1d100)>>5729091books.
>>5729093I doubt we'll find any useful titles. This place doesn't feel major.
>>5729157I am not expecting skill books and am willing to settle for something other than the bible. Maybe a book on jokes or an intro to what plants are not poisonous.
Rolled 67 (1d100)Generally, beartraps and some spare powder, some empty and solid vessels as well. We can probably use pebbles as shrapnel. Next hunt we'll be rigging the battlefield as a bootleg witcher.
Rolled 35 (1d100)>>5729033Support.
LOCKEDFood/Medicine: 56Guns: 93Books: 42Beartraps/Powder, etc.: 67Will post around Noon
You survey nine rickety stalls trailing down the main thoroughfare, each leaning in some random, askance direction. The three, sturdy, pine wood permanents that serve as the first real fixtures of the oncoming humanity stand attention at the end of the quarter mile commerce row. Stepping in among the three dozen men milling to and fro among the market, you begin to search for what you’ve decided this place might be able to offer you. You need food. The last crumbs of the cornbread in your satchel are stale and pathetic. You need a gun. Your Patterson is reliable but low caliber and outdated. You need some traps. They and preparedness are all that keep your guts from being strewn across the night sky. Finally, you need books. You like books, always a reader, you’ve had little time to pursue the hobby in the past several years, and you’ll be damned if another season will pass without you setting eyes to a page for pleasure. All told, the $100 clip sewn into your vest will cover your considerations with nary a care. Still, the deep mountain beckons, and there will be little opportunity to take in greenbacks on your road to the Shaman’s exsanguination. This money may need to last you a long while. On the other hand, death due to dismemberment that could have been avoided by some considerable purchase is unappealing as poverty.Your mind sharpened to its purpose, you pierce the first of your objectives; food and medicine. The stalls you pass mostly hew to this purpose, two of them dedicated to fresh meat brought in from some early morning hunt. Another stands for vegetables, dark green roughage and spots of color buckle the distraught wooden counter. One last purveys canned, salted, and preserved foods, the bounty of nature in this place precludes much popularity, but he serves his function, and you in particular have some truck with him. The rest of the stalls provide a true variety of commonware: sewing kits, soap, gloves, combs, pommade, tobacco, and whatever else the merchants in question managed to steal, trade for, or buy from the ever-revolving labor coming and going to work at Whittier’s logging camp. There is one last stall situated away from the others, at the back end of the thoroughfare, but you ignore it as you reach the first of the pine buildings; the general store. Inside is the proprietor, a man named Brown, who takes little care to engage with you other than a perfunctory garble of “Fternn.” which you take to mean Afternoon. The floorboards let loose quiet protests as you browse but the building is an order of magnitude more put together than those outside. The general store doesn’t have much you can’t find at the stalls, but there’s finer tobacco, chewing gum, whiskey, sacks of flour and meal, and holy of holies, chocolate.
Your first introduction to the cocoa plant was down in Mexico, and you’ve always taken it as the Mexicans have, boiled with chilis until frothing and drank, instead of eaten solid. The sight is magnificent out of proportion to itself. Somehow an 8 oz. cloth packet of cocoa powder massages every knot of fright and worry into a placid tide of carelessness. Aside from the canned goods, there are also empty tin cups for sale, along with a trail kit, consisting of a fry pan, stew pot, coffee pot, and other necessaries. You make your purchases and inquire as to firearms in the camp. Every man has one but you saw no stall proffer them, and elsewise from the general store there’s but a Marshals office and saloon. Both hands heavy on the counter Brown leans over, “Gots me’n baffalo raffle i cud port wit fer fitteen er dust.” Not what you were hoping for, a Plains Rifle was a muzzle-loader and at .50 caliber it packed some wallop but was as overlong as the ammunition was overheavy. Another customer in the store hears an opportunity for commerce and chimes in, “I got me one o’ them kentucky rifles, ain’t failed me yet pardner.” The man sucks on his mustache, “Now that’n I’d let go fer $17, seein’ as it’s newish and all.” Newish…the longrifle, or as you first knew it the Pennsylvania Rifle was another muzzle-loader, .45 caliber, used back in the Revolution. You very much doubted it was ‘newish’. Not only that but both men were overpricing you by about $10. You tell them you’ll consider it and let them know by the end of the day, then make your leave.Back out in the crisp you decide to meander to the odd stall out at the end of the thoroughfare that you’d ignored. As you approach you see it’s manned by an Indian. He stares level, as if looking past you, even as you approach within twenty, ten, five feet. Even as you step up to him behind his wooden stall. He is possibly the fattest man you’ve ever seen in your life. He stares straight ahead still, passing breath after labored breath through his open mouth. He sits on some tortured construction that could loosely be considered a chair, its screams muffled under the press of his bulk. He is almost as wide as the stall itself and what little space left around him is filled with various plants, seeds, and powders. From the ceiling of the stall hangs herbs, flowers, and various groupings of bark.
“What are you looking for, partner?” Your eyes snap from the assortment of herbs to the Indian as he speaks. His words are slow and measured, his pronouncements obviously learned second-hand. “I have your people’s medicine too. Some, at least.” He gestures to an inward built shelf with four glass bottles. The action seems about to tip the entire stall on its side. “I know me some trailcraft, yarrow an’ the like. I’ll take me some ether if ye got it. Other’n that, what do ye recommend for a long, lonely course?” The Indian doesn’t move his body, just his arm, and without looking transfers one of the glass bottles from the shelf to the counter between you. “Yarrow is good. Lavender for headaches, Foxglove for Dropsy, Mint for stomach pain. Got them all, partner. .50 cents a bushel. Where are you off to anyway?” You pocket the ether and give him a long look, “Goin’ up mountain, on some business.” The Indian leans forward, the stall seeming to lean with him. As he does so you see a series of tattoos on his arms, tusks or fang, about half a dozen in varying length. “You going up to see the People eh? Could give you something to help. Ain’t cheap though.” He reaches down at his feet and brings up what looks like a series of tiny elephant tusks, beaded into a sheaf of about 30, maybe just under three feet in length. “$30, think about it. Could save your life.” Thirty dollars is a sum of money. Granted you know little about the tribes up here other than a few basics, but this is still a wild place, and its isolation causes a severe lift in the price of even basic goods. If the Indian wants thirty it is probably worth twenty, if that. “We’ll see pardner.” You turn to leave with your things when you spot three metal glints hanging in the back of the stall. “Those back there medicinal as well pardner?” You flick your head to the three jaw traps of varying sizes. “Sure.” He answers, “Cures leg pain, anything below the shin.” He laughs at his own joke, jiggling the wooden frames around him. You give a quick smirk despite yourself and walk on to the saloon across from the Marshals office. A man sits in a chair, spurs on the banister in front of him. He tips his hat as a slight regard. You assume this is the Marshal. You have no trouble with the law but you have no love for it either. You give equivalent respect to the man with a slight incline, then about face and enter the saloon.
It is an empty place. One patron sleeping in a chair across from the entrance is the sole occupant of the two story, other than the barkeep. The dust hangs in the air, for a moment you mistake it for gold, glittering off the stack of bottles behind the bar and their molasses colored liquid. Your steps are over loud on the planks, and you feel almost embarrassed as you make your way over to the barkeep, echoing step after step up to ring around the high ceiling. A towel over his shoulder he stands from his chair, uncorks a bottle of whiskey and pours a finger in each in two glasses. “Here’s a welcome fer ye mister, on the house seein’ as I ain’t seen ye before.” You lift the glass to your lips and shoot, the burn well worth the taste. “Obliged”, you say as you suck in. You don’t ask his name and he doesn’t give, the both of you comfortable with the silence that settles in. After a minute he pours you each another, you both drink. You’re the first to kill the quiet. “You know where a feller can get a book ‘round here?” He cranes his neck past you to the sleeping customer. “Well I gots me a digest, I believe it to be the words of J. Quincy Adams, it does me good but it ain’t no novel.” You scratch the rough on your chin, “Huh…which one was Quincy?” “Number six mister.” “Well I trust no man who insists on usin’ three names to speak any sort o’ wisdom.” The barkeep pours another drink for the two of you. “Now…don’t say that mister. Every general in the Union goes by three names er more.” You knock back the third shot, “I rest my god damned case. Now you know anyone with a lick o’ poetry in their clutches round here? Mayhap some Longfellow?” The slosh of a fourth shot fills both of your glasses. The barkeep looks up, “You mean Henry Wadsworth Longfellow?” The glass goes up, the glass goes down. “I will not be undone by a man who has intentionally obscured me with free whiskey.” A loud crash sounds out back. The barkeep looks up to heaven and mutters a prayer. “That shit eatin’ Irishman and his shit eatin’ grin and both of their shit eatin’ midday boozin’.” You smile, “Now I do believe I know that man.” A second crash. The barkeep throws up his hands “Well I am sorry for ye.” You start off toward the sound, “Allow me to offer ye a kindness and route ‘im from yer property.” You fling the backdoor wide open to a depressingly familiar site.
Patrick Flynn, leaking alcohol from every pore, staggering around a collection of brooms, sweeps, and buckets, laying fists into anything of vaguely humanoid shape. “Ye fackin’ rat arsed Gallovidian corsairs Oi’l pin yer ears back wit a trio o’ nails.” He makes his way back up to his feet only to misplace a swing at a supporting wood column and rush back to the ground. He flails around in the mud for a moment before you reach down and grab him by his shirt and haul him to his feet. He seems confused at your intrusion into what seems to him a very private affair. He blinks and summons a hock of spit no doubt meant for your face, only to have it dribble furiously down his chin. He repeatedly attempts to coordinate his check muscles to spit in your face to no avail. “OH FACK YOU THEN!” You grip him by a bunch on his collar and march away from the back of the saloon. “Paddy god dammit its me, desist with yer fuckin’... projectiles!” His eyes attempt to focus on you. “Who is me ya salty tart, ya unhooved crusted kelpie, ya belted, ungodly lamentation of a man, ya-” “Campbell god dammit and don’tchu make me take the Lord’s name in vain a third time!” “Campbell? That fackin be o’ the Caledonians east o’ Strathclyde?” Paddy’s old, gnarled hands shake you off from your grip on his shirt. He moves away from you on jagged stilts, finally turning to plant both feet and stare back at you proudly, hands on both hips. Mid 50’s, a thick bushel of gray hair, clean shaven, whip thin with a big mouth and big eyes. “Oi woulda never carried no man named Campbell up here in me wagon ya punting cunt-lace.” “Ye called me yer brother in arms ‘gainst Saxon tyranny ye drunk old Irish bastard!” He rails against you with mighty waves of both arms. “Ah yer from the lowlands ya sheep fuckin’ half-an-Englishman!”You hold up both hands in front of you, “Be that as it may you are still, somehow, the man I wish to see. Do ye still possess that copy o’ Endymion?” He takes a comical length of time to answer. Swaying in place all the while, no doubt gathering his faculties at the mention of a possible transaction. When he does speak his hoarse, old voice is as steady as he can make it. “Oi might possess that and other o’ the Keat’s luminations. That’s me readin’ material boyo, the source o’ me gab and the foundation o’ me charm. $100 at the very least.” You splutter a sigh out in impatience. He is in no position to seriously negotiate. You’ve seen him get entrenched in a mystical position like this, not caring for realities. Time to respond in kind. “Well I could offer ye the hundred Paddy, or we could shoot fer it?”
Paddy scoffs, hand to his heart as if struck an unconscionable blow. “Ya strike yer own misery Campbell, any man o’ the Isle could outfight and outshoot any yellow Caledonian with an eye and a leg lost t’ the devil.” He staggers his way over to what you now recognize as his wagon, stowed away from the thoroughfare toward the lake. He rifles through the back of the wagon, retrieving a jug of alcohol from some compartment which he promptly opens. After guzzling for a good 10 seconds he hands it to you. “Don’t say Paddy never gave ya nuttin’.” You down as much as the old man, shake your head to clear the cobwebs, and hand it back to him. He takes another cyclopean gulp and sets it down on the ground.Reaching further into the wagon he pulls out a very familiar, very harried looking gun. “Is that my Sharps you god damn indigent? Fuckin Christ look what ye made me do!” Paddy taps it on his shoulder “Ya better believe it ya prissy maid.” He returns to the back of the wagon and brings out a pair of weathered, leather covered treasures. “Here we are boyo, and ya know wut, since yer so flush ya can afford to be a bettin’ man, Oi’ve got anudder fer ya.” Fishing out a glass bottle, Paddy sets it out at about thirty yards. You raise your eyebrow but he ignores you. “One shot rule boyo, The first man to hit it, wins the lot, and if you win, I’ll even sell ya back this bit o’ passage you paid me.” He extends his hand.If you fail, you’ll lose everything you have, but if you win you’ll get your gun back, and the books you’ve been looking for at no expense. You eye Paddy’s outstretched hand recollecting the hardships of poverty. Eventually, you meet his grip with your own. He pulls you in close as you do so. “Remember boyo, a man’s word is his bond.” Without waiting for a response he walks a few feet away. He takes aim with your rifle, steadying himself. You don’t know how good of a shot he is but your heart drops as he checks the wind. He takes a drink from the jug at his feet. He adjusts the sight, and takes another swig. He breathes in deep and hoists the rifle to his shoulder. He thinks better of it, reaches down and polishes off his jug. He cocks the rifle, brings it back up to his shoulder, closes an eye…and in slow motion, like a sawn-through tree, falls over.
You approach slowly, tapping the Irishman with your boot. He weakly pushes your foot away, snoring loudly. You look around at the empty meadow where he’s parked his wagon. Gently, you wiggle your rifle free from his arms. It’s been a month since you’d given it up, and it is beaten as though it’s been a year, through all that though, it is still a thing of beauty. You sidle up to his wagon and take the two books off of the lip where he left them. Endymion, and Hyperion, beautiful. You return to the man’s bed of grass, “Well Paddy, ye gave a tough fight. I’ll see ye somewhere down the trail pardner.” You pluck $10 off your clip and toss it onto his sleeping form. Half of what your Sharps is worth, but you had to give him something. Whistling to yourself and thinking of the chocolate waiting for you, you walk back to the thoroughfare and to a well deserved rest. GAINED: Sharps Rifle:An 1851 Model 2 Breech-loading Rifle, .52 caliber, Rimfire cartridges, and an effective shooting range of 1,000 yards. The trigger sticks slightly, weathering on the barrel has given it range fall off, and at 30 inches the barrel length is fairly unwieldy in close combat, but it is easily one of the best mass produced rifles in the country.One copy of Endymion:A bower quiet for us, and a sleepFull of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathingA flowery band to bind us to the earth,Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearthOf noble natures, of the gloomy days,Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkened ways One copy of Hyperion:Along the margin-sand large foot-marks went,No further than to where his feet had stray'd,And slept there since. Upon the sodden groundHis old right hand lay nerveless, listless, dead,Unsceptred; and his realmless eyes were closed; Relationship Established:Patrick Flynn, Caravaneer
NOTE: You currently have $93, technically $123 if you decide to use Mack’s money you found for yourself instead of sending it to his family.Please vote on what Campbell ended up buying, please remember that without a horse, donkey, or mule if you’d like to move at any speed through the mountains limit yourself to 45 lb. worth of items. Items without a marked weight are of negligible weight. FOOD:1 Weeks worth of Rations(Salted Meat, Fry Bread, Flour Beans)=$5, 10 lb.1 8 oz. tin of Chocolate= $.501 Whiskey bottle= $6, 3 lb.1 Coffee tin= $4, 2 lb.1 Trail Kit(Cookware): $10, 10 lb.1 Tin Cups: $3, 1 lb.GUNS30 .28 Caliber balls(Pistol)= $8, 4 lb.30 .52 Caliber cartridges= $12, 3.5 lb.1 Plains Rifle, .50= $151 Kentucky Rifle, .45= $17MEDICINE1 Bushel of Herbs(Any): $.501 Bottle of Ether(10 Doses): $5, 1 available1 Splint Kit(For setting broken bones): $5.00, 2 lb. 1 availableMISC.1 Wolf Trap w/ Chain(8 in. jaws): $10, 9 lb. 2 available1 Beaver Trap w/ Chain(6.5 in. jaws): $6, 3.5 lb.The Indian’s strange braided tusks: $30, 10 lb. If you’d like to purchase something else please ask and I will provide information. I know there was a roll for black powder but without a dedicated arms store or a nearby mining site it is not commercially available at this particular camp.
>>5730712Can we buy a horse or donkey though? I presume that we can’t afford one
>>5730712Neither of the rifles for sale are worth, but what else... Hmmm.
>>5730712FOOD:2 Weeks worth of Rations(Salted Meat, Fry Bread, Flour Beans)=$5, 10 lb.5 8 oz. tin of Chocolate= $.501 Coffee tin= $4, 2 lb.1 Tin Cups: $3, 1 lb.GUNS30 .28 Caliber balls(Pistol)= $8, 4 lb.30 .52 Caliber cartridges= $12, 3.5 lb.MEDICINE1 Bushel of Herbs(Any): $.5010 bushel yarrow10 bushel foxglove2 bushel mint2 bushel lavender1 Bottle of Ether(10 Doses): $51 Splint Kit(For setting broken bones): $5.00, 2 lb.1 Wolf Trap w/ Chain(8 in. jaws): $10, 9 lb. Just a tin cup, the coffee, and a bandanna is just fine. Foxglove is poisonous, but poison is a fine weapon when outnumbered. Yarrow is good to boil up and use on wounds as an antiseptic.
>>5730754You may look around for a pack animal if you like, nobody rolled for that. A very paltry nag could cost as little as $10, the average riding horse cost between $110-$150. A mule or pack horse could cost anywhere from $40-$100.Keep in mind this is a very small frontier camp and despite how high you roll the options are ultimately limited.
Rolled 11 (1d100)>>5730800Rolling for a paltry nag please. Gets us some distance with a lighter load before we eat it. Too weak to run off. Lets us carry an extra week of food.
>>5730812Hell yes! Hella paltry!
>>5730812AlrightNOTE: There is a new item available for purchase, if a majority decide to purchase it I will write it in the next post. Brown Nag: $20Includes a rotted pair of saddle bags, no saddle. The horse is very overpriced, and looks very unhealthy. Purchasing it will expand your carry weight by a further 200 lb.
>>5730712Don't get the nag. We are a scout and the ability to move quickly and silently is of the utmost importance. We need to think in terms of stealth. >food2 Weeks worth of Rations(Salted Meat, Fry Bread, Flour Beans)=$10, 20 lb.32 oz. tin of Chocolate= $22 Coffee Tin: $8, 4 lb.1 Tin Cups: $3, 1 lb.>Medicine 5 Bushel of each herb he has: $101 Bottle of Ether(10 Doses): $5, 1 available1 Splint Kit(For setting broken bones): $5.00, 2 lb. 1 available>Misc.The Indian’s strange braided tusks: $30, 10 lb.2 Beaver Trap w/ Chain(6.5 in. jaws): $12, 7 lbtotal = $86 and 44lbs
I strongly suggest that we get the braided tusks. He knows that if he tries to scam us we will come back and ruin his ability to trade since our word carries far more weight and if we say he scams us he gets run out of town or worse. Also, they must stop us from being killed on sight by The People or provide some method of warding off spirits if they are legit.
>>5730920I am also willing to substitute a tin of coffee for the 30 .52 Caliber cartridges $12, 3.5 lb which would put the new total at $94 and 45.5 pounds.
>>5730920>>5730927Let’s do as this anon suggests, all reasonable.The sick horse is probably not worth it
Alright we will be going with this list of purchases>>5730920Writing now.
Your hand hesitates, hovering equidistant between your chest and the outstretched palm of Brown, the proprietor of the general store. His gaze is unflinching, you see his mouth stay very still, very still. You slowly shift your eyes without moving your head to the stock you’ve brought to the counter. You slowly shift your eyes back to Brown. Your last dollar, the very last of your power to manipulate man’s world.Almost imperceptibly at first, your hand crawls through the air. So…slowly. You’d just made your hundred, you’d just climbed out of the shit for what seemed like the thousandth time in your life. Your hand only just shifts over the countertop when Brown relieves you of the paper. Hands like lightning. Broke again. Figures. Your humors do rise as you pick up the victuals and place them in your satchel. With a deep sigh you leave the store, back into the air. Past noon and much more importantly past supper. The sun is lazy, in no great rush to find the bottom of the world, but it plods along. Finally, it’s done. You are prepared with weapon, shot, food, treatment, and poetry for your ascent to the deep, high places in these mountains. That can all be held at bay until tomorrow, until you fill your stomach and lay down your head. Whittier promised you an empty tent just cleared out by a seasonal. It stands at the end of one of the rows, and is nothing smart to look at. It does have a cot, with fresh linen, and a mirror and table. In your sorry state, you’re happy to have it. You ply the cook woman at the logging site for another plate of bacon and tomatoes. She acquiesces with little protest, her eyes avoiding your cracked cheeks while doling out your meal.The bacon is hot, as is the grease. You devour it mercilessly, along with cornbread and a dram of whiskey. Little swirls of grease and tomato juice fall pink and brown down your chin. Full up, you retire. In your tent, you strip off to your long johns, stowing your satchel as a pillow behind your head, and pulling the triple linens up to your chin. It’s around 4:00 in the afternoon, the sun is touching its nose to the horizon, the late birdsong chatters. You are warm. Your belly is full. You haven’t slept for almost two days, and you’re speared by old Morpheus in less than a minute, his harpoon dragging you deeper and deeper down.
You open your eyes to a stifling white. It passes through your eyes and spills out in every direction, an endless plain. Sea, sky, and land, all a perfect, featureless white. Two exceptions. Yourself, dressed proper in your denim pants, long sleeve, ascot, vest, and coat. You are seated on a white wooden chair. Across from you is the other exception, also seated in a white wooden chair and looking exactly the same as the day he died. Cornelius. “Finally awake? Well…I suppose that’s unfair.” one hand wanders aimlessly over the text of his thick, open bible. He crosses his legs and takes off his hat, hanging it on his front foot. “Where exactly are you goin’ boy?” His voice always was a little high, nasally too. You’d heard it more than once soaring above gunfire and other, unmentionable sounds, remanding terror to its place beneath the world. “You’re dead.” Your statement sounds stupid even to yourself. Cornelius looks at you with very pale blue eyes. He looks at you for a long time, then without speaking he turns to look over his shoulder. Drawing your gaze to one black spot in the vast infinite of white. You are certain it hadn’t been there.He turns back around to face you. “I always was fond o’ bluntness in a man. Find a problem, shoot it. I like you Campbell. You’re sincere. Whatever you do, you believe in it. Keep that one in ya son.” He blinks, his heavy, wrinkled lids make the motion seem laborious. You suddenly notice that the spot is no longer a spot. It’s an oil spill at the edges of the universe, slopping in uneven forays a hundred thousand miles away from the two of you. Covering the corners of the sky. Cornelius snaps his fingers. Your attention is back on him. “You been runnin’ boy, but as clever as you are, you can’t run from this ‘un.” Each of his words rings your head like a bell. Your eyes glaze over and memories from long ago fountain up unbidden.A younger you, clean shaven. A ripped army uniform, ragged desert vegetation catching your boots. A shaking rifle in your hands and the other three in your scout troop even more raving and unmanned than you. Pitch black night, the Navajo tossed back from the dark into your tiny circle of light. He had ran first. Its chest filled with small, screaming faces of every animal imaginable. The Navajo’s now among them. One of your troop vanishes into the night.Tall. Too thin. Another is hauled up high, into the sky. Nails like knives, four feet long. The third makes a run for it, like the Navajo. He stops screaming very suddenly. All alone. You had given up your dignity, your pants soiled, your mouth working out gibberish, trying for a prayer. The thing…spoke.
Then the light, the unbelievable light. The light, and the Divinity, and the lonely old man with his small eyeglasses. With his bible and cross and his absolute faith. “Boy!” You snap back to this, whatever it is. The air is freezing gray. The black is everywhere, you’re reduced to sitting in a room with leaking dark water. It roils, sable fingers playfully tracing the last circle of white that you and Cornelius are sitting in. The ceiling is bowing in, both your chairs start to rot. “Do you have a- oh no wait I’ve got one.” He reaches into his boot and pulls out a match box. He shakes it to a small, dreary tune. He opens it to reveal one, just one. “You have to bleed son. You have to bleed if you’re gonna learn what’s comin’.” He strikes the match. “You know who he is. You saw what happened to me, in San Francisco.” A pipe is in his mouth, he lights it. “Kill em’ Campbell, kill em’ all. Take your lashes, approach the Lord.” He puffs a steady beat on the pipe, despite himself, his lips tremble and his knuckles are pale clutching his bible.“He’s done for me son, he’s done for me like I never imagined. I never imagined how terrible…” He reaches forward and claws your shoulder. “Listen boy, this is what I can do for ya, each lash is a victory, find a man who can read, find him! Listen now!” The black starts to cover his ankles, tears start to drop from his eyes. “Listen! The man who can read, and your cousins, they’ll help you. Be careful Campbell, the more you learn, the more things will sniff you out, awful things! God Campbell!” Both hands furiously clasp his bible. He opens it again, and pulls out a revolver. His hands shaking, he cocks the hammer. “Please save yourself boy.” The black begins to funnel into his mouth, and he shoots you in the head.You fall off your cot, face first onto the freezing dirt floor. You are covered in sweat, wrapped in linen, and in pain. A moment passes, then another. You are convinced you are about to die, the anxiety railed up into your stomach when you see a spark of gold under your tent flap. You steady yourself onto your hands and knees, ignoring the shrieking pain in your back, and open the flap. Sunlight pours in, blowing golden breath onto your cheeks. It’s ascendant, you must have slept all afternoon and night into the next morning. You make your way to your feet, only to double back over at the feeling in your back.You slowly crawl over to the small hand mirror on the table, unhook your top, and assess the pain. Inexplicably, it’s a wound, a bloody stripe the length of your entire back from hip to shoulder, red, bloody, and raw. That on its own is mystifying, but the true fear returns when you clean away the worst of the blood. Dappled in the crevice of the wound is a pattern, all along the interior. It is nothing you’ve ever seen before, a gruesome branding, raised like woodblocks.
You are in a fugue throughout washing yourself and your wound. You are in a fugue throughout washing and wearing your clothes. You try not to think of the dream, every time some sliver slips through you start to smell that cold gray air. Then you feel as if you’ve been shot in the head, and it recedes. It is…unpleasant. Finally, you stand ready to depart, packed and as prepared as you can be to find the Black Shaman, somewhere in the mountains. The only thing left to decide is where to start looking. FIRST: If anyone would like to visit someone in town, do any errands, finish any tasks you can think of before we go, feel free to write in. It may be a while before we are back.SECOND: Decide which tribe Campbell will attempt to find first in his investigation.The Miwok are perhaps the most difficult tribe to find, even though they live in the general area. They are incredible at obscuring their tracks. They hollow out underground caves to dance in ritualistic smoke. They share the god Coyote with the Plains Indians and many other tribes. The Maidu are to the north, even higher than Lake Tahoe. They build dugouts partially in the ground and scalp white men to use their hair in weaving beautiful baskets. They are experts in medicine and herbalism, including poisons. They worship Owl, and kill ravens on sight.The Washoe are the largest tribe, and the easiest to find. They follow three migrations in a year, hunting, fishing, and gathering. The end of the hunting season is upon them, and the tribe will be very defensive about outsiders looking to take their winter food. They are south, on the other side of the lake, in the deep mountain settlements where they go for winter. Their Braves trade most often with white trappers and are the most likely to possess guns and iron tomahawks. They worship Raven, and kill owls on sight.The Mono are the farthest south. They live at the headwaters of the San Joaquin River, back in California. They build huts on stilts and farm flies for their larvae. They weigh down men in their river and use the rapids to discern lies from truth. A simple people, they worship Rabbit, who is fast and fecund.>The Miwok>The Maidu>The Washoe>The Mono
>The Miwok are perhaps the most difficult tribe to find, even though they live in the general area. They are incredible at obscuring their tracks. They hollow out underground caves to dance in ritualistic smoke. They share the god Coyote with the Plains Indians and many other tribes.I suggest going to town to see if there are any bounties we can collect on, such as artifacts or people. I think it's a safe assumption that the one we hunt is a possibly rouge Washoe. I don't think it wise to approach Maidu first.
>>5731772Ah, my guess is those patterns are stigmata written in the language of the Abrahamic faith. It will likely be hard to find someone who can speak/read Hebrew or Arabic in this day and age.
>>5731775>check for bounties>The MaiduI think these guys are probably who we’re after, but they probably are not easy to talk to. Maybe be on the lookout for ravens to kill and bring along (so we can prove that we’re aligned with them)
>>5731775>The Maidu>get the braided tusks, ask what tribe the Indian is from and what culture the braid is from, what meaning it has.I figure our dollars aren't going to do us much good up in the mountains
LOCKEDThat's two for Maidu, and two for checking bounties before leaving.WRITING
The wound burns in your back. You pace first to one end of camp, then the other, gathering whatever scant facts you can about the local tribes. By mid morning you’re staring at the front of the Marshals Office. He is not out front today, sequestered somewhere in the recesses of the building. The pocket on the inside of your vest is all but empty, all that’s left being money promised to another man. You’ve never done any bounty hunting, but it may prove lucrative in a place like this, and you doubt it could be more dangerous than your previous encounters. You open the loose fitted door harder than you mean to. The Marshal is hunched over some loose papers on his desk, a series of wooden mail boxes stacked against the wall. “You tradin’ mail, er lives?” There are two posters on the wall, one Miguel Pedrera, last seen southeast of Virginia City. The other, Morgan Quail, last seen north of Sutter’s Fort. The bounties for both are $50, dead or alive. The Marshal sees you looking at the posters, the scars on your cheeks disfiguring the daylight crawling across your face.“My guess’d be lives.” He finishes writing something on one of the papers in front of him, and sets his pen down. “Don’t talk much do ye?” He gestures to the chair across the table from him, and you settle into it. “Actually Marshal-” “Fletcher, call me Fletcher” “Alright…actually Fletcher, my road travels closer to the mountains. Was wonderin’ if ye had any more warrant for the nearer area.” His face furrows in thought. “There may be. An Injun roamin’ round the mountains, goes by the name o’ Grass-under-snow. Takes pelts o’ trappers. Done fer three of ‘em. I’ll pay $40, plus 10 cents a mile it takes to bring ‘im in.” You spend some thought on that. You aren’t going up to the tribes to make enemies really…but you might find this Indian in passing, he might not be part of a tribe that you don’t need to ally with. Any number of scenarios…you decide it’s better to take the Marshal’s warrant anyway, so you’ll have it regardless of whether you plan to fulfill it or not. “Write it up Fletcher, I’ll look for ‘im out there.” He does so, scrawling a personal letter empowering you to bring the Indian in under the United State’s Law, however much that’s worth. You take the letter, doff your hat to Fletcher, and begin your road north.
As you pass down Silver Stream into Martyr’s Valley you check over your rations, your equipment, everything you’ve brought for your journey. Your mind wanders to the braided tusks you procured from the fat Indian. He never gave you his name, but after some prodding he told you he was Shoshone. Some of them settled on the eastern slopes of the Sierra Nevadas, but most of them were arid desert dwellers in northern Nevada. They did trade with the Washoe however, that much you knew. Before buying the strange tusks you made sure to question their purpose. The Indian told you that the Sierra tribes don’t trade with white men’s money. The trading they do with them they do by barter, but the trading they do with each other, they do with these tusks. The value is determined by the length of the braid, and the one that he sold you, at almost three feet in length, is enough purchasing power to buy a dugout lake canoe, or anything similar. You reach Sardine Valley, and stand at the very end of the Tahoe Vale. You look up into the imposing peaks, and begin your ascent.NOTE: Please roll 1d100+5(Best of three) to see if you pick up any Indian trails. DC 60(DC 70, Experienced Scout, -30, Unfamiliar Area, +20)
Rolled 99 + 5 (1d100 + 5)>>5732367BTW OP I think it might be helpful if you put roll prompts in greentext:>Like thisIt helps make them easier to distinguish from the update.
>>5732374 Yes, I’d been holding them but free texting is better. You bring up a good idea actually, I think it’s time to take stock of things so far.I would like any player/reader/random thread entrant to do me the favor of telling me what you think of things so far. Compliments are nice if you feel like them but in all honesty I’m looking for criticisms, they are always more helpful in improving both of our experiences. Any comment related to plot, prose, pacing, characterization, setting, engagement, system and anything else you might have a thought about.Thank you in advance
Rolled 60 + 5 (1d100 + 5)>>5732367>>5732449Well, the most important advice I have is to pace yourself so you don't get burnt out. Overall you have done great so far in terms of writing, updates, combat, and grammar which we all appreciate. I'm sure more anons will come and this quest will become popular if it continues. As for critiques, perhaps you can implement some means of acquiring one-time rerolls. That would have really helped us in our first fight, but I understand not having them initially because we just completed the tutorial.
>>5732367>>5732367Nice we did a currency exchange. This will give access to some rather niche markets that may be worth far more than what we paid.
Rolled 95 + 5 (1d100 + 5)>>5732367
>>5732374>>5732367>>5732678Can you please count these Unnat 100 and 100+ rolls as a crit?
>>5732449Ultimately, it’s a great quest! Don’t burn out!Love the vibes, the thematic dialogue, the plot so far. Basically, great work!
>begging for criticisms on 1st threadIts so fucking over, Jimbo. You got no confidence. You're not seeing anything through.
>>5732888I'm still hoping man. It's a common mistake for new QMs. I would kill to be able to write period-appropriate speech like this guy.
>>5732449Like other people said, it's a good start! I don't have huge criticisms, because I like the quest, but a couple points:1) You could think about putting dialogue on new lines, rather than clumped up in big paragraphs. For example, instead of"You lean in slow and careful, the table creaking from the weight. “What happened Foreman, I been to yer tent. You look like Cain when the lord asked for Abel.” You can mark Whittier’s sand in pipe breaths. He takes one, two, and three, then meets your eyes and speaks. “The boy, somethin’ were wrong with ‘im. I don’t right know what, I’d guess you would be one who might. We were at ‘is death watch, only he didn’t die correct. He lingered, and after that he changed, changed to some beast from before the flood. Killed three and almost did for me, but for some true luck.”You puff your own smoke, turning the cigarillo from one corner of your mouth to the other. “Did ye kill it?” “No, one o’ them fellers that went to the Lord did ‘im in with an Indian Musket. The arm I left, and I will not go back to that tent fer my life sir.”"It'd be:"You lean in slow and careful, the table creaking from the weight. “What happened Foreman, I been to yer tent. You look like Cain when the lord asked for Abel.” You can mark Whittier’s sand in pipe breaths. He takes one, two, and three, then meets your eyes and speaks. “The boy, somethin’ were wrong with ‘im. I don’t right know what, I’d guess you would be one who might. We were at ‘is death watch, only he didn’t die correct. He lingered, and after that he changed, changed to some beast from before the flood. Killed three and almost did for me, but for some true luck.”You puff your own smoke, turning the cigarillo from one corner of your mouth to the other. “Did ye kill it?” “No, one o’ them fellers that went to the Lord did ‘im in with an Indian Musket. The arm I left, and I will not go back to that tent fer my life sir.”"It's maybe a little nicer-looking to have it all in one paragraph, but it does hamper readability, since we have to put in work to figure out who's speaking. You could keep it in the same line when people are speaking simultaneously, though.2) As somebody who's been writing a quest for a long, long time, this choice worried me: >>5726977What it told me is that you didn't have a fixed idea of where the story would go next, and you were basically leaving it up for us to decide. It also implied that you would be improvising a lot of future events, because I wouldn't expect you to have three+ completely separate storylines written out. (If you did, that's awesome! But that means you're putting in too much work!)(1/2?)
I am going to give it to you straight: "sandbox"/heavily improvised quests suck to QM and often aren't that good. Players are owed meaningful choices and logical consequences; they are not owed absolute freedom. Now that we have a plot hook fully committed to, I strongly recommend you sit down and work out some characters, locations, and resolutions, so you're not driving yourself insane trying to make things up as you go. You can't plan for what the players do, but you can always plan for what they encounter.>inb4 you have this stuff already plannedThen great! But it didn't seem that way, is all. (By the way, the more you have prepped, the better.) 3) This isn't criticism of this quest or your QMing, just some general tips. You might already do some or most of these already, which is great! Keep it up! #1: The weak link in the chain is YOU9 times out of 10, quests don't die because players don't play them, or even because they're bad. Quests die because the QM flakes. This means that the single most important thing you can do to guarantee the quality and longevity of the quest is to take care of YOURSELF.>Pick an update schedule that works for YOU.>Take regular scheduled breaks between threads (I recommend at least a week).>Write what YOU think is cool or what makes YOU happy. >Plan plot points or scenes that YOU are excited for and can look forward to. >Note that player count usually increases slowly over the course of a quest, as people catch up. Don't be discouraged early at moderate turnout. #2: Players are your friends (mostly)There will always be trolls and argumentative shitheads, but 90% of the time, the people playing your quest are here because they like what we read and want to see more of it. Treat them with respect and 90% will respect you back.>Communicate. If you need to take the day off, tell us. If you need to delay a thread, tell us. If you write yourself into a corner, tell us. If you need to drop the quest, tell us. People get way more mad if somebody vanishes without saying anything. They're typically understanding if you explain. >If somebody is being a troll and/or argumentative shithead, politely deflect them once, then ignore them until they get bored. Do not get into public fights. That's cringe.>If somebody has legitimate concerns or complaints, hear them out, politely respond, and either attempt a compromise/fix/apology or explain why you can't do so. Just be civil.It's all basic stuff, but you'd be shocked how many QMs don't do any of this, then wonder why QMing is so hard and grueling!>>5732700No need to get greedy (a crit on a d100 is a big deal). A solid pass will do us just fine.
>>5718998Also, while I'm here, I think your OP pic is kind of muddy and hard to read at thumbnail size. You might consider picking something more distinct, or at least slapping a "Hunter Quest #2" on there next time so people know what it is at a glance.
Thank you all for your comments, I appreciate the time, effort, and interest you've taken in responding. Ive read what you've all posted several times and trust me when I said I will take all your suggestions in hand as I attempt to improve this for all of us.There will be no update tonight. I am in the middle of moving to a permanent residence so I will be floating around a few IPs in the next few weeks.Having said that, I plan to continue with nightly updates. I will begin writing tomorrow at around 6:00 PM(PST)
The roads ended long ago. Up you drive, into the true wilderness of the deep mountains. A raven watches your first steps, its black tar feathers unruffled and poised. You blink and the feathers drip rot down the old sugar pine. You blink again and it’s gone. Your lip curls. You draw and fire in a single movement, the sound of the shot racing joyfully around the lonely forest. The bird is dead before your piece is holstered. The fat Indian told you whatever tales of the local tribes he thought your purchases entitled you to. One of them was that the Maidu are partial to seeing these birds dead in any manner of way one can manage. You figure you and the tribe are of the same mind, and walk over to pick up and carry the dead bird with you. You hook it into your gun belt, you don’t want it in your satchel with the food, and walk on.You decide your most opportune course is to keep heading up, circling the peaks. The Maidu live in dugout houses, mostly underground and thus easy to keep warm in cold weather. They do not care about elevation. Alone…this is what you needed, you are unstifled here in this great solitude. One foot trudges in front of another, always upslope, and the forest bleeds out into anemic huddles and the occasional stiff-backed sentinel. Your muscles are hot in your legs as you conquer countless petty steps. Your hands are cold, especially your fingers. Your gloves are army issue and are not blessed with the constitution for this weather. You make a good pace and by the time the first spin of the solar wheel concludes you guess you’ve gone around thirty miles. Your beans rattle in their cans on your fire. The bread is for morning, the salt pork for the trail. You eye the chocolate waiting patiently in their tins, but decide against it for the first night. You settle back against a tree, using your satchel as a makeshift pillow despite the lumps, and begin to doze off, the arms of your campfire flailing in front of you. A familiar caw wakes you. You snort out of your slumber and flip your head up to see a raven alight on a far branch. A second joins it, the sound of its wings a precursor to the tightening of your chest and the catching of your breath. It is dark. Your fire is low. It is unwise to sound yourself in unknown territory. You take yourself to your feet regardless, then fling two more spells of lead, one each. You hit both birds, and collect both caracasses, the reports of the shots still echoing as you do so.
Back to your sleeping posture you close your eyes once again, staying awake for the next hour through thin lids. Eventually you settle, and drift off.In the morning you douse what remains of your camp after heating some bread and making coffee in your tin cup with snow. Shaking out your legs, you begin the day. Climbing higher, the snow drives fierce, and the real cold settles into your bones. Your eyes pick out a ruined something in the ever taller snow drifts. You make your way to it only to find an abandoned dugout with what must have been a woven roof. A cursory glance of the inside renders nothing of import. A gray and empty interior, a long unused hearth in the center surrounded by stones, a surprisingly large second room. No furnishings or items of value, simply an abandoned dwelling.More trudging follows, your breath shortens as the air slims to a narrow edge and you find yourself slowing up. The trees are sparser still, small copses smattered like melted snowflakes every few miles. As you breathe as deep as you can and enjoy the sunshine creeping its way through the creases of your coat you notice something small hanging from one of the trees. Drawing closer, it appears to be a small bushel of colors. Bright yellow, green, brown, and purple, tied with and hanging by some root you don’t recognize. It is only about five inches across, difficult to see, but the color clashes with the leeched grays and browns of the trees if you happen to be looking for it. As you navigate upwards, you keep a lookout, and find that some trees have these bushels, and some do not. You figure that they’re conscious markers, since you find the herbs in at least five different combinations. Choosing the one you originally came across, you identify the trees with those bushels, and proceed in their direction until nightfall. Tonight, the cookfire is made first, the beans are prepared, and you melt your first tin of chocolate, drinking it out of your catch-all tin cup to great satisfaction. Despite being without any mexican peppers or vanilla, it manages to soothe aches and pains you were not aware of. It is unwise to make one’s presence known in lawless country. After dinner, you douse your cookfire and hike another mile to a separate copse of trees in the dark, using your coat to transport half a dozen stones you set to warming in the fire. You lay them down at your new position, circling close to your body on the ground. Donning your coat again and without a making a second fire at the new location, you slide down to the ground and attempt to drift off.You hear a caw in your dreams and start awake, into a dozen pairs of raven eyes surrounding you. Your hand is at your gun as you scramble back from the birds, biting back a curse as you run your hand over a still hot stone. The ravens don’t move, and aside from the single pronouncement of their presence they don’t make a sound either. They simply stare.
You sit with your revolver aimed in their general direction, waiting for an action, any action. They disappoint you, continuing to hold themselves idle. The stalemate continues into the morning, broken only by a few seconds slip every hour or so. Despite your broken vigilance, the birds don’t seem interested in doing anything but keeping you in eyesight. Around false down, one by one the birds shift their weight and depart, flying out into the brightening black. You are tired and unsettled by the experience, but there is little to do but rise and continue as normal. Bread. Coffee. Walk. The small signs persist, the same pattern of bushels standing out like mile markers now that you’ve begun looking until, at last, you find water. A rushing stream up here is as good as finding a settlement. Snow can only provide so much water and in the warmer months it’s even more unreliable. Now is the time to cover your tracks, and you do so with a two foot tree branch, evening out your stride and making some false trails of animal tracks as you go. It is laborious, but well worth it.Half as fast as the last two days, it takes you until the sun is coasting westward to find it. The smoke from the fires gives it away at first. You approach from a rather convenient ridge about a half a mile out. Before you is sprawled a village of at least two hundred…Indians as far as you can make out. Numerous columns of smoke rise from the fifty or so dugouts sprawled around a raised central platform. The stream borders it to the west, your ridge is the southern approach, and it’s nestled against steep mountain to the north and the east.Around the village are poles about six feet tall, littered with the tied bushels of herbs in the same pattern that you’ve followed here. What’s more, bundles of dead ravens, decapitated, hang from them as well. There are also Indians milling about at their daily tasks in no great concentration. There are three poles in the center of the village in front of the raised platform which are decorated much the same as the others, with herbs and dead ravens. Also attached to each of the three poles happen to be white men in western clothing.
You could approach the village openly. Approaching out in the open and letting everyone know of your presence might be suicide, or it might prove your honest intentions. Only one way to find out. You could sneak into the village. You would need to wait for dark to do this, your objective could be any number of things. If you were found out you would surely be branded a hostile invader. If you weren’t, you could gain information that could save your life, and try a different approach tomorrow. You could wait and watch. Your position is a good one and seemingly uncompromised. Gathering more information on the village and the people within it is a very good idea. You could also write in your own suggestion.>Approach the village openly>Sneak into the village>Wait and watch>Write in
>>5734031>Wait and watchThe best option here.
>>5734031>Wait and watchSeems to be no downside here. We should definitely hang some raven corpses from ourself if we venture out, though.
>>5734031Maybe set up a small camp, string up our dead ravens and wait to be approached? We could also cook up some hot chocolate as an offering.This seems like the most non-hostile presentation possible
>>5734107I’m voting for >Wait and watchTo be clear
>>5734031>Wait and watch
>>5734031>>Wait and watch
>>5734031>Wait and watchSeems wise.
Observation and patience are the scout’s purview. Very often your life and your pay were doled out in accordance to how well you could still your muscles. Your position is too superior to justify a more direct approach, at least without a little more reconnoiter. Having made your decision, you scuff your coat, clear a perch, and sidle up to the edge of your ridge. The village lies arrayed in a vague L-shape, the bottom stretching towards the river and the central area standing at the joint. The homes are one room dugouts with woven roofs daube with mud. From the one you saw during your ascent you would assume that they are one or two rooms large on the inside. The rims of the daubs are colored mostly with reds and blues and with hanging decorations. Horns and antlers, feathers, woven talismans, and river shells are all on display. There are a few homes significantly more lavishly decorated than the rest, leaning into the mountains at the top of the L-shape, but your vision finally fails you when you try to make out any significant detail. You can at least tell that they seem unoccupied at the moment. A brisk count puts the population at around one hundred and twenty, as far as you can tell all women and children. The women stand in clusters girdled by huge racks of dried and drying roots, herbs, and grasses. Pots bubble with what you assume to be salves but could just as well be supper. Water is brought from the nearby stream in large baskets, no doubt coated on the inside somehow as they do not leak. The children go about smashing and grinding acorns into meal, some of the older girls sit with the women while they handle the herb racks.You do finally spot an old man, face clear, with a circle of young boys around him seemingly fletching arrows. Long, thick braids obscure his face. Subdued is not enough of a word for the mood. You hear none of the carried chatter of conversation, you observe little mouth movement, and absolutely nothing resembling a laugh or a smile. Something heavy is pressing down on the village, you can feel it. Outside of the borders made by the raven poles, there are several tree stumps. If the yet unsettled earth surrounding them is any indication they were felled very recently. You take a break to unfocus and rest your eyes, and you suddenly hear the lack of natural sound. The water is perhaps the only thing you can make out. Birdsong, beavers, squirrels, the grunt of a boar, the yip of a fox, rustling grass, creaking branches, stirring wind…all the sounds of nature are seemingly atrophied to one rushing stream.
Throughout your voyeurism, you repeatedly return to the three men tied to tall stakes in the village center, next to the large, raised platform. They slump as though dead, but every once in a while you spy a rattling breath run its course through one of them. Two are blonde, one is not, all three are men. The blondes are wearing something akin to what you’re wearing, a shirt and work denims with a vest, though their heavy coats are nowhere to be seen. The third is in much finer clothing, a tie and a fine waistcoat decorate him, a discarded hat left in the dirt at his feet. They are ignored by the villagers.About an hour before dusk, the men return. They come, thankfully, from the northwest, up the mountain, and not from the south where you are perched. A count reveals about eighty of them, about half are old men and young boys, and the other half are fit braves. Like the women, they wear hide cloaks, fitted moccasins, and hide trousers. Unlike the women, their chests are bare, marked sometimes with paint, sometimes with scars. All that you can clearly make out possess a brace of woven herbs twined up their right arm, set in a variety of colors.The men enter the village, stopping before the raven poles to ritualistically scrape their moccasins in the dirt and offer a crushed bouquet of herbs to the ground before they enter. The crowd of men does somewhat raise the mood in the village, palpable even to you, and five men in particular step out to address the village. You cannot hear them, nor could you understand them if you could, but the five men, three old and two younger, are stoney-faced and hard-eyed as they deliver whatever news was in their possession. The mood changes from hopeful to…something else. Dusk is blooming, and torches and fires are lit in stunned, perfunctory motions by the villagers. As the sky sets alight a single raven lands on a large tree stump outside of the village, and caws. The entire village seems to turn at the sound, then go much more briskly about their business. The five leaders, as you suppose them to be, begin to argue amongst themselves. A few other men take a large basket of water to the three prisoners and throw a healthy splash in each of their faces. All three jerk out of whatever reverie they’d fallen into for the day. They begin to struggle weakly as they’re untied from their posts and moved on the large platform.
The night comes quicker, and more ravens flock down to land around the village. First they settle on the tree stumps, then on the gnarled trees reaching out of the mountains on the other side of the village, then on the ground to the northwest. None of them make a sound. Looks are thrown to the ravens by the villagers every once in a while, but you can’t make them out in any clarity. The argument between the five leaders is over, the younger men seem to have won, and they haul themselves up onto the platform, well lit now. The three prisoners are forcefully knelt, three braves to each of them as the rest of the village gathers en masse around the platform. One of the two younger leaders begins to speak, the other is brought a large war club by another man.You know what this is. You knew what this was when you first saw the prisoners. You knew these tribes were hostile to your kind and you had made your peace with the fact that they would certainly have killed white men before. Yet…with the encroaching winter you were sure no Christian soul would have any reason to be up this far into the mountains beside yourself. More ravens, they flutter down wherever there is empty space, more than you ever thought possible, hundreds, all completely silent and staring inside the village. None of them crossing the boundaries set by the poles around the edge. Black eyes staring at the dangling corpses of their bretheren. There is only one sliver of light left on the horizon.The speech is over. The great fire in front of the platform illuminates the leader drawing his knife, the other leader hoists his heavy weapon, and one of the prisoners is brought forward. You can make out the craning necks of the villagers shifting back and forth between what’s happening on the platform, and the grim sights right outside their village. Your Sharps rifle is right beside you.Aside from the very first, none of the ravens have made any sound, which is why you start ferociously when you hear a loud caw down the ridge in front of you. One of the birds stares directly at you, holding your gaze before it caws again and flies over to one of the outmost poles at the village perimeter. It looks at you, directly at you, standing on the ground by the pole, just outside the village, and caws again. The light is all gone now, the fire roars in the village, you white-knuckle your rifle…and make a decision.
You could do nothing. The interest of the ravens does not seem to be primarily on you, make your fire as planned, hand the dead ravens in the morning from your own pole, and wait for the braves to come out and meet you. You could start shooting. You are a little less than a half mile out, within the effective firing range of your Sharps. You have no scope, but you may be able to get a lucky hit, and you might distract the villagers from killing the prisoners. On the other hand, they will certainly know where you are, and that you’re hostile. You could run to the village. The Indians are obviously not in a good frame of mind, but they seem much more afraid of the ravens than of other humans. There is a chance that if you demonstrate sincerity they may stop what they are doing and listen to you. You doubt you’ll be able to make it in time before at least one of the prisoners is dead. You could…uproot the pole the raven drew your attention to. You do not know what this will do, you have no context for the situation, and though you could intuit some context, there is no guarantee you would be correct. It’s much closer to the pole than to the gathering of villagers, and you could probably get there at a dead sprint before any of the prisoners are killed.>Do Nothing>Start Shooting>Run to the Village>Uproot the Pole
>>5735012>Do NothingWell done and well written as usual. Please don't burn out. I have a feeling most of these are trap options. My gut tells me that uprooting the pole is the worst option since they are likely wards and this sacrifice is to power them.However, if other anons really want to be a hero and save some captives I am amicable to > Run to the village
>>5735012I'm inclined to agree with >>5735043, especially regarding the pole. (I trust those ravens just about as far as I can throw them.) I'm also not super keen on rescuing people we know literally nothing about-- for all we know, they're involved with nasty occult stuff and are dying for excellent reason. So let's >Do NothingAlso, OP, thing I forgot earlier: you should really pick up a tripcode. All you have to do is put SpookQM ##[passwordhere]in the name box, and replace [passwordhere] with a password of your choice, and it'll generate a trip unique to that password. This is helpful whenever your identity could be in question (e.g. if you switch IDs, phonepost, post in the QTG, or get a persistent troll), and there's zero downside to it.
>>5735055just make sure to write it down lol
>>5735068Or remember it (there's no need to make it super duper complicated), but yeah.
>>5735012>Do NothingHere’s my logic:1. Our ability to diplomance our way through this situation with hostile Native Americans literally in the middle of an execution ceremony has to be extremely limited.2. We don’t know the disposition of the Americans, but we can reasonably assume that the tribespeople are anti-raven and therefore aligned with us.3. Any attempt to unite with the Native Americans can only come if we catch them at a good moment and convince them that we are aligned.>basically, we gotta let them execute these fellas if we want to team up.
>>5735012>Do NothingTough call, but yeah, these guys are unlikely to be the innocent type anyways.
>>5735055Trying out the tripcode thing
There are layers to this nightmare you are not aware of. In fact you’re clearly not angled toward any of it. This time at least, nothing seems to be braying for your throat. You will stay out of this until that fact changes. There is no more reprieve for the prisoners. On the plains the Comanche and Lakota draw a knife around the edges of the scalp and simply tear. Up in the Sierras, the process is apparently more specialized. Three men hold the first prisoner down as the leader…chief, whatever he may holds him by the chin and traces his serrated knife around the prisoner’s crown. He then reveals something you can’t quite make out, but that resembles a boot scraper, and slowly wedges it in between the wet scalp and the skull. The Indian takes his time, careful to preserve the scalp in a single piece, using his scraping tool in short, broad strokes. The lack of sound allows some remnants of the screams to carry, but there is an uncomfortable disconnect between the sounds the prisoner’s open mouth should be producing, and the ragged little scraps that ultimately reach your ears. Finally it’s done, the prisoner collapses on the deck of the large platform, in too much shock to be a threat. He is released by the Indians holding him, and the second chief takes a steady stride to him. This one raises his war club, an enormous staff inset with a stone the size of your head, and brings it down with both hands on the prisoner. The head bursts like rotten fruit, spraying debris across the moccasins of all present. The body is tumbled off the platform into the crowd as the first chief raises the scalp he took, presenting it toward the ravens in the dark. They do not react. The second prisoner is brought forth. He struggles mightily, and it takes six men to press him down amongst the gore of his former companion. The scalping repeats itself, the first chief taking just as much care to ensure his prize is untarnished, the second approaching as the prisoner shivers in agony and disbelief and scattering his last thoughts all over the floor of the platform. The ritual is repeated, the scalp raised as offering to the ravens. They do not react.
The last prisoner, the one in the fine clothes, is untied and led to his finality. He is…young, younger than you could make out at first. The other prisoners were around your age, grown men with the trail-look about them. This one…you’d put him under twenty years of age. He sobs hysterically and though you cannot read lips, you doubt he is coherent. One of the older chief you’d seen arguing previously raises his hand from the crowd. A short exchange ensues between him and the other two, before he subsides in apparent defeat. The boy needs no braves to hold him down. He is collapsed, crying on the floor of the platform. He fails to move himself away even as the chief with the knife takes him by the chin and looks him in the eyes.Another protest from the old chief in the crowd, two of them this time, they gesture toward the knife. The young chief on the platform turns back to look at them, but does not respond. He slowly turns back to look at the boy in front of him, and after ten, twenty, thirty seconds, he sets the knife to his forehead. The screams from the boy resound farther than the other two, shriller perhaps. They sound like a goat, a kid with its leg broken from a trap. They seem to rise into the steep mountains cradling the village, they go on a long time. He doesn’t fall into shock like the others after it’s done, or maybe his body simply does not have the ability to stop the sounds set in motion. Silence only settles when the chief with the war club brings it up…and down. You cross yourself and say a prayer for all three, “Be silent, O all flesh, before the Lord: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.” The ritual is repeated for a third time, the scalp raised as offering. They do not react. You see mouths moving among the crowd, rapid and fearful. The two chiefs on the platform look at each other in alarm, and stand close in conversation. Eventually, the two chiefs on the platform jump down into the crowd and make their way to the village entrance, some of the crowd accompanying them, but most of the crowd trying to call them back. As they reach the pole barrier, all five of the chiefs you identified earlier, young and old, bicker relentlessly. Hands and arms fly, fingers point, heads are turned away, it is a true melee. The chief with the war club emerges the victor. He sets the club aside, and takes the three scalps from the chief with the knife and slowly, very slowly, walks out to the ravens.
He takes the slow strides of a man practiced at approaching wild animals, respect evident in his walk. He proceeds to the very corner of where the torches from the village meet the evening. He lays the three, still glistening scalps, one after the other down in front of the enormous flock, and begins to back up to the village. There is a caw from a raven. Then another. A third, a fourth, and then the thousand or so birds ringing the village all erupt at once in an excruciating cacophony. Your hands go to your ears and you’re a good deal away, almost everyone in the village is on their knees clutching their heads, including the lone chief outside.You don’t know how long the black chorus drives its nails into you, but after some indeterminate amount of time, a wind races through the night. One scything gust, just the one, passes from you to the village and beyond in less than a single moment. With it, the night returns to deathly quiet. The villagers regain themselves, as does the lone chief, but none of them move, they simply stretch their gaze upwards. You do the same, and all sensation leaves your body, replaced with only empty frost. Something tall…so tall, taller than the mountains surrounding the village, taller than the mountains in the distance. What it is you can’t explain, it is no creature, not a thing of flesh, bone, or blood. It is a wisp in the shape of a bird, in the shape of a raven. A nothing projected against the sky and above the world. You open your mouth to say a prayer and you cannot hear your voice. You cannot hear anything. Sound has left the world. The trees and the mountains bend and bow toward it, the village houses, the horizon, the cold bows toward it. One eye the size of the moon, there and not there, looking and not looking upon the poor form of that lone Indian outside the village. That’s it. It’s gone. You’re memory slips and slides around what just occurred, denying you any concrete recollections of the experience. You are stunned, mouth open, staring straight ahead, when a human cry jolts you. The chief outside the village, one of his fingers it seems, is a beak. The beak…pushes out from his hand, feathers appear, they struggle to break free as the chief’s shrieks pierce the air. Finally, an adult raven flies out of his ruined hand where his index finger used to be. Then another finger is no longer a finger, but a long, black beak. It works its way much as the first one, leaving half a stump. Then the fingers on the other hand start up, worming their way out of his body, the animal shrieking continues until something catches in his throat. In place of his tongue, another beak, and something struggling to rip its way out of his mouth and throat. He’s on his back thrashing wildly, his ribs bow outwards threatening to remove themselves from his chest…then they do, ribs no longer, but black beaks shining in the moonlight.
The villagers are shouting at him, several try and race out beyond the protective poles only to be caught and dragged backward by others in the crowd. Women wail, old men fall to their knees, but still the ravens rips their way out. The chief’s elbows now, his eyes, his stomach, his bladder, his kneecaps and toes and every notch of his spine. He should have been dead a long time ago. At last…at last, he moves no longer. The ravens that sprang from him wheel above, cawing in the sky. Little more than a husk of the chief remains, an empty molt, and even that writhes and changes into more and more and more, until there are no bones, no skin, no innards. There is nothing left to mark his existence upon this earth not a minute previous. Just a cackling formation of grotesque reminders. They turn to fly away, and with them first a few, then the entire empire of ravens lift themselves and join them, until there are none left but one. The first one that arrived at dusk. It hops its way over to something you hadn’t noticed, an eye, left by the chief. It picks the eye up, takes flight, and heads south. You do not take stock of the rest of the night. You spend it on your bac, clutching your rifle and speaking prayer, making sure you can still hear yourself. The moon arcs over you, and the fingers of dawn appear. You’d subsided from instinctual terror about an hour previous, and had been gathering your strength to sit yourself up. You finally marshall enough courage for the decision, and you realize how freezing cold and hungry you are. You do not know what happened, you do not know what that was, but despite that you came here for a purpose. You make a fire first, on the lip of the ridge and well within view of the village. You make some chocolate first thing. It restores something precious within you. You continue on to the bread and coffee, and even heat some of your pork. Enough for more than yourself. You make yourself visible along with your fire, and wait. It takes around an hour while you eat breakfast. You’re sure they saw you earlier, but you don’t blame them for not venturing out of the village sooner. Still, as your stomach is settling, twenty braves march out to your ridge, among them three of the other chiefs, including the one remaining young one who had wielded the knife. You take a breath, and watch them make their way to you.
You could, or could not decapitate and hang the three raven carcasses the way the Maidu hang them. This is your original plan, and will definitely announce some of your intentions to them. To them…and to other things.You saw plenty of disagreement between the young chiefs and the old, and you have no clue as to the culture you’re stepping into here. What will be your strategy when speaking to the chiefs, assuming they speak English?You could be straightforward. Tell them everything, your profession, your encounter with the Black Shaman, and your intent to see him dead. Honesty may save you much trouble, it could also lead you into trouble you had no idea existed. You could be diplomatic. Relate your experience with the Black Shaman, but keep it accidental and at a distance. They may feel much less threatened if they believe they can control the intimate information of their people. They may also decide to keep you at too much of an arms length to be helpful.You could be deceitful. Pose as a traveler who just came upon them this morning, they do not know any better. They seem as though they have a desperate problem, and you feel like they would take any help offered. It is also possible, however, that they will simply kill you for being in their territory.Choose whether to:>Display the dead ravens>Don’t display the dead ravensAlso choose whether to:>Be straightforward>Be diplomatic>Be deceitful
>>5735839>Display the dead ravens>Be straightforwardBalls to the wall.
>>5735839The Maidu live in fear of the raven-spirit (hence the poles and dead ravens) and offer it scalps in order to placate it. Obviously, this venture is not always wholly successful. It also is a subject of some debate among the tribe's leaders- perhaps some see bargaining with the spirit as pointless or wrong? That they sacrifice captured white men rather than their own is plain in both fact and cause. >Display the dead ravensWe both have reason to fear the ravens. This is sensible to display whether or not we let it leak that we know of their spiritual problems because it visually indicates our usefulness as something other than a sacrifice. >Be diplomaticI would bet that they do not want information of their grim tribute to the spirit to get out in the open. I'd further guess that the Black Shaman has dealings with this spirit. Therefore, letting them know that we have a mutual enemy without disclosing our knowledge of it as such might get us information and diminish our likelihood of ending up as a sacrifice.
>>5735839>Display the dead ravens>Be diplomaticMake sure to display the tusks (possibly around our neck. That might give a bonus.
>>5735839>Display the dead ravens>Be straightforwardLooks like mistakes got made. The future is full of choices though.
>>5735848>>5735901Backing this strategy, display raven, be diplomatic, wear tusks.It occurs to me that they might fear the Raven God more than they hate it - if so, hunting the Raven Priest might cause them to panic and kill us, to avoid any further curses…
LOCKED>Display the dead ravens>Be diplomaticWRITING
You stand as the Indians walk up the ridge, brushing the dirt off your denims. The young chief is out in front with two others by his side. His eyes are fraught with what he saw last night, the eyes of a rabbit. You wonder if yours look the same. Three dead raven carcasses, freshly decapitated, hang from your belt, the cold keeping the stink largely at bay. You keep your rifle in your hand and when the first three men get within ten feet you carefully and deliberately lay it on the ground. All three pairs of eyes flick almost in concert to your belt, then back up to your face. The young chief steps forward, “Adwai’il, Obot núwya yat,” He waits a moment, looking back to the other chiefs. “Lio’t wa’yenat.” You can intuit his questions have something to with wanting to know who you are and if you can speak Maidu. You remain silent, and he seems to pick up the hint. Slowly reaching down toward your cookfire, eyes trained steady on the Indians, you pick up a cup of coffee, take a small sip, and offer it out. The young chief does not move, but after a while one of the other braves steps forward to take it from your hand. He sniffs it, then takes a drink. He looks to the others and shrugs his shoulders, “Kaifiyat.” He passes it to the chief, who looks thoughtfully at the cup, then at your belt, and drinks. The cup is handed off to the last of the three who also takes his drink, then waves for the rest of the Indians to proceed up to your cooksite. He returns the cup to you and you have a moment of alarm when you wonder if you’ll have to offer coffee to every Indian. You’re saved from the thought by the obvious disinterest of the older chiefs in partaking in any sort of ritual. The three old chiefs step to join their younger colleague in a line, decked with tusk jewelry, braided herbs hanging from their hair, and river shells. The younger chief appraises the older three of something in their language, gesturing to you as he does so. After taking a moment with themselves, the oldest chief, a weathered man of near seventy by your reckoning, opens his mouth to speak.“White man, why come, not welcome, our people, bad time, go away.” This was going to be difficult. You decide to approach this as diplomatically as you can, seeing as there’s no way to tell how they’d react if they knew you were looking to kill one of their own. Even if he was a monstrosity.
“Listen, I made my way up mountain fer trade, trade!” You reach down into your satchel and pull out the braid of tusks you bought off that fat Indian and shake it for emphasis. That gets their attention, and you realize you’re holding the equivalent of a hundred dollars in front of twenty odd men in the wilderness. Taking the fact that none of them put an arrow in you for the braid, you continue.“When I took my ascent I saw me an Injun, a bad one. He transfigured to a raven, like them that were here last night.” You gesticulate now to your belt and the bird carcasses. Though you have attempted to lessen your range of expression, you still have no idea how much is getting through. You all seem to be of the same mind, as the young chief taps a brave on the shoulder, whispers to him, and he goes off running to the village. The lull is full of anxiety on both sides. You pick up some bread and break a piece off for the chiefs, but they politely turn it down. That buys you about a minute of activity, and the next fifteen are spent with shuffling feet, stifled coughs, and studiously avoided eye contact.You spy the brave sent to the village returning with someone else in tow long before he reaches the ridge. It’s a young one, not yet a man. He comes right up to the line of chiefs, and to the young chief specifically, who briefs him on the situation. At least that’s what you assume he’s doing. The boy is maybe eleven or twelve, long hair, a headband, but no decorations. He wears no arm band and has no marks. His eyes look red and puffy, but are set into granite, his face is expressionless, and when he speaks his voice is raw, but just as unreadable.“So white man…you talk to me, I talk to the chiefs. Who are you? Why are you here? Your kind are not welcome this far up the mountain.”This, you can work with. You shift your weight to the other leg.“Well boy, as I was tryin’ to tell before, I ain’t no paragon o’ my race. I’m here fer trade, I got these long marks from an Injun who said they fetch curious wares ‘round the upper mount. Now…comin’ up I did see me some demon that looked akin to you and yers. I was huntin’ fer varmint to fill the stew pot and came upon ‘im walkin’ round some cedar and discoursin’ to it. Then he flapped ‘imself into some raven bird and took to the night.”You keep your story vague, only highlighting the most general information. The boy remains passive, translating your words as you speak them, but pauses when you mention the shaman. His eyes widen in shock, surprise, and fear, then narrow to furious arrowheads. He bites his way through translating your story to the chiefs, snarling all the while. The same reactions ripple down the line of chiefs as he gets through the last of it.
You fear for a moment that you will become an object for the intensities that have just presented themselves, but quite unexpectedly you seem almost completely forgotten in a rush of chatter between all the Indians present.The chiefs form a ring and begin to council amongst themselves, first quietly, then louder and louder. They avoid shouting, but only just, and the obvious constraints on their volume filter through other avenues in their tone, somehow turning it even more violent. Some of the braves begin to yip and cry, cutting their hands with flint knives and slapping each other in the chest. The boy takes his own knife out and raises it high as he can in the air, yipping a falsetto in his underdeveloped voice. As he does so, the young chief snatches the boy’s wrist and tears it down. They argue loudly in Indian, but the boy eventually adopts a sullen look and takes no more part in whatever is happening. Eventually, the chiefs raise their hands together and restore order, quieting the party before turning back to you. The oldest chief begins to speak once more, in Indian this time, and the young chief nudges the boy with his hand.“Chiefs say you must come with us. You must come to P’oilkat, the biggest village. You must come and tell your story to the biggest chief. We will leave now. Chiefs say do this, and you may trade in P’oilkat and leave the land alive.”There is no other option presented, the message is clear. Well…you drew a response, and that’s as much as could be hoped for striking as blind as you did.“Alright boy, how far is this Babylon o’ yers?”“Three days white man, and don’t call me boy. I am Adwai’il Kotak, a man of the mountain. This year I put the poison in my hair and knock a war bow. My father is…was, a great war chief. I will wear a hundred of your people’s scalps before my circle is done.”Maybe older than eleven or twelve. His eyes don’t waver from yours, they almost look full of tears. You keep his gaze while you begin to douse camp. “Coulda filled yer chest with lead weight a dozen times while ye were jawin’ boy. A man does not declare war, he kills. You can beat yer chest and call yer thunder and I’ll crack yer skull at eight hundred yards all the same. Boy.”The boy yips in rage and draws his knife. It’s barely out of its sheath when the young chief notices, and tears it from his grasp, cuffing him upside the head hard enough that he lands flat on his face. The other chiefs take you packing as a sign of assent and begin to walk down toward the village. You follow, leaving the young chief yelling at the boy in Indian back up the ridge.
You wait for an hour outside the perimeter. You can see into the village, the raised platform still red in the center. After an hour, ten braves filter out to you, five of them carrying small, stick facsimiles of the poles surrounding the village, adorned with dead ravens and bundles of herbs. The last two to come out are the young chief himself, and the boy, who shoots you a scornful look. The young chief carries an extra staff for you. First he lightly smacks the ravens at your belt with it, then hands it to you along with a bundle of the same herbs the others have. You tie them all together quickly enough. The young chief nods in approval, and gives a loud whistle through his fingers. The whistle is returned from every man present, including the boy, and just like that you all begin the long walk to P’oilkat. While Campbell travels with the group to their destination, please decide which questions you’d like him to ask any of the Indians along the way. Answers will obviously be limited to what any of the Indians actually know. If no one can think of any then I will give some basic, linear info next update.>Write in a Question
>>5736532This went as well as I could have imagined. Good job fellow anons. Looks like we are going to get to trade and gain info on our foe. Plus, we get to do both in their equivalent of a capital so odds are the trade and the info will be even better. Our tusks are also pretty cool and our story is technically 100% true.
>>5736532>Ask them about their language and their gods.>Ask them about their knowledge of the lands.If we can get even an intro to ukua as a concept that would be very valuable.>Ask them what we may be able to trade for, how much value do our tusks hold, and if they may be willing to trade for any of our other stuff. (to perpetuate our story that we are here to trade)
>>5736532Who are these that call demons into this world, what for, and where do they camp?Any demon killing advice they may have?Ask about the raven spirit?
>>5736542>>5736591And obviously - who is the man we are hunting?I fully expect the Maidu to tell us to fuck off and wait until we get to the tribal capital, but we have to ask
>>5736532>Ask them what we may be able to trade for, how much value do our tusks hold, and if they may be willing to trade for any of our other stuff. (to perpetuate our story that we are here to trade)>Who is the man we are hunting?>Ask them about their language and their gods.>Ask them about their knowledge of the lands.>The staves and other totems we saw with herbs and ravens- what are they for and how do they work?Do not ask about the raven spirit, we just went through the effort of not exposing that knowledge.
>>5736532>What are their relationships with the other tribes?>Any customs or social rituals we should be aware of when treating with the biggest chief?
I must skip tonight's update due to an unforeseen engagement. I will update tomorrow afternoon/early evening.
>>5737374No problem OP. Thanks for the heads up.
You catch your foot before it slides off a submerged ice slick. A quick shift of weight to your left knee and the momentum becomes just another step. Half a day in and you’ve proven a dozen times that your feet are nimble enough to outpace whatever preconceptions the Maidu Braves may have had. The group goes up, always up, into the true deep places. These are the rooftops of the world and the cold here is beyond you. Nights in the Sonoran were brittle, a cigarillo for a campfire hidden in your glove, but up here is a conquering strut.The Young Chief keeps pace with you, every bit as fleet as yourself, while the Boy does his best, but is flummoxed by bowling wind and deep snow. You’ve tried to talk, to learn something about your situation and the Black Shaman, but the Boy has refused to speak on your behalf, suffering fits and starts of pique with every glance in your direction. Eventually the sun re-asserts itself in a few hours of violent tug of war with the wind. The whole party slows and begins a leisurely pace.There is only so much silence to be suffered, and it is the Young Chief who breaks first. He prods the Boy to translate his questions for you, which he does with a pronounced distaste. “Uncle says he does not see White Men bring Sapwi up the mountain,” he motions to the braided tusks you’ve draped around your neck, “He says you must have been swindled out of much money to try and trade among the People.”Here it is, their boredom has gifted some chance at conversation. You take your time, avoiding the carcass of some squirrel that hadn’t made it to its tree last night. “Well…I do believe the Injun that parceled me out these here has done his fair share o’ low commerce. Though I may have been spared owin’ to my lack o’ lard fer barter at the time.” You drift a foot or so closer to the two of them. “Now I did come here with sincere intention, but in also a lack o’ expectation. What could I change these Sappowy fer in that big village o’ yers?The Young Chief listens to you secondhand and begins to list off several words. The Boy replies, “You can trade Sapwi, or tools, or strange food like kaifiyat. Maidu’wail are the best of Mother’s weaving people. Our baskets are beautiful and strong, and we make shell necklaces that glitter like blue sunlight.” The Boy’s chest puffs with pride and keeps inflating the more he translates. “We know almost all the medicine in the world and take it all from the ground, and of course we trap many animals for their warm furs.” You figure allowing them both to take a moment of satisfaction in their people can’t hurt. Even you’ve heard of the Maidu healing unguents, pristine furs command premium prices, and are harder to get than ever with the country growing as it is.
“I see the merchant in me knew the worth o’ gettin’ lost up the mount.” A thought occurs to you, “Say Boy, I gotta solution to that particular transgression fer ya. Furnish me with yer names, and I swear to use em proper ‘til we part ways.” The Young Chief smiles when he hears you, eyes fixed ahead, and spouts a series of syllables. The boy reforms them to English. “You will call Uncle; Talons-on-the-Tree.” He leaves it there, the silence grows. Finally you speak up.“What about yer own title Boy? Could leave it at Boy if ye like, suits me fine…” His eyes flash, “I-I do not have a Name!” He continues softer, “Well…this year I will put the poison in my hair and have a Grown Name but…just…I am Kule!” He rushes it out hastily at the end as if hoping you won’t hear it. You ease off whatever inclinations you might have had to poke fun.“Alright now, Kule, and Talons-on-the-Tree. I’ll remember ye, and ye can call me by the name o’ Campbell.” Kule seems still embarrassed, but grateful that the focus has shifted onto you. “Listen Kule, I can’t help me but wonder at that kin o’ yers I saw cavortin’ with some blackness in the wood. You know ‘im?”Kule shrugs, his demeanor considerably more open than it was just a minute previous. “He sounds like some demon Mawike. They are not welcome any place around here. They are ugly, no Spirit likes them.” He turns to ask Talons-on-the-Tree. He comes to a sudden stop, bringing the whole group to a standstill, and turns to look at you and Kule, his face like a granite bluff. He stares, and turns without a word to keep moving forward. The dread of night slithers up the spine of every man present, yourself included. It is inevitable, and all the more terrible for it. The sky grows darker, and it begins to settle on the world. Camp is made, all twelve of you work to clear a large thatch of snow with tools shaped like wide, oval, wooden rackets. A large, cured hide tarp is set down in the clearing, with a hole in the center where stones are piled around, and a fire is lit. Two of the Braves begin to make fry bread and heat corn mash. They surprise you by taking your beans to cook for you when you kneel by the fire and pointing you to where the others are working. At the edge of the cleared campsite, about a thirty foot circle, the rest of the Indians are checking and planting their warding staffs. Most of the ravens are entirely frozen at this point, but the herbs are somehow still fresh as the day they were picked. You point this out to Kule and he shrugs again.“Some medicine, I don’t know. Maidu’wail know a lot of medicine from herbs.” Another Brave nudges Kule, looks at you, and starts speaking. “Grass-Under-Snow says Big Shaman grows these herb plants in P’oilkat, he breathes on them with his smoke and they do not die. All our herbs are from his plants. The ravens are for…something else.”
You eye the Indian who just spoke, a sizable man, more muscular than most of the others. His shoulders are draped with a large fur coat, sewn together from different types of animals. He nods at you and turns away to find a good spot to set his warding staff. Three of the Braves take their bundle of herbs from the end of their staffs and throw it in fire at the center of camp. The smoke turns from black to green and blue, smelling like fresh mountain lake water and pine. Something in the night seems to draw back to a safe distance.Dinner is made and eaten, someone brings out a flute, Talons-on-the-Tree sits next to you and offers you a skin with some sort of alcohol in it. It’s syrupy, but burns nice, sticking to your throat in a pleasant tingle. You light a cigarillo, two left, and puff. It attracts an inordinate amount of attention and soon you’re staring morosely on as good manners see you passing it around all ten Braves. It circles thrice before it returns to you a shriveled ember, and you toss it into the fire. The threat of the night never leaves entirely, but it does recede for a time, and you’re all able to sleep with only one eye open. In the morning you awake to the cold, your constant companion, and help the rest of the party douse camp. The routine is comfortable and practiced and you fit right in. It’s been a while since you’ve traveled with soldiers, which is what these Indians are more or less, and you’ve forgotten how much you missed it. Two days left to P’oilkat, you all begin the stride. Today is boring, cold, and seemingly unending. The path is relatively straightforward and peaceful, which does nothing but leave the mind free to jaunt over some banality or the other. No one speaks really, and the constant rhythm of steps makes the entire party almost drowsy. Eventually, Talons-on-the-Tree has had enough. He sidles up to you slyly, almost boyishly, and nudges you with his elbow. You’ve both fallen a little behind the vanguard. At first you just think he stumbled a bit, but he nudges you again with his elbow. When he gets a quizzical look he motions his head towards Kule, slowly and deliberately. Then does it again. Your confusion still palpable, he holds up a hand and marches up to the boy. A quick exchange in Maidu has Kule excitedly running forward, taking a low stance and outpacing the rest of the group. Talons-on-the-Tree returns to you and motions his head towards his rapidly disappearing nephew. He uses his hands, one representing you, the other him, and shows you circling around in front of the boy. You raise your eyebrow, but he smiles, slaps you on the shoulder, and points west while he disappears to the east.
You think for a moment, then suddenly understand, and lope off in the direction he pointed you. Your coat is a dull brown, a standout against the gray trees and white snow, but a few handfuls of fresh snow applied to it rapidly melt into water, then frost over into twinkling diamonds, same as the rest of the terrain. You doff your hat, remove your gloves, and christen your rifle and satchel the same as your coat. You take paths through deeper snow to muffle your footfalls, stay clear of the scarce trees to avoid any roots brought to the surface by dead grass and earth, and make for snow drift after snow drift. Kule is good for his age, but while he takes pains to soften his steps on the shallow snow, the trailing decorative strings on his trousers still make fine indentations. His pitch black hairs are an unnatural color here, and draw the eye on clear beds of snow. He also has a small leak in his waterskin, the drops of water forming irregular frost crystals on the ground which may as well trace his path.It doesn’t take you long to catch up, and while you can’t see him, Talons-on-the-Tree is no doubt across from you. Kule’s focus is completely on what’s ahead of him, and it’s no trouble to follow him for a few minutes. Eventually he comes to a clearing with several large snow drifts. You duck behind one as he scans the area, and spy just the slightest blur of tan as Talons-on-the-Tree makes his way into one, covering himself in what must be burning cold. You guess the game, and as Kule turns to scan the opposite direction you take the opportunity to slowly push into the snow drift you’re currently using for cover. You regret it as soon as the tip of your finger hits the snow. God damn is it cold. It takes some fine maneuvering to get yourself inside the thing without making noise, even with your rifle and satchel left on the ground behind it. As you make a small hole toward the bottom to view outside, Talons-on-the-Tree begins to make noises from his snow drift. Quiet at first, Kule cocks his head toward the sounds. They get louder, not enough to be frightening, but enough to provoke curiosity. Kule begins to creep slowly over to the snow drift as the sounds continue, sounding like a cross between a fox and a bluejay. As Kule stands right in front of the snow drift, he leans in to examine it…and Talons-on-the-Tree bursts out screaming as loud as he can. Kule immediately responds in kind, screaming at the top of his lungs he turns and runs away as fast as he possibly can…right in the direction of your snow drift. You follow Talons-on-the-Tree’s lead and jump out of the snow drift right into Kule’s screaming face. The boy has no idea what to do as he spins around at the two snow beasts flanking him. He draws a knife, but as he whirls one time too many he slips and falls, smacking his tailbone in the snow.
It’s at this point that Talons-on-the-Tree can no longer contain his laughter, and you both find yourself bellowing out guffaws in tandem. You’re shaking hard enough from laughter that much of the snow falls off by itself, and you do your best to wipe the rest from your clothes as your bellows subside to small shakes of mirth. Kule is not happy. He stands up stiffly, obviously sore, and without speaking stalks off back in the direction of the main group. Talons-on-the-Tree calls after him in Maidu a few times, but he does not turn. After Kule is out of sight, he slaps you on the chest with a big smile and yips before following. You shake your head, still smiling, but starting to seriously regret your decision as the snow starts to soak your vest and shirt. Picking up your effect, you follow after the two Indians, back to the group.That night, camp is set up the same as before, food is doled out, and the entire group is at their rest. Feeling in the mood for some poetry you fish out the copy of Hyperion you “won” off of Paddy and begin reading. Around twenty minutes in, you feel someone lightly kick your foot. You look up to see Kule, slightly less miffed than earlier. He sits down in front of you and points toward the book. “What’s that Campbell, some White Man’s teachings on how to be an ass?” You shut the book and stare at him.“I told ye it were yer Uncle’s idea. Do not try and guilt my conscience on account of yer bruised tail. Though I will take the blame to enjoyin’ yer fearsome battle cry more than I figured.” The boy’s face rumples, but he quickly changes the subject. “So if being an ass comes naturally, what is the book for?”You toss it to him. “It’s about a god in them old countries that wreaks havoc on ‘is spawn. You have gods in this land don’t ye?”At the mention of the word Kule’s face sobers. “I am not a shaman, but there are spirits of the land, some are great, some are small. The Maidu’wail are people of Tso’ye, Owl. I am not a shaman, I do not know the great stories, but I will try.” “Long ago Momim, Raven, saw treasures in the hands of others. Raven was clever, he told Rabbit, go to sleep, and I will watch your treasures. He took Rabbit’s eyes for treasures. He told Bear, go to sleep and I will watch your treasures. He took Bear’s eyes for treasures. He told Snake, go to sleep, and I will watch your treasures. He took Snake’s eyes for treasures. Finally, he told Owl, go to sleep, and I will watch your treasures. Raven was clever, but he did not know that Owl did not sleep, she stayed awake at night. When Raven tried to take her eyes, she cut his belly open with her talons. Since that day, Raven could only eat rotting flesh, and he hated it, and because he hated it, he hated Owl.”
Some of the other Braves had stopped working by now to listen, though they didn’t speak. Kule stared into the fire, his voice trembling, small. “Raven is angry now…someone took one of his treasures.” None of the others say a word until Talons-on-the-Tree walks up to the fire and throws the night’s herbs into it. A wave of relaxation comes over the camp as the familiar fresh scents make themselves prevalent. The Braves resume their conversation and a communally held breath is expelled. As the Brave named Catching Feathers takes out his flute once more and prepares to play, a small sound is heard in the distance. A caw.Everyone immediately stands at attention, trying to locate the source. The caw sounds again…straight above. Without warning a raven plunges straight down into the middle of the camp, into the campfire. The fire erupts into a transcendent conflagration of pitch black flame that somehow throws off light. Smoke furls above the great fire in black and white, painting an image of an old Indian in his bed, struggling to breathe, mouth open, coughing up blood. The wind picks up, whipping the smoke into a curling tower stretching up into the night, the great figure of the dying old man set against the starry vast. A rush of air, and it collapses into the insignificant campfire that gave birth to it.The fire is out completely, everyone is still, frozen, no one dares to move or make a sound. After it becomes apparent that immediate death is no in the offering, one of the Braves attempts to restart the campfire. No flame will take to it. Eventually another site is chosen, and camp is remade around it. No one speaks for the night, and neither does anyone sleep, waiting instead for the weak rays of morning light to crest over the mountains.The third day. Camp is struck in total silence, and it is well along in the morning the group resumes any sort of speech. You take the opportunity to ask Kule and Talons-on-the-Tree what you all witnessed, and whether the demon you saw had a hand in it. Kule speaks with his Uncle, and responds.“I’ve never gone to P’oilkat. Uncle has, he says that man was the big shaman. He has been dying for a year, but it has never been as bad as that. His end must be close.”Talons-on-the-Tree says something else, quite a few things, holding your gaze all the while. Kule continues shakily.
“The herbs from his garden die with him. Uncle says the Mawike you saw must have been Washoe since he became a raven. The Washoe are backstabbers and evil men. They worship raven and his hoard of eyes. Uncle says that’s what you are for. The Biggest Chief will not call to war against the Washoe because they are many, and they trade with you White Men for iron guns and axes. But, if you tell Biggest Chief that a Washoe Mawike was cursing our forests, he will have no choice, there must be war.”You take in what the two have told you. Then ask a question.“Kule, why would some Injun’ chief believe some beleaguered trader in search of skimmin’ ye of valuables? He don’t know me from Adam.”Kule knows the answer to this one.“The Big Shaman makes a smoke that tells the truth Campbell. You breathe the smoke, and he must believe you. It is more than time, we cannot keep sitting still, time is fading.” All of you stay lost in thought for the rest of the day. Towards the end of late afternoon, Talons-on-the-Tree picks up the pace, telling everyone else to do the same. You’re all half jogging for about two hours while he drives everyone harder and harder, but to no avail. You see it in the distance after clearing a small copse of dead trees, P’oilkat. It’s only two and a half miles out, and you can see the indecision on Talons-on-the-Tree’s face, but the night is here now, there is no more time.Begrudgingly he gives the order to camp, you go through the effort of clearing away the snow, placing the warding staffs, and making a fire. Dinner is eaten and anxiety hangs low over every head. Nobody has forgotten last night. The wind howls more than it has any of the nights you’ve been in the mountains, though the snowfalls are too old and settled to be picked up for a true snowstorm. Talons-on-the-Tree spends the entirety of his time gazing at the relative safety of P’oilkat from the edge of the ring of warding staffs. The stars are out, the moon is risen, the darkness is thick and viscous. The wind renews its buffet, a long, deep, roar against anything and everything. The dead, frozen ravens shake and slam against the staffs. Then…it happens. The wind carries a groaning death rattle from the direction of P’oilkat, joyously, triumphantly braying it over every surface it touches. As one, every bundle of herbs hanging from the staffs, from the hair of the Braves, set around the fire, every bundle crumbles into brown dust and sifts away with the raging wind. Just as before, every man is on his feet, waiting, all of you sharing a singular heartbeat loud enough to echo across the mountains. The fire dwindles, slowly but surely. The light goes out. Moonlight is all that remains. The wind slows down to a sinister caress, waiting, just as you are. A scream breaks the silence, one of the Braves is ripped by something unseen into the darkness, and Talons-on-the-Tree shouts at the top of his lungs,
“WITTI’E!!” You don’t need to speak Maidu to understand, and every man among you sprints at full speed toward P’oilkat. You hear the sounds of running things, you hear another Brave shriek as he’s dragged off into the dark. You smell something sick and rotten almost right next to your face, but you don’t look. You don’t look at anything other than the great village getting closer and closer. Another cry, another sound of someone dragged through the snow. Almost there. Your lungs are blazing, you’re breathing so hard you’re sure they’re bruised. It’s getting closer, slowly, agonizingly closer. You see movement, other Indian figures in the village, at the perimeter. There’s commotion there as well, though you can’t make out what, but there are at least large, lit fires. You’re only a few minutes away, the village gates become clearer and clearer, when suddenly something grabs your arm. You turn, ready to fight for your life, but it’s not whatever creature was killing you, it’s Talons-on-the-Tree. His eyes are wide in terror, his knife is in his hand and he’s pulling you the wrong way, back out towards the empty dark, away from the village. He’s pulling with almost all his strength, he’s screaming something at you but your ears are too full of blood to make it out. Suddenly realization bursts behind your eyes, the dark is out there, some of your group is trickling into the village, but where’s Kule? He’s not there. Did he already get in? No. Where is he? Talons-on-the-Tree screams at you one last time, waving his free hand, and sprints back into the darkness.>Follow Talons-on-the-Tree>Make for P’oilkat
>>5738503>Follow Talons-on-the-TreeThe rest of the update was too cute... cute! You got me OP!
>>5738503>Follow Talons-on-the-TreeAmazing update and well worth the wait. Thanks. Please continue to pace yourself.Is it possible that our enemy has been watching us all along and was just waiting for a chance to strike? We know he can turn into a raven so I think he may have been one of the ravens who have been watching us.
>>5738503>Follow Talons-on-the-TreeFuck it, we gotta save the kid.Also - impeccable work QM, I’m taking notes here for my own quest
>>5735833And you cock suckers didn't want to snipe them. Killing an Indian is always morally correct. It is always allowed.
>>5738745It is our God given right and duty even.
>>5738503>Follow Talons-on-the-TreeI guess, fuck it. In for a penny, in for a pound. We are a hunter, hunting is what we do and we will show these savages that the Lord's light shines even on them.
>>5738503>Follow Talons-on-the-TreeTrust the old man. We ball.
Thank you for all your kind words, I see everyone has seen this post >>5738477 in the /qst/ general.I am sorry to do this but the place I am staying for the next three days does not have a computer, so the next update will have to be Sunday the 20th. Apologies.
>>5739027A break from screens can be a good thing. Enjoy, qm.
>>5739027Please don't feel the need to apologize. Daily updates is how qms get burnout. Enjoy the break. That last update was one of the largest yet.
>>5739027No problem OP. We appreciate the heads up!Also >>5739101>Daily updates is how qms get burnoutI politely disagree: daily updates is how quests function, and if you slow down too much past that you risk dropping players/getting distracted and flaking. That being said, I think *not taking any breaks at all* is how QMs get burnout, and I wholly support OP taking a preannounced break if necessary.
>>5739027We can wait for high-quality, powder-white, Colombian quest content OP, rest up!As a fellow QM on a near-daily update schedule, it’s important to treasure your time off
You stare in absolute disbelief as Talons-on-the-Tree races off into the treachery girdling P’oilkat, “RED MAN WHAT THE HELL’RE YOU DOIN’?!” Thoughts unbidden of the young boy intercept any rationale of retreat, no matter what effort you expend on them. You find yourself volleying questions of his sanity without realizing your legs have begun to churn you out into the dark of their own volition. The both of you suck in gulps of crystal cold as you blow past and circle around the remaining five Braves straining for the great village. Out in the murk you can only see about twenty feet in any direction, you hear the loping things running down the Indians graze past you, but whatever slaughterous instinct propels them on seems limited to one victim at a time. You feel more than you see of them, quaking earth, oily feathers, a waft of rotten stench. Craning back for a better view provides nothing, but draws your attention to the fact that P’oilkat is lit like a beacon in the absolute shadow prevailing in the mountains. A grand pyre rises higher than even the substantial wooden walls. You can make out the scurries of ant-like Maidu attending it, you can’t make out what it is they hope to accomplish, since the enormous flame is seemingly unable to chase away even one lone thread of the onyx loom at P’oilkat’s bounds.You turn your head back and almost run right into Talons-on-the-Tree. The air has cleared somewhat, the oily tang in the air sieving through the snow. Your face is hot and numb, and you lock eyes with the young chief as he taps your chest, motioning in the vague direction you all started running. You exchange your dead sprint for measured steps, and begin your slow search for the boy.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Kule does not breathe. His eyes are closed, his muscles are slack. The only thoughts in his head; “Don’t move. Don’t move. Don’t move. “Don’t move.” Two bodies lay littered around his own, one face up, the other face down, alive not twenty minutes previous but now sharing the last great mortal similarity. There were more ravens in the sky than Kule had ever thought existed, but his own experience of the colossal flock was set down to only the two picking flesh off of his neighboring corpses. The boy remembered little other than the mad break for P’oilkat, something catching on his foot, and the immediate, unmistakable spear of a broken ankle. The two birds had become uninterested in the rapidly freezing corpses of the other Braves, and hopped their way instead over to Kule’s face down charade. The boy’s head was askew to the left, staring down at the handle of a flint knife protruding from the dead Brave’s belt. In languid fits and starts, as slowly as he dares, the tips of his fingers make contact. The ravens both hop onto him from the opposite directions and after the merest modicum of hesitation, begin to tear into the flesh around his neck and ears with cruel, hooked beaks. Kule does not make a sound, even as a small part of his earlobe is torn off. Tears gather in his eyes, his thoughts retreating to their instinctual shell, “Don’t move, don’t breathe, don’t move, don’t breathe…” The knife is in his palm now. He sets himself…and a step rumbles just out of eyeshot, then another.---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Five Braves ran past you to P’oilkat. You and Talons-on-the-Tree have found three corpses so far, none of them Kule. The ravens flock like millennium dervishes above your head, the caws messy and unilateral. On the earth at least, nothing seems to be around the two of you, except for the odd raven or two. Quite a few were already picking at the bodies of the fallen Braves you’d found. Every once in a while, you steal a glance back to P’oilkat, and find the Maidu on the walls feathering something out beyond the ring of light with arrow after arrow. Some bows are trained skyward, and bring down clippings of the terror of ravens above the village. Talons-on-the-Tree slaps your chest, pulling your attention to a great, crushing depression in the snow, about six feet in diameter. He fidgets with a shell medallion around his neck, and tries to communicate his disquiet with his eyes alone. You examine the depression, taking note of its symmetry, and much more importantly, the fact that there are several of them. In a row. Footprints.Hearing the bright pitched shimmer of a Maidu war song against the atonal caws, you turn your head back to P’oilkat. Through the large entrance to the great village, a hundred Braves rush out with bow, spear, knife, tomahawk, staff, and club. As easy as it is to see the blazing beacon of P’oilkat in the night, it is that difficult to make out anything else from your position. You see the Braves rush out into darkness, you hear the fringe of gruesome exertions. One Brave is tossed back into the light of the village bent in half, ass to spine. He collides with a pair of archers on the wall and all three catapult into the village interior. You cannot spare any investment in whatever may be happening behind you, you’re almost to the campsite.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The ravens had made it through his shirt. It was getting harder and harder for Kule not to whimper as they peeled small strips of flesh off of his back. Blood dripped down his shoulders. His knife was in hand but he was thralled into inaction by the laborious breathing, the sweet odor of rotten meat, and the rumbling steps of whatever was out there. He couldn’t move his head, strain a muscle, or indulge the shivers of pain that each tearing beak inflicted on him. All he could do was stare on, and hope. A third raven now, inspecting him for the choicest morsel. Another step that shook the ground and his chest along with it. Close. An oily feeling sliding through his nerves. His head was transfixed in position, and so Kule saw nothing but the body next to him lifted into the air. Sloshing, ripping sounds. Then a shower of almost frozen innards raining back down.It was almost impossible not to tremble, not to cry out. That third raven circled to Kule’s passive, inexpressive face. It looked at him. It hopped closer, and closer again. It tilted its head, then its beak lunged for the boy’s eye. Kule screamed, jerking himself away and bringing his stolen knife up into the raven. The other two on his back screeched in surprise as they retreated from his manic slashing. Sitting up now, the boy realized that the sounds above him had stopped. He didn’t want to look up. He kept staring straight ahead. Finally, he pushed himself onto his feet, one leg at a time, taking care not to put any weight on his broken ankle. A curious sound came from above him, like a rotten, croaking question. He didn’t want to look up.Some slime dripped onto his head. He thought of his father, he thought of his uncle. He thought of the stranger that had come with them. Kule tightened his grip on his stolen knife, took his own out of its sheath, and looked up.
His neck stretched…and stretched…and stretched. His eyes passed over emaciation, oily, dead leather skin, interspersed with thatches of vagrant mange and sullen black feathers. The feet in the back were taloned more wickedly than what would ever be necessary for killing. Their purpose was to rend, abjectly. The feet in the front were spiked mallets larger round than he was tall by a heady margin. The horrible face with its eyes and protruding, ugly malformations and keratin blade. He took a step back, the thing repeated its croak. It raised itself up, and came down faster than the winter wind. Kule’s arms were moving but it was too late, already too late. His legs were moving, but too late, he watched as it came down toward him.The sound was so loud in the night. Thunder. Blood splattered the boy but he couldn’t feel the wound. First the thunder, then the obscene screeching of this thing, it was all so loud. He blinked. It didn’t hurt, he wondered why. His unfocused eyes took in everything around him, the dark trees, the moonlight, the snow, the rushing blur, the screeching thing, the two corpses by his feat. The rushing blur? “Unc-?”--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- A second cartridge, a second shot, this one hits uselessly on those enormous hammer feet. You prime the third cartridge in the breech. Talons-on-the-Tree is almost too fast for you to see as he picks up Kule, they both barely avoid a second stab from the thing’s beak down into the snow. Talons-on-the-Tree tosses Kule off to the side, readies his knife, and stalks behind it. You cock the hammer on your rifle. There’s killing to be done. Roll me 3d100 for a general combat check to start things off.Also, you may describe a strategy for your approach to this thing and if it makes a decent amount of sense I might be inclined to give you a roll bonus.>Roll 3d100
Rolled 80, 74, 59 = 213 (3d100)>>5742003I imagine one roll is for Kule, one for Talons, and one for us. If so I roll in that order. I sincerely hope this does not go poorly.My strategy is to take advantage of the lights of the fire, the terrain, and our enhanced senses to target its feet. Unlike our last enemy, this creature does not seem to have great physical strength. If Kule or Talons can injure the body while we cripple its means of attack (claws/talons) our chances of death decrease.
Rolled 50, 98, 56 = 204 (3d100)>>5742003Not sure if you want 3 1d100s, 1 3d100, or 3 3d100s. Tossing this in just in case.>>5742058based high-roller
>>5742063Thanks. Talons is about to go off.
Rolled 64, 2, 65 = 131 (3d100)>>5742003
>>5742058>>5742063>>5742141Based rollers. If anon is right, the white man has to job a little bit here
>>5743765It's barely been two days anon, don't sweat it.
I apologize for the lack of professionalism, there will be an update tomorrow and barring any severe unforeseen complications we will return to one update a night as usual.
>>5743814Lmao, dude, it's all good. Heads-up are obviously useful and appreciated, but it's not like anybody's paying you to be here, so "professionalism" isn't something to sweat over. We're all just people. glad you're around though
The third cartridge clicks home as you bring your Sharps up to your shoulder. The creature sets itself from the first shot only to be beset by another sword of leaden thunder. The pits and grooves of its sallow, over-taut skin tear readily from their moorings. Your shot finds the throat, ragged and dangling scraps flap and flutter from the wound, but no great flush of blood or ichor. In its eyes shoot a light of drab, hallow gray. you watch it rend the earth with its goliath step towards Talons-on-the-Tree, some flailing lines of slobber evacuating its open mouth. The young chief tosses his nephew as far as he can without stopping and races for the corpse of the remaining dead Indian. The thing tries to scrabble in the snow to turn and chase him but a fourth shot from you dislodges a severe portion of its back left ankle. The leg gives out in brutal fashion, the smack of its knee on the frost-limed ground raps through the night, as does the snap of its filthy beak an inch away from the young chief’s heel. Your fingers go about their duties without condescending to inherit the fear and cold coursing through the rest of your body. They fish for another piece of brass and feed your rifle’s murderous hunger as you determine a proper course. Talons-on-the-Tree dives for his dead companion, the creature smashing its way to him as he hastens to turn the body over. Kule sits up in the snow, clumps of it falling from his head. He holds himself like someone who’s injured something serious, and his lack of movement in the face of such horror is enough to make your decision for you. You fire off another shot, this one buzzing up and into the apex of some tree. The creature fails to even turn its head, but you’ve done what you can for now. You run hard to Kule, who’s preoccupied watching his uncle unsling an axe from the corpse of the dead Brave. Talons-on-the-Tree stands to face the creature with long knife and flint tomahawk. He is still as stone. It reaches out with its disfigured beak, thin and wormy tongue panting in anticipation. Talons-on-the-Tree stands still. It crows its craze for the grim feast to come, and slices down with jagged and irregular power.
It’s here the young chief drops, his body completely limp, edging just under the triumphant hook of the thing’s beak. He rolls his body over, bringing the knife in his left hand to bear, and drives it whole through the creature’s tongue, gravity’s great hand helping to jerk the creature’s neck smashing down into the earth. Its weight compromised by forward momentum, the thing’s whole body stumbles, crashing down in a mess of pallid limbs. Tongue gripped by his long knife, Talons-on-the-Tree raises the tomahawk and with a yip hacks down on the wriggling organ, again, and a third time. Each successive chop wrings an unholy scream from the creature, but it fails to regain its footing fast enough Its tongue lies still and snake-like on the snow before it courses upward with a terrible vengeance, but the Indian is moving, already on his own feet and over to the creature’s other side.Talons-on-the-Tree weaves inside the creature’s front two legs, precluding any easy course of attack, and begins chopping a deep groove in the channel that joins the thing’s back right leg with its hip. The creature tries to maneuver, desperate for distance between them, it walks back, stretches its taloned legs away in different directions, and tries to fit its bloody beak through its front legs to defend itself. Whatever it does, the young chief keeps pace, hacking, and hacking, and hacking, strands of sinew snapping apart in audible, wretched echoes. You reach Kule, the boy watches his uncle dance beneath the creature, his breath steady, but slowing as the rest of the world fails to intrude on his attention. You snap your fingers in front of his face and he starts, his mouth opens but you don’t wait for him to speak, you can see the twist and bulge under his skin at the ankle, the swollen coursing of broken bones. You turn around and place his arms around your shoulders. He gets the hint, and clings to you as you lift up with him in tow. You bespell your rifle with killing force once more and let loose against the creature, both it and the young chief around thirty feet away from you and Kule. You score a shot clean through its jaw. It still does not bleed, but this one, it reacts to, trying to make its croaking wails, stifled and bent through its now shredded tongue. It turns and tries to move to you, but Talons-on-the-Tree is still underneath, and he sinks his knife to the hilt in the furrows he’s made in the thing’s muscle.
The creature charges anyway. You try and reload but your rifle is not meant for this range, and Kule on your back makes aiming properly an impossibility. You keep your Sharps in your left hand and instead unholster your revolver, firing straight down the nose of the shambling charge. One hit scores below an eye, you cock the hammer. The other misses, the click of the hammer sounds again. The third misses Click. Your nerve begins to fail you, what about Kule? You should run. Instead, you fire the last two, the fourth hits its chest. Click. The fifth joins its brother in damn near the same spot. You brace to jump out of the way best you can when the thing lets out another scream of utter frustration. It pulls to the left, and is driven down into the snow not five feet from you and the Indian boy. Talons-on-the-Tree reveals himself on the creature’s shoulder, hanging on by way of his knife thrust deep into the its neck. The young chief springs from it and rejoins you and Kule, panting heavily. A pause…then the legs come back up. First one, then the other. The thing twists its head maliciously, looking at the three of you with a discernible, animalistic hatred. It stands full once more, and sets itself to charge.In the distance, the fire from P’oilkat breaks vibrant white. The alabaster flare fills the night with a presence beyond mere illumination. The choking dark around the great village melts into slurs of retreating shadow, bolting for somewhere, anywhere beyond the triumphant pyre.You, Kule, and Talons-on-the-Tree are at the edge of it out in the forest, but the light reaches all the same, and splashes onto the creature before you.The creature is…different in the light. Lesser…smaller. All of the wounds inflicted by your gun and the young chief’s blades are more horrific, more severe. They bleed now, a torrent down its entire body. Its face is set not in animalistic hatred, but perpetual anguish, it is hunched and pathetic, and it moves now with a substantial limp, dragging one of its ruined back legs across the snow.It wastes no time. It flees, wailing as it makes for some more coherent darkness out in the forest. You remember Cornelius’ words in your dream. The lash on your back burns as Kule shuffles against it, you can swear its beginning to bleed, even in this weather. Talons-on-the-Tree readies his weapons, a snarl on his face, and breaks into a steady stride after it. As you prepare to join him, as the burning on your back throbs in time with the fire in your chest, Kule nudges you with his arm.“Campbell…look…”
His voice is very faint, and he is very cold, but he still manages to point away from the creature, away from his uncle, and away from P’oilkat. You barely see it in the distance, and at first you're unsure of what it is you're looking at. Eventually though, you make it out. An owl, flying on silent wings away from everything, off down into the cliffs to the side of P’oilkat.You raise your voice to call for Talons-on-the-Tree, but as you take the breath into your lungs, a sweep of wind cuts down through the world, a great fan of black and grisly nettles. The words come out, you think. You feel the vibrations from your throat, but there is no sound. No noise, the entire world is bereft of it. Kule’s small breathing, the shouts of the Maidu Braves in the distance, no grand cawing of the ravens, every small miscellaneous thing from the slush of snow underfoot to the crackle of the great pyre. No noise sounds over all the Earth. You look up, the ravens blacken the moon and stars, there are thousands and thousands of them.This has happened before…whatever you decide…you must be swift about it.You can continue to hunt the creature. The divine wound on your back bleeds. Something, somewhere, for some reason, requires the death of this creature. It is death sick and fleeing, but that makes it all the more dangerous.You can return to P’oilkat. To the white light, to other men. You can join yourself with the Indians. You came here for this, and safety is much more likely in the company of armed Braves and learned shamans. Something is about to happen, and safety out in the dark is not guaranteed.You can follow the owl. A curiosity. A lone owl at night means as much as an elk in a herd during the day. Probably.>Continue the Hunt>Return to P’oilkat>Follow the Owl
>>5744616>Follow the OwlWe wounded the monster pretty bad, and evidently Talons-on-the-Tree is a murder machine, so he should be fine. Better to have a chat with our anti-raven spirit bro the Owl (who can probably protect us from the upcoming raven magic just as well as the Indians can?).also, mystery box
>>5744616>Continue the HuntThe mark calls for blood
>>5744616>You can continue to hunt the creature.I know the owl is tempting but we are not going to get a better chance than now to end this. Just like with our last hunt when we chose to shoot the fleeing shaman we need to at least try as if we don't then the next time we fight this thing we may not roll as well.
>>5744616>Continue the HuntBut obviously return Kule to Talons first
>>5744616>>Continue the Hunt
There is no real choice to be made, you are for the hunt, and the hunt is for you. Whatever is in the mystified air holds you voice fast, and you are unable to shout out to Talons-on-the-Tree. Fortunately for you, the young chief has stopped his pursuit of the creature to wonder in the silence. You’re able to approach from a wide circle, so as not to startle him or his tomahawk. He looks at you with face drawn in desolation. He was there, as you recall, when these omens birthed your expedition. Their ugly conclusion lain fresh in your memory. You unclasp Kule’s arms from around your neck and offer the Indian child to his uncle. Talons-on-the-Tree takes him and drapes him like a garland around his own shoulders. Without speech it is difficult to make yourself understood, but you do so. You make him feel the heart-heat ebbing from Kule’s cheek and wrist, the boy’s twitching eyelids already nodding off. He understands. He looks back toward P’oilkat and jerks his head, but you shake yours from side to side, just the once.His look of indecision is supplanted slowly but surely by his concern for his nephew. Your eyes linger on each other. He says nothing, but his eyes change their gleaming. He raises a hand to you as he backs away. You answer him with a hand of your own and he breaks off into a jog back to the white pyre of P’oilkat. Now it is you alone, with your fissured back, its seraphine pain, and the creature in the dark.Tracking it is no struggle, a cavernous drift parts the snow where it was forced to drag its dead, hobbled leg. You make your way almost leisurely through the severe silence and to the stream that you and the group of Braves followed up into the mountain to P’oilkat. There it sits, back to you, head upraised bewailing some winter song through cracked and bloody beak. Of course despite the motions of the creature’s strange prayers there is no sound to hear. You tap your way through your ammunition. The five bullets loaded into your revolver are the very last. Your Sharps has a goodly amount, almost twenty five. Your makeshift cross is through a belt loop opposite your holster, but you have yet to reanoint it with Lamb’s Blood. Your stock too old, dilute, and crass to carry any semblance of effectiveness. Needs must, you will trust your safety to the Lord, as well as your rifle and agility. You make no sound when you approach, though you traipse almost braggartly to a position on the corner of a tree. Wasting such advantage is not in your nature, and so you take aim of the thing in its vulnerability. You will kill this creature. The words of its True Ending already fill your mouth, they must be spoken, they must be heard, you will deliver them. You aim down your sight at the thing’s seated back, and fire.Please Roll 1d100 to wound the creature. >Roll 1d100, first three rolls will be counted.
Rolled 48 (1d100)>>5745517Here goes...
Rolled 67 (1d100)>>5745517Please dice guide my aim.
>>5745556Not the best but I will take it.
Rolled 88 (1d100)>>5745517
>>5745558Good enough for sure.
The bullet’s crack, the splitting of air, the thunk of the thing burrowing into flesh, sinew, and bone. All play out in your head, having heard them a thousand, thousand times before. Out in the world however, there is nothing. The tremor of your Sharps as the bullet leaves is the only indication you have that anything has come at all of depressing the trigger. That, and the blooming wound that spiders out from the meat of the creature’s back. It rises, its shoulders slump and roll with heavy, labored breaths, but it rises. It turns to face you as you slowly reach into your coat pocket and remove a cluster of four cartridges, laced in between your fingers. One is entrenched in its seat at the breech. The creature shrouds itself in an aura of menace, of virile hatred only available to those on the brink of death. It breathes faster…faster. You cock your rifle’s hammer. The thing raises its head back, screeches soundless to the sky, and stampedes forward.You fire without raising the rifle to your shoulder, the shot lodging in the right foreleg. Your fingers twirl in continuous motion, your hands almost frozen, stinging with the vibration of load after load, shot after shot. The thing dragging its lame back leg slows it, and all four of the large .52 calibers find victims all across the creature’s body. Its beak is bloody and chipped, its knee is popped off at an angle, its ocular orbit is shattered with fragments peppered in its eye, its ribs are convexed from a vicious shot to its center mass. All inflicted without a whisper. Its storm slows, the wounds taking their toll, but does not abate. The rhythms of its coming pound from the earth up into your feet, you can feel them, and you first feel their vanishing before seeing the creature raise them up and smash them down in a hush. You see a route open and dash through, as you saw Talons-on-the-Tree do, close and inside its reach. The hammers impact just behind you, almost toppling you. You bring your Sharps up almost point blank to the hole in its chest, and pull the trigger, observing the signs of the shot to make sure it went off. The smoke flies, the creature sways, and you feel a gust as it repositions. It does whatever it can to be away from you, and you do whatever you can to stay in its blind spot.
Unfortunately you soon realize that the long barrel of your rifle is unwieldy at best in this melee. You narrowly avoid being disemboweled by a surprise swipe from its remaining back talons as you try and bring the muzzle around on it, and end up with your back to the black, flowing stream. Again, it charges, but this time as it raises itself, its knee gives out, and it stumbles past you into the river as you duck and roll to the side. Your hands are shaking now, your entire body growing numb with the cold of the night. The creature raises itself up from the river, shaking as much of the water as it can off of its skin, but the vast majority is already frozen, coating its body in a sheen of white. Limping out of the stream, it sets itself on its front legs, lifting its back talons. Without warning it catapults an enormous ball of powdered snow straight at you. You put your arms in front of your face, but the sheer amount of sleet coats you in a deep, thick suit. You feel it moving, the pounding of its legs. You can’t see. You feel it on you and you remember once again watching Talons-on-the-Tree, the creature’s beak at a particular slashing angle, the Indian’s drop to the ground, and you let go. You feel the terrible movement above your head and you are sure it removes more than a few hairs from the top of your head.You leave your rifle dropped on the ground, you smear the snow away from your eyes, and roll to your feet with your revolver out and firing. Four shots, one almost on top of the other in its chest. It reels back with each one, the soundless impacts leaving it up and on its shaking back leg. You save the last shot, training it steady at the head. The creature takes a final gulp of air, throwing its beak up for a last, silent wail. There. Your last bullet fires. Into the throat. Through it.
For a moment the creature seems to have trouble understanding just what has happened. It lowers its head, throwing you a quizzical, almost childish look. Then it falls flat to the ground, dark molasses spreading around its multiplicity of gashes, holes, incisions, slices, and burns. You holster your Patterson and walk forward, drawing your knife.Just then, the luminous white that has held you safe and secure in its embryonic light discharges into black. The pyre in P’oilkat blisters in pitch, still somehow lighting the mountains around it. There is a moment when gravity seems to lose hold, every part of the world floats upwards an inch, unmoored. Then you see it.To see is not the correct word…there is nothing to see. There is a nothing in the sky, an emptiness, in the shape of a Raven. It is beyond everything, above everything. The silence scrapes and grovels in worship, the stars and the moon flee from it, the clamoring chatter of the cold giggles and flocks to its side. The long spear of its eye pierces P’oilkat, but after a moment, it begins to shift. It drags a rend along the ground through which escapes old death rattles and coarse spun feelings of absolute isolation. The gaze follows the bloody trail of your hunt, first to where you found Kule, then through the woods, to the black, rushing stream, and finally…to you.You could complete the True Death. You are here for a reason, the creature is done, defeated, and helpless. You need only mark it with a cross of your blood to turn it to salt and complete its true death. However…you are a white man, not of the blood. You are a wanderer and a vagrant in these lands without any serious knowledge of these old things that abound from before the first syllable of recorded time. Here you are…and Raven himself has his eye upon you. Dare you make an enemy of him? You could leave the creature, and return to P’oilkat. Your experience in these hunts tells you that no matter how deadly the wounds you inflict, without a True Death, they always return. Something has happened at P’oilkat, and you may be able to make a difference. It would mean leaving your hunt unfinished, but you did not come here to mettle in an ancient feud. Showing respect may see you stay beneath notice.>Complete the True Death>Leave the Creature Be
>>5746239>Complete the True DeathYour creatures, your shaman- all will fall in accordance with God's will. Besides, I trust not the mercies of the demons of the night
>>5746239>>Complete the True DeathWe came here to kick ass and chew bubblegum and we're all out of bubblegum, boyos.
>>5746239>Complete the True DeathIf it is not obvious we are already on its shit list since we killed its last creature, nearly killed its priest/shaman, and came to this land specifically to hunt down said priest. Also, we want that second lash.
>>5746239Something tells me that this spirit did not expect us to actually be capable of true deathing two of its servants.
>>5746239>Complete the True DeathFuck OFF, feathery bastard
>>5746239>>Complete the True Death
The eye is upon you. It has caught your feet…no, it has caught your idea of movement. The creature is but a few steps away from your cleansing hand, yet the memory of how to move does not come to you. Something is getting closer, from the voidform craning over the mountains comes an invisible, an inarticulate, an unspeakable. The creature is but a few steps away, yet you can’t even turn your head in its direction. Then something touches your cheek, argent fingers take hold ever so gently. They’re warm on your skin, a feeling so exotic you have trouble recognizing it at first. They dole out a virgin pressure, and you remember that you can move your neck, that your neck moves your head, that your eyes can see things other than that wretched terminus set into the sky.Your gaze leaves it, and greets the creature, its low breath discernable solely by the new droplets of blood that ring its beak at every interval. The creature is but a few steps away and that hand presses surely on your shoulder. You take a step, and then another. The earth resists you, the notion of your tread is ugly to it, this place and time is not meant for you. Still you walk on, the presence behind, breathing fragrance into your nostrils and a fine note of something like vaporous glass into the chamber of your ear.The creature was but a few steps away, but now you stand above its body, observing its trundle, its bearing of what you’ve wrought upon it. The knife is in hand, your blood is spilled, the symbol is made. One line down, one line across. That presence, that hand, whatever is just as the margin of vision, squeezes your shoulder almost apologetically. Finger by finger, it leaves you. The cold returns and the entire world falls back out of focus. You are removed of thought and time and feeling, except for a bright red brand whipped across your back, the weep of blood staining your shirt. The pain is unconquerable, it defines you, and yet it provokes the last remnant of that holy presence, words it left inside your mouth, that all come tumbling out.“There is none holy as the Lord: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.”“The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength.” “The Lord killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.” “He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.” The Divinity drives through the creature, from and into every pore, from and into every channel of air or blood. It comes like water and like wind it goes. Bright white crystals flutter the air, very different from the snows prevailing on the ground. It is taken somewhere beyond this place and time, somewhere out of the sphere of heaven, and then there is nothing where the creature once stood.
You feel the Divinity churn in feathered fetters. There is more of it than can be counted in all the drops in all the fountains of the deep, yet it must trickle through a crack in the marbled world and count itself served well. It is there, then it is not. Gone back from its purpose to its deific rest. Then you are alone, alone, all, all alone.The eye sets upon you, the onyx gem around which revolves the sky and its black stars. You are forced back into it body and soul, you begin to rise in form and spirit both. Up, and up into the night with the black moon and the black wind and the black countenance that dredges pike after pike deep through the seams of you. A…rip, and your spirit is spread all down the mountain in gossamer flakes, the eye upon you, the furious eye upon you and the scourging black wind that proceeds from it. You are not alive any longer in a way more personal and important than the physical, you are destroyed in the ontological sense of the word. There is no refuge for you in any of the corners of the earth and the bells of the black raven sound in the black current of the black river over mountain and valley and sloping wood. And yet…and yet…something of you is caught by that hand. A single mote of dust with you inside. Then you are holding onto something like a child, being held by someone like a child. Your face is buried in his chest as the black wind comes for the last of you, but his eyes are clear and his arms are strong, and he strokes your hair and holds you close. Then there is pain, like muscle pain, then there is pain like a broken bone, then there is pain like a split lip and a sore throat, then there is darkness for a long time. Then you wake up.
The sun is a surprise. After so long of a night it seems harsh and uncouth, its sticky fingers tracing over every part of your room. It clashes with the chill air as to whether you will be warmed or cooled, but you find your thick, double fur blankets decry the bout as unnecessary. You are warm, and you will stay warm, despite your only just realized nudity below the covers. You test your fingers, they wiggle accordingly, as do your toes, wrists, ankles, neck muscles, and shoulders. You feel strange textures over some parts of your body, especially your chest and right arm. You make your investigations to find freshly changed bandages over your high ribs and around your elbow. A litany of bruises, cuts, and scrapes rear themselves about this time, and you grimace at the onslaught. Still, each one seems to have been cleaned, poulticed, and cared for by someone very well experienced in their craft. The cobwebs clear slowly from your head, and you realize you hear singing. You wouldn’t pay money for the performance but the tune is carried sure enough. You risk a larger breach in your eyelids as the humming goes on. When the light finishes stinging your eyes, you find yourself inside one of those Indian huts. A fairly nice one with fur rugs covering much of the floor, a large room about five hundred feet square if you had to guess, with what looks like a second room that leads off somewhere mysterious. There are pillows and tables and baskets of stunning colors. The roof is low, only a little taller than yourself if you were to stand, but you figure most time in here is spent seated or under a blanket. Two windows with primitive shutters near the top of the walls let in most of the light. Trinkets and decorations hang from the ceiling and walls. A large chest of some dark wood sits at the far end of the room.The humming draws your attention to the door, a framed rectangle covered with long, shell curtains. The light finds its crevices here and there but it seems remarkably subdued for lacking a solid door. The source of the humming is not the door, but rather who sits beside it. Talons-on-the-Tree is seated with one leg straight and another drawn up to the knee. He stares up at the ceiling humming a slow, wordless song, slipping a word of Maidu in at some patternless junctions. His hands hold his flint knife and a small cone of wood which he looks to be whittling into some animal or another. You raise yourself upright, your hands behind you supporting your weight and try and speak, but two things are made apparent at the same time. One, while not broken, some of your ribs are definitely bruised. Two, your throat is so dry that any attempt at sound sticks like gum. You do manage a half grunt that turns into a hiccup, and all things considered are quite pleased to have done so.
Talons-on-the-Tree smiles without looking, carving away at the effigy in his hands. You wait for him to glance in your direction but he does not. After waiting almost five minutes with no response you grunt once again, and let yourself fall back down. You lay in silence, your memories slipping and sliding over the final events of the previous night. You cannot quite grip them, though you know the general list of events. From slaying that creature onward is a haze, and one it seems your thoughts are not eager to clear. The humming stops. You sit up, ready this time for the pain in your ribs, and you spy a bowl of snowmelt next to your blankets. Before you slake your thirst you look back at Talons-on-the-Tree. He takes a deep, deep breath, and meets your gaze. He is missing his left eye. His mouth is fixed again with a smile, small and sad this time. He reaches over to pat you twice on the leg, gets up, and leaves the house.Discomfort intrudes on you. You slake your thirst with the water bowl, and it is a true pleasure. You find some real bread and smoked venison near you and devour them. You’re alone with your battered body for almost an hour, thinking over how you got to this position, what happened last night, and why Talons-on-the-Tree’s eye is missing. At first you assume it’s a battle scar, and why wouldn’t you, there was fighting back in P’oilkat as well. The more you dwell on it however, the more discomforted you are by the fact that you did not see any violent markings, nothing raw or bloody or just healing, no treatment for the wound at all. Just an empty socket.You’d spotted your clothes quite a while ago, cleaned and washed, a service someone also apparently rendered to you while you slept. They are draped over a table except for the coat, along with your rifle, holster, and all your effects. You contemplate rising from your blankets and dressing when the shell curtain is brushed aside and two Indians enter the house.One is an old, gray-haired matron, probably nearing seventy. She does not blink at the fact that you are conscious, but without warning or courtesy immediately begins grabbing hold of you, inspecting you, testing your bandages, the ointments on your bruises, and everything else. You bite your tongue and let her go about it. In the army the surgeons behaved in much the same way, as though you were their personal property until convalesced. You’d made the mistake of heaping ornery days upon yourself by working up the ire of too many doctors in your youth. The second man is short, thin, and somewhere north of five years older than you. He has a drawn, gaunt face and looks especially displeased that you did not have the good grace to die in the night. Doubly unfortunate for you, he opens his mouth and begins speaking English.
“Loafing the day away under a dead man’s blankets in a dead man’s bed. What a sorry sight you are white man. If you are going to take food out of the mouths of my people, at least dress yourself like a human, or as much of a human as your people can pretend to be.”You refrain, with effort, from as stern a rejoinder as the Indian deserves. You are in Indian land, with nothing but Indians surrounding you, naked and without arms. To further your disadvantage, the old woman is lifting up your arms and inspecting something about your armpits with what feels like a sharp needle. Under the circumstances, the civility of your response puts you on par with the pope. “Thank ye kindly fer any expenses or troubles ye garnished while seein’ to me. I did not intend to become a burden, as I am sure none o’ yer young men intended on facin’ what they did the evenin’ previous. I will repay you with what I can fer lookin’ to my-Ow god damn it!”The old woman sniffs, but pays you no further heed, and simply moves on to exploring your other armpit. The gaunt Indian’s eyes curl up in disgust. He speaks in rushed, clipped anger.“That very offer is poisonous, you have been given hearth by one who walked among us and to spit on it is exactly what I would expect from a childish disgrace like yourself, especially after you cost the Maidu’Wail what you did. Be grateful I do not pull your scalp back like you deserve!”You do not understand what you’ve done to incur such hostility right out the gate from this man, but even naked, your patience has limits. You choose your next words carefully.“In case yer hard up with senility red man I’ll remind ye that I fought fer you and yours, slayin’ a spur o’ the Devil out in them frozen woods, on top o’ whatever the hell grand demon ye got bearin’ down on yer precious peoples. I could guess yer own fact o’ sin would be pride, probably enough to damn the whole god damn village on yer own! Ask Talons-on-the-Tree, he’ll set ye straight.”The gaunt Indian makes a strange face at that, the anger vanishing abruptly. “Not anymore white man.”“Explain yerself. I’ve seen ‘im this mornin’.”
The Old Woman finally completes her diagnostic, finding no apparent faults with her handiwork. She takes a series of herbs into a corner and begins mixing them with a mortar and pestle on a table. The Gaunt Indian waits until she’s out of the way, then seats himself on the interior step leading up to the doorway.“Yewa Ku’lu ö, or as his name is to you, Talons-on-the-Tree, is no longer of the Maidu’Wail.” He leans forward, resting his chin on the backs of his hands, a forlorn look on his face as he continues.“All saw you rise high into the night sky. All saw Raven turn his eye upon you, and all saw you shatter as the splintered branch. Talons-on-the-Tree saw this, yet he would not stand for it. Why he did what he did for you I do not know, but he called out to Raven the only way Raven would listen. He cursed Tsö’ye, he cursed Owl and broke her totem and threw it into the black pyre. Raven looked upon him, and Yewa…Talons-on-the-Tree made a bargain to spare your life, and in return he would spend his own life. Someone has stolen one of Raven’s treasures. He thinks it is the Maidu’Wail, and Talons-on-the-Tree has staked his life on finding that treasure as a servant of Momil. If he cannot, he will be consumed by a horrible death beyond death. Yet even if he does, he has cursed Owl, and so he is cast out of the tribe forever, to wander the world as part of no people, with no home.”The Indian falls quiet. For a time the only sound in the house is the Old Woman grinding her herbs. You are in shock. Why? Why would he do that for you? The answer is obvious, Kule. You helped him when nobody else would, so he did the same for you. Wait…Kule!“Red man, whatever I’m to call ye, there were a boy with us, who was faint and holdin’ dear to life last night. Has he…where is ‘e?”The Indian looks up from his hands as the Old Woman hands you a cup of herbs and water. You wait for a response.“You will call me Badger Tail, and the boy, Kule’Kawik, he is sleeping. He lost much blood, and must have been on the snowy ground for a long while. He almost died the cold death, and could not be allowed to sleep until only a few hours ago. I do not know if he will live, but I believe it is more likely than not.”You accept the cup from the Old Woman, and try not to purse your lips as the bitter concoction passes your tongue. You feel warm in your chest, and an immediate relief from some of the aching. Badger Tail stands, and motions to the Old Woman, who heads to the door.
“You will come tonight, at the sunset, to the great house and speak with Sun-on-Snow, the chief of P’oilkat and the Maidu’Wail. There we will speak of why you are here, and you will tell the great chief why you should be allowed to leave here alive. I suppose until then the day is yours, do not be late, and if I hear a single word of complaint from any in P’oilkat, we will instead speak tonight of the many ways in which we kill white men, and the ones that may apply most to you. Now clothe yourself.”Badger Tail turns to leave, brushing the shell curtain aside and stepping up into the doorframe. Before he disappears into the light you shout after him.“Red man, I did not reckon on bein’ a part of these proceedin’s, but I am. It occurs to me that there is another bird y’all worship, and it occurs to me that it has not yet come to aid any of ye. Where is it?”The Indian pauses and looks back over his shoulder, his sneer slowly losing luster and degrading into a look of genuine worry.“I do not know where Owl is. No one does.”He turns back, and strides out of the house. After another fifteen minutes or so, you gather yourself. You dress, reveling in the feeling of clean clothes, you holster up and take your Patterson and your knife, even though you used the last of the .28s for your revolver last night, the weight is a comfort to you. You decide to leave your Sharps in the house and don your satchel. The trunk in the room happens to contain your braid of tusks, which you place once again around your neck. You have the day, but what exactly should you do?You could go to the market. A straightforward choice, and a little anticlimactic, but it is here, and you do have the currency for it.You could examine the entrance to the village. You might be able to glean something of what exactly happened in P’oilkat last night while you and Talons-on-the-Tree were off rescuing Kule. Why did the great pyre change colors, what were the Braves fighting in front of the village, how many died. All these questions and more may be well worth answering.You could try and find any of the Braves remaining from your party. By your count at least three or four may have survived the run to the great village. They would most likely be happy to see you alive, and much better disposed toward you than the average citizen of P’oilkat. Who knows what they could be up to.You could try and find someone else who speaks english. Kule is recovering and you have no great wish to rely on Badger Tail for anything. It might behoove you to find someone who can speak your own language, even if it might cost something to get them over their wariness of a stranger. You could write in your own task.>Go to the Market>Examine P’oilkat’s Entrance>Find the remaining Braves>Find someone to translate>Write in
>Try to learn part of the language>Go to the MarketI guess our next objective is to help Talons. We pay our debts and we owe him now.Also, what just happened?
>>5747516>Go to the Market
>>5747516>Examine P’oilkat’s Entrance
>>5747516>Go to the Market>Find someone to translateI would guess these go hand-in-hand
>>5747516>Go find the BravesThey'll help us find someone to translate and advise us how to proceed.Dang, guess our hubris and wrath got us. Maybe should have followed the owl.
>Then you are alone, alone, all, all alone.I knew writing this good had to be produced by a man of genuine culture
>>5747722I have a feeling that had we done that we would not have gotten to land the finishing blow. We are a stranger in a land with people, spirits, and culture that despises us. We came here with the purpose of hunting down an enemy that for an outsider to even have basic knowledge of would be considered a great shame and threat. If they knew how much we actually knew or what our true intentions were we never would have made it this far. With how were we literally just flayed down to the molecular level I am starting to think that we should have come back here later after gaining more experience in a less dangerous area. Considering how we nearly died in that last fight even though we rolled super well I think we legit picked the hardest option coming here.
>>5747817Desu killing a monstrosity while it's patron demon is watching was hardcore. If we had run back to P'oilkat like a bitch it'd have been fine. I do wonder if there is some method of acquiring better Holy abilities
I TOLD you guys we should go follow the owl.>Find someone to translate
>>5747516>>Find someone to translate
There will be no update tonight unfortunately. We will resume tomorrow night.I know I am not the talkative type of QM, but you should all feel free to ask me anytime you have a question. I would prefer not to answer lore related things that are immediately relevant to the quest, but that is not a hard rule.As an example, something I've seen is "I wish there were some way to improve Campbell's faith based power. This is the sort of question I have no problem broadly answering. Campbell is a soldier, not a priest. He is a neophyte exorcist who has talent but was taught only quick and dirty methods out of necessity by the man who saved his life and taught him how to hunt. In regards to the ability to work acts through faith, Campbell is a Bichon and Cornelius was a Great Pyrenees. Having lost his mentor weeks prior to the beginning of this quest, he is stuck only with what he knows.In order for serious growth to take place, you will have to make the acquaintance of somebody who knows more than you do about the workings of God. The path you chose is simply very far removed from anyone who would reasonably know much about Christianity. Due to my lack of experience I have been running this quest with a heavy narrative focus, and using only basic inventory management and simple dice rolls. I could invent a more complex system if people would prefer that. Please let me know.Again, if you have a question, I would prefer you ask instead of being frustrated in silence, I am the type of person who is open to that. Thank you.>>5747763And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide, But through it there rolled not the breath of his pride; And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf, And cold as the spray of the rock-beating surf.
>>5748367>I could invent a more complex systemI wouldn't recommend it. If done well and purposefully more complexity can be fine, but simple 1d100 has served this quest acceptably well so far.
>>5748367>There will be no update tonight unfortunately. We will resume tomorrow night.Have a good night OP!> I could invent a more complex system if people would prefer that.I wouldn't recommend anything substantially more complex than what you have now: complex mechanics put more work on both the QM and players, and if you're not the kind of person to have them from the getgo I doubt you'd have much fun shoehorning them in now.That being said, if you're interested in a dice system with minimal complexity but a little more structure and challenge than pure Bo3, I'd be happy to evangelize "degrees of success". Let me know.
>>5748367I think you are doing a fantastic job. We probably don't need a super detailed inventory management system unless we try and settle down and become a merchant. Like unless we are trying to buy an anvil, we probablt do not need to keep super precise track of how much stuff we can carry, Campbell will likely not buy something he can not reasonably carry unless he has a cart, right?As for dice, the best system I have ever seen which is both compelling, fair, and understandable in what ForgottenQM uses if you want to steal it. Otherwise, best of what ever with bonuses is decent
>>5748895ForgottenQM is the originator (or at least the popularizer) of degrees of success, so we're on the same page here, kek. The only thing I'll say is that making all possible outcomes public before the roll is an assload of work for the QM, and I think it's fine if outcomes are hidden.
>>5748371>>5748394>>5748895Alright, I was waffling over the detailed inventory anyway, so we'll just have general categories such as ammunition and food that you'll have to stock up on before every outing. Barring extraordinary scenarios of course, such as running out of food after being lost in the desert for twenty days.I suppose we'll keep the roll system as is. If you explain degrees of success I might switch to that.
>>5749128I would just add that you shouldn’t feel pressured to have a hyper-detailed mechanics system - this is already a great quest and I’m not sure that we need one.
>>5749128With degrees of success, anons roll three times like usual, but rather than counting the highest roll you count the number of times they pass the DC. The # of passes corresponds to the outcome, usually something like this:0 Passes: Failure1 Pass: Mitigated Success (you succeed, but with negative consequences, or something else goes wrong)2 Passes: Success3 Passes: Enhanced Success (you succeed, with additional bonuses or positive consequences)So if your DC is 50, and anons roll 35, 51, 75, that's a regular Success. If they roll 2, 5, 97, that's a Mitigated Success. Etcetera. You can choose to include or not include crits per your personal preference. To gauge DCs, here's some basic stats, assuming roll over:DC 30: 97% chance of at least a Mitigated Success, 80% chance of at least a SuccessDC 40: 94% chance of at least a Mitigated Success, 66% chance of at least a SuccessDC 50 ("baseline"): 88% chance of at least a Mitigated Success, 51% chance of at least a SuccessDC 60: 80% chance of at least a Mitigated Success, 36% chance of at least a SuccessDC 70: 67% chance of at least a Mitigated Success, 23% chance of at least a SuccessDC 80: 51% chance of at least a Mitigated Success, 11% chance of at least a SuccessIt's a lot more challenging of a system than "roll 3d100 Bo3 to pass a single DC," which almost always succeeds and is suitable mainly for power fantasies or QMs who want to involve players but don't want to mess with the story too much. On the downside, the constraints on the types of outcome are more transparent for players but more restrictive (and sometimes difficult to write) on the QM side.
Thanks for explaining that. Lets have a vote. I'm fine running either. Anybody who cares to can let me know if they'd prefer A. Regular Bo3B. Degrees of Success. End of vote will be this time tomorrow night.
>>5749161>B. Degrees of Success.
You step outside, and don your hat. The air is dry, moisture not being particularly excessive this high up. The sun is throwing a tantrum, and though you’d never call yourself warm you would admit to being almost warm. Your nose fills with smoke, acrid and delicious, from the firepits and pyres throughout the city. You have the day and the run of P’oilkat, and you figure that while you’re waiting for dusk you may as well prospect the market. Your feet begin moving you on their own to some estimation of where a market might be in this place. Dwelling on your destination does happen to bring up another problem, what you’re going to do when you get there. You are bereft of a useful language here, and though in other tribes the traders might likely know English, the Maidu are rather stubborn about not trading with white men at all. Your only reliable source of translation until Kule recovers is Badger Tail, who is not exactly of a mind to help you barter.Your eyes are vacant in thought as you crunch over snow in some general direction, but they sharpen enough to pick out a man looking at you with obvious distaste. You meet his dour look, and in doing so notice another man behind him fixing you with the same gaze. You become acutely aware of where you are, and who you are. This tribe is neither aggressive nor culturally violent like the Blackfoot or the Comanche, but they do kill anyone who comes into their territory almost without exception.
You speed your steps away from the looks as best you can. You suspect most people know one way or another that you’re to meet the great chief tonight. You also suspect that more are considering knifing you regardless. You see a group of three begin to follow you until a fourth joins them and talks them out of it. It may be best to stick to crowded areas.There is more sound here than you’ve experienced in almost a month. Everything from the sound of lumber being cut, to sides of venison being butchered, cookfires spitting vitriol, overladen baskets creaking their discomfort, and flints battling amongst themselves to prove a more worthy edge. Then there are the voices, coordinations among working men, shouts to discipline children, whispers to bandy secrets, appreciations, detestations, and every other human interaction. Yet for all of P’oilkat’s activity, there is a curtain of conscience, a flick of the eyes over the shoulder, a moment lost as the face turns down to replay a memory. This place has suffered, and though there is sanctuary in the daylight, there is a great pall settled down over the mountain. You’ve made it to the center of the village, where the great pyre stands that burned black and white. You are facing toward the gates and palisades of P’oilkat, though still a ways away from them. Great sections are shattered as if by ram, ripped askew and askance. The ground is pitted with sunderings of various kind, and littered with innumerable arrows. In front of the gnarled gate, hundreds of people have set themselves. Corpses are piled high on a wooden platform. Women and men both weep in the open, some are on their knees, some stand stoically. Cheeks are flush, eyes are raw. A man steps out of the crowd in a headdress of red, painted shells. As he begins to speak, you turn away, and head deeper into P’oilkat.
Life still exists here. You do not know how it could with all that has happened, but it does. A man sprints past you and meets another man chest to chest in midair. They embrace and talk over one another excitedly. A woman is held tenderly by her husband, her face buried in his chest as he strokes her hair. Two old men sit on a log outside a house, passing a long smoking pipe between them. A small boy does his best to ruffle every hair on his dog’s head, the animal bearing it with quiet stoicism and the occasional wap of its tail. Three children, two girls and a boy, fight over what looks like a piece of venison jerky. They yell what you can only assume are reasons that they deserve all of it. Each child seems to hold that same opinion, and it takes their mother storming out of the house for them to stop yelling at each other. As you venture further into the great village you spot the old woman who was in your tent earlier bustling around a large pot on a fire and several drying racks of herbs, much as you had seen in that first village. With her is a young girl of about thirteen, hair in double braids down the front of her shoulders. A fur headband with a small tusk hanging from it encircles her head. The girl hovers over a large, dead garden, digging out whatever plants seem to be even remotely salvageable. As she straightens from her work she looks at you passing by. Unlike the rest of her tribe, the look is one of curiosity, of interest. You tip your hat to her and she cocks her head to the side. As you pass, the old woman slaps her in the face with a loose sheaf of herbs, handing them to her with some twine.The clash of voices increases the further down this path you go, and you intuit you’re heading in the right direction. You have yet to find a translator, but you may be able to get something simply by pointing enough times, you’ve done it before. As you pursue the din ahead you find yourself passing a long, low dugout to your right. There are Maidu braves with stern eyes in front, but in the open depression behind them are around eight men, Indians all, hands bound with rope and tied to a central wooden pole. Prisoners of war, deserters, thieves, you don’t know, but they aren’t tied up for their health.
You think little of it until you are almost past, and at the very end of the dugout, you pass the very last prisoner, who speaks…in English.“Hold. There. Stranger.”You about face. The Indian is short, very short, with ragged clothes and a ragged face. He’s a skinny one, with long and unkempt hair. He looks at you with an even expression, his eyes unblinking, and continues.“You. Help. Me. I. Help. You.”The clipping staccato carries a stagnant rhythm to it. The Indian continues to stare at you. He still has yet to blink. You continue to stare at him. Then you decide to indulge your curiosity.“Price o’ my help’ll come quite severe I’m afraid. You are in a much more maligned situation than I.” The Indian watches you watch him, turning his head from side to side very slowly. He blinks. His cheek muscles twitch and spasm at about thirty seconds intervals. “You. Are. Alone. You. Are. Lost. You. Need. Another.” You swear he is matching your blinks. His mouth hangs open as he pokes his teeth with his tongue, enamored by the feeling for some reason. “I do fine alone Injun, The only service I cannot reliably perform is the parsin’ of yer language.” You blink. So does he. His tongue continues to press up into his teeth. He turns to stare at one of the stern-faced guards. The guard does not stare back. The Indian turns back to you. “I.Help.You. Speak. You. Pay. For. Me. Man. Over. There.”You follow his gaze once again to the same guard. He glances at you dismissively, then takes a second look at the braid of tusks around your neck. You glance between the guard and prisoner, and think it over.You could ransom the prisoner(Costs 1/3rd of your braid). Well…he speaks English, and he’s willing to help you. That’s more than you can say for perhaps everyone else in the village. You could decline. Make for the market without a translator. You will suffer for this, but enough gesturing can get the job done.>Ransom the Prisoner>Decline and Move On
>>5749304>>5749161I'm happy with best of three as that is less work for the QM.I also fully expected us to have to roll to find someone to help with the language and to have to roll to even access the markets. This ransom is no issue at all as we may even learn something from this and we would likely get scammed if we attempted to trade without a translator.Can't wait for the market options.
>>5749304Maybe we can pay him to teach us the basics of the language.
>>5749304>>5749320>>Ransom the Prisoner
>>5749304>Ransom the Prisoner
>>5749304>Ransom the Prisoner>>5749161>Degrees of successUltimately I think Forgotten’s system makes for a more difficult quest and that’s a good thing
>>5749304>>Decline and Move On
Alright it looks like there are >>5749191>>5749374For Degrees of Success and>>5749320For regular Best of Three.We will switch over to Degrees of Success starting with the next dice roll.
Your hand enters your satchel. Bottom right corner, a wooden case, rough with wear and sporting chips and splinters. You grunt. Two cigarillos, one match. You place one of them in your mouth and sidle up to one of the Indians standing watch over this row of roped up pitiables. His mouth twists in distaste as you approach. Your last match rises to your lips, a puff, then smoke billows from your mouth in waves of gray riders. You pause next to the guard without sparing a look, and the second leaf-wrapped soldier joins the first, burning alive in your fingertips. You look up, and offer the second cigarillo to the guard. The day has been kind, but it’s still cold to a man standing in place. You endure about three minutes of suspicion before a hand quickly relieves you of your last Mexican treasure. He copies your technique, and you two stand in silence for another five minutes, drawing the eyes of the Indian’s fellow guards and a dozen passing villagers. The Prisoner watches you the whole while, head low and beneath the shoulders. He doesn’t blink, and his nostrils flare every time either you or the guard expel your spirits of fire. You tap the braid of tusks hanging around your neck, focusing the guard’s attention. His eyes linger, then travel back up to yours. A twinge of the eyebrow. A brief dart of the eyes, first over your shoulder, then over his. He makes the long journey back to meeting your gaze. You tap the tusks again, and motion your head over to the Prisoner, who takes a small step forward. The guard’s eyes widen. He turns around to the other prisoners, then back to your Prisoner. He turns back to the other prisoners, then with his index finger out runs it over them from where he stands, cigarillo embers falling to the snow below. He turns back one final time to your Prisoner and after several moments of contemplation he gives a minute shrug. The guard scratches his neck, then places his hand at a point about two thirds of the way down.
You give him an incredulous look, but the Prisoner catches your eye from the side, and nods his head. There are clasps cleverly built into every join in the braid, no doubt to ease the flow of commerce. You unclasp the bottom third, noting the grin the guard isn’t even trying to conceal, and hand it to him. He takes a flint knife from his belt and saws through the thick rope holding your Prisoner to the wooden post, turning back to you with that grin still on his face. You promptly grab the half gone cigarillo from his mouth, and walk away. The Prisoner follows quickly, giving an unblinking smile full of many, many teeth as the guard chokes back a shout of protest. You’re both quiet for a few minutes as you gain some distance from the small dugout. After a while, oriented once again toward the increasing noise and now wielding two burned down cigarillos in your mouth, you speak.“Never thought I’d wager ten god damn dollars on the handiness of a criminal to pay ‘is debt.” You turn to clarify your misgivings about your arrangement in great detail, but he is not paying attention. His eyes are hooked to the same young girl you saw earlier, now making her way in the direction of the market, past the both of you. The Prisoner’s cheek twitches three or four times in rapid succession, his olfactories test the air. A snap of your fingers finally brings his head around.“Ye got a predeliction Injun? That why ye were lassoed up?”The Prisoner stares for a while at your fingers, then at you. You both maintain a fair pace, drawing eyes from the villagers as you’ve grown accustomed.“No.”You both swerve around a man dragging a small wheeled wagon through the snow .“Then what brought ye before the law?”His nostrils flex again, and you watch his eyes pick through every other Indian on the road until he spies the girl once more, who’s made it to the very brink of what you now see is a large area bordered by a string of flags routed between two huge, wooden pillars. His cheek twitches, then he turns to look at you so abruptly you take a half-step backward.“Profanity.”
You scoff at that, but if he doesn’t want to pursue the subject you don’t care enough to force it. You doubt it could’ve been too serious for him to be trussed up out in the open along a busy road anyhow. More pressingly, you feel as though you’re tired of finding your way out here in the dark. You’ve always had a talent for languages, and know a fair bit of Navajo and Comanche. Each one was a puzzle you’ve enjoyed piecing together, and you don’t see why Maidu should be any different.“Listen er…what are ye called?”The Indian’s eyes meet yours again in an unbroken stretch until they very slowly and very obviously move down to the coyote head adorning your satchel’s clasp. They move back up to you.“Coyote.”“Well, seein’ as you’ve been enlisted as a go-between in my dealin’s I figure part o’ yer duties might well lie in equippin’ me in better fashion fer our uh, parlays. Equippin’ me with a scant o’ yer language is what I mean.” The Prisoner tilts his head and brandishes his many teeth in what a generous man might call a smile, but the average man would not. “I. Do. Not. Teach. I. Trade.” He all but swallows each word before hurling it back in a perplexing staccato. “I. Have. A. Story. You. Learn. Then. You. Say. Then. You. Learn. Again.” You open your mouth, but Coyote is already talking. He speaks Maidu much like he speaks English, but your ears drink deep enough. You did not understand a word, but you’re sure you could repeat it all again if you wished. You’ve reached the two tall poles strung with flags that mark the market gate. As you turn to Coyote his eyes do not blink. “Alright…I’ll pick a single query out o’ the possible dozen and ask what the hell is this story’s subject?”Coyote’s cheek twitches again. “Profanity.”He doesn’t wait for your reply as he walks into the market, and you have little choice but to stride after him.
The market is a circular open area with a great fire pit in the center. Around the pit are a variety of villagers looking to sell whatever they can, their goods situated on large wooden racks propped up and displayed at a diagonal. Coyote moves slightly ahead of you, telling you the various items for sale that you can’t identify, as well as their prices and his personal opinion on the character of the seller.His opinions rarely relate to anything other than whether this person or that can or cannot take a joke. Still, absolutely nobody here speaks English, and you are relieved that you didn’t come here yourself to try and barter via finger wagging. You don’t quite know what you are looking for, but when Coyote asks you decide you’d like to try and find anything that would be rare or difficult to obtain back down the mountain. With the criteria in place, the hunt begins in earnest. The mood is subdued here, and though people don’t whisper, they keep their voices contained to their immediate area. Only twelve or so traders inhabit the market today, a pitiful showing for as large a village as P’oilkat. Of the twelve, about four catch your attention as selling something possibly worthwhile. A woman stands by a series of gorgeously woven baskets of many differing sizes. They are decorated with geometric patterns, laced with feathers and shells, and colored with bold and appealing swatches of red, dark blue, dark green, white, and bronze. Coyote tells you that these are the most famous elements of Maidu culture. You’d heard that yourself, yet you can’t recall seeing any while in California or elsewhere. They are stitched so fine that they’re waterproof, and often used to cook, treated so as not to catch fire. Some even use a special treatment of stone dust on the bottom that spreads its rusty color irregularly when it's heated, resulting in some very striking asymmetries from older cook baskets. There are some as large as ten feet across, but a cook basket is one sixth of your braid, and a larger, decorative basket is one third. A man in full travel clothing puffs out his chest beside a truly enormous showing of furs. Fox, beaver, muskrat, and squirrel mostly. The sheer volume is a marvel. The fur trade is ever popular, as many, many european fashions require fur as a basis for entry. Europe has long since reduced its population of animals such as beavers to the point that hunting them en masse is not practical. Russia competes well in the fox trade, but otherwise it is the vastness of the American continent that provides the great majority. Increased tension with natives all across the country after the relocation of the Choctaw and Cherokee back east has seen the fur trade become more dangerous, and command higher prices. A single beaver fur in pristine condition could net as much as twenty five dollars. The Indian trader here is offering ten of them for another third of your tusk braid.
The third rack of interest is almost completely empty, and consists solely of wooden beads. It is tended by an old, blind man seated on a blanket, close to the large fire in the center of the market. You announce your presence, or rather Coyote does, and he relays to you his craft. He makes hollow wooden beads, each engraved with the mark of an animal. According to the old man, if a bead is bought, then crushed in a moment of true sincerity, they will summon the attention of the great spirit that is engraved upon it. He had many, but only two remain now, both bearing an unmistakable etching of a Raven. He shows no pity in demanding one sixth of your braid per bead.Finally, three women, sisters from the look of them, speak softly in small, quiet voices around a rack of herbs of every kind that grow in the mountains. They offer herbs of healing for every capacity; burns, cuts, sickness, stopping blood loss, inducing vomiting, decreasing vomiting, improving eyesight, and a hundred others. You produce your own herbs that you bought back at the logging camp, and through Coyote the sisters tell you of another service. They can take the herbs you’ve brought with you and with their own herbs they can produce drinks of several types of potency. They offer a drink to completely inure you from the cold for a time, a drink to keep you awake for three nights without rest, and a drink to put you to sleep for an entire day. Each of these can be bundled so that they may be mixed with water at any time to create the drink instead of making it immediately. Each of these drinks will cost you one sixth of your braid. As you retire from the sisters to the central fire pit, you ask Coyote for a point of clarification regarding something they had said. You find him once again not paying attention to you, and you follow where his gaze runs to find that same small girl, this time with the old woman healer who looked after you when you woke up. Coyote’s cheek twitches, and he takes a long whiff of air.“She. Smells. Of. Poison. An. Old. Tradition. Of. These. People. You. Want. Poison.”That Shoshone trader at the logging camp had told you about Maidu poisons, how they were made from something more than nature. You don’t know if the old woman will help you, or if Coyote is right or wrong. The other traders are waiting…You have TWO-THIRDS of your braid of tusks left after paying Coyote’s ransom. The Fur Trader offers 10 Furs for ONE THIRD of your braidThe Basket Trader offers a cook basket for ONE SIXTH and a decorative basket for ONE THIRD of your braid.The Herb Traders offer three potions. Each potion is ONE SIXTH of your braid.The Bead Trader offers one bead for ONE SIXTH of your braid.
In addition,You could go speak to the old woman. You don’t normally use poisons, but the reputation of these people precedes them. You won’t turn down a chance to acquire another tool that could very well make the difference between your living or dying.You could ignore the old woman. There is not much trouble in simply going to talk to her. It’s just…the way Coyote looks at that girl. You don’t know anything for certain, but you’ve seen enough predators to recognize one looking at its prey.>Speak to the Old Woman>Ignore the Old Woman
>>5750928>FursThis makes us our money back>Staying Awake PotionThis has obvious utility with the kind of terrors we encounter>Cold PotionAgain, obvious utility. >Ignore the Old WomanJust our goddamn luck to pick a predator as a translator. Oh well, too late now to get the money back.
>>5750928I was really hoping to buy some sort of weapon or clothing here, but I guess the idea of selling these things is a foreign concept or not allowed considering their views on people like us.So we retain 2/3rd of our braid? And you are also that we can make as much as 250 for the furs, which is almost as much as we got paid in our hunt and will allow us to make back everything we spent getting here? My vote is to speak with the women since even basic knowledge of what kind of poisons they employ may be of great use in the future even if we don't bye any. We may also be able to purchase a poison to assist us in our hunt of the shaman since we need every advantage we can get. Also, warn Coyote that we paid handsomely for his freedom, that he owes us doubt, and should he do anything to jeopardize us while we are still in town we will treat him unkindly. So my vote> Speak to the poison women before buying anything. > Attempt to haggleIf no super cool poisons then >Buy furs - 1/3rd>Staying Awake Potion 1/6rd>Also, attempt to buy a healing potion 1/rdI am glad we got all those herbs.> The potions are my picks if the poison option does not win.
>>5750977Agree with your thoughts, could we talk to the old lady first before buying the “normal” goods here?
>>5750928>1 set furs>2 healing>2 stay awakeI dont entirely trust these potions to do any more than allow us to temporarily ignore the problems they claim to solve.
The traders are waiting…the Old Woman seems enthralled by her conversation with the old, blind bead seller, the young girl drawing pictures in the snow with a feather plucked from her hair. The thought of overspending and being unable to produce the Old Woman’s price gives you pause. You nod to Coyote. The edges of his mouth twitch upward, and he stalks toward the pair with you trailing behind. The sun takes a final breath before plunging its head beneath the horizon. It is later than you thought and shadows perch large, black mimes underfoot. Coyote does not walk to the pair, his strides are too measured, his torso too perfectly still. His eyes are fixed on the girl, his mouth drops open and he begins to pant. You see him begin to tremble, and you seize him by the upper arm.“Best let this go Injun, I’ll slit yer throat in the street if ye can’t thwart yerself.”His eyes stretch wide as canyons, yours negotiate no ground. With great and apparent difficulty he begins to take slower and slower breaths, until he’s dispelled the last of the calamity you saw animating him. He waits for you to let go, and after a moment, you do, then you both continue the approach.The Old Woman turns to you long before you’re in range to speak. She watches you with a tired, beset expression. She does not look at Coyote. She avoids looking at him when he greets her, and when he begins to lay out your request. She avoids looking at him when he gestures in her direction, and when he shakes your Sapwi necklace. She looks only at you. Despite the inattention, she does respond to your translator, in clipped, dreary replies that almost match his own. Coyote tells you that the old woman does indeed serve the tribe as a poisoner as well as a healer. He tells you that since she was a small girl she has woven the Oleander and Foxglove to wreath in the hair of the braves. That she has sifted the Cherry Laurel and Hemlock into tinctures for the war bows, and coatings for the long knives. Coyote tells you this, then stops. The Old Woman goes on, but he does not.
You wait patiently at first…nothing. Then you clear your throat…nothing. You nudge him with an elbow…nothing. All the while the Old Woman speaks, until she utters one final sentence, then falls silent. At the last sentence, Coyote’s head turns to the young girl beside you. She is very clearly ignoring the conversation, and is just as clearly trying to listen to it as much as possible. At the last sentence stops pretending, and looks at neither Coyote, nor the Old Woman, but at you.Coyote speaks softly now, but he speaks. He says that one day the woman saw Owl flying through the mountain pass. He says the woman found a great feather dropped from Owl as she flew. He says she used it all her life, and that whenever she snipped a thread to put in a drink, or to tie a bundle of herbs, they always worked three times as well. He says there is only the smallest few threads left now, and that when her husband died her tears fell on them, and they began writhing like angry serpents. She burned them, but the ash was white, and the ash spoke to her, telling her to blow it into the face of her enemy. You ask to see this powder, and the Old Woman produces a small, clay egg with an etched symbol. You begin to ask for her price, but Coyote holds his hand up and continues. The Old Woman does not want Sapwi, she wants something else. She wants the young girl, her granddaughter, to travel down the mountain. She asks you to take her to the Great Cave Rock on the crystal lake, to see her there alive and whole. Coyote’s voice trails off as he finishes his translation. Your mind fills with a litany of questions. Why is foremost among them. Why does the young girl need to go anywhere? Why doesn’t she go with another Indian? Why is the Old Woman willing to entrust her blood to not only a stranger, but a White stranger? Why are you doing any of this anymore and what exactly does it have to do with your original goal in coming up the mountain?You have answers to none of these, and cajoling Coyote to attempt to draw them out of the Old Woman is useless. She refuses to speak, and he tells you plainly and simply.“You. Won’t. Understand.”Be that as it may, some alleged and blasphemous poison seems a small reward for such a task. You make your excuses, thank her for her time, and leave to go collect your other goods. After all is said and done you have yourself a bundle of ten beaver furs, a dram of water with the herbs of wakefulness, and another with the herbs of cold. You do your best to try and press for anything more straightforward or more related to improving your general health, but the sisters have nothing of the sort.
As the rigorous, burning colors of the sunset mark themselves on the ground and in the air you settle up your business and stow your newly acquired goods only to come to attention at the sound of rising voices. Coyote has left you, when you can’t recall, but he has returned to the Old Woman and Young Girl and is engaged in an argument. Loud and growing louder. You do not speak Maidu, but even you can tell that Coyote’s voice and cadence are very different from what you’ve heard the rest of the day. He is impassioned in a dangerous way. His shoulders are low, his head is forward, his arms rise and fall with the force of his words.You walk briskly to the arena of villagers starting to surround them. The Old Woman is giving as good as she gets. She does not move as much but she matches him shout for shout. You curse yourself for man’s hubris at Shinar and enter the ring, throwing your own instrument as far and wide as you can.“SHUT THE HELL UP BOTH OF YE!”You’re more effective than you thought. Both Coyote and the Old Woman stop talking, her looking at you, him looking at the girl. You round on him and muster up a retread of your warning, when in the distance you see a depressingly familiar sight. Badger Tail, and six braves are coming into the market. He makes eye contact with you, fury writ large on his face, and commands the braves to follow him. That’s when you truly notice the sun’s final vanishing, and the wide sweep of dark cresting over the sky. You are late.You resign yourself to meet Badger Tail halfway and play the penitent, but as you turn the Old Woman grabs your arm tight. She says some words to you in Maidu. She must know you don’t speak it, but she says them anyway. She glances at her granddaughter who is trying to get a word in but is hushed. You try and apologize, but you just don’t understand her. You gently pry her hand off of you, but as you begin to walk away something very small catches your eye. Of the variety of feathers tucked behind the Young Girl’s ears, one happens to be an owl feather. Badger Tail is almost to you now, and you do not relish the night ahead with him in attendance. You wish you could rely on someone, anyone else to represent you to the Great Chief of the Maidu. You take one last look too at the Old Woman and the Young Girl, you still have a moment. Then you look at Coyote, and an idea pops into your head.
You could take the Old Woman up on her offer. Who knows if her story about her special poison was true or false, and she is asking rather a lot. Still, you may be heading that way anyway, and if she was telling the truth, she might not be asking too much at all.You could refuse the Old Woman. You came up the mountain to find that Black Shaman, and you’ve gotten side tracked too many times. This is just another errand, and one that might not even pay any sort of wage other than a clay egg full of flour for all you know.On the other hand, you could try and choose a different translator for your meeting with the Great Chief. You could ask Coyote to translate for you. Well…you don’t know what his response would be, nor do you know if you even want him to do it. All you know is that he is relatively unbiased toward you, a trait which Bader Tail does not share. You could ask the Indians to send for Kule. You’re unsure if he’s awake, or in any real shape to do anything. You’re also unsure as to how a thirteen year old boy would be treated or how he would behave in a gathering of his people’s leaders. You could let Badger Tail translate. The man seems to have an intrinsic dislike of you, and you have a doubt that he will actually translate your words as you say and mean them. You don’t know that for sure however, and you might give him the benefit of the doubt, seeing as it is only one day since P’oilkat has been attacked by a terrible storm of ravens. If you read him wrong…it may be very dangerous for you.>Take the Old Woman up on her offer.>Refuse the Old Woman.Then>Choose Coyote to translate>Send for Kule>Let Badger Tail translate
>>5751669>Refuse the Old WomanI refuse to be responsible for the inevitable tragedy that will occur if we accept. Unless you lot agree to execute Coyote as soon as we're out of earshot of P'oilkat, then sure. >Choose Coyote to translate
>>5751669>Take the Old Woman up on her offer.>Let Badger Tail translateWe fought together and he sacrificed an eye for us. He can be trusted to a degree.
>>5751680Backing this.Coyote’s a criminal, probably best to keep him out of the chiefs hut. In terms of finding the black shaman, we have to fight fire with fire, and that means getting in good with Owl. Bringing the girl to the lake will maybe give us a chance to learn Maidu as well
>>5751680You are mistaking Badger for Talons anon.
>>5751712My mistake.>>5751680My vote remains the same though. We could send for Kule but he may still be injured and words from a teenager are likely to carry less weight.
We could also ask the old woman to translate. That may work—either the one who took care of us while we healed or the one who sells poison.
>>5751669>Take the Old Woman up on her offer.>Let Badger Tail translate
>>5751669>Take the Old Woman up on her offer.>Let Badger Tail translateCoyote is probably a kiddy diddler and while I doubt he will mistranslate to screw us, it is pretty bad optics to bring him with us. Badger might not like us, but I think he knows we are more useful to the tribe alive vs dead or imprisoned.
>>5751669>Take the Old Woman up on her offer.>Choose Coyote to translate
>>5751677>>5753877Coyote>>5751680>>5751709>>5752401>>5752790>>5753394Badger TailSo we will take the Old Woman up on her offer.I just got back from helping my uncle build a pier at the lakehouse he bought. Update tomorrow, hopefully two of them over the course of the day.
>>5753898Cheers OP. Sorry I missed the vote, I've been on the move myself.
Your idea evaporates almost as soon as it manifests. Coyote may be unbiased compared to Badger Tail, but he is not fit to accompany you on this sort of errand. The aforementioned gaunt faced Indian has stopped with his retinue about ten feet from you, his look expectant and his manner mean. You swallow your pride, something you’ve become accustomed to in the last few weeks, and go to meet him. As you turn to leave you throw out a last parting sentence. “Ma’am I’ll see yer girl to ‘er place o’ respite, she’ll ‘ave no fear over the journey long as I breathe.” You wait until Coyote translates, your eyes never leaving his, the Old Woman’s never leaving yours. She makes no gesture and sighs no relief, but some fastening in her brow has unfurled. The air lightens, and she hands you without comment a small, hollow clay egg. You take it from her and place it in a roomy pocket inside your coat. The Young Girl’s head is held up high, but the glistening at each corner of her eyes betray her displeasure with whatever situation you have helped to unfold. Coyote smiles at you, large and cringing. He tells you in his dissected tone that the Young Girl will join you at the entrance of P’oilkat tomorrow morning. He says it smug and self-satisfied, as if it were by his will. You’re already walking away. You hear him. “Good. Luck. Campbell.”To his credit, Badger Tail waits for you patiently, peering into the encroaching night. Finally you join his group and journey back to the village center. On the way he instructs you in the various ceremonies one follows in meeting the Great Chief. No one sits in his house unless invited to, no one asks him a question unless invited to. In fact it were best if you did not speak at all except when prompted by Badger Tail. You may be given a cup of honey water and when you drink it your hospitality will be guaranteed. Your arms will be surrendered, you will doff your coat, and you will obey every order without question. You are back at the center of the great village. The Chief’s house is larger than any other, but it is no mansion. It is squat, built partially into the ground with a thatch roof and a door of many colored beads. Two great fires burn on either side of the doorway, colors emboss the timbering, mostly blue and red. A great many shells hang from the roof, the windows, and various hooks built into the exterior. More than the shells, what catches your eye are the trinkets. Everyday items ranging from personal knives to children’s toys to carved beads and clay cups. All hang from strings and move like waves in the wind. Badger Tail grabs you roughly on the shoulder.
“Here we are. Remember that you are my responsibility white man, and I will see you through the evening if only to scalp you better with the morning light. Now, follow me.” You cross yourself, and follow him into the house. The house is warm, hot even. There is a firepit in the center with an inhabiting fire, billowing smoke in a great gout up and out of the center of the roof. Even with most of it venturing upward, the remnant circling the room stings your eyes. You wipe away a tear and find about twenty men staring back at you. All look dressed in finer clothing and with finer jewelry than the average Maidu you’ve seen today. They stare at you with a bevy of expressions, from hateful, to scared, to curious, and you even spot a genuine smile from a gangly man near the back. You assume that all twenty of them are chiefs from various villages, and that they are here to address the crisis of the ravens flocking at night. They all stare at you, unspeaking, but your gaze is drawn not to any of them, but to the man sitting down directly in front of the fire. This man is old, you’d guess almost eighty, and he has long since lost any of the fat and flesh that are not absolutely necessary to his body’s functioning. He sits with his legs crossed, his long, long white hair dragging along the brown reed rug. He wears an enormous cloak of white and gray feathers, owl feathers. The cloak makes him look even smaller, almost consumed. He does not look up at you, staring instead into the fire. You stand at attention while Badger Tail speaks. You like to imagine that he is making your introduction like the Homerics, flashing-eyed, swift-footed, Campbell of the war cry perhaps. Your mind meanders only slightly, until you catch a glimpse of none other than Talons-on-the-tree in a dark and shadowed corner. He looks into the fire as well while Badger Tail drones on. He is…changed.His five long braids are cut, his hair short and even almost like yours. Black paints runs under his eyes and on his cheeks like tears. His chest is bare and engraved with a black handprint on his left breast. He carries no ornaments, no herbs, and no shells on his body. You are sure he knows you are there, but he does not raise his eyes, he lets himself be taken in by the flickering orange. Two braves approach from behind you and begin to take off your coat and your gun belt. You struggle a little, instinctively, but relax yourself as best you can. Badger Tail nods very deliberately at you, then at the braves behind you. They are gentle enough, and soon you are in your shirt and feeling more vulnerable than if you were completely nude. Finally, Sun-on-snow speaks his first words.
His voice is very quiet, and the rest of the chiefs almost lean in to glean the specifics. He does not raise his eyes from the fire, but every man in the room holds their breath until he finishes. At a flick of the Great Chief’s wrist, a horse faced young man, younger than you by several years, heads out of sight, into a side room. Sun-on-snow points to the ground directly across from him, on the side of the fire, and the braves behind you take you by the arms and force you into a kneeling position.The Young Man comes back with a clay cup, circumvents the fire, and hands them to you. On the way he trips and almost falls to the ground, saved only by one of the other chiefs catching his arm. A derisive snort sounds from not a few places in the crowd, and the young man, now flushed with obvious embarrassment, crouches down beside you with a long, thin stick. The cup you were handed is full of nettles, maybe twenty of them, but they are blue with an iridescent sheen. As you examine them, Badger Tail speaks to you.“You will inhale white man, inhale the smoke. We must have your honesty. There is much to discuss and we cannot waste time on whether or not you have hidden the truth from us. Know that with this, the spirits will seize your tongue if you lie. Simply inhale, and answer what I ask you.”The Young Man lights the long stick in the fire, then touches it to your cup until the nettles begin to burn. Then he stands up, and off to the side. With every chief watching, with a dozen more braves behind you, under Badger Tail’s withering glare, you see no option but to inhale. You breathe in.“Again.” Badger Tail commands. You breathe in.“Again.” You breathe in.“Again.”This time you are not sure if you heard the Indian say it out loud. The word seems to beat in time with the world around you. Again. Again. Again. It sounds like drumming. The world pulses every time the word strikes your ears, real or not. You lift up and outside, the smoke burns your eyes. You see yourself sway, you hear yourself whispering underneath your breath, but you do not know what you’re saying. Badger Tail walks around the fire to your kneeling form, he takes your chin in his fingers and lifts your face up to meet his. Apparently satisfied, he lets go, and asks in a voice loud enough for the whole tent. “Tell me all you know of the Mawike that you saw, that Black Shaman of the wood.” Outside of yourself as you are, you can almost see a germ of something within yourself. Something that does not wish to answer. A crack you could try and open wider.
You could give in to the smoke. If you do this then you will not be able to resist afterwards. Depending on the questions asked there is a chance you will reveal things you do not want to reveal. Why are you really here, who are you, what do you really do? The Maidu know you right now as a trader who got lost in the mountains and came upon a village by accident. You simply don’t know how they would react to the real truth.You could attempt to fight the smoke. There is leverage inside you, and you could try and fight. If you succeed then you have a feeling you will be able to navigate the questions asked of you in such a way as to hide any information you do not care to expose. If you fail, you have a feeling that some in the house with you will be able to clearly tell that you’ve tried something.>Give in to the smoke>Attempt to fight, Roll 1d100, DC 60This is the first try with the Degrees of Success, here are the rules if anyone is unfamiliar.0 Passes: Failure1 Pass: Mitigated Success (you succeed, but with negative consequences, or something else goes wrong)2 Passes: Success3 Passes: Enhanced Success (you succeed, with additional bonuses or positive consequences)
>>5755074>Attempt to fight, Roll 1d100, DC 60The whole truth might get us scalped.
>>5755074>Attempt to fight, Roll 1d100, DC 60
>>5755089Wait, hold on. 3 1d100s? Or 1 1d100?
>>5755074>Attempt to fight, Roll 1d100, DC 60Fuck, that DC is spooky>>57550903 anons roll 1d100
>>5755074>Attempt to fight, Roll 1d100, DC 60Better to fight, I think
Rolled 63 (1d100)>>5755074The Lord watches always
Ok, you’ve chosen to fight. We already have one success via divine intervention, can I please have two more rolls?
Rolled 58 (1d100)>>5755360This thread is about to die
Rolled 42 (1d100)>>5755074Christbros...