PRP: Scouting The Lyceum - Part 3
OOC: This is a multi-part plot for the Lyceum. There are 5 spots open, first come first served, and must NOT be players from the previous scouting trips to give other players a chance to get involved. Can be any player in the game willing to help the Lyceum scout for threats. @mail Quenia if you can make the time to be included in that open spot, or to be considered for a back up if the list fills up.
March 7, 2020, 7 p.m.
Outside Arx - Lyceum near Granato - Woodlands and Villages
Comments and Log
Silvio wields Small steel hidden blade.
The party has come together. Usually a member of the Mirrorguard would be with the team, however it seems they are off on another mission today. That means this group is on its own. Some have information about what they are looking for, and others are just learning for the first time. This is a scouting mission to hunt for none other than the Sylv'alfar elves from House Thornweave, as well as their Knights of the Swarm. Rumor has it that they have plans to sack Granato, Ostria, and Tor, at some point in the near future. Today, the party has been tasked with scouting near Ostria, and so that is what they are doing. They are heading down a path, either on foot or by horse, however they choose to patrol. This particular path is in along a grassy knoll that's leading to a set of woods.
Dianna wields a diamondplate glaive set with mirrorsilver and sapphires.
Orelia wields A Siren Song.
Zebulon wields a heavy-bladed steel cutlass.
Orelia likes horses. Really, she does! But if there is any chance of a fight coming her way she feels much more comfortable on her own two feet than on the back of a panicked animal.
This is home - this scent, these lands, these woods, this air and the warm sun over Ostria - and Sister Dianna Godsworn (born MAZETTI) is proud, defiant, watchful, guarded, relaxed and HOME, at last, after over a year and a half, nearly two years. The gods know she's on this mission; she's given her friends and new Godsworn family notice that she is coming Home to do what she must. This mission is quite personal to her for reasons she's told exactly no one on this trip -- but is it not enough to know that this is the land of Dianna's birth? She rides easily upon an Ostrian stallion, taking the front, watching everything keenly. If there are tears glistening in her eyes occasionally, who can blame the priestess? This. Is. Home.
The tall redheaded northerner is OUTSIDE! Her favorite place to be! Rosalind is walking, quietly. She has the necessities, and that isnt much. Rosa walks quietly, barely making a sound.
Slightly on edge as a result of the lacking Mirrorguard which was supposed toa ccompany them, Zebulon follows alongside the rest of the party. Not wishing to press his luck atop a beast he sticks to his own two legs. Sticking to the right flank of the group, his gaze closely watches for any signs of movement amongst the grass or wooded area ahead.
Silvio is all about putting it to some elves...and though he usually doesn't strike fear into the heart of /anyone ever/, he does seem to be readily dressed in comfortable and tailored armor, with no fear for himself. He is also fine with walking, particularly because of the type of mission that it is. His hair is in a long braid and he just can't seem to help himself from swaying when he walks. He does SOMEHOW manage to keep himself from talking the entire time, and also rakes his eyes over Zebulon a few times. He'd have introduced himself at the start, of course.
Lucita says, "We've scouted part of this area before when we had difficulty with some of the Abandoned tribes between Ostria and Saikland. We just did not get to this section." Lucita is fully armored in her leathers, her daggers and knives near at hand, and a pack with the usual lantern, rope, rations, firestarter, and such supplies. "A distance from here is a group of people that are mushroom eaters in their celebrations. Do 'not' eat any mushrooms from around here, they cause moods that range from deadly violent to too-happy, a lack of judgment and we think they may be addictive."
Dianna checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 3 higher.
Silvio checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 9 higher.
Orelia checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 17 lower.
Zebulon checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 55 higher. Zebulon rolled a critical!
Rosalind checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 35 higher.
Lucita checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 69 higher. Lucita rolled a critical!
Silvio waves his hand for a moment, then leans over to Orelia and points out some unusual tracks. "Darling, what do you think those could be? Elves? Deer? I don't know, I don't hunt in the woods like a co-" he cuts off there and just smiles faintly, then crouches a bit to get a better look.
Walking along, Rosalind listens to the others but pays more attention to her surroundings. It's work time! She pauses suddenly and kneels, point out something,"These tracks--They're so strange,"she strange as she lifts her hazel green eyes toward the trail leading to the forest,"Do you all see that rising smoke,"her northern accent thick.
Lucita dismounts and slowly starts to lead her horse along. She squats down, looks at the tracks the horses they were riding left and back at the tracks along the trail. "Hmmm. Those... don't look quite right. You know what they are Sir Zebulon? They ... son't look fresh like our horses but aren't worn enough to be more than what... half a day old? Looks like.. a sizable group.
The priestess pulls on the reigns of her horse and points the end of her glaive at some tracks just as Silvio is kneeling. She peers from above but is content to remain silent, flicking her gaze around to the nearby trees. Using the mirrorsilver-coated blade of her glaive, she catches sunlight upon it and reflects it into the darkened woods.
Zebulon lowers himself down to glance at the tracks pointed out by Silvio, hmm'ing to himself a moment. "Aye, these tracks are not more then a half day old. Large group of people moved through here heading into the woods." He turns to look toward the forest, giving a nod to the treeline, "Might be what's causing that smoke ahead."
"Hm?" Orelia was practically walking right over the tracks and hadn't actually noticed them. "Their assessment sounds right to me," she replies to Silvio, nodding toward others who had answered.
"What do we know about the Sylv'alfar in this area, Baroness?" Dianna asks Lucita. "Do we have any word at all from the scouts you mentioned?
"Large group? Mmm. Oh...dearest Dianna...perhaps.../not/ signalling the scary forest people would be better..." Silvio glances around at the armored folks, "Though, I suppose we are a brilliant company...regardless."
Lucita shakes her head. "Nothing of any Sylv'alfar. Nothing of Knights of Swarm either. We just were dealing with three tribes of abandoned that were in discord and were attacking border towns both in Ostria and Saikland. Just the regular Abandoned though.
Rosalind looks to the others and tells them,"I can go on ahead a little, see what's there." The northern woman looks around and then ahead toward the trees as she asks,"Who are the house of swarm?"
"I'd rather they come out..." Dianna murmurs to Silvio, watching the woods. If she's not glinting already in her mirrorsilver-covered armor... well, let's just acknowledge that she /is/, all things considered. "We may have the upper hand, at least."
Zebulon shakes his head toward Rosalind, straightening up from his squatted stance. "I don't believe it best to split up. If you happened to run into the ones who left these tracks you'd be quite outnumbered." He glances amongst the group to see if they share the sentiment, his gaze hanging on Silvio a moment having noticed the occasional glances his way.
Dianna adds, to Rosalind, "Knights of the Swarm; House Thornweave. Different groups. The former is half-Sylv'alfar, the latter is full-blooded."
"Well, let's not dawdle. Are we going in after them, or are we continuing on this path?" Dianna asks, glancing to the individuals in the group, one-by-one. "I think it's imperative we decide at once."
"Well, go after them, obviously," Orelia answers.
Silvio winks at Zeb when he looks over at him, and a soft smile plays on plush lips for a moment. But, then he seems to sober and nods. "I think we follow the tracks...best to know, than to skirt around and be ambushed further down the road." He adjusts one of his vambraces and then slides down his mask-like helm. He looks very sneaky, not at all shiny.
Lucita says, "The Knights of Swarm we saw wore the sigils of House Durand. But that was a goodly distance from here, up near Last Oak." She glances at the others. "Lets be very cautious though. Don't want to ride into the midst of them."
Zebulon gives a decisive nod towards Orelia, "I agree. The tracks are strange, and at the very least if they're peaceful we can question what they know of the area." He narrows a slightly curious gaze toward Silvio before returning his attention to the task at hand.
Dismounting from her stallion, the priestess nods in agreement at Silvio, then ties up her steed to a tree. "On foot, obviously." Though she cannot quite cover all of her shiny-shiny armor, Dianna removes her cloak and turns it inside-out, the dark snakeskin facing out and covering most of her glittering mirrors.
Rosalind is practically bouncing on her toes-because well-shes not one for sitting still. A restless ball of contagious energy. "I say we follow them...."her eyes not leaving the trail or smoke.
The party travels closer to the woods, and takes up the path to go directly into the woods. The smell of smoke is stronger here, but not so overwhelming that its more than a nuisance. There are some changes to the wildlife. Animals seem scarce, but they are not completely gone, and something about the foliage looks a bit strange. It seems, somehow, fuller.
"...Something's strange...." Dianna murmurs, an expression of concern flickering in her eyes as she slips a hand under a leaf and looks at the patterns, then begins scanning rocks, trees, ground for any familiar sigils of the gods - proper sigils, or distorted.
Zebulon does his best to creep along with the party, silencing his heavy metal armor as best he can. With a careful eye on the foliage around them he questions in a soft voice, "Has everyone here heard about the vines? Be careful where you step..." Unless questioned he does not discuss further.
Silvio drops his voice to a whisper, "The plants seem...excessive. Perhaps that is a side effect of the elves." he ventures as he moves. "Vines? Oh dear...well, I trust no one will let vines kidnap any of us."
"Where's all the animals,"the Ravenseye asks. "That's really strange,"Rosalind states as she looks around. "And the plants look--strange?"
"Yeah, definitely wrong," Orelia agrees. "Anyone know what kinds of plants these are? I'm no expert."
Lucita holds back the reins of her horse, settling it down. "I don't like the looks of it. It does not look like the warped growth near the blackened glass... the lesser animals... something hunted them or scared them into hiding? Lets hope it is not one of the warped ones that migrated further away than we had patrols looking after the glass was cleansed." There is a thread of worry in her voice. "Does the smoke look like a campfire or a village burning ... or a forest fire?"
Dianna checked intellect + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 20 higher.
Lucita checked intellect + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 15 higher.
Zebulon checked wits + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 20 higher.
Rosalind checked wits + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 23 higher.
Taking a closer look at the plants, most of it seems like normal forest foliage; ferns, smaller trees, berry bushes. However, there's an underlining to it all that seems to lift and boost it up, and when gently poked and proded what becomes visible are the vines that have delicately weaved themselves through the plants. The vines are small, looking like they are in the infant stages of growth, but there's still the tell tale signs of razor sharp thorns starting to form along their length. They seem dormant at the moment.
The priestess has known strange things to happen before with animals and these woods - and the vines - make her very nervous. She kneels, withdraws a small vial and dabs oil upon her temples and in the center of her forehead before putting it back in her backpack, then takes from her backpack a small, green bottle with the sigil of Petrichor. She straps her glaive upon her back, then sweeps the ground in a small area and draws the sigil there, as well, sprinkling holy water blessed at the Shrine to Petrichor around the sigil she has just drawn. Focusing inward, Dianna closes her eyes and prays a blessing on these woods.
For the present, she will leave the small vines alone.
Silvio avoids stepping on any sort of larger hillocks, weaving the placement of his feet fairly carefully. Whenever Dianna does her religious things, it does seem to interest him, and he watches her.
Zebulon watches the priestess quietly, moving himself into a better position to intervene should anything occur while her eyes are closed. With a watchful eye on the vines, he waits.
Orelia watches Dianna with interest.
Lucita sucks in a breath and says softly, in a near whisper. "Don't use mage sight if you have it, don't use any primum, don't spellsing or 'anything'. If those plants.. those little vines are what I think.... they look like the ones Lady Eirene was testing and if you use primum, they will aggressively grow at you, try to kill you. We... need to be extra cautious... just in case." And she reaches slowly into her pack and extracts some vials of 'goop'. The vials are distributed with instructions. "On weapons or dotted around armor gaps IF the vines become active. This stuff weakens and kills the thornweaver vines but it is expensive and we don't have gallons of it. Just use it... in case.
Dianna checked mana + theology at difficulty 15, rolling 70 higher.
The priestess heeds Lucita's warnings - only a prayer to Petrichor is made, with no primum burned or offered, no mage sight called upon.
Rosalind looks at the vines and asks curiously, always the chatterbox,"What happens if you touch them,"listening to Lucita while watching Dianna.
Silvio checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 2 lower.
Silvio looks visibly jealous, with a pinch of his lips and a side-cut of his eyes, for a moment.
With deep focus, Dianna lifts her voice to Petrichor, praying to him to protect these woods and guide the steps of animals and humans who cross this way.
Lucita quietly says to Rosalind "Once they are... awakened or start to grow... I don't know what triggers it, the will of the Thornweaver mages or if they just have it there like a protective perimeter around where they are... or even if they are benign and left behind when Thornweavers moved ... or anything. Mistress Petal and Lady Olivia are the experts in plants. I only know when I sang in Lady Eirene's workroom that they took very very rapid growth spurt and came right at me. They .. bind and enter the body and .. kill. I had to sing and back away and sing and leave.. always watchful and feeling at risk. But they needed it to grow because the sap is one of the components of the goop that protects from them and kills them.
The prayer is said to Petrichor but there does not seem to be a visible difference or new disposition of the vines that have been revealed. They are still dormant. The pathway remains available to be traveled.
Zebulon takes a brief glance about after the prayer is finished, waiting just a moment before he nods. "Alright, no sense waiting around. Watch where you step, don't want to piss these things off." He gives a slight motion to the vines before taking lead, should nobody stop him.
Dianna checked composure + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 16 higher.
The prayer concluded, Dianna rises and looks around at each person. "Did you say that you have something, Baroness? Some kind of ointment? I wonder... if we might want to cover me in it, that I may beseech... should the rest of you need to get away. I can pray, and it will draw them near to me; then, if you need, the rest of you may cut the vines and - hopefully - spare my life," It may be rather surprising to some that Dianna's mood is extremely placid, as if she was discussing how to bake a pie or spread butter on bread - but she remains utterly without disturbance as she speaks.
Silvio snaps out of it and quips to Dianna. "I think I speak for everyone when I say...that's terribly noble, but we're not going to let you do that." He shivers at the image in his head of vines covering one of their own. "Lets just not...wake them up." He wiggles his fingers and keeps walking behind Zebulon.
"There is a chance, though, that if we get close enough to the Thornweaves, they will call the vines upon us, at any rate. Of course - with or without the ointment, I will do what I must. It is what I have sworn to do, with my oaths," Dianna calmly replies.
Rosalind is just ready to keep going but when she hears Dianna, the northerner shakes her head,"That's a terrible idea,"still curious about the vines.
Lucita's gaze sweeps from Orelia to Rosalind and then to Zeb, Silvio and Rosalind. Uneasily she eyes how both sides of the path have vines along it. "Anyone spot another way to avoid passing between them? Can you see if they are dense through all the woods or just to the sides of the path? Do you think the path is a trap?" She gives Dianna a sidelong glance and hands over a second vial, checking the supply left. "If they come active. armor openings, your weapons...but I don't advise letting them get hold of you at all. I've heard tales of what they can do." She leaves her horse back at the beginning of the path before the vines start to spare it getting entangled... and to give quieter passage without heavy hoofs plodding along and the jingle and rasp of riding gear.
Taking the vial from Lucita, Dianna moves along silently, her gaze flickering from one side to the other, following behind those who've already stepped ahead and looking out for any vines or other unusual markings, plants or... anything.
Dianna checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 17 higher.
Rosalind checked perception + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 18 higher.
Lucita checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 1 lower.
Orelia checked wits + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 6 lower.
Zebulon checked wits + survival at difficulty 30, rolling 16 lower.
Dianna holds back and murmurs quietly to Lucita, then flicks her gaze around again.
Lucita gets an ornamental twining blade dagger with sheath from a subtly embroidered cloth belt.
The scouting party advances through the woods. There are patches where the vines are somewhat present, and patches where the vegetation looks normal. Whatever happened to cause them to grow, it was somewhere within the day that it occurred, and not long past. The smoke still tingles at the nose, and by now it's easy to tell that it is more than just the smells of a simple camp fire.
Lucita removes an ornamental blade from her belt that holds several weapons and coats it with goop before handing it to Dianna. "to help cut yourself free if need be." This is said after listening to something Dianna murmurs to her. She sniffs deeply but waits for others to speak up while she looks to either side and at the ground and overhead as well.
Immediately, Dianna pauses and points her hand forward through the woods. "There, look. Do you see? Buildings... and... I believe one of them is aflame."
Dianna mutters, "... thanks, Lucita. Should I ... ... I will remember ... you've ... ..."
Walking through the woods, Rosalind stops and points with Dianna,"I do, yeah!"her long legs quickening,"We should hurry!" Because people could could be in danger!
Holding back until the others have started along, Dianna trails at the back of the group, this time, until she's sure she's needed at the fore.
Zebulon squints forward, trying to make out the apparent buildings ahead through the tree line. "Be ready for anything, these vines seem recent, it's likely the tracks and the fire are a product of whomever caused the vines to grow." He follows Rosalind's lead, hastening his step, grip tight on the hilt of his blade.
Silvio picks up the pace, but he does not recklessly rush towards the fire on the house. "It could be a trap...stay alert. I have seen this before, where the enemy uses sympathy to spring their ambush." He does draw his dagger, the vial kept in a pouch on his belt for th emoment.
Orelia takes a brief moment to 'goop' the edge of her blade before following along toward the burning buildings.
Still and always remaining alert, Dianna's pace is neither rushed nor slowed. It's important to be sure of what they're up against - for, as bold as the priestess may be, she's not one to dive headlong into things without first (if possible) looking.
Rosalind is quite cautious as she moves, always watching. But people possibly burning always requires a bit of haste and the northerner isnt known for slow!
The travel to the village is done in short order, and as they get closer and closer they can see that one of the buildings, is indeed, in flames. A number of other buildings become visible the closer they get. There is also screaming; several voices screaming in pain, in fact, but it's hard to tell where the screaming is coming from exactly. The vines are also present, more readily present than before. They still look young, but they also look like they are moving, growing, unlike out in the forest where they were dormant. The biggest thing though, that they wonder, is where are all the people? There's screaming, but no people.
Silvio spreads the goop on his dagger once he sees the active vines, then scoots along, eyes searching for the source of the screams..unless its like...the vines themselves screaming. If that's the case, then the whole forest just has to go.
"Gods," Dianna murmurs, concerned increasingly as they near the village. "What do we know about these vines, anyone?" The priestess pauses, spreading the 'goop' over herself - and, as there are many 'gaps' in her steelsilk armor, her bronzed skin is soon quite slimy. "Alright. Where are we going; what's the plan?" She looks to the burning building and considers it.
Zebulon draws the vial of goop from his pouch, pulling the cork off and applying it to the chinks in his armor, followed by his blade. With that out of the way he positions himself aside Lucita, readying himself to help protect her as his gaze scans for the source of the screaming. "We should advance towards the burning cabin, but watch your backs, lest we get surrounded by vines. Do not stray off on your own unless you must."
Lucita says, "It is one of the weapons the Thornweaver mages use. They... can destroy castle walls, surround a village and keep anyone from leaving... have destroyed totally three holdings so far, one of them in the Lyceum. They also have trees that grow rapidly and impale people or lance them with branches then grow tall so the bodies dangle twenty, thirty feet up."
There are SCREAMS! Rosalind listens but shes frowning too, her eyes darting back and forth,"Where are the screams coming from?"as she starts to go and wander around, avoiding what she can as she reaches for her longbow.
Rosalind wields Raven's Final Whisper, a longbow.
Orelia stays with the group as they advance toward the cabin, eyes scanning and sword held ready.
Silvio wields Small steel hidden blade.
Dianna checked composure + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 31 higher.
"Do you need more of this vine's blood, Baroness? What is our goal, exactly, here? I, for one, intend to find... the Thornweaves." She unsheaths her glaive and spreads the thin, viscous, green 'goop' on the blade and spear tip, then glances to Lucita and notes Rosalind in the distance, her composure still unflappable. One may think - except for the hardness in Dianna's eyes - that the priestess heard nothing of the screams.
Lucita catches her lower lip between her teeth, her eyes darkening in concern. She pulls in a breath as if to sing but stops before the first sound parts her lips. Finally she takes her goop drenched dagger and holds it before her as she moves toward the closest vine lightly touching the goop to it while ready to spring backwards and flee if necessary. "Can you tell where the people are? What is happening?" She speaks aside to Dianna. "We're hunting for signs of where the Knights of Swarm may be heading, where they are... and the Thornweavers.. and getting word back to others if we find them. They are said to possibly targeting one of three areas... Ostria, Granato or Tor and we can't effectively defend all three ... so need the information.
From what it looks like, the cabin being on fire just seems to be the product of happenstance. The vines found their way through the walls of the building, and seemed to have come right through one of the chimneys and knocked some coals on the floor which set the building to flame. The door is open to the cabin, and the scouting party can see that no one is inside the room without having go to through it. Flames lick greedily at the cabin's walls, but the vines near the cabin are reacting pretty violently, lashing out everywhere, and the vines interconnected away from the cabin are shivering and shuddering in this general area. The screaming persists, a vocal chorus of many voices in pain at at once. As Rosalind rounds a corner, having gone out on her own in spite of warnings, she sees a curious tangle of vines so thick, and so big, that one might wonder how they grew that thick. The vines around that tangle seem to be bright and vibrant, and growing steadily.
Dianna checked perception + empathy at difficulty 15, rolling 34 higher.
Dianna focuses again after Lucita's question - a practiced meditation that allows the priestess to seem to remove all distraction from her mind except the things upon which she intends to focus. She listens for the direction of the screams....
Silvio spins around, brandishing his weapon, eyes darting this way and that. The chorus of screams leads him to look down, then at the houses, in case they might be coming from a basement, or from the houses themselves, especially if they do not seem to be standard sorts.
Rosalind stops in her tracks, her eyes round. She steps from her corner to gather the others,"Guys! Over here!;"her northern accent thick with ugency and worry! "They're here!" Somewhere...
With the sound of Rosalind's urgent voice, Dianna glances to Lucita and darts towards Rosalind's voice.
The northerners shouting stands out amongst the harrowing screams causing Zebulon's attention to quickly snap in her direction. He presses off with urgency, though careful not to leave anyone behind.
Dianna mutters, "... come...!"
Silvio darts off with Dianna! He's not about to get separated from the group.
Orelia easily keeps up with Dianna as they both head in Rosalind's direction.
Rosalind points to the thick tangle of vines-like really really thick! Then those vines around that tangle are really bright and it--GROWING and there is SCREAMING! Rosalind frowns, her forehead etched with worry,"Look at that! And listen!"she insists!
Lucita heads off with the others and draws in a deep breath. "try goop coated weapons but try to stay out of reach. We can't help them if we are trapped or dead!" And she advances, goop coated dagger at hand and slashes at a vine, wary and watchful all around her, above and below.
As she runs, Dianna explains to the others her plan, "If there are my people - Ostrians - being hurt, try to save them while I beseech the gods and draw the attention of the vines. Once they're safe and out of harm's way, I'll come along." She mutters something under her breath that any nearby may hear her say.
Dianna mutters, "...Gods willing...."
Orelia checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 18 higher.
Orelia checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 29 higher.
Dianna checked mana + theology at difficulty 30, rolling 21 higher.
Dianna checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 45, rolling 4 lower.
Rosalind checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 30, rolling 12 higher.
Zebulon checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 12 higher.
Lucita checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 12 higher.
Zebulon checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 13 higher.
Lucita checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 25 higher.
Dianna wields an ornamental twining blade dagger with sheath.
Rosalind checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 9 lower.
Rosalind checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 1 lower.
Dianna checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 6 lower.
Silvio checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 3 higher.
Silvio checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 14 lower.
Silvio checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 5 lower.
Lucita moves closer, making sure the dry goop coat is where it comes in contact with the vines and using her off hand to awkwardly dab more goop here and there around where boot tops are, and armor joins. A concerned eye is kept on the others as she tries to force the vines away from the screamers that seem to be in the midst of them.
Dianna checked composure + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 37 higher. Dianna rolled a critical!
Zebulon raises Undertow, drawing it back before cleaving a heavy swing at the vines. With a square hit he watches as chunks of vine drop to the ground, hastily stepping back as the vines begin to thrash about, threatening to dig in with their sharp thorns. He glances sidelong at his partners, checking in hopes that none have been grabbed.
Silvio nods to Dianna and moves in nearby to her, waiting until there's a first strike. Then he lashes out, wielding his blade fiercely with the special goo on it to try and save the villagers from being eaten or squeezed to death by the thorny vines. "If magic makes them angry, then perhaps my presence will sooth them, as I am the least magical person around.../apparently/."
The priestess halts behind the others and kneels a good distance back - perhaps twenty feet or so - and clears a space on the ground, sheathing her glaive and trading it for the goop-covered dagger that Lucita gave her. A bottle of clear liquid - holy water - is taken from her pack and placed upon the ground, opened and held in her opposite hand. With deep solemnity, the priestess begins to pray a beseeching not only to Petrichor, but to the entire Pantheon of gods. She prays for the people of this village, for those companions with whom she's traveled; she speaks of the Thornweaves and their involuntary thralldom to the one who seeks to be a god but is not. Thirteen gods are prayed to - and the priestess' prayer is not only calm, but exceedingly beautiful.
Orelia makes a vicious swipe at the vines where indicated, easily dancing out of the way of any plant material that may fall toward her after doing so.
With her goop doused arrow, Rosalind pulls the string of longbow back carefully, her eye on the vine. Releasing the arrow, she watches as it flies to the intended target. Rosa closes her eyes and prays,"Please please please."
It all started when Dianna started to beseech to the gods in truth. The vines tighten around the tangle in an almost protective manner, and then they start to grow. One lashes out at Dianna almost immediately, wrapping itself around her leg, and then almost recoiling immediately from the unprotected spots where she anointed herself with the weed killing goup. However, rather than let go, the vine simply readjusts itself, and digs in deep to her leg, refusing to let go. And, then, Rosalind, brave Rosalind, who found the tangle first goes in to make her slash, and while she's able to cut away some of the vines, another lashes out at her and grabs at her free arm, wrapping around it. It, too, touches a part that's been anointed, and simply readjusts itself, digging in deep. And poor Silvio, who is quite unused to such things, gets in far, far too close to the vines with his daggers. And, while most of his spots are protected, the vines seem to find purchase around one of his hands, razor sharp thorns digging in. The others are able to get in close and dash back away from any vines that lash out at them, and as they do, the spots where the vines touch the weapons that had been goupified seem to recoil and melt away to the touch, giving away to another layer. But, now there are three people trapped in vines, and the vines are starting to pull them toward the tangle.
50 inflicted and Silvio is harmed for serious damage.
50 inflicted and Dianna is unharmed.
50 inflicted and Rosalind is harmed for serious damage.
Orelia checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 40, rolling 21 higher.
Orelia checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 14 higher.
Dianna checked mana + theology at difficulty 40, rolling 19 higher.
Zebulon checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 40, rolling 25 higher.
Zebulon checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 6 higher.
Dianna checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 45, rolling 9 lower.
Lucita checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 22 higher.
Dianna checked composure + performance at difficulty 20, rolling 8 higher.
Lucita checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 1 higher.
Dianna checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 7 lower.
Magic is magical - and steelsilk is a rather extraordinary kind of magical protection, as are dragonweep and star iron. Despite the tightly-wrapping vines, Dianna's steelsilk whips violently at the vines, snipping razor-sharp thorns left, right and center - quite literally.
The priestess continues beseeching which is still beautifully-intoned, still composed and gentle despite the madness that ensues, but Dianna's calm and melodious voice rings through, almost beckoning the vines to her and away from the others.
Lucita dives in closer to the vines, trying to get at the base of the ones attacking her companions and trying to draw them nearer while also liberally using goop around the mass of vines, trying to weaken them and drive them back if not outright wither them before they do more harm. "Gods above, help us survive this and... and get anyone trapped out of there!"
Keeping a watchful eye on his allies it's only a moment before Zebulon sights the vines wrapping around Silvio's arm. Without hesitation the knight dashes to his side, cutlass dancing carefully to shred the vines that bind him. Stumbling back, he narrowly avoids an angry vine swinging his way, his heavy armor protecting him as it clashes and slides off.
Silvio lets out a scream too and realizations flirt through his head that, /perhaps/ he should have considered that maybe all the people inside the vines are already lost...just dying very very slowly. If the vines could take care of them so handily. He looks at his wounded hand, /regrets it/, that thorn is in there way way too deep for normal stabbing. His only recourse is to try and free himself from the grip by trying to cut at the vine. He's pulling himself back, digging in his heels so that hopefully the vine doesn't drag him in closer, when he sees Zebulon, the large, brilliant knight come charging to his rescue! "Oh, thank the Pantheon!" he exhales with relief. When the vine is slashed free, he scrambles back, trying to get out of range for a moment and regroup how to save the villagers while he untangles the vine from his hand and throws it. Blood runs from the holes. "These things aren't poisonous are they?!"
Rosalind is really not sure what to do here. BUT, something tells her that by struggling, the thornes will just dig deeper into her skin. Which--Damnit! That HURTS!
Orelia has to make a decision and fast. Dianna has steelsilk to keep her safe. Rosalind does not. She swoops in to slice at Rosalind's vine and cut her loose, dancing away before the vines can catch her as well.
75 inflicted and Dianna is harmed for serious damage.
Dianna checked composure + performance at difficulty 30, rolling 1 higher.
Those who are not entangled in the scouting party change tactics, and rather then attacking the tangle, works to get the others free. Orelia is able to get in close and free the vines from around Rosalind's arm and get out of the way. Zebulon dances in with fancy footwork and manages to free Silvio, but there may be a not so pretty scar around his wrist moving forward. Lucita rushes in and attacks the vine that first wrapped around by Dianna's leg, and narrowly misses being ensnared by the one that now lashes out and snakes around her torso, once more recoiling from those spots that are anointed with goop to find a purchase elsewhere, digging in deep between the seams of her armor.
Meanwhile, there's still screaming all around as the scouting party deals with the vines, and every time something melted away, the screaming got louder.
Lucita says, "Dianna, can you try to use the glave with goop on it, The beseeching is making us try to rescue you instead of the people trapped in the vines. They are coming at you faster than we can cut them off! And it isn't distracting them as much from the others! " She then backs up and looks toward the mass of vines and the others. The person who next seems to be in the most trouble is given her attention though that mass of vines and screaming makes her color go a shade paler. "Use the goop and glave, please.""
Under quieter circumstances, Rosalind may have gone to hug Orelia for helping free her from the vines, but--theres still screaming! She frowns more so as she rubs her arm,"Damn..." Looking at the vines, she asks,"How? How do we help them?!"
Vines twist around and around Dianna, jabbing at her everywhere they can - and it seems that the steelsilk can't quite move fast enough to fight off all of the jabbing, nasty thorns. Besides... the priestess might have had some difficulty getting goop smeared all over her back -- but, someone trained this woman well; her composure holds, despite her wincing. She grunts, listening to Lucita as she sheathes her dagger, reaches for her glaive... and swings, hard, at the vine wrapped around her torso.
Dianna wields a diamondplate glaive set with mirrorsilver and sapphires.
Silvio widens his eyes and darts towards the house on fire. Hissing, holding his injured hand, it may seem, at first, like he is just straight-up fleeing the scene and leaving everyone to their fates. But, as it turns out, the socialite is just fetching a more natural weapon...and one that comes at the end of a longer stick, whatever bits of timber he can snag that are already aflame, he snags, essentially bringing back torches to hopefully be able to make a path for the villagers. It might not destroy the vines like goop, but the vines don't seem to like the fire. He says to Rosalind. "The vines...they don't like the fire...help me make a path?"
Dianna checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 26 higher.
Dianna checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 8 lower.
Dianna checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 11 higher.
Zebulon checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 10 higher.
Zebulon checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 40, rolling 85 higher. Zebulon rolled a critical!
Zebulon checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 35, rolling 10 higher.
Zebulon surveys the mass of vines, the screaming causing a slight tsk to sound from him. Overwhelmed by the shear volume of vines Zebulon draws Riptide in his off-hand, going on the offensive with some reckless abandon for his own well being. Sliding the blades together to spread the goop he steps inward, carving along the vines in a frenzy of strikes. For once his luck remains fair as he tiptoes around the edge of the vines putting on a far greater display then he's usually known for.
Lucita checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 175 higher. Lucita rolled a critical!
Lucita checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 40 higher.
One strike at the vine wrapped around Dianna's body cuts her free, but another wraps around her violently, but Dianna manages to break free without, this time, being caught by those horrid vines.
Rosalind hurries after Silvio, not needing to be asked twice. I mean...FIRE! "I'm coming!"
Though she is wounded, the glaivedancer spins her glaive again, moving after Zebulon and Lucita and towards the center, seeking to free those people who are still screaming.
Silvio checked dexterity + small wpn at difficulty 25, rolling 5 higher.
Silvio checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 25, rolling 15 lower.
Orelia also goes back to slashing at the vines. There mushy be a way to get someone out, right?
Silvio checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 0 higher.
Orelia checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 9 higher.
Orelia checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 30, rolling 23 higher.
During the brief time that the vines were attached to Dianna, it can be said that they had grown significantly. New vines popped out to replace those that had melted away from the entangled victim, and they seem to have grown somewhat more vibrant and stronger, and the razor thorns just a bit bigger and sharper. They continue to lash out at those who attempt to get in close, trying to wrap around them and pull them in, but their victims seem to be getting out of the way for now, holding their own. Then there comes Silvio with fire, and while he does manage to burn at some of the vines, he also manages to piss them off a bit. They reach out to grab at him and he manages to just /barely/ get out of the way, but not completely unscathed as they slash at his torso. A piece of vine digs in and tears open part of his armor, but just misses doing any damage to him. Only just. Orelia goes back to slashing at the vines, and her efforts prove fruitful, and then they are followed by Zebulon who starts to carve a way to the victim. Back and forth, in and out, it's a merry, merry dance. And eventually, Zebulon is able to uncover a hand. . . .
Lucita seems to think the mass of vines is what is streaming all the attacking vines toward the others and thus she liberally reapplies goop to her dagger, withdraws a second one and coats it also. With both hands moving around her in slashes, she tries to go to the base stem of the attacking main mass, the one from which the others are sprouting and deriving their nourishment. Her eyes dilate in the fear she pushes through to approach close enough to reach the base of the main vine.
Lucita gets steel dagger with musical score engraved on pommel from a subtly embroidered cloth belt.
Lucita wields Ember Reckoning, a rubicund dagger.
And then Lucita is crawling to the base of the vine, and with one fell swoop, she hacks it off; or really the base of the stem melts off because of the Igniseri goop. This particular tangle of vines dies, and all of its interconnected vines to that base withers away and dies too, affected by the goop as well. That's not to say it will /always/ work that way, but in this case, whatever happened, either the way that Lucita cut the base of the vine, or the way the goop was applied to the weapon, or something else entirely, possibly even Dianna's beseeching of the Gods earlier, this particular vine and it's babies dies. However, the screaming persists. Not from this section, but another. Which means there's more than one tangle. Maybe lots more. From the chorus of sound. Where are all the people? The one victim, the one that had been in this particular tangle, upon close inspection is very near to death. There's so many briars and razor thorns in them that it's very hard to count, and the man seems quite young, possibly had been vibrant at one point, but looks almost hollowed, as though very closely drained of all of its blood, so, so dangerously close.
blinks at the man on the ground,"Gods and spirits!" She looks at him and doublechecks,"Hes breathing right? And hes so pale!" Rosalind talks endlessly, before she looks around,"Theres more people! Can we save them?" Please say yes!
Zebulon catches sight of the hand, staring at it a moment as if in disbelief. "I've got one here!" He shouts as Lucita slices the stem causing the vines to wither and die. He drops his off hand weapon and steps forward, attempting to catch him and gently lower him down to the ground. "But the screaming..." He shifts his view, about, looking for the other tangles. "Do we have time? This man may not survive if we wait long... Is anyone capable of helping him?"
"I'll try," Dianna replies to Lucita, kneeling before the young man.
Dianna checked intellect + medicine at difficulty 40, rolling 6 lower.
Dianna checked composure + empathy at difficulty 46, rolling 119 higher. Dianna rolled a critical!
The priestess looks over the injured man and shakes her head softly, her voice quiet, despite the screaming around her. "I don't know how to save him," Dianna admits. She stands, wields her glaive -- and marches to the next group of vines, spreads fresh goop on blade and spear and strikes mercilessly.
Lucita looks toward the screaming and the other clusters of vines and then at the others. She has her jaw clenched tight, her eyes tearing. "If they are all like... this one. We don't have time to save them all. Not with our weapons and the amount of goop we have." She gives an anguished look at the man and then the others of the group.
Silvio seems confused. All that work and the man is...dying, right in front of them. "the vines are drawing power, life...from the people. Heartless as it sounds, is there a way, if we cannot kill the vines in time, to send the others to a swifter death?" He kneels down, but he knows almost nothing about medicine. He does ask, though, "What brought these vines here? Help us..."
Zebulon watches as the priestess assesses the man, a light frown crossing his face as she's unable to aid him. He picks the blade he dropped back up, looking thoughtfully toward Lucina's voice. "So what... we return with one man who may not even live? We may not be able to save them all but, I can still fight. If we don't figure out where the Sylv'alfar might attack then the Lyceum will suffer far greater casualties then this." He exchanges a silent look toward Silvio, a moment of contemplation to his words. His gaze shifts away, watching Dianna slowly make her way further towards the other vines.
Lucita says, "Lady Roslind, it would be a mercy to them and we have to stay away I think. Look, we've already used up these in coating our weapons... " And she gestures to the empty vials... ".. and armor and that is all I could carry with me. We can't be suicidal about this... We have learned the insane thornweavers were here, and not that long ago, and it is closest to Ostria. I don't know what the other scouting parties detected, but we know that much. Some more skilled than me... and with better weapons.... may need to continue, what say you all?"
Rosalind checked intellect + medicine at difficulty 40, rolling 29 lower.
Rosalind knows NOTHING about medicine. Should add that on her to do list. She frowns as she listens to Lucita but nods,"One is better than none, but what do we do--"her large eyes take in the growing vines and her ears the screams. Her voice is grave and sad.
Lucita maintaining her outward calm narrowly though her eyes and a little quiver in her voice betrays how shaken up she is as she repeats. "we are out of goop and don't have enough to recoat for more batches of vines."
Zebulon glances to the floor with a dejected look, pondering a moment. "The other scouts managed to fend off the vines even before we created the goop, did they not?" He glances over his shoulder, looking to see how far Dianna has gotten.
Dianna checked intellect + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 3 higher.
It is not long afterward that Dianna checks on the man that he starts to slowly, ever so slowly slip away. When Rosalind goes to check on him, he's gone; there's nothing more that can be done. They couldn't even hear his final breath with the other sounds in the background; the chorus of screaming. And it is true, the supplies Lucita brought with her are exhausted, and the goop that was used to coat things expended in the last battle with the vines. And therein lies the conundrum. The vines feed on the blood of its victims. Would it be a mercy to kill them, or would it simply grow more vines, much more rapidly? These are the things the party has had to consider, all the while knowing they may have just missed mad Sylv'alfar passing through. Surely they have information to take back, though there's no telling where the Thornweave might be now, or how far they may have traveled. Maybe another party can be sent out to deal with this particular village, once and for all.
"Light," Dianna mutters. "It's too much, too many, too late. We need to get away," the priestess quietly realizes, withholding her disappointment. She turns and walks back to the man, kneels and simply prays for him, a blessing to the Queen of Endings. And, there's an apology in there to the man's soul, praise for what life he gave, Dianna's voice slightly wavering as she speaks.
Zebulon hangs his head in silence as a prayer is told, his off-hand weapon quietly finding it's sheathe as he lets out a sigh. After but a moment to mourn the lives they could not save he raises his head. "We best be going, then." He waits for the rest of the party to collect themselves before marching back the way they came, careful to keep his distance from any active vines.
Silvio stands up, flexing his fingers, then holds onto his injured hand. He swallows as the adrenaline starts to waver, making it all the more painful. Finally he shoves the mask portion of his helm up, to be able to catch his breath. He follows rather closely in the shadow of Zebulon when he can manage it, until they are back to where they left the main path. He is quiet, without even trying, for a long while.
Lucita says, "If I could use a bow, I would try to end their torment, pray the gods understanding. If a thrown knife could reach them, I'd try that and get away while the vines are still occupied with their... victim."
A tear or twelve streak down Rosalind's cheeks but she straightens. "I have a bow. I can make the shot,"when her tears have subsided. The northern woman can at least do that. End their sufferering.
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