Nov 25, 2017 12:58 AM
Why does the dungeon always collapse
Menu
Veron in Arda
+ Show First Post
Total: 897
Posts Per Page:
Permalink

Okay. Maybe the smoke would freak someone out? That's fine. He nods. He won't be making a fire.

It's not cold, anyway, and he can tolerate having a cold meal for a night or two. Or more than two, if he has to. He has eaten some strange things, in his day, he is not going to get prissy about food temperature. Instead of making a fire, he finds a suitably out of the way place to change out of his wet clothes and armor, and hangs them up to dry. He's got a spare set of clothes, and a spare set of armor after the mimic debacle. He's not in danger of walking around indecent. His boots are magic and lasted through Hell itself without damage, and so are not in danger of being ruined by the dive in a river. He has some non-cricket food.

Then he sits down somewhere scenic, pulls out his journal, and starts writing about his day. Lesson of today: make sure nothing is stacked precariously before looting. Explosions are bad. Avoid them in the future...

Permalink

The sun sets. Someone can be heard cautiously approaching the camp.

Permalink

...

Veron continues writing, pretending not to have noticed.

Permalink

Adult who tried to grab the kid earlier pokes her head out from behind a tree. Kid darts out of the tent and into her arms.

Permalink

Veron cannot suppress the smile, though he tries. He stays where he is.

Permalink

They vanish into the forest.

Permalink

That's his job done, then. He closes his journal, stands up, and walks back to where his things are drying.

"Ksxksskrth?" he calls, retracing the familiar hand gesture that'll get his steward's attention. "You there?"

There's a pause of worrying length. Veron wonders if he's further from home than he thought, and if this is about to be another adventure where he has to figure out how to get back to Toril. Then the nearby shadows draw together and darken in a familiar fashion, and Ksxksskrth rises into form.

"Alwaysssss. Farrr from homeee, aren't you?" hisses the shadow monster, in Common, not Sssaktsth. He's practicing his accent. Still pretty hissy and creepy, but definitely more intelligible now, and improving little by little.

"Have you ever known me to be anything but?" wonders Veron, dry.

Ksxksskrth laughs, low and guttural. "Ss sss, no."

"Yeah, story of my life. Speaking of, do you know where I am?"

Another pause. "I do nnot. It isss farrr."

"Awesome. Stranded in another weird place. Yay."

"It issss not ssso far assss Caniaa." He leaves the statement 'You could get to the Plane of Shadow' unsaid, out of courtesy. Veron hears it all the same. It is an escape route, if he wants it. If he wants to risk being stuck on the Plane of Shadow for another year, seeing how much further he'll progress into becoming a shadow monster. Maybe he'll get to the stage where his skin starts peeling off. Wouldn't that be exciting.

"Yeah. That's something. Thanks, Ksxksskrth. Sorry to bother you over my latest mess."

"It isss no trouble. I amm at your ssssservice. Whaaat can I do forrr you?"

Veron hesitates to actually ask Ksxksskrth if he'll do his laundry, but his eyes slide to the still damp clothes where they hang, and his friend guesses all the same.

"Ittt will beee done."

"Thanks, I appreciate it."

Ksxksskrth departs with an armful of clothes, and Veron only feels a little bit bad about it.

Well. Time to wander, he guesses. Standard adventurer reaction. Wander around in the woods until you trip over something interesting.

Permalink

Another tent town, downriver. This one appears to have been found by people less friendly than him. The tents have been torched and the residents butchered. Including the children. 

Permalink

 


Ah.

He's had a strong stomach for a while. He barely even reacts. Just a subtle expression of dismay. First time he saw butchery like this, he recalls throwing up. Now he just feels - not even angry. Empty, but for the hollow pang in his chest that swells with every heartbeat. Oh. Yes. This still exists in the world, doesn't it.

Right. Much as he wants to stay and pay respects to the dead, he probably doesn't have the time. Who did this, are there tracks? He's not much of a tracker, but he can follow some footprints.

Permalink

Looks like they were on horseback, actually. Left the same direction they came from, along the river.

Permalink

Hm.

Implies they're a distance away, and that he can't catch up with them without doing something unwise and showing up exhausted and strained and with one foot practically in the Plane of Shadow.

He can spend a little while to handle the dead. He won't bury or burn them, but he can move them from where they died and drape unburned bits of tent over them. Some kind of respect. Pity he doesn't have a cleric to do any of this properly.

Permalink

They are mostly still holding their babies. Some of them were clearly trying to run away, and none of the ones trying to run away were carrying fewer than two children.

Permalink

Maybe there's something wrong with him, because he doesn't cry, or scream, or throw up, or even need a minute to compose himself. Yep. This is horrible. But they're not coming back to life to fight and kill their friends, and they were obviously killed quickly. It would be incorrect to say that they didn't suffer, but they weren't tortured to death by a drow matriarch or turned into a mindless thrall by illithid or used as food for monsters or as a sacrifice to a dark god or any number of horrible things that Veron has seen or surmised from adjacency.

Without knowing who was related to whom, he leaves the children in the arms of what he presumes to be their parents, arranged so they look peaceful. But for the blood.

He's done in record time. He's very efficient.

Permalink

No one else comes by.

Permalink

He washes the blood off of his hands in the river, and then follows the tracks.

Permalink

They eventually meet a well-kept road, which winds ahead of him up to a mountain pass where there's a dazzlingly pretty stone city.

Permalink

That looks like it might be it. If it isn't, it's something, anyway.

He walks to the city, thinking of Drogan's patient lessons and Deekin's eclectic songs and Valen's tentative smile, until the thoughts of slaughter are as small as he can make them. Anger has never helped him, only made a bigger mess to clean up. He will do no one any good if he storms into the city seething with anger and out for blood.

Permalink

The city's gates are open! It's got spiraling levels, cut into the mountain, and the ground level is some kind of bustling market with short hairy people and humans and people taller and prettier and glitterier than humans. There is a notable absence of the slaughtered species. There are a few guards at the city gates, talking with merchants and looking through incoming and outgoing wagons. Lots of people are singing. 

Permalink

Pretty.

But pretty doesn't mean good. Good can be pretty, but it can be also be small and scaly or pale with horns and a tail or large and made of metal or slight with skin as dark as charcoal and hair like starlight. And evil can be pretty, too.

He walks to one of the less busy guards at the gate, then says, "Hello, my name is Veron, do you understand anything I'm saying?"

Permalink

Guard shakes his head. If you don't have any Thindarin or Eastwalk you'll have a hard time here -  I think there's a booth to hire a translator?

Permalink

There's a brief spasm of panic before he slams his mental protections into place. Like the Seer showed him, disciplined and practiced and damned hard to get past. No stray thought for anyone to grab onto a pull, everything tucked into a tidy and ever-shifting little ball under his control.

Was that just sending or were they receiving, too? He understood context, but maybe it could have been guessed. He should carry himself like he's surrounded by mind readers, though, why didn't he practice this more when he had the time it's obviously useful -

Meanwhile, he stands there, eyes shut, completely still.

Permalink

- the guard blinks at him, says something in a local language he doesn't speak, moves on to talk to someone else.

Permalink

Veron stops thinking worst cases and instead runs through the Seer's lessons again. Mind like water, will like steel, whatever that means. Maybe he should have spent some more time in the Underdark, gotten better lessons for this sort of thing. Learned how to protect himself while still able to communicate by mental contact.

Then once it's up to his satisfaction, smooth and strong and impermeable, he's confused at how to proceed. The ability to speak with the telepathic people would be damned useful, but not at the cost of leaving himself at the mercy of whoever feels like reading him.

He needs a better solution. He - turns himself right around and walks away from the city. Away from the mind readers.

Permalink

No one bothers him. That afternoon a group of soldiers on horses rides past him down the road.

Permalink

He has found himself a seat on the side of the road, journal open, brainstorming how he could stay protected while also communicating. He understands a little bit of the theory, and half of how minds work is based on how they believe they work, so a novice theorizing on the side of the road isn't as useless as it sounds. Probably. He hears hoofbeats, and looks up, and represses a scowl.

Yep, this is kind of stupid, doing it anyway.

"Excuse me!" he calls, standing up, attempting to echo the impression of the words out of the bubble of safety that is his mind without disturbing the shields. "Do you have a minute...?"

Total: 897
Posts Per Page:
Back to Top