IC Shadow of the Demon Lord: Outpost

Tancred

All over the shop
Validated User
#1
Outpost
Shadow of the Demon Lord


The better part of a year has elapsed since the demonic shenannigans at Crossings, and the heroes have parted ways, searching the Northern Reaches for clues as to what brought the demons south to Crossings, and the mysterious expedition of the Albus family.

Cairn has sent word that he's picked up the trail at a remote home in the Bone Marshes not far from Spider Wood, where the expedition departed from all those years ago. The friends agree to meet, passing through Connor's hometown of Foundry and north on to the more degenerate regions of north-east of the Reach. Braving lizardmen, their fiendish traps, and worse, each of them has made their way across the brackish stench to the tiny hamlet of Salton, an inbred backwater and closest known firendly habitation before the wilds of Spider Wood, inhabited by the savage, once-human Arachne.

One by one they arrive, seeking out Cairn to find out what he has discovered.

----

Mosquitoes and midges plague the approach to Salton, a tortuous and wending journey by flat-bottomed skiff through brackish and stinking waters. Eels, fish and unknown underwater lurkers glide through the mucky liquid, sending ripples to disturb the thick layer of green duckweed and algae and sunlight streaks through frequent gaps on the tree canopy above.

It's stinking humid, and by the time of arrival at Salton visitors (what few there are) are drenched to the skin in their own sweat. Rounding a bend past increasingly frequent eel traps, Salton squats on rotten piles above the murk, jetties and gangways connecting its few ramshackle buildings together. A few stretch to the height of a second storey, affixed to adjacent trees, but most are single-storey dwellings of the Bone Marshes' distinctive salt-encrusted driftwood. Curious faces peer out from behind shutters as visitors paddle closer, protruberant eyed, pasty and odd-looking. Strange fetishes hang from eaves everywhere, depicting a many-armed figure in simple carvings or bundled twigs.

Over a period of days and weeks, the friends reassemble, each of them taking in the 'sights' of Salton. Of Cairn, there is no sign.

OOC Thread
Level 1 Scenario The Apple of Her Eye
Level 2 Scenario The Crossings Double-Cross
Wiki
 

Fred

Surely you jest, Mr Fred
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#2
It had been a long strange year for Connor. He had always thought that after his debt to Honeytongue was paid off, he would return home and settle back into his farmer routine. But the encounter with the demon and his whole scheme in Crossings, a mere six months after the Lady of Apples had changed Connor.

He had never considered himself a hero, far from it. After all, he had started his “professional” life as a saboteur in Foundry. And it had always felt as he drifted through life, being buffeted here and there by the winds of chance. Connor had finally found meaning with Caitlin and their children. He was content.

But then he had had to venture back into the world and again he felt controlled by random events. His only wish to once again be back with his family. Or so he thought. Now, after everything that had happened, Connor realized that chaos had nothing to do with life path – there might actually be some meaning in his haphazard course through existence. He wasn’t stumbling through the world – he was following a path. He had a role: fighter.

He was supposed to fight for a better world, not only for Caitlin and the children – for everyone. And so he stayed on in Crossings, taking jobs mostly as a guard, but also doing some stings as bounty hunter and mercenary. He spent most of his free hours honing his skill as a combatant.

He had finally gone back to the farm the past month, waiting for word from Cairn, who had gone off to investigate the demonic activity in the north. It felt good to be in the Caitlin’s loving arms and hear his children laughter.

One month had gone by , when Cairn’s message finally arrived. Now, Connor was in this newgodforsaken village waiting for the others. No sign of them or Cairn so far. He didn’t know how much more he could take of Salton.

I’ll give then one more day, he thought. Then, I’m going after Cairn on my own.
 

Nick The Lemming

Lord Gort
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#3
Life has been good to Ruff lately. He's picked up some more spells, thanks to a partly-dead wizard who really didn't need to be carrying around that big grimoire any more, he found some really tasty spiders living in a hollowed out tortoise shell that one time (which he dragged out with his fleshy rods) that even seemed to be trying to communicate with him in some weird way (that just made them even tastier!), and he hardly burned anyone's house down when they wouldn't let him sleep in their outhouse while it rained. Now at last he's come to the place where his old mate Cairn said to come to. Hope he's got a party planned, it'll be nice to see Cairn again.

Ruff scampers though the town (which he thinks looks quite picturesque, what with the rotting weeds here and there, the mildewed fetishes dangling everywhere, the odours of the swamp drifting up, and the (tasty!) dead pigeon floating in a greenish, muddy pool that he found on entering the place. Not immediately seeing Cairn anywhere, he skips through the streets, screeching "Caaaa-irn" every few seconds. He smiles his bestest toothy smile at anyone peering from behind filthy curtains in their shacks, hopping up onto crates, barrels, or whatever stands around so he can stick his nose up against the window and peer inside in return.

"You got Cairn in there?" he asks loudly. "He's my friend. Nothing better have happened to him or I'll have to burn this place down a bit."
 

Atlictoatl

Looking for Operations/Culture employment
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#4
Doctor Sterren Lark

Not long after finally defeating his nemesis, the Inquisitor Harkwold, Sterren Lark was forced to flee Crossings as an investigation into the Inquisitor's demise visited the town. Fleeing through the countryside, the doctor spent many a day hidden in haylofts and abandoned sheds, and it was in the crouching, waiting hours of the deepest night that the New God spoke to him anew, of secrets of shadows and stalkers unbound.

It had been a month of secret whisperings before the New God led him to the new blasphemy. A small hamlet had experienced a gruesome murder, the body positioned in a horrific parody of life in the village square for all to witness, but the tableau was all wrong. It was not staged in the manner proscribed by the New God, as anyone could see, and as evidenced in the reaction of the villagers who were more outraged and terrorized than beatific.

Filled with consumptive outrage himself at this blasphemy, Lark embarked with fervor in the pursuit of the foul monstrosity that would so corrupt this holy worship of the True God. It took five weeks, the sacrifice of not a little of his own blood, and a trail of two more grisly displays, but the good doctor finally did successfully track his prey, catching the twisted wreckage of a man in the very act of blaspheming. Lark left that town more satisfied than he had been in a long while, until seven weeks later when he came across another, different, blaspheme that demanded righting.

In this manner, Doctor Lark progressed his way north, pursuing, catching, and bringing the New Lord's divine retribution to the perpetrators of five separate murder sprees. Every night, as the sun started to rise after walking the shadows, he pulled out Harkwold's Inquisitor's badge, whispering to it as he polished it to a dull shine, that it might catch the first rays of dawn. It wasn't until he laid the third false worshipper to rest that Lark reflected it had been many long months since he had staged his own display of worship to his god, and after visiting his judgment on the fourth the doctor realized that his calling had changed. The New God no longer wanted him to make testimony through the glory of his revealed worship, but rather to pursue those who corrupted the sanctity of that testimony, obfuscating the true displays of worship that the members of his church made throughout the land. It was for this reason that the New God had granted him power over the shadows of the blasphemer. It was a higher calling.

When he received Cairn's message, it sounded with the clarion call of the New Lord's midnight prayer to action, and the doctor made all haste to Salton.

[hr][/hr]

Doctor Lark disembarks from the skiff and onto the squishy streets of Salton without complaint, though his coat and trousers were made of heavy wool. Wiping at his face and neck with a silk handkerchief, he pays one of the larger urchins a copper to carry his bags to the nearest inn. He'd get something to take off his thirst, and then enquire after the town's leech to see if they didn't need some assistance. Lark had long found that the quickest way to get to know a place was through its sick people needing attention.

He wonders if the murders had already started here, or if the New Lord had seen fit to bring him here ahead of their commencement, as he moves determinedly through the mucky streets, the fingers of his free hand in his coat pocket, unconsciously and incessantly polishing Harkwold's badge of office.
 

Tancred

All over the shop
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#5
One month had gone by , when Cairn’s message finally arrived. Now, Connor was in this newgodforsaken village waiting for the others. No sign of them or Cairn so far. He didn’t know how much more he could take of Salton.

I’ll give then one more day, he thought. Then, I’m going after Cairn on my own.
Connor spends his nights in a mildewed rooming house near the centre of Salton. The old crone who runs the place serves up eel pie, eel soup, and something made from whatever's leftover of eels once you carve them up for pies and soup. Whatever it is, it's salty.

Life in Salton is quiet and the locals strange. There's a social life here, but a furtive one behind closed doors. Fish-oil lamps light up midnight gatherings and chantings to their strange local god, everyone seems related to one another and the dialect they speak is barely understandable. Of Cairn there is no sign - there's no clockworks in Salton, only humans, a small community of goblins and a constantly-frowning dwarf.

A small office serves as the sole administrative mark on Salton, something to do with the Imperial Army who apparently have a presence in the surrounding area. Outsiders, the occupants are largely shunned by the residents, and seem to consist of a couple of military clerks and a bored-looking Jotun mercenary, all huge build and brooding albino scowl. Adjacent to the office is a tumble-down store, acting as the sole source of anything imported across the marsh.

Connor sits bored inside the front room of the rooming house, staring out the window when a familiar screech reaches his ears.

Nick The Lemming said:
"You got Cairn in there?" he asks loudly. "He's my friend. Nothing better have happened to him or I'll have to burn this place down a bit."
----

Atlictoatl said:
Doctor Lark disembarks from the skiff and onto the squishy streets of Salton without complaint, though his coat and trousers were made of heavy wool. Wiping at his face and neck with a silk handkerchief, he pays one of the larger urchins a copper to carry his bags to the nearest inn. He'd get something to take off his thirst, and then enquire after the town's leech to see if they didn't need some assistance. Lark had long found that the quickest way to get to know a place was through its sick people needing attention.

He wonders if the murders had already started here, or if the New Lord had seen fit to bring him here ahead of their commencement, as he moves determinedly through the mucky streets, the fingers of his free hand in his coat pocket, unconsciously and incessantly polishing Harkwold's badge of office.
Walking over rickety duckboards and bridges, Dr Lark and his locally-hired porter make their way through Salton. No sign of organised doctoring presents itself, the place too primitive for any regular practice. Local wisdom would do, folk cures and prayer most people's only respite from ailments. Probably there is opportunity to set something up here, the demand would be reasonable but the pay non-existent.

Salton's centre is a platform on sagging piles containing an administrative building of some kind marked with the Imperial sigil flanked by a general store and some of the larger buildings in the hamlet interspersed and attached to swaying bone-white trees creating a relief from the heat and humidity of the place.

There's a leaning rooming house with a salt-crusted sign with a bed and keg of ale painted on in flaking paint closeby, the source of some sort of loud altercation.
 

Fred

Surely you jest, Mr Fred
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#6
Connor sits bored inside the front room of the rooming house, staring out the window when a familiar screech reaches his ears.
Connor sighs and rubs his hands on his face to disperse the sleepiness that was coming over him, as well as to alleviate the frustration of realizing who's arrived.

Why did it have to be him, New God? Couldn't you have sent Cairn or Ariadne here first? the warrior thinks, as he stands up and walks toward the door.

Connor's suspicion are confirmed by teh sight of his occasional goblin... ally? That doesn't seem all that right.

"Ruff. Welcome to Salton," Connor says drily.
 

Nick The Lemming

Lord Gort
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"Connor!" exclaims Ruff happily, giving the robot man a genuinely big hug and wiping a few carefully selected secretions on his friend's back.

"Want winding up mate?" he asks innocently.
 

Xhaosdaemon

Master of the Bones
Validated User
#8
Ariadne

Ariadne spent the past year in a number of ways. She had grown in the faith of The New God, especially after the demonic encounters in Crossings. From this growth she has been steeled against the horrors of demons and other foul things as well as having more ability to restore health to her allies in times of need. Seeing the horrors of their demonic forms and how their victims are affected being possessed has hardened her some and given her a steely resolve to destroy demons whenever possible. Because of this she has spent much time in libraries poring over tomes, scrolls, and any bits of knowledge about demons and their interactions in the world. All this research has increased her knowledge of all things occult, improving her odds of noticing and weeding out demonic influences. She also spent some of her wealth to improve her weapons and armor, to better combat demons and their minions.

All is not dark in Ariadne's world however. She has kept in touch with the Honeytongues, especially Elisha who she rescued from demonic possession. She feels a level of protectiveness for the young woman and has done what she can to help her heal physically, mentally, and spiritually from her possession. She has taken care not to cross paths with the Inquisitors, just to be safe even though Harkwold and his minions had been possessed and influenced by demons. A little disguise goes a long way as she has always been able to remain visually non-descript.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Time passes and eventually Ariadne receives the message from Cairn. With her thirst to purge the world of demonic influences the message is like a match to a powderkeg and she makes her way to Salton as quickly as possible. Upon her arrival she looks over the area and is not impressed. Fortunately her condition renders her unappetizing to the blood-sucking flies in the area and she is likewise unbothered by the heat and humidity. She asks around to see if anyone has seen anyone matching Cairn's description and makes a plan to check out any inns or taverns as well. She keeps her eyes and ears open for her companions as well, knowing at least one of them....the small rude one known as Ruff....is likely to make some kind of commotion, it is just who he is...
 

Tancred

All over the shop
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Ariadne
Time passes and eventually Ariadne receives the message from Cairn. With her thirst to purge the world of demonic influences the message is like a match to a powderkeg and she makes her way to Salton as quickly as possible. Upon her arrival she looks over the area and is not impressed. Fortunately her condition renders her unappetizing to the blood-sucking flies in the area and she is likewise unbothered by the heat and humidity. She asks around to see if anyone has seen anyone matching Cairn's description and makes a plan to check out any inns or taverns as well. She keeps her eyes and ears open for her companions as well, knowing at least one of them....the small rude one known as Ruff....is likely to make some kind of commotion, it is just who he is...
Ariadne has been in Salton only a night before she hears a familiar shrill voice near the hamlet's centre. Investigating, she spies Dr. Lark and a local boy carrying his luggage approaching from the main wharf - from his mien he's also detected the disturbance.

A young local woman pushes past, a little rudely. Turning to face Ariadne, her scowl of irritation turns to wide-eyed surprise and she quickly lowers her head in a kind of supplication, backing away and muttering in these people's strange dialect. The girl pulls a grubby shawl close around her and rushes away.

This is not the first time Ariadne has encountered a kind of awed deference in Salton. This morning she found a small bowl of fresh water filled with a local water lily species left outside the door to her lodgings as some kind of offering. Perhaps it's her robes of the New God, but it doesn't feel like that is the reason: her role as cleric seems to provoke indifference amongst the locals, and she's yet to see the sigil of the New God anywhere among the people of Salton, let alone a temple.
 

Fred

Surely you jest, Mr Fred
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#10
"Connor!" exclaims Ruff happily, giving the robot man a genuinely big hug and wiping a few carefully selected secretions on his friend's back.

"Want winding up mate?" he asks innocently.
"I'm not a clockwork and you know it", Connor answers, only slightly exasperated, and tries to rub away Ruff's secretions with his sleeve.

"Do you know where Cairn is? I've been waiting for days in this... village".
 
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