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Gallowstown [FIN]; [ST08 Main Topic]
Topic Started: Sun Nov 5, 2017 11:13 pm (5,915 Views)
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Remington’s dilapidated shack stood silent as everyone present digested the information that had just been shared with them. Not only was the Red Noose an artificial plague, but the madman responsible was almost certainly trapped in Gallowstown, same as the rest of them. For now your only allies are a loud-mouthed golem and a suspicious alchemist. The sheer scope of the problem you have been (unwillingly) been tasked with solving might seem daunting, if you were given enough time to ponder it.

As it turns out, you’re not given too long to despair. Events are proceeding without your input elsewhere in the camp. Blackbird suddenly straightens, its eyepieces pulsing with electric blue light. “THERE IS A PROBLEM,” it announces at its normal speaking volume. “NEAR THE MAIN ENTRANCE.”

Remington cocks his head to one side, staring at the golem. When no more information is forthcoming he sneers and speaks up. “Well? What is it, you bloody nuisance?”


The alchemist groans aloud. “What are they thinking? Where are they finding these peopl-”


This declaration is met by resounding silence. It is Remington who answers first, quick with condemnation as always. “Are you bloody joking? This isn’t what I was hired to do. How will this help catch the Hangman? How will it cure the Noose?”


The two of them glare at each other. The alchemist wavers first, looking away. “Do what you will. I provided them with the stopgap. Apparently that is all I am good for, as rational advice falls on deaf ears.”


Remington scoffs at this, but does not object or move to block your exit. He’s strapping back on his odd, multi-armed contraption that allows him to do the work of two people at once. You might be able to learn more from him, but his mood is understandably foul.

Investigate Remington the Alchemist

Remington was hired by representatives of the nation-states in order to investigate the Red Noose due to his proficiency with alchemy. You can choose to try and learn more from him, examine his belongings, or spy on him at this juncture.

The Main Approach

If you choose to follow Blackbird, the golem wastes no time in departing. He boldly strides out into the camp, holding both arms straight up in the air. There’s a soft whump as it launches one of the avian constructs from its forearm, shooting it into the air. The mechanical bird spreads its wings and flaps off, soon disappearing into the sky. Blackbird repeats this procedure several times until he’s fired off each and every bird from his forearms.

“I GATHERED MY EYES FOR THIS MEETING, NOT EXPECTING TROUBLE. AN UNCOMMON MISTAKE FROM BLACKBIRD!” The golem announces, moving at a brisk pace throughout the camp. It’s leading you through the central-most portion, which is commonly referred to as the Stilts. There are people everywhere, watching you from the upper walkways and the shadows spaces underneath. Blackbird’s loud volume is drawing quite a lot of attention to your group, and not all of it friendly. Many of the people you pass stare at the golem with open disdain.

It doesn’t take long for you to leave the Stilts behind, marching over where the palisade used to stand. These are the Fens, the true shanty town where the vast majority of the camp’s ‘citizens’ live. The ground here squelches beneath your feet, any prints you leave behind filling with murky water. Tents of all shapes and sizes have been erected here, along with the rare, more permanent structure cobbled together from materials at hand.

You’ve lived here for a while, but it’s easy to forget just how many people are gathered together in Gallowstown. There are no true roads in the Fens, simply pathways bereft of any huddle bodies. There is conversation all around you, a constant susurrus that makes it hard to hear your own thoughts. People are speaking Common, Elvish, Bridgetongue, Istani; every language you’re familiar with and a few that you aren’t.

“-is it getting worse? You need to tell me if-”
“-I’ll have to go back tomorrow, the line was too long-”
“-it has to be the Marquise, that wolf bitch-”
“-my cousin was stationed near here, could they be in camp three-”
“-tried to get out but the Plaguehunters broke his knee-”
“-I was just there, Markin looked scared, it’s going to be-”
“-have you seen her? I’m looking for my girl, have-”


You’ve reached the outskirts of the shanty town. This is the Wilds, still within Gallowstown but vastly less populated than the rest of the camp. That is because people who stay in the Wilds do not have to compete for space, but have to deal with the dangers of nature itself. This is true swampland, trees standing between pools of standing water, wooden planks laid out to serve as bridges between patches of dry land. There are plenty of rumors about the Wilds in the main camp, stories of people who tried to find a space to call their own and disappeared instead. Walking across the shade-dappled paths and surrounding by the echoes of animal calls and buzzing insects, it’s easy to believe every nasty rumor you’ve heard while you’ve been here.

You’re still following a well-traveled path throughout the bog, the bridges wide enough for several people to stand abreast or allow a wagon to be driven through. Although the noise of the Fens has faded behind you, you can hear another burst of activity ahead.

Blackbird comes to a halt, looking somewhat ashamed. “I CANNOT PROCEED. MY ORDERS REQUIRE ME TO STAY OUT OF HARM’S WAY. I SHALL NEVER BE FAR!” The golem gestures upwards, where one of its metallic birds flits through the canopy. “DO NOT ENGAGE THE CORDON.”

With that warning, you are left free to your own devices. Advancing will reveal a dry space where all the trees have recently been felled, the gnarled stumps left behind. Much of that timber has gone into the construction of a gate of massive proportions, the beginning of a new barricade around the camp. Walls stretch out into the swampland on either side, disappearing into the Wilds. Golems stand atop this barrier, their glowing eyes turned inwards to make sure none of their charges escape.

Of a more pressing nature is the crowd gathered around the gate. The doors themselves are open to allow a wagon convey inside, but the vehicles barely made it a dozen feet before the press of people forced them to a stop. The mood of the crowd is clearly furious, and it’s not hard to see why: instead of carrying crates of supplies these wagons are laden with more passengers. They are almost exclusively elvish and wearing finer clothes than many of the refugees, velvet brocade and lavish silks. Some even sport jewelry. Most of them looked shell-shocked, and one or two are actively sobbing with fear. Oddly enough, none of them seem to have the telltale red mark around their neck that would indicate they are suffering from the plague.

A small stage has been built near the gates… but is it a stage? No, it’s rather more morbid than that. Someone has built an actual gallows here, noose and all. The hanging rope has been dyed blood-red. Standing atop the wooden framework is a woman whose lumpy gray robe cannot completely hide her girth. She’s built like a rock, easily taller than six feet, with wide shoulders and limbs corded with muscle. She sports the Noose mark around her neck and is shouting at the top of her lungs, spouting off vitriolic drivel in a booming voice. “How dare you bring these unmarked before us! They do not belong here, in this camp of the chosen! You shall take them away from this place, Markin, or know the wrath of the Chosen!”

The target of her ire is a skinny man standing atop the lead wagon, thin blond hair limply framing his narrow features and beak-like nose “Stop it, all of you! I bring what I’m given! That’s all, this is all they gave me!” His reedy voice doesn’t compel nearly the same respect as the woman on the gallows, and the crowd doesn’t seem to care about his excuses. They’re beginning to pull people off of the carts, desperately searching them for any supplies.

The teamster (Markin) turns in desperation to another bystander, someone sitting on a stump to one side of the gates. “Dammit, isn’t this why I hired you, Wanting!?”

The source of his ire is wearing protective gear from head to toe: a mantled greatcoat, fur-lined gloves, a wide flat-brim, and underneath that a mask with features that are hard to make out. Perhaps their most defining feature is a claymore with a blade nearly as long as they are tall. They have the weapon laid across their knees and are carefully wiping it down with an oilcloth. Any response they make is too muffled to hear from this distance, but you can see them shrug dismissively.

One of the elves screams as they’re thrown off of a cart. Someone in the crowd has used a knife to saw through the leads of a draft horse, and now a small group is leading the animal away from the wagon. “Thief! Stop! What are you doing? Have you no decency?” He looks about ready to jump down and follow after them but is clearly unwilling to leave his wagons behind, as they look to be his livelihood.

There’s a lot going on here. What do you do?

Welcome to the official Gallowstown thread. It’s sure to be a happy time for everyone. Along with the launch of the main topic is a shiny new Discussion thread, which can be found here.

I just want to emphasize that in this topic, taking initiative will give you the most opportunity to uncover information and new situations. Being passive will force you to move along at the ST’s pace. No one wants that.

Throughout this topic, Leads will pop up. I only included one in this round to give a general idea of how this will work, but expect more as the event moves forward. These are wholly optional and no one is under obligation to follow them. In fact, it might be impossible to do all of them.

Please note that simply because something isn’t identified as a Lead doesn’t mean you can’t investigate it further. For example, in this post you overheard snippets of conversation as you passed through the Fens. You could choose to separate from the group and ask for more details about any of those subjects or something completely new.

Since today would technically count as the ST Posting Phase, this round's Player Posting Phase will be from right now until Wednesday, November 8 at Midnight (PT). Use the extra time well. The next ST Posting Phase will be all day on Thursday, November 9.

Edited by Storyteller, Mon Nov 6, 2017 4:07 am.
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Peace cannot be maintained in this place, she thought to herself after the golem spoke the words. There were too many people, the resources too thin, for anything other than unrest to breed. The Hangman was only one part of the problem here, but there plenty more festering among the group. She did not give voice to any of her thoughts, though. She didn't think many of her companions would appreciate them, especially since they all appeared to be so much more well-traveled than her, excepting the strange creature that was so over-the-top friendly that it made her skin crawl.

And so she followed them, out of the chemists' shack, and into Gallowstown proper. She had no intention of joining them at the gates to this hellish place, though. There was no need for so many to be there. She could make herself useful some other way.

So many people...

The girl had quietly melted away from the group heading to...well, whatever it was that had caused the over loud golem to cut off the discourse with the mad alchemist. There were many of them in their small party, chosen for their apparent 'virtues'. All strangers, just as everyone in these camps seemed to be strangers. For a girl who had grown up in the company of few, it was difficult to be around so many people at once. What had been a small foretaste in the great cities of Imythess now paled in comparison to the deplorable conditions of this overcrowded camp.

The Fens were a ramshackle assortment of huts, lean-to's, and squalid tents. Dirty faces peered from openings in the rudimentary shelters, with such a mixture of emotions. Fear, disconsolate apathy, anger, shock. Many more. Maranae could feel something echoing in herself with each face she passed, some tiny spark of emotion that she had to force aside. She felt worn down, tired, and listless. Likely, if she had been as frail as the one girl, she would have been just as ill. As it was, life had become an unending blend of misery.

She kept her ears open, hoping to hear something. She spoke all of the languages represented here, and if she wasn't fluent in all of them, well, she understood enough. The thing of it was, she didn't know what it was she was searching for. Information, certainly. Whatever - whoever - had created this vile thing, well, they were not touched by the Farplanes. Her senses in that area were useless.

In fact, she questioned why she even remained. And then laughed at herself; she remained because they would not let her leave. Not with the mark around her neck, and not if she didn't have it, either. There was a personal stake in all of this, but it wasn't the personal stake that drove her. It was the misery of everyone around her. All standing on stools that could be kicked from under their feet at any time. And as if that weren't bad enough, mistreated by their benefactors to boot.

Maranae, in another place you might stand out. Here these is simply no room for another person. People look at you and then away without truly seeing you. Perhaps what they see is simply competition for what few resources remain.

Privacy is a thing of the past, which is perhaps why you are able to stumble upon something you shouldn't. There is a group of people gathered around a pathetic fire, the flames spitting and sputtering. From the reek it smells like they're burning peat that hasn't been properly dried. The strangers probably don't smell much better, all of them wearing clothes that hadn't been washed for several days.

"I'm telling you, it's just sitting there. Plenty for everyone." This from a man with a bald pate emerging from a ring of wiry black bristles.

"No, no way. They wouldn't do that, would they?" Here a woman with dusky red skin. When she speaks the light flashes off of metallic silver teeth. She twirls a strand of ebony hair around one finger. "Not even them."

"They would. Filthy Balefire dogz." Now an odd, saurian-like creature with pebbly skin. Its mainly yellow, with bands of darkness that puts you in mind of waves reflecting on the bottom of a pond. "No one haz to get hurt." There are murmurs of agreement from all around the fire at this.

Before the conversation can proceed the red-skinned woman looks up, meeting your eyes. She holds up a hand to the rest of the gathering. "Can we help you?" Although the wording is polite, the tone makes it clear this is a dismissal.

If the girl heard the tone of the red-skinned woman, she affected not to. Though in truth, she wasn't so well acquainted with people and their ways, the subtle nuance of conversation. She doesn't try to smile to her or the group at large; such a disarming smile would have been out of place here, anyway. Not among all the suffering in the camp, to say the least.

Probably not, she said truthfully, and then paused, cocking her head to one side. But maybe I could help you? I overheard... she began, a touch of color coming into her pallid features. Perhaps a bit of embarrassment at admitting to eavesdropping. Or it could simply have been the fact that she was putting herself forward.

The red-skinned woman gives you a long once-over. Your skin crawls. You can tell she's gleaned something from this appraisal, but you have no idea what she's capable of. "Tell her," she announces to the group.

The lizard-folk needs no further encouragement. "There iz a houze in the Ztiltz," he announces in his sibilant voice. "A houze very clozely guarded, but not in the open. In zekret, yez, with guardz who look act like normal refugeez. They are zick, maybe, but they also watch so carefully. Too carefully, yez?"

"It's true, miss. And they're from Balefire. You can see it in them." This from the balding man. "They're hoarding food or supplies. The guards sure as hell don't look as hungry as the rest of us."

"So what my companions are suggesting is taking action to.... liberate some of their undeserved bounty." Back to the red-skinned woman, whose eyes never left you this entire time. "Which might be unpleasant. Are you able to handle something unpleasant, miss..." Here she trails off, clearly inviting you to introduce yourself. Do you do so? Are you ready for something unpleasant, Maranae?

Maranae seems to wilt under that intense, gauging stare. Something about it is far more unsettling than she is willing to admit, and certainly beyond what she can put a finger to. It felt as though the red-skinned woman was peering past the flesh, examining her soul. Very uncomfortable indeed, seeing as she wasn't entirely sure she still had one. Or maybe she did, but it was possible that it was no longer human.

Fine spice for her thoughts.

Maranae, she replies much more steadily than she feels. Had the woman discerned that she was from Balefire herself? And what would happen if they did find that particular bit out? Nothing pleasant, she was sure, but she couldn't lie in any case, or at least not overtly. If they are hoarding food or supplies, it must be stopped. There isn't enough to go around without that going on, she said. Her very appearance speaks of the cost to all of the prisoners in this camp without the added penalty of people doing what these folks suspected, or at least said they suspected, going on.

I can handle unpleasantness if it means easing someone else's problem a little, she replied, earnestly. She wanted to add so long as it doesn't involve killing, but that was not a commitment she wished to make. There was no telling what she was getting involved in, and what layhidden in this house. Or what the true motivations of these people were, or those they intended to 'do something about'. There was an extreme outside chance that it would be relevant to the greater groups' goals, and a better chance of finding some kind of allies in this nightmarish place.

How can I help? she asks. Let this not be a mistake, she thought to herself. Not for the first time, she wished Alanna were here. Alanna would have known what to do, she was sure of it; Maranae was simply caught in the current.
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Keep your head down, child. An entire life based on that thread of advice. It was the only way to survive, back on the island. Coup after coup, the single method to ensure survival was to be beautiful and stupid—or, at least, to appear that way.

What do you do when keeping your head down gets you killed?

What do you do when the noose is already around your neck?

After leaving Remington’s alchemy lab, Haven made sure not to leave alongside Blackbird, or among the others. It seemed important not to be spotted in the company of a golem; it would make them seem untrustworthy to the people here, especially those who had come from Camp 1. With a smile on their face, Haven greeted those people they knew from the system of favors they had created in the camp.

Taking their own time, Haven made their way toward the gate. As they approached, they saw the stage of a different kind. It was not a performer’s stage, but a gallows. Pausing in the crowd, the smile faded from Haven’s face. They had witnessed many hangings before, but those hangings had been of convicted criminals.

Who was hanged here?

The chosen ones? Or those who had not been blessed by the noose?

Forcing a cordial, hopeful smile, Haven unwound the purple velvet scarf from around their neck and pushed closer to the large woman upon the gallows.

“Ma’am! You say we are chosen?” Haven’s voice was ragged with hope, their violet eyes wide with the same optimism. “Is it truly so?”

Chosen to die, they thought with vitriol. Chosen to die at the whim of a Hangman, and you don’t even know it, do you?

"Yes, yes, of course!" 

The woman kneels down and grips you by the shoulders. Haven, it isn't until she does so that you realize how large the woman is. While she stood on the hanging platform you could pretend that it was due to her superior positioning, but now there is no denying it. There is a strength in her fingers too. You're left with no doubt that if she chose to, this lady could pick you up off the ground and set you down on the stage beside her.

"We are all chosen! They call this a noose, child, but it is not! A blessing is what it is, and all of us with it are blessed!" She's staring at you with disturbing intensity, every syllable ringing with conviction. "I saw you hiding it, do not think that I didn't. I cannot blame you, for the way they treat us is truly inhumane. Gathering us here with foul intentions, I am sure of it! I will protect you and guide you to the proper path.”

She's crazy.

Haven's hands flew up to immediately clasp the preacher's in a display of relieved camaraderie. The smile widened on their face, spreading light across the sweat and smudges of dirt that marred their features.

She's latching onto what she needs to believe to survive this place. But still crazy.

"Blessed by who?" asked Haven. Doubt brought their fine white brows together and creased their forehead. It was important not to appear too earnest or too believing just yet. "By what? I've been so—ashamed.”

"That is how they want you to feel. Ashamed. Isolated. Wrong. Marred." There is real anger in her voice now, and even though its not directed at you its alarming. It is the irrational, fundamental anger of a zealot. "We are blessed by the Lady Varje, child. She walks among those in this camp, passing along her gift. The mark. It is how she shows her favor. I have done my best to turn this place into a sanctuary for her followers, but it is impossible with so many non-believers." Her voice crescendos back to a roar as she shifts her gaze to glare at the wagon train, so loud it shakes you down to your bones.

It takes her a few moments to calm back down and return her attention to you, Haven. "If you wish to know more of us, visit me. I speak wherever the shadow of the Lady falls. Ask only for Mother." She reaches into her robe and withdraws a short length of blood red rope, winding it around your wrist like a bracelet. "Any who carry Varje's favor will know where to find me."

Looking around, you can see that quite a few of the riotous refugees are wearing similar bracelets. Apparently Mother's words do not fall on deaf ears, not here in Gallowstown. Do you put it on?

Could it be that easy? Could this woman already have lead them to the Hangman? If Lady Varje spread the gift of the noose, then she could very well be the person who designed this disease for peace.

Or Lady Varje, like Mother, was surviving as best she knew how given the circumstances.

Or was perhaps not even real—Lady Varje could be the name of an idea, as most worshipers invented names for their gods.

Regardless, it seemed worth pursuing this avenue. As terrified as Haven was to align themselves even falsely with a faction of people, they secured the reddened cord around their wrist and nodded to Mother.

“Since arriving I have been treated like cattle,” said Haven. “Lower than that, even. To meet with you and Lady Varje—to know that I am not soiled—” Haven took Mother’s hand and pressed a grateful kiss to her knuckles. “I cannot tell you what it would mean to me.”
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He ignored the knife wielding man for now and turned to the woman, "This crime is not worth it. You think to take this horse and feed your children, but what of their next meal? Without the horse the man has no chance of going to other places to ask for more food. Plus what of this crime being punished? Sure the guards may not care right now, but when you go home with your belongings and this is brought up again, you may lose everything. Please give the man another chance."

He turned to the knife wielding drow, his eyes hard, but his smile never faltering, "Now to correct a drow. I do not eat rocks, nor were my parents, or their parents born beneath the mountains. I was born on the peaks and jumped among the clouds. Now as for your threat, I will say this, if you try to stab me, I will retaliate."

He looked to them all and spoke once more, "Dwarven Vow number twelve, never let your feet run faster than your shoes. Or in other words, think ahead. While this will fell some of your bellies tonight, how many of you will actually share? How many of you will decide to bully others for their shares? If you give this man another chance, he could come back with more food. He could come back with hope. Dwarven Vow Number One, Lets all work together for a peaceful world."
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Ioann circled around the maddened press toward the gate, keeping one eye on the sentinel golems at the wall, the other toward the remaining contents of the teamster’s wagon. His supply of pens, ink, and paper, despite careful rationing since his confinement, was near spent. At first he’d been busy designing adverts for a masked dwarf’s entertainments, but when the money dried up – and he realized there was nothing to spend it on anyhow – he’d secreted them away in his frock coat for safekeeping. A few tussles later and his last bottle of ink had shattered and both pens snapped, leaving a geographic black stain along the hem of his coat. Most of the paper had been simultaneously ruined.

As he pressed his way toward Markin where the crowd was thinnest, his hand migrated to one of the remaining letters he’d so carefully prepared in advance.

“Markin!” he rasped, cleared his throat. Then again, “Markin! Please, can you pass a note to the post for my wife, in Balefire? She must know I am still alive!”

He waved the wrinkled paper envelope aloft. It did not dull the pain of the lie. Though its ink was smeared by the elements, Ioann’s precise handwriting was still legible. An elbow from the unruly mob edged his side, and a careless, crunching step on his toes by another of the crowd’s too-heavy appendages sent him stumbling forward, directly toward the sitting form of a claymore-wielding guard. He twisted at the last moment, turned a collision into a graze, then bobbed up to apologize.

The person’s mask, snuck in below a wide-brimmed hat, hitched his breath for a heartbeat. But then he remembered himself, murmured, “Apologies,” and lifted a finger to his brow in respect.

“Markin!” Ioann called again to the teamster. “Please, for the post!”

The teamster either can't hear your or doesn't care, Ioann. Or perhaps he's simply more concerned with those escaping with his horse. There's a good chance that he won't be able to deliver the correspondence without his mount, in any case...

"useless." The word is as smooth and polished as rounded glass, with no sharp edges. "we come in, but we cannot leave."

The figure with the greatsword looks up at you. It’s impossible to tell if they're actually looking at you, as their mask does not have traditional eye-holes. Instead two multi-faceted gems have been placed in the sockets, sapphires half the size of your fist. The jewels glimmer with an inner fire, drawing the eye. The rest of the mask is bone-white and covered in vibrant blue whorls of seemingly random design. Besides the gemstone eyes, there are no other features visible, nor any hint of the individual underneath.

"markin is just as much a victim as you, wife-seeker. he goes but cannot leave; if he tried to flee he would find no mercy from the plaguehunters. yet when he comes he is found wanting, as are we all." The figure tilts their head to one side, a motion that reminds you more of a bird than a human being. "your wife is far away? be glad of that and save your paper. cast your words to the wind, for they will reach her faster that way."

Then they return to caring for the claymore. You're no warrior, but you can identify fine craftsmanship when you see it. The steel of the greatsword is dark gray, with dark mottling patterns that put you in mind of flowing water. Oddly enough, the edges of the sword are flattened, with no edge, as if left unfinished at the forge.

You could still press forward and try to get an answer out of Markin, or perhaps the sword-bearer has more answers. What do you do, Ioann?

Ioann sighed, folded the envelope, and replaced it in the inside breast pocket of his frock coat. He smoothed over the brocaded – now visibly stained and frayed – fabric absentmindedly and turned back to the masked figure.

“Perhaps moreso,” he replied, nodding at the teamster. “Yes, my wife is in Balefire. Safe, as much as one can be, since the zealotry of the Taming.”

The lie came off his lips smoothly. He hoped.

“Who directs his route? Tells him who to round up? These elves – they are unmarked,” Ioann swallowed the urge to rub a hand over his own, thus far unaffected, throat. “How did Markin find them?”

His gaze lingered for a moment on the inhuman posturing of the guard. Hired blades were often deaf and dumb, but this one’s musings hinted at deeper resentment that might loosen its tongue.

“And how did you find yourself damned with the rest of us?”


Edited by Ioann, Thu Nov 9, 2017 2:39 am.
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Elena's mind was on a whole different planet as she traipsed through the camp with the rest of her alleged allies. But for a brief moment, she separated from the group and whistled for Kun, her trustworthy spy. The little beast fluttered from a nearby tree. She held out both hands to grant the tiny-hippogryph-with-pangolin-scales a landing pad which he happily took. He shrieked into her face. "Oh. Oh. Okay. I need you to go follow the iron bird. Not the shouty one, the one that seems to be speaking for one of my allies. Please report back if you track her down." Kun peeped and darted into the air. Elena jogged back to the group, Daisy following close behind with her great gallumphs. There was a mess of people among the new arrivals, people shouting, and not a single one of them seemed particularly useful.

Haven, the one she had paid much attention to earlier, was engaging with the certainly-not-a-cult-lady. Elena followed and held out her hands. "I'll take a disease's blessing any day. Say, what sort of blessings do you mean? Inhuman vitality? Body changes? I'm just curious, because there's so many plagues that can let you reap a little benefit, so what does this one...do if you claim it has gifts?" In truth she was simply checking for any obvious signs of her own particular brand of disease. For one without real attachments, the costs of joining a cult were slim.

"I will certainly please Mother."
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“I look away for just two goddamn minutes and the house might burn down.” Vanaak’s mutterings were low, but extremely agitated as she hunched over slightly. Her movements were quick as she snapped her head back and forth taking note of who left or stayed.

“Not even a matter of compassion Remington. You want to keep working in peace, let's make sure all these angry, hungry,desperate idiots out there aren’t thrown into enough of a frenzy that the Plaguehunters just burn the goddamn camp down with every one of us in it.” The sheriff tapped her golem gently twice and it started scrabbling away.

The problem was out in the Fens of the camp. She didn’t like going there when often. A lot of hungry staring. A lot of resentment. A lot of them. Vanaak loaded her hand crossbow and kept it in hand. Horn-Breaker loped up on the half raised gallop her made with three of his arms and legs, one of them used to shield his eyes from the light overhead. She wasn’t surprised that he was out here. He liked the Wilds for the most part, the savage bastard felt more at home out there, it was just a pain if she needed him on hand and had to go send a runner all the way out there. The whole damn area the camp was in was too warm for her tastes, even with the cold spells spilling over from Balefire.

“Many. New ones. Make others angry. Bother wagon man.”

Sometimes it was less confusing if he didn’t try to summarize anything at all, but she knew what the last bit meant. It’d happens now and a again, usually from new folk who’re ticked off about the trickle of supplies Markin was allowed to bring in.

This wasn’t the same thing.

A few of the others from the meeting were here, the horse thief was the most immediate threat but her eyes lingered on Haven currying favor with the doomsday preacher. That was the biggest threat right there. The best option would be to just hang each and every single one of them, stamp out the entire movement so nobody was even left to treat them as martyrs. It’d make pariahs out of whoever did it then. Crazy as they were, these people were still part of the sick community in the camp and killing them would only draw a response from others. Left unchecked, and this disease of a cult could spread far, far more.

They couldn’t afford the loss of the draft horse strangling the feed of supplies. The dwarf seemed intent on sorting that one out, spouting all kinds of vows and rules as her golem slowly ambled up on its multitude of brass hands.

“Dwarven Vow Eighty-Two. You take somethin’ that doesn’t rightly belong to you, I take your hand.” She kept her tone light, a faint smile on her face that undercut the seriousness of the threat she was making. “Despite this man’s eccentricity what he’s saying about the horse is dead on. Now I for one, am not gonna take any comfort in knowing you, your brood, a handful of your friends and maybe a stranger or two got to enjoy some horse meat tonight. Not especially when Markin’s next wagon is awfully lighter ‘cause he can’t pull in as much cause he’s missing one of his goddamn horses[/b[.” Her voice had picked up into a rough growl at the end as her temper started flaring, Vanaak’s teeth visible as she grit her teeth. The moment passed, the sheriff’s face going to a serene expression.

“Deputy Horn-Breaker.” She spoke without looking directly at the large swampfolk. “If they persist in this unlawful seizure of property, you have my permission to subdue these people by whatever means necessary. Vanaak leaned in her golemchair a bit, this time her voice was almost excited. “I think we’d feed a lot more mouths if you just happened to get killed over this horse and ended up in a soup pot, don’t you?”

Things used?

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Faustine Hirsch
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Faustine stepped aside to speak quietly with her manservant. Whatever was going on at the gate wasn’t something she wanted to be directly involved in; a riot wasn’t exactly the right situation for an old woman to be in, if that’s what the “situation” ended up being, and there might be more information that could be gathered here. She quietly instructed him to fetch her own black iron raven for her, as that wasn’t likely to be easily shot down by hunters. Neither were her umbral magpies, but she wouldn’t call upon them just yet. The raven was to scout out the city in general before coming directly to her, reporting what it saw and heard thereafter.

As for him, he was to take Sakkir, his own personal bodyguard, and scout out the situation at the gate.

Faustine, of course, was using the name Cossette here. Cosette watched her manservant go, knowing full well that she could call him back in an instant with the bell she kept in her pocket if need be. When everyone else was gone, she sighed and turned to the alchemist.

“How do you put up with someone that loud?” she asked bluntly.
Faustine’s manservant watched the situation unfolding but did not interfere. Sakkir, he knew, was lurking nearby just in case things got out-of-hand. It wouldn’t do for him to be put in danger, which was why Sakkir had been charged with his well-being. The shadow lynx would protect both him and Faustine in a heartbeat if the need arose, but it was only the manservant he needed to worry about at the moment. Personally, the cat wondered why he needed to bother; the manservant seemed just as slippery as Faustine was. But he had his duty, and he would not neglect it.

The raven, meanwhile, found the city easily enough once it had been contacted. It found the group with more difficulty, looking for particular details given to it by the manservant of its current mistress. Backtracking their path, the bird flew just out-of-reach of anything that might be let fly at it. Its keen internal apparatus let it pick up on conversations and other things on the way back…
"Put up with? My dear, if I had the choice I would end that bloody golem myself. He is exactly what is wrong with the world. Someone who does as they please, without thought for the consequences or impact. He and his masters are responsible for this mess as much as the bloody Hangman.”

The man was fiddling with his apparatus and leaned back to put an artificial hand through his hair as he spoke. Cosette leaned against the wall and simply listened.

"My contract stipulates I am to assist Blackbird, else I would cut the fool loose and watch him founder. I still might. A payout will do me little good if I am hung, eh?”

She said nothing to his dark humour, merely offering a small smile as he chuckled.

"I can only assume you are here because you are not tied down by foolish sentiment. Is that accurate?”

“Survival is a powerful motivator,” she told him. “More volatile than wrath; more potent than hate…and I am not so suited to wandering about a crowded city with little to sustain me as I once was.”

She sighed.

“But we do need information,” she continued. “My manservant has many uses.”

Her eyes flicked briefly to the dark speck that had lit upon the sill outside the window for a moment - just long enough to catch Cosette’s attention.

“And what of you?” she inquired, returning her gaze to him as soon as swiftly as it had left. “You don’t strike me as a lazy or cowardly man; merely a prudent one, bound it seems by contract. Seems to me that this would be too much trouble for a simple contract. There are always ways to break such things. Or have the gate and guard baffled even you? Perhaps cut you off from the same masters that hired the loudmouth?”
Things were getting out-of-hand quickly. While the small avian golem flew in a seemingly unpredictable manner meant to gather information to its mistress, Cosette’s manservant observed the goings-on at the gate as closely as he could without being drawn into them. Sakkir watched from afar, waiting, staying out-of-sight until such time as he was needed. Of particular interest was this “Mother” and her cult that apparently involved slipping red ropes around people’s wrists. But the manservant kept on the move, not hurrying in any particular direction but neither staying in one place for too long, trying to be as discreet and casual as possible. He picked up some other interesting information as well…a house in the Stilts where Balefirens were hoarding food…Cosette would be very interested to learn about this. The manservant began to retreat from the scene, his work here done. Sakkir followed at his usual distance, keeping pace with the manservant as he returned swiftly and silently to his mistress.
"I am not so much of a monster that I would willingly carry a plague out of the quarantine. Not yet. Despite my opinion of Blackbird and its masters, the quarantine is the only thing keeping the Red Noose from running rampant. At the rate it spreads and with an unknown transmission vector...it's truly frightening."

Cosette nodded at that. So the man was more than merely selfish. He certainly didn’t seem desperate, though Cosette was quite certain that he didn’t want to be here any more than anyone else did.

"I do not plan to die here. That is why I search for a cure. If that bloody golem's puppeteers will pay me for that... I see no reason to decline. To that end, I must leave. There are always bodies to be found... at least, before the Burners have their way with them. I would prefer you not remain here unobserved."

Again, she nodded.

“Very well.”

She gave him again that small, tight smile that could only belong to a skinny old woman whose palette had seen better days. She stepped away from the wall and smoothed the simple black dress that she wore beneath her cloak and scarf, her gloved fingers making not a sound as they slid across the material.

“I hope you don’t succumb to the red noose too quickly, Remington,” she told the man in a casual sort of way. “Hard to find someone as blunt as I am who isn’t an ass hole. Good day.”

And with that, she retreated to her carriage. A small, black creature immediately landed upon her shoulder and began clicking quietly into her ear, relaying what it had seen and heard as she stepped carefully into the black-and-purple coach. She closed the door tightly and waited for her manservant to return with his own information - and to drive her to someplace less crowded than this (if only slightly).

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"You are a driven one, aren't you?" Free remarked with a tinge of respect to its voice. Mud and sticks mostly just dirtied the golem's avian hull, a nuisance that left unchecked might at worst gum up some of its works. The people were desperate, irate, frustrated, afraid, and just about everything else one could reasonably expect from people being huddled together with the threat of death looming on the horizon. It was difficult to blame them, but it was easy to grow annoyed by the barrage of their manifested aggravation.

The golem's black eyes glanced at the over-glorified metal-banded stick before looking around at what of the recruited hunters amidst the chaos. There was so much going on, but so little that could be worried about. Keeping track of where things were and what was going on was only made easier by the blackiron raven's sensory equipment. What was there that the bird could do? Its frame was small, its purpose more suited to reconnaissance and communication than any sort of combat, but Markin was most likely correct about the elves.

"If you want, in Gallowstown there's someone willing to make quick and cheap labor golems to pull your wagon. Sazy Gigwelt at the landed airship, the Razzil Naypolm. You don't have to worry about payment; the golems won't be pretty, but they should be effective enough to help you. For now, I. . . Think I can help you try to protect the elves." It was a brutish solution that the metal bird could offer, but perhaps it would be effective in causing just enough panic to make people fear for their own faces just enough to stop focusing their ire at the wagon and its people. The blackiron raven would fly at some of the attackers, cawing loudly and angrily as it furiously flapped its metal wings, trying to distract and dissuade people from hurdling any more things towards the elves.

It was rather embarrassing and uncomfortable for Free, but somehow the bird doubted that anybody would really listen to it amid the madness.

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Plork follows along with all the rest, heading to the gate. As the squelch through the fens, Plork giggles and jumps experimentally, clapping their tentacles together in delight at the splashes and the slowly filling footprints.

When the Blackbird stops and gives its announcement, Plork looks around. "Friend Plork can are will do be can help keeped Friend Blackbird safe! Friend Plork will were do hold Friend Blackbird's hand if Friend Blackbird is be scared. Or..." Plork looks hopeful, "Does are Friend Blackbird can am need a Safety Hug, for Safety?"

When Plork is sure the golem is reassured, Plork heads over to the commotion at the gate. At first Plork joins the throng, waving their tentalces and shouting. It wasn't intended as a ploy to get near the wagon--the enkaida forgot the reason they were there at first--but it conveniently worked out that way.

Plork takes a deep breath, and starts talking.
Hugglenaut level 3, I have a Cunning Plan (a skippable, content-free distraction in Plork-speak, summarised as we need the horse to bring more food, not be food)

After their extended spiel, Plork looks at the crowd, hopefully.


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Tulip had followed she knew what to expect, but it still disgusted her. The conditions were terrible and fear was making this place something terrible. She had not expected the religious nut case.... and one of their companions was buttering up the crazy... Tulip held back a bit from the others. It seemed the stolen horse was under control. There was not obvious fighting yet either.

She decided it better to find a vantage point and use her sharp eyes to try and spot any unusual movements. She was a good archer and had good eyes for spotting things. Plus having a good vantage point let her spot any fights that broke out. Plus she was a ranged fighter. Best to be outside the crowd to provide support if needed.

Still for now things seemed mostly peaceful. Plus several people were getting he horse back. She also started thinking on ways to investigate while watching. Hopefully somebody in this crowd would make a mistake and become a lead.... no that was unlikely... still sometimes you got lucky. Her tail twitched a little as she scanned the crowd.

Maybe after this situation calmed down she should search for the supply records. As an alchemist and healer she knew how hard it was to work with anything biological. Even magic would probably require mana potions or ritual materials. Thus the person responsible for this probably required some serious resources to cause something on this scale and to keep it going. If so that sort of thing would leave traces somewhere.

She sighed as her eyes passed over the crowd again. This was not going to be an easy task.
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Mid-Round 1 Archive
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The Main Approach
(Smiling Mask, Ioann, Vanaak, Friend Plork, Tulip, Free, Fausette's Manservant & Lynx)

Smiling Mask, you speak calmly and reasonably. You can tell that it sways the mother, along with some of the other would-be thieves. The drow, on the other hand, is not impressed. You can tell from his movements that he’s getting ready to throw himself at you. You resign yourself to beating down this fool when support arrives in the form of an intimidating enkaida.

Vanaak’s deputy, Horn-Breaker, literally looms over you, its size intimidating enough that no words are needed. Of course, Vanaak is on hand to provide some words just in case, indicating that she wouldn’t mind some dark elf in her meal. The drow blanches, in such a hurry to back away that he drops his knife to the ground. “Okay, okay, fine! Horse meat isn’t worth dying over.” The rest of his companions clearly agree and release the pack animal, melting back into the crowd around the wagons. The dark elf doesn’t even linger long enough to retrieve his blade.

Ioann, you have other concerns on your mind besides horse thieves. You have a letter that you’re trying to get out of the camp, with little success. The claymore-wielding enigma nods in approval when you put the envelope away. You ask for more answers, which it provides in its odd, unctuous voice. “the quarantine grows. these elves did not think the monarchy would allow nobles to be taken. they were wrong, and now they are found wanting. markin was asked to bring them, and so he obeyed, for the alternative would be to lose his livelihood and be thrown in here with the rest. he has hired me, for the roads are dark.”

Then you ask how the sword-bearer got trapped. They laugh, the sound high and clear in pitch, like tinkling bells. “i was not damned, wife-seeker. i am Steel-Found-Wanting.” For the first time there is an edge to their voice, a harsh juxtaposition to their normally silky intonation. You can hear the capital letters. “i require a challenge in which to find my edge. this quarantine shall prove my crucible and hone me to perfection. i came here freely, and markin asked for protections on the road, which i provide to test myself.” They pause for a moment. “he mentioned nothing of protection within the camp.”

Protection is something the teamster desperately needs. Even though your group prevented anyone from absconding with his horses, he is still hard-pressed. The thin man comes out of his wagon swinging, with Free in support. Thankfully he demonstrates more vigor than skill, his attacks leaving lumps and bruises but not breaking any bones. After a few seconds on of the members of the crowd manages to snatch ahold of this cudgel and yank it out of the teamster’s grip.

Plork, you were preoccupied enjoying the movements of the crowd up until now, but this seems like as good a moment as any to make friends. You launch into a rambling, confusing diatribe that catches the attention of everyone within earshot. They watch you with rapt attention, their brows furrowing and lips pressing down into confused frowns. Some of them are repeating your words to themselves, as if saying them aloud will somehow tangle some sense out of the tongue-twisting tirade.

Riots are built on momentum. Plork’s speech has completely derailed the anger of the crowd, distracting them for long enough that they almost forgot why they were angry. Markin takes advantage of this, ushering his elven transports towards the main camp. By the time the rest of the crowd is coming back to its senses most of the new refugees are disappearing into the Wilds, walking back towards the center of camp.

Elven Nobles

Apparently the quarantine zone is spreading. This batch of elven refugees are the newest citizens of Gallowstown, which means they might have more information about current events. You can choose to engage with them at this juncture and learn more about what’s happening outside of the camp.

“There’s more food, I promise!” Every eye swings to Markin, who has clambered back atop his wagon. His right eye is rapidly blossoming into a nasty bruise. “I just had to bring these ones first! If you had listened you would have known that!” There are some sheepish mutters at that. “I’ll be back as soon as I can! You know that. I always am.”

Deflated, the gathered refugees slowly begin to trickle back towards the camp. Markin collapses on his seat, drained. “I always am,” he mutters again, somewhat bitterly. As the rest of the crowd slowly filters away, you’re left with the dejected wagoneer. He looks up and starts, clearly surprised to see anyone remaining.

“I’m not lying. There is more food. I know where it is. Just…” He trails off, re-assessing your group. He clearly likes what he sees, so he continues with his explanation. “This whole area was a mess. I’ve been doing deliveries in this region all my life, and it was never as bad as it got. I’ve been raided by both sides, plus bandits. I know where they’ve taken some of my goods. I’m pretty sure it’s unclaimed, I just…” He grimaces. “I have a strict schedule. If I don’t meet it, they might decide to stop sending in food altogether. It’ll get so much worse.”

Now he lowers his voice, so soft you have to strain to hear. “What I need is someone who’s willing to go and get it… outside of the camp. You look resourceful. You can get it and return with no one the wiser. Think how many people it could help!”

You’ve heard his plea. The teamster would surely be willing to provide you with more details, if you want them. Are you willing to take the risks necessary for the greater good?

Markin’s Stash

Markin knows the location of a nearby supply cache that he believes will help make the situation at the camp less tense. He can’t spare the time himself, but is willing to provide you with instructions on how to get there. You can choose to pursue this option at this juncture; you’ll just have to come up with a plan to get through the golem cordon. No big deal, right?

The Marked Mother
(Haven, Elena)

Two of you find yourselves drawn to the woman who calls herself ‘Mother,’ more concerned with her ideology than the teamster’s plight. Haven, she beams at you when you put on the red necklace. “Very good, child. Me and mine will make sure you are kept safe while we are so wrongfully imprisoned.”

Her expression sours somewhat when Elena approaches; she doesn’t seem to be keen on your lack of a Noose mark and does not offer you a similar adornment. For all that, she is willing to speak more on her ‘faith.’ “Gifts will be given to us, of this I have the Lady’s assurance. She claims to have done the same for the first of the chosen, the ones captured within the first of these terrible camps. The nation-states were frightened of her benevolence and the powers bestowed upon her followers, and so they razed the land. Only a few of the chosen survived the fires. We hide them now, a reminder of the dangers the chosen face... but oh, they are glorious!"

The situation with the horse thieves and unruly mob has died down by now, the refugees returning back towards the Fens. She takes both of you in and leans down, speaking in a whisper so no one else might overhear. “If you wish to be chosen as well, child, I am sure the Lady could provide assistance. I know that times have been tough, but all is right in her benevolent sight.” It’s clear she believes this is a huge gesture. How will you respond?

(Psst. Hey Elena! I know you’ve got your own plague to deal with, but I’m a little sketchy on the details. Do you mind posting a quick explanation in the Discussion topic?)

Meet Lady Varje

Mother swears that the Noose mark is actually a token of favor from a being named ‘Lady Varje.’ She is offering you the opportunity to meet this individual and make your own judgments. More worrisome is the fact she believes that the LAdy can gift others with the plague.

The Fens Vigilantes

“Well then Miss Maranae… Welcome to the team.” The red-skinned woman stands up and gestures at the fire. The flames sweep into the air, gathering around her fist before sinking into her skin. “I’m Liliana. The lizard is Stump-Tail. The old man is Tallen.”

“Old man?” The balding human scratches the tip of his nose and scowls at the woman. “How old are you again, demoness?”

“Haven’t you heard, Tal? ‘Abyssal’ is the politically correct term. Your age is showing.” Lilianna flashed her silver teeth at the man, who snorted and got to his feet. Half-Tail’s bobs his head back and forth, hissing between his teeth in what is (hopefully) a display of laughter. “We keep an eye out for our own, Maranae. Remember that and everything will go peachy.”

The four of you leave the spent embers behind and weave back through the Fens, taking a more circuitous path than before. It’s a longer approach to the Stilts, but also means you’re out of sight of the raised buildings for as long as possible. As you get close to the heart of the camp, Half-Tail takes the lead, falling down to all fours. He scampers forward and leaves the rest of you behind.

It’s only a few short minutes before he returns. “Three watcherz,” he announces. “Two dogz, one zhadow.”

“Two werewolves and a half-senka,” Liliana explains to you.

“Dog,” Tallen states, pulling a pair of hefty leather gloves from his belt. He pulls them on, flexing his fingers. Runes stitched into the fabric pulse with light, and when he balls his hands into fists a half-sphere of mana forms around his knuckles.

“Dog,” repeats Stump-Tail quickly, lips pulling back from rows of sharp teeth.

“I guess that leaves the shadow for Maranae here,” Liliana comments. “Remember, no killing. That’s not how we work.” Although the saurian appears somewhat annoyed by this, he doesn’t object. Tal simply grunts in acknowledgment and stumps off into the Stilts, gloved hands at his sides.

Liliana takes you in a slightly different direction. Soon the others are out of sight. The Stilts might seem less crowded at first glance, but that’s simply because the masses are separated between two different elevations. The pair of you are walking along the ground, where people have taken shelter beneath the raised buildings. Bystanders look at you and away, perhaps intimidated by your sense of purpose.

“I’m a bit of a lightweight,” the Abyssal says in a lilting tone. “You’ll have to handle the hard work, I’m afraid.” The corner of her mouth quirks upwards in a half-grin that brings her truthfulness into question. “Tal and Stump will handle their marks, no problem. Just focus on the ha’senka, alright?” She jerks her chin towards an individual slumped against one of the stilts, clutching the wooden pole as if it was all that was keeping them upright. Their skin is tinged with a hint of blue, making it appear as if they’re hypothermic. While that might not seem unusual in and of itself, their eyes are still sharp and piercing, with no sluggishness in their movements. They seem to be casing the street and watching a stilted house on the opposite corner, playing sentry while keeping a low profile.

What do you do?

The Alchemist’s Shack

Fausette, you politely agree to leave when the alchemist asks. He seems both surprised and appreciative of your etiquette. You leave and return to your carriage, which has thankfully gone unmolested. Your golemized raven swoops down and dives through the doorway before you close it. It begins to recite what it has learned during its quick flyover of the camp:

  • Most people are hungry, but for now people can usually scrounge up at least one meal a day. There are common pots that dole out meals to those in need. For now people are respecting these stations, but the collective mood is souring as the broth gets thinner.
  • The Red Noose is not the only disease in the camp. The poor living conditions and cramped quarters have given rise to a wide variety of common diseases. Thankfully, most of these are not as mysterious as the plague, so the doctors and healers in the camp can help… for now.
  • There are whispers of a being named Lady Varje who is responsible for the Noose mark. Opinions are split on whether it is a sign of her favor or a curse. Those who believe the former have formed a following behind her, although no one seems to have seen her in person.
  • Many people seem to think the Burners were responsible for the destruction of Camp #1. Any time they are mentioned, the speaker is almost immediately shushed by their companions. Your raven couldn’t learn more than that in this short time.
The golem has just finished its report when the door to Remington’s shack opens and the alchemist slips out. It would be easy to miss him, as he’s completely changed his attire. He’s now wearing a ragged, off-gray poncho over similarly tattered clothes caked with grime, along with a hood pulled over his head. The reason for the disguise is fairly obvious: he simply looks like another refugee in the camp, with no indication of his true identity. He takes a moment to gather himself before scurrying away, a man on a mission.

What do you do? Do you follow the alchemist, or do you do something else? Perhaps catch up with your manservant?

The Golemancer’s Retreat

Sazy, how’s your airship? Is it comfortable? I bet it is, at least compared to the conditions in the rest of Gallowstown. Nice, luxurious quarters with plenty of space for you and your golem crew. It’s really an obscene amount of space, but that’s one of the benefits of keeping yourself isolated… along with the fact that you don’t seem to have the Noose.

While communicating with Free at the gate, you start to hear something. It's an odd, rhythmic banging noise. Is someone firing accelerators at the gate? No, it’s much closer than that, not transmitted through the metamana at all. Someone is banging on the hull of the Razzil Naypolm, the echoes reverberating through the interior.

It’s hard to hear through the hull, but you can catch snippets of conversation between the thumps.

“-should’ve been shot down-”
“-think anyone is inside-”
“-could be a charnel pit, careful-”
“-safer to just burn it down-”

I’m not super familiar with the design of your vessel, but if there any portholes with a good view of the exterior you can see the source of the banging: six individuals wearing odd, reflective garments. They’re also all carrying unusual weapons you’re all too familiar with. The design is different, but it looks awfully similar to your Mine Clearer.

What do you do?

Thanks for participating in Gallowstown! The player posting phase for this round will end on Sunday, November 12 at Midnight (PT). Make sure to get in your post by then!
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Smiling Mask sighed with relief, turning his grin to the new person that helped in defuse the situation, "Much obliged. I am Smiling Mask, and you are?"

Once that was done he helped get the horse back to the teamster and kept his broad smile as the man explained the situation.

Smiling Mask walked forward and offered his arm for a forearm grasp, a sign of friendship to the dwarves, "I'll help. I am The Great Smiling Mask and helping feed these people it would follow many of the Dwarven Vows. I'll go with some new allies and find this food, if brigands and bandits stand in our way, I'll be able to handle them."
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Ioann, Markin, & Steel-Found-Wanting

The Writ Discussion

“You’re right, of course,” Ioann nodded at the diminutive, crossbow-wielding Sheriff. “We need your help. Like Markin said, a writ and your escort might just see a few of us out of here.”

He paused and ran his undamaged hand over the breast pocket of his ruined frock coat.

“I was saving this ink for a special occasion,” he muttered, producing a small, undamaged quartz vial with a finger of ink in it. “But this is as special as any. Markin-” Ioann glanced up at the teamster, “-give me five minutes with your writ,” he looked around at the others, “and fifteen minutes of patience, and it’ll be ready. It won’t look perfect, but it should be good enough to get us out of here.”

He pulled out a stub of pen and the remaining paper that hadn’t been ruined by spilt ink.

“I only have a few pieces of paper left – who’s coming with us?”

Edited by Ioann, Mon Nov 13, 2017 3:42 am.
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