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Reinforcements 6

Everyone awakens and eats a bit, discussing things nonchalantly. Edo questions where the group is headed, and Stella begins to reply before being interrupted by the messenger nearby. "We are emmisaries of King Arion and charged with tracking and reinforcing a group left out of Dragonmeyr 3 months ago. I am to carry a message back to my King of their whereabouts and deliver thier reports accompanied by the mistress Stella here. We travel southwest, and if our path is along your path you are welcome to accompany us. Safety in numbers I always say"

"Me too!" crystal agrees. "Say you guys don't by any chance have any musical talent do you?"

Whisper finishes his wakeup procedure, stands up, approaches the party. He nods to everyone, giving Crystal a brief smile, then walks off to scout ahead.

Laban jumps to his feet and walks after Whisper "May I walk with you?" he asks as he quickly catches up with Whisper.

Laban catches Whisper in the act of taking his bow out. Whisper glances at Laban then nods. "Try to be a little quiet. Just seeing if anything is out here. Including lunch. "

"I think you underestimate my stealth abilities my friend! I may not like the bright light of the surface world yet but this does not affect my walking and I have very nimble feet!" He falls into step beside Whisper.

"I for one have no set destination. My purpose is to find a cause for the disturbance in the aethyr. The southwest is as good of a direction as any." says Edo, looking to Laban for his input.

Whisper and Laban scout the perimeter and find nothing amiss. The group heads out together for now in a general southeasterly direction. You lead 4 horses, as you are soon to discover that Whisper refuses to ride, so Crystal, Stella, and the messanger Corman walk, along with the horseless Laban and Edo. Laban seems a bit less agile during high noon than he does at approaching twilight, and he explains about how he is still getting used to the bright light of the sun. Several mornings ago upon awakening, Laban discovered his elvin chain mail had deteriorated beyond repair, and Edo recalls a legend he heard long ago about the Drow armor not being able to stand the strength of the sunlight upon it so Laban is no armorless. His scimitars, as of yet anyway, remain unaffected. You travel together and spend time learning a bit about each other. You seem to get along well together and you develop a mutual respect if not friendship amongst yourselves. After almost a week of travel, There seems to be some kind of obstruction in the road ahead of you and you approach it with caution. Your stomach knots in horror at the gruesomeness of the scene: To one side of the road are the crushed remnants of a gypsy wagon. A horse still wearing its bridle and harness lays dead on the opposite side of the path, and by the way its ribs have been caved in and by the way the creature's intestines have exploded from its abdomen you figure that it must have been squeezed to death. Littering the whole area around the wagon are pools of blood and assorted human body parts, and the way the skin has been torn and lacerated from the bones, you realize that they had been physically wrenched from the bodies to which they once belonged. Huge, 3' long footprints have left indentations several inches deep in the seemingly hard packed soil of the path. Several nearby trees have been completely uprooted. A pile of boulders and a tree trunk, strangely stripped clean of bark and branches, and well rounded on one end, lays a ways off near the woods to the left. You make out the tracks of a single wagon leading off to that forest, multiple trails of blood revealing the wagon's horrid cargo. Between the ruts are a single set of 3' long foot prints. The prints look to be a few days old.

Crystal gags. Turning away from the party she holds her stomach for a few moments before inhaling deeply and turning around again. Then she says "We need to gather all the bodies we can and bury them. We need to search the wagon for anything that could tell us the reason for this attack. Then we need to hunt down the brutes taht did this." She sets off towards the wagon.

Looking over the situation, Whisper shakes his head, looking from worse to worse. "Well," he starts and pauses. "I would guess our mission people are not around here, or they would have at least taken care of this mess." He shakes his head. He moves to help Crystal bury the dead.

"Perhaps we should track this beast down. Surely it needs to be brought to justice." says Edo.

Whisper remains silent, but looks for signs of weapons or a guard with the dead. Also, if he gets a chance, he'll inspect the "tree". How big is it, are there any markings? Are the boulders piled just "tossed" aside?

Showing no signs of disgust Laban walks through the carnage inspecting the remains and the horse to see if there are any tell tale markings that might help to discern what type of creature would do this. He then walks to inspect the tree with Whisper to see if this was used as a weapon.

The trees are uprooted and you see no signs of blood indicating they had been used as a weapon, so you conclude they were not. The boulders appear to be piled intentionally. When Crystal searches the wagon, she discovers a pouch with a fistful of gold pieces inside. The outside of the leather pouch is stamped with this bird insignia and the monogram G.A. Also inside the wagon are several musical intruments, especially many tamborines, bloody yet colorful full skirts and puffy shirts and blouses, and more than a dozen head bandannas. Nestled in a groove beneath a broken wheel, a small glass flask with a cork stopper lies unbroken.

Crystal morosely brings out all the stuff she brought into the field, after she has buried the dead. She begins to look through it. I'll take a gypsy outfit (that being the blouse, skirt and bandana, never know what you'll need) and shove it in my backpack (after washing it, of course), and leave the rest. If there is no objection I think we should bury it with them. Except the potion. "Does anyone know what this is?" she asks.

"Taste it to find out. Forget about it, mess with that later." Whisper takes out his sword and heads up the trail.

"It may be a potion of some kind, or a common flask. Could I examine it?"

Edo opens the flask to sniff it, but before he is able, a white mist pours forth and drifts several feet away. The mist then solidifies into what looks to be a large canvas tent.

Laban draws his scimitars from their sheaths and follows Whisper to the trail. He stops beside one of the footprints to see if he can tell anymore about the creature which attacked the caravan.

Whisper turns at the noise and starts to see Laban following. Then he shakes his head and again at the tent. He watches the others reactions which will affect his own.

Crystal makes an excited sound and rushes into the tent.

"Well, how in heaven's name did that happen?" asks Edo as he looks down at the flask.

Crystal retreats from the tent flap, to report her findings, (see previous email) and as she does, the tent reverts back to a mist and flows into the flask where Edo promptly restoppers it. Edo looks intrigued as he eyes the flask, shaking it, peering into it etc. WhileWhisper and Laban watch the proceeedings with little amusement, obviously impatient to be on the trail of the creature who caused this carnage.

Whisper Murmurs to Laban: "Shall we scout ahead? These four may be a while."

Laban agrees and the 2 of you head out while Crystal, Edo, Stella and the messenger are involved with examining the tent. "You hesitantly enter the forest, but move fairly quickly, as a wide path has been cleared already. You wonder how the wagon could possibly have made it through the rough terrain.

Proceeding through the forest you gradually come to an area where the ground raises into rocky hills and cliffs. You stop suddenly as the smell of burned hair and bone assaults your nose, followed by the pitiful sounds of sobbing humans. A deep voice booms out, "Grishnak say shut up! Food people giving Grishnak sore ears!" The screaming crescendos and then suddenly stops. You appraise the surrounding terrain. To the right of the trail is a 30' high raised hill, to your left the ground is more level. The sounds of a babbling brook come to you from your left. The path continues ahead of you and then turns to the right at a point where the rocky hill comes to an end. You think that Grishnak is right on the other side of the hill."

"How well do you sneak friend?" Whisper says softly. "One of us should see if there's more than one the other go back and get the others NOW."

Laban tells you he is extremely stealthy at night, but during bright sunlight like now, a bit less so.

Meanwhile, back at the gypsy camp. "Magic never fails to astound me." says the robed man who calls himself Edo, as he stows the flask in his satchel. "Now I believe we have a creature or two to track down?"

"I agree" crystal murmurs as she gets ready to set out again.

Whisper nods. "They don't call me Whisper because I'm loud." Slight Smile. "Hurry back."

As Laban starts to move away, The others arrive behind you, just in time to hear the creature spea it's own name.

"Well, it sounds like theres only one of it. Whatever it is. Lets go get it!" Crystal will move when the others move...

Laban heads towards the spot where you left the others but circles back when he realizes they've left to head in your direction. Stella, Edo, Crystal, and the messanger come up behind Whisper where he is getting his bow ready. The surrounding woods seem awfully quiet. Laban comes upon the rest of you as you're attempting to talk and not hearing anything come out of your own mouths. Edo gets excited when he realizes magic is at work.

Whisper heads up over the lip of the hill as planned, keeping low and having an arrow ready.

"Alright! Lets do this!" Crystal murmurs. She takes out two daggers from her belt and follows Whisper.

Having reunited again, the party heads over the hill to where they hear the pitiful cries of people and the threats of the one calling himself Grishnak. Arriving at the top of the cliff, you see a humanoid figure who stands at least 16 feet tall and probably weighs over 4000 pounds. It is barbaric looking, almost apelike in it's features with overly long arms, stooped shoulders and a low forehead. It's skin is a light tan color and it has long very tangled black hair. The giant humanoid keeps entering and exiting what appears to be a cave but might just be an outcropping. (you cant tell for sure at this distance) To one side is a fire, not far from the cave entrance and next to it you see the battered remains of a wagon, containing 16 limp (but alive) humans. Next to the wagon is a small pile of human heads. The people seem to be in a state of shock, moaning and crying but not attempting to escape.

"hmmmm...." Crystal resheates her dagger and pops open her belt to reveal rows and rows of darts. she takes out a few and keeps them in one hand.

Whisper begins moving away down the hill to the edge of the treeline, looking back only once to see if anyone is following.

Laban gestures to the rest of the group trying to get them to watch him. He gestures to himself and motions at walking with his fingers. Points down to the creature and motions to his face then points to the others and motions to his back.

Edo nods, preparing to move out and attack from behind.

crystal will close to short range and attack with darts, but keep one of the fighters between me and it!

When I reach the edge of the treeline, if it's outside the cave, I'll fire arrows aiming for an eye. If it's inside, I'll rush to the edge of the mountain face (but not the cave mouth) trying to get closer without being seen.

Rolling away to one side quietly Laban slides down the hill to the foot. He then stands up and slowly walks to where he can see the cave and the scene clearly. Slowly he will approach from the front of the cave, watching for any movement within the cave. His hands resting lightly on the hilts of his scimitars.

The story continues...
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