One glowy shard thing starts attacking Kaladin, slashing his bicep. The other attacks Cairn. The other 4 begin descending on the remaining villagers.
Jesus has identified the creatures as level 2 pallones, that aren’t very intelligent but are sharp.
Ano begins glowing icily as does Kaladin. Ano smashes down with her blade and as the blade touches the glowy sharp thing, it instantly crystallizes into a snowflake and shatters into a million pieces.
Cairn runs forward to protect the villagers and moves to strike with his staff, barely missing the sharp jellyfish as it floats out of range.
Mesmer thrusts at the nearest spinning sawblade, catching the sawblade on its flat edge and it shatters down the middle, falling to the ground with a thud.
Kaladin rushes to Cairn’s and the villagers’ aid, and thrusts his crackling spear at the pallone. It feels as if it hits a hard surface, clanging and forcing the creature back, with a crack down its side.
Jesus rushes to the side of one of the fallen villagers.
The pallones begin to retaliate. The injured one attacks Kaladin. One attacks Jesus, and another two attack the villagers.
Jesus dodges the creature’s attack.
Kaladin is caught wildly by surprise as the creature smashes against him, dazing him.
Ano rushes forward and cleaves through the injured creature, shattering it.
Cairn moves to Jesus’s aid, striking the creature with his staff. A chip breaks off from the creature which disappears and reappears 10 feet away.
Mesmer chases after the chipped pallone and thrusts at it, piercing it through. It falls to the ground dead.
Kaladin: “What’s still alive here?”
There are two pollones still attacking the villagers.
Kaladin thrusts his spear at one pollone, damaging it leaving a lightning-scorched mark on its underside.
Jesus casts healing touch on the dude who is bleeding out on the floor. The blow of flood starts to slow and eventually stops as scar tissue begins to form on the villager’s neck. His eyes flutter open in fear and disbelief. Jesus begins singing a lullaby to soothe the wounded villager.
The injured pollone attacks Kaladin. The other one turns toward Cairn.
Cairn: “Goddammit. What did I ever do to them?”
Kaladin is struck again by the pollone. Cairn is able to deflect the attack against him using his staff.
The injured villager pulls himself to his feet and picks up a fallen spear. He makes a strained thrust and manages to damage the pollone attacking Cairn.
Striking down the injured pollone attacking Kaladin, Ano scores a hat trick!
Cairn accidentally himself with his quarterstaff and feels disoriented. Blinking, Cairn finds himself next to Ano, appearing to have disappeared and appeared back next to Ano.
Cairn: “Mesmer, avenge me!”
Mesmer: “FOR CAIRN!”
Mesmer shouts as his greatsword slides through the pollone without resistance, leaving the shattered remains of the pollone falling to the ground.
The weary villagers begin helping the other injured villagers. The Jesus-healed villager brings a more nicely dressed man with a bandaged thigh. The injured villager says: “Welcome. Your arrival was quite timely. Thank you for your aid. You are welcome to stay and hopefully we can partake in another meal before the next attack.”
Cairn nudges Patel first. The elder sees Patel and says: “You’ve returned! Have you brought these fellows to us?”
Elder: “Naedi will want to see you”
Patel runs toward the village.
In the village center, there is a medical center set up and stew brewing. Some villagers seem relieved, but others seem weary. They seem focused on their stew.
The elder gestures for us to sit on a fallen log and gestures the two cooks to bring us some food.
A middle-aged woman in a leather shirt and pants arrives with Patel: “Thank you for helping “
Jesus: “We sent her on to Seleon Basin in good company.”
Naedi: Thank you but the last few days have been plagued by attacks by various creatures. Yesterday was ravenous birds, today was these pollones. We’ve seen them before in the forest, but we don’t know why they’ve attacked us. Perhaps we cleared too much away from the forest and agitated them.
Kaladin: Can you tell us more about the clearing?
Naedi: This is our home. I was born here, my mother was born here. We make a living hunting the creatures of the forest.
C: Have you seen the pollones before?
N: Rarely, but they’ve never been a problem before.
K: You said something about clearing too much away. Could you tell us more about that?
N: When we need more space, we burn the mesh at the top of the trees which causes the tree to fall and we can clear the space. This happens rarely, but a new family joined us this month. I- I- I- don’t know if this caused us. This doesn’t happen often.
J: Who was this new family?
N: A merchant family tired of traveling decided to settle down. They brought wares with them so we accepted them.
M: Did burning the mesh let the pollones in?
N: Idk. That might be it.
Elder (placing hand on N’s shoulder): I feel that whatever is troubling the creatures, comes from beyond our small village.
The elder walks away.
K: What do you know of these strange abilities that your daughter has, like controlling the scutimorphs.
N: She’s always been blessed. She’s always communicated well with animals. She’ll be a fine huntress one day.
C: Has she ever interacted with the pollones.
N: Idt she’s ever seen them. We see them from afar from time to time, we’ve never even been close to one. I don’t see what
K: Just curious, never met anyone with that kind of ability before. What do you hunt in this forest? Scutimorphs, or something else?
N: Oh no, they’re much too dangerous. We generally leave them alone.
Villager (slurping soup noisily): Scoff
Villager: Normally they’ve been generally jittery in the last few weeks. They drove past us in a limousine and shot centipede eggs at us. It happened twice in the last few weeks.
It happened just as Seria ran off. I’m not saying she had something to do with it. Draw from it what you will.
Seria tells us not to worry but idk how she’d know anything. A few days later, we’ve got these crazy things cutting off our hands and legs and Seria ran away. How could they send her away, but not the rest of the kids? Seems kind of suspicious that she can talk to the scutimorphs.
N: IT’s not the scutimorphs that are the problem. It’s these flying saws.
K: Why did you send her away?
N: For safety of course. Couldn’t stand to have her here while they were cutting us to ribbons.
K: So you sent them to us?
N: We sent them for safety and to find help if they could.
M: Is there anyone else in the forest? Besides the village.
N: Not as far as I know. We’ve hunted through most of it and afaik, we’re the only ones here. we’d know if other folks come through.
Kaladin rests. Jesus rests. Mesmer rests.
K: Jesus, any help would be appreciated.
J: Who needs help from Jesus? Jesus is going to come work a miracle.
J approaches the healed villager.
J: Has anything been odd in the last month?
V: People have talked about the animals acting odd. I don’t know if it’s something with the village or from beyond, but they don’t seem to respond the way they used to. They’re agitated. Something weird has its grip on the whole forest.
K: Any major events in the last 6 months that might be in any way related.
V: 6 months is a long time. Families growing up. Got the new family. We don’t really keep track of time here. I just never thought I’d have to fight monstrosities; I thought I’d just hunt peacefully.
K: Nothing odd, no Iron Winds?
V: Thank heavens no.
J: Should we spend the night?
C: Let’s stay the night and see if there is any sign of attacks in the morning.
E: You are welcome to stay for the night. We could use your aid in case of another attack. We’ll have to clear out a collapsed building to offer you shelter for the night.
C: We could help for that.
E: Splendid (gestures for anybody to come help clear out the rubble)
K: So how are you related to the village?
E: I have some family here. Seria and Patel are my grandchildren. I think they’re the last of them. I have a daughter; you met Naedi. Her husband passed.
C: In the fight?
E: Nope, it’s been many years.
C: How did they take it?
E: They were very young.
C: Did Seria show signs of the gift before that?
E: Idk if she has any gifts aside from her warm disposition.
C: Well nobody else can do it in recorded history so I’ll just call it a gift for now.
E: Not sure, she’s been able to do it forever, but that girl can take care of herself
K: Why’d you send her away then?
E: No need to expose her to needless danger.
K: What about the rest?
E: We kept the other children safe.
K: Did you send her away b/c you suspected her of being the cause
E: It’s not her.
M: No disrespect intended.
E: There are certain things you feel in your bones. Whatever shadow is being cast from beyond the forest. I feel the fingers of the west.
K: That’s a direction. Can you get us to the source of this pull?
E: I cannot abandon my people and I cannot spare any of the villagers.
K: Maybe you could all come with us?
E: I will not abandon our home to some floating blade disc things.
The building is cleared out. The villagers provide some furs to sleep on. We decide to set a watch. After a night’s sleep, the villagers provide a meal. Kaladin remembers that there is a town nestled in the foothills of the Black Riage with a formation resembling the fingers of a hand rising from the rock.
A: Elder, are those finger rocks the ones you’re thinking of?
E: I can’t know for sure, but I feel like something troubling is coming from the mountain.
C: Let’s get outta here. Time to move on.
As we’re leaving:
N: If you’re going back the way you came, and if you can spare some time, let Seria know it’s safe and to come home.
A: We are headed west first, but if we come across here, we’ll be sure to pass along the message.
N: I would be ever so grateful.
A: You’re welcome.
We leave the forest, passing chittering scutimorphs. We see the winding road and Mouth Cairns in the distance. We see the occasional peregrine and the road leading NE to the Great Slab in the distance. We cut across dusty plains to get back to the road toward the Black Riage. We can see the silhouette of the finger rock town in the mountain range, due west.
We could go due west across the plains or head due south along the road. Going across the plains might be slower with less shelter but it’s a shorter distance. Heading west also ends up at a hill in the middle.
C: Let’s take the road, shelter is important
K: We might also meet somebody with info.
By noon, we reach the road and soon reach the outskirts of the Mouth Cairns. We pass the occasional travelers, but none wish to speak. It’s late afternoon by the time we reach the last of the Mouth Cairns. We decide to head south toward Seleon Basin to reach Seria and hopefully have the scutimorph carry us to the scary finger rock place.
In the pitch black of night, we hear a chittering and see purple flashes of light erupt around us. Many flying insects brush pust us and begin to weave together in a cloud of light.
Jesus takes out his cypher goggles and begins recording the intricate dance of the insects. After a minute, the goggles stop humming and go silent.
C: It’s potentially dangerous, let’s enjoy this, but enjoy this in motion.
After a few minutes, we leave the cloud. we see the faint lights of a village ahead. The road runs straight into the town as a central avenue with buildings on both sides. One of the most noticeable things is a series of large circular basins on the side of the road. We pass 5 of the basins on the side of the main street. There are signs on the buildings, but they are not legible in the moonlight.
We enter the town pub. There’s a fire burning in the hearth and several villagers speaking in low voices. There’s a bar as well as a second floor. The barkeep waves us closer.
Barkeep: “Goodnight to ya! It’s awful late for travelers, but you’re welcome to stay”
M: We’re looking for a girl who rides a scutimorph who may have come into town recently. Have you seen her?
B: One moment, let me think.
M: She would have come in from the north and would have had a mother and a boy come in. They would have come in yesterday.
B: I haven’t heard anything.
C: Thanks, we appreciate your hospitality.
B: It’s 1 shin/night
A: I got this
C: -1 shin for food
In the morning:
B: We sell all kinds of things here. Remedies for travelers, etc. Somebody here will have news for you.
The main street is a series of planks laid between the basins. Each basin is ~20 feet around, filled with different-colored liquid. People and creatures are resting in the liquids of the basin. One basin oddly appears as if it were filled with pitch black ink. Stores and stalls are set up alongside the road. As C pokes his quarterstaff into the inky basin, a child splashes him and his clothing with ink.
C: Let’s go find the town drunk. And see if he has some info to give us.
Cairn sees one and asks about the girl:
D: You should check out Roro’s over there. Lots of people come away happy. (DRUGSSSSS?)
C: We’re just looking for the girl.
D: Oh, you’re not here for the basins?
C: Thanks for offering, we’re looking for somebody who’s lost not somebody is hurt. (Turning to rest) he’s asking if any of you need medical attention.
M: So you haven’t seen this girl.
D: I haven’t seen this girl. Have you been to the inn?
C: I’ll pay you for info.
D looks confused and suspicious.
D: It’s not everyday somebody comes by here looking for stuff from me.
Grabs money from C.
D: Try the store at the back of the street with a brain on it.
We walk down to the brain store. There is a wooden sign with an actual brain nailed to it. From its size, it doesn’t appear to be human.
Beneath the sign is a woman with metal protruding from around her eyes, near the base of her nose, and around her mouth. When she sees us approaching, she says “Come. I have a feeling I know what you’re here.”.
She brings us inside the building where there are wires and organic matter strewn across the working laboratory.
W: So tell me why are you here?
A: We’re a group of travelers looking for a girl riding a scutimorph.
C: We’re here on behalf of her family.
The woman returns with her hand around Seria’s shoulder
S: He-hello… Is Patel well?
C: He’s good. Where’s the scutimorph and your companions?
S (nervous): I left him; he’d just scare people. But Darvin has been kind to me
D: Don’t strain yourself. You’re still not well.
Pours her a drink
D: She was a brave girl to come here on her own.
C: Alone? She had companions with her
We hear clinking
S: We-well I had to go on my own.
D: She’s not quite well though. THe villagers brought her to me when they say she had trouble speaking clearly. They thought it was something mental and I agree. Ordinarily, I’d have a solution for her but I’ve had an issue lately. We have a garden. All of our healers take from it. Problem is not long before Seria showed up, a group of broken hounds broke in and won’t leave. Seria here bravely offered to shoo them off. I told her it was too dangerous. If I had access to the garden, I could help her.
K: Let’s go do something about it.
D: Well you seem like capable people. I don’t want to impinge on you, but i think this would be best for helping Seria. The town would owe you all too.
C: Seria, do you want us to clear out the broken hounds?
S: We-well, if- if- Darvin thinks it’d help, please help her.
A: Let’s help her out.
K: I’m suspicious of Seria always having animals chasing her around.