Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Lora

Dec 24, 1650, Wednesday evening to night
Weather:  with frosty temperatures and steady flakes, and a moderate breeze

The party is hoisted to the bottom of the fall, with the equipment they have; and there they meet a young woman, perhaps 22 years of age, who gives her name as Lora.  She is dressed in a diaphanous gown, quite thin, a withered, brown vine wrapped around her very long auburn hair, holding it in place, and a lanyard of silver that wraps around her 20-inch waist and hangs to her knees.  She is bare footed.

She smiles, directs the way without a word, and leads you in another direction from the defile where you first climbed to get here ... about twenty yards to a cliff face.  There she begins to cast a spell.

You cannot help but note that her feet leave no tracks in the snow. I find I must point out that for Andrej, Christmas is a holy day. It is now perhaps six. Out of the mountains, it is perhaps still evening, but in the high country, below the meadow, it is nearly dark now.  The wind is biting, making it closer to icy than frosty ... and you are all somewhat uncomfortable as you watch this girl cast.

42 comments:

Ahmet said...

"Witch," Ahmet mutters to his comrades.

Lukas said...

Lukas observes the spell intently for anything familiar.

Maximillian said...

Is this a woman we had seen about the camp?

I will not interrupt the spell, but will watch intently.

Alexis said...

You've never seen this woman before.

Indeed, in a sense, a witch ... but Maximillian would recognize her almost immediately as a druid.

She opens a hole in the stone face of the wall, revealing a passage large enough to ride horses through. It is only ten feet long. She proceeds into it, beckoning you all to follow.

Maximillian said...

Onward, brothers.

I will pause some distance inside for my eyes to become accustomed to the darkness.

I am interested in the construction of the tunnel past the opening.

Lukas said...

Lukas follows.

Alexis said...

Your eyes - nor Lukas's eyes, which are more refined for architectural matters - tell you nothing about the construction of this tunnel. It appears to be a magically created space, with no signs of workmanship, and no well-defined surface.

Presuming all the party to pass through it, the tunnel leads onto a smooth, easily traversed mountainside and path, which descends in almost the opposite direction from the original defile you ascended.

Maximillian, seeing the mountains in the distance, recognizes them as those which surround the town of Bozen.

Andrej said...

Andrej and Sofia both enter the tunnel, making the sign of the cross and murmuring a short prayer as they do so.

Andrej said...

Let us make for Bozen, then.

Alexis said...

The journey down the mountain is swift, easy and unexpectedly beautiful. The flakes falling upon the trees below and the mountain make a spectacular scene, but the path of stones is swept by the wind so that it is virtually free of snow. It deepens, however, as you descend into the trees - and yet Lora manages to find and lead you over those places where the snow is powdery and not very deep.

After about two hours, you emerge upon the same road where you were taken 54 days ago. To your surprise, where you expected to see not another human soul on the night of Christmas Eve, about a quarter mile off there is a sleigh making its way towards you, travelling towards Bozen.

"You will be safe tonight," says Lora. "Care for yourselves and set the past behind you."

She opens her hand, and in it are seven large blueberries, the sort you are not likely to have seen since last August. She gestures for each of you to take one.

Maximillian said...

I make note of the point where the tunnel ended as best I can, and then make to lead us towards Bozen. I ask Lora if she will join us in town for the evening.

Andrej said...

Andrej takes a berry, as does Sofia, both with a somewhat stiff politeness. Sofia holds hers as if the thing was likely to explode, glancing about at the others.

Maximillian said...

As we near the town, I turn to my companions. Friends, what is your priority? Christmas is upon us, perhaps your horses can reflect on Christ's birth in the straw for one more day, while I offer what hospitality I can.

I will then suggest that we join up with whichever family would be most hospitable to our new friends, most likely my grandfather who ransomed me, as I need to thank him. Anyone not a druid in my family (I think only perhaps my maternal grandfather??, most likely it was my paternal grandfather who ransomed me.) would be Catholic, so we can attend the Christmas mass with them.

Lukas said...

Lukas takes one, and examines it curiously.

Maximillian said...

(Whoops, got behind...)

I will take the berry and thank her, popping it into my mouth eagerly.

Andrej said...

"Yes, Maximillian, let us observe the holy day tomorrow in Bozen."

Alexis said...

Naturally, the berry rushes through Maximillian, effecting a change in energy and filling his belly delightfully.

Maximillian said...

MMM, It's been a while since I enjoyed a goodberry.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet takes the berry but does not eat it at this time.

Andrej said...

So Maximillian, how long do one of these things last, anyway? What are the effects as per Alexis's spell description?

Maximillian said...

"Ah, good question. (conspiratorially) she must be a very powerful druid.
(Unless Alexis has rewritten the spell, or I misread it. I understood that the spell enchants berries you already have. Given that it's the dead of winter, I guess the sell must "summon" berries)

The enchanted berries will restore one HP, and will nourish your body as though it were a full meal. Also, they are delicious.

They last for one day per level of the druid.

Maximillian said...

(more whisering) I do think she is very powerful, though, as she was able to reshape a large volume of stone hiding the tunnel.

Alexis said...

The spell is as Maximillian describes, except that it does not summon berries. Where Lora got them, you do not know.

In any event, she will wish farewell to you all - the NPCs having taken the berries as well - and return into the forest.

The sleigh continues to approach. It is quite large, enough for a dozen people, but there are four in it at present. One short but massive horse is being pulled along after, and two draft horses are pulling. Three men sit in the back, while the driver gently urges the pulling horses to come on. The sleigh is moving fairly well on its runners.

The road does not look like it will be as easy as the journey down from the mountain was.

Andrej said...

Andrej puts his berry into his belt pouch for later. Sofia does the same.

Is the sleigh headed toward town?

"Perhaps we should flag them down and see about a ride?"

Alexis said...

It is at least upon the road that would take it to Bozen, Maximillian can confirm.

They are about 50 yards off now, and clearly the driver has seen you. One of the men in the back stands and waves.

Maximillian said...

Agreed, it is late for a slog through the snow.

Maximillian said...

I will hail them with a hearty "Merry Christmas"

Ahmet said...

While this is going on, Ahmet scouts about hunting for a stout stick or small log he can use as a club if need be.

Ahmet said...

(not picking it up... just looking for a likely candidate should he need to get one in a hurry.)

Alexis said...

The sleigh pulls up, with many a "Buon Natale" and smiling face. The driver asks what are you doing out on this Christmas Eve, and would you like a ride into Bozen. You're but two miles away, and should be there before the clock in town strikes nine.

Alexis said...

(OOC: I feel I need to say, now that you're more or less out of it; I rolled randomly, 21-100, to see how long the payment would take - with the 12.5% possibility that it would arrive too late. Rolling a 54, and thus ending this all on Christmas Eve, was entirely by chance - and thus I am forced to go with it. Taken on Halloween, freed on Christmas ... it is too weird).

Andrej said...

(OOC: Too weird beats too late, for sure)

Andrej and Sofia climb aboard the sleigh introduce themselves with a "Buon Natale" and expressing thanks and explaining that until this very day we were guests of Hadji Lazaro and look forward to a warm fire and some victuals in town.

Maximillian said...

(Did anyone take numerology as a field ;)

The ride is most welcome! I think there's no reason not to tell our tale, and so I do, asking in turn why we were so lucky that they were out this eve.

Lukas said...

"We did not have the sense to pay for passage and have been gifted with freedom today."

Ahmet said...

Ahmet clambers aboard but says nothing. The strong, silent type.

Alexis said...

The three previous passengers, all quite young, do not allow Ahmet his funk. They give their names as Enrico, Carlito and Tazio, and they are having a good time this Christmas. They've been set free from their previous employment, and they are anxious to "see the world!"

Ahmet said...

Ahmet eyes them with the pitying, disdainful gaze of a war-weary veteran meeting green boys eager to see their first battle.

Alexis said...

You can take the running of their characters from here, Ahmet. I said I'd eventually get them to join you.

Things willing, we can ride into Bozen on the morrow.

Ahmet said...

(OOC: Thanks Alexis!

My, how our little party has grown!)

Alexis said...

(OOC: 16 months of running)

Andrej said...

On to Bozen!

Alexis said...

The next post is up.