Thursday, January 30, 2014

More Details about the Route

May 3, 1651, morning.
With clear skies and pleasant temperatures, a moderate breeze and a crosswind originating from the southwest, blowing warm air from the Mediterranean.

Untern the Elder & Younger lead the four members of the party into the brush that begins a half-mile east of the road. The going is rough for a time, the brambles are overgrown and you soon realize this is a thorn forest. The Elder explains that they lost the paths they were following when they came to this, and that the effort to find their way without going through it proved fruitless. It was only after pushing through the thorn forest that they found the road.

Once on the other side, upon a low hardwood/spruce tree slope, where the deciduous trees are old and gnarley, the going gets easier. The Elder marks the barren-topped peak a few miles off as his guide, and from time to time it comes into view as you walk along deer trails in a generally northeasterly direction. You stop mid-morning for a drink, and once settled down the Elder chats while the Younger scouts ahead.

"I'm sorry to mislead you," he says. "There were things I didn't want to say until we got into the woods. Not that I don't trust you, but there's those who would take advantage of us." He reaches under his coat's lapel and draws forth a folded mass of paper. "We've got a map, you see. Tells us where the minotaurs are, and speaks of thousands of gold pieces there. Didn't want some thief slipping this out of my pocket in a town. I've learned not to trust towns so much. I'm sorry if I seemed a bit cagey yesterday. Just watching out for myself and my son."

He doesn't show you the map, except very briefly, just long enough for you to see that there is one.

"We should get there sometime about five hours from now, I'm guessin'," he says. "We're on the right side of the valley, that's the main thing. The boy will find our way - there's an old road somewhere along that direction, and we can follow it easily for about six miles. After that, we climb a bit down into the valley, where there's a forgotten temple from Greek days. That's our destination."

30 comments:

Lukas said...

"I think I can understand the concern then, and I believe I know at least Ahmet understands protecting family."

James C. said...

"You were wise to be careful, Untern, but let us proceed together with openness, yes?"

Ahmet said...

Ahmet glowers as usual.

Lukas said...

I honestly have not many questions regarding this revelation at this point.

I can only interpret any of my further thoughts regarding the map as suspicious to an owner of such map under plausible conditions.

Alexis Smolensk said...

That's fine. You finish your lunch, the Younger Untern returns having found the road, and you start to make your way down to it.

The two are friendly, funny on occasion, and as the day wears on the father talks less and the son talks more. The son begins to chatter on primarily about women he's met on his travels, talking about a prostitute he met in Baku who would only work on Tuesdays when the sun was not shining, but was always ready to sleep with him ("I shone for her great," he says). He mentions a girl in Zand who used to eat two chickens at every meal ("She was a plucky one" says the Younger). And so on it goes like that.

Maximillian Boii said...

Did the horses make it through the thorn forest, or did we set out on foot?

Alexis Smolensk said...

The country is far, far too rough for horses. You were going to have to leave them behind, anyway, at some point - you're going underground.

Lukas said...

I have no problem listening to new stories which are not about uncles of any variety.

I also share a couple of my exploits from back home. I think I have a couple at least from my background generation.

He will probably let slip the fact there's a Rosatita that may not mind seeing him again should he come through Zurich. Or might have moved on, he's not sure.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet seems even more irritable and taciturn than usual and doesn't join in the banter except the occasional rebuke of "shh!" when the others get too loud or when he thinks he hears or sees something.

Alexis Smolensk said...

You come to the end of the road by afternoon; the weather remains the same, clear, with a moderate breeze, clouds moving on the sky and the branches gently moving with the wind. The half-orcs find the pathway they want, and you begin to descend rather sharply down a 50-degree slope into the trees, until coming onto a flat plain about 400 yards across.

There is a ruined temple here, definitely Greek in origin, perhaps Pergamum from the 1st century BC, guesses Lukas. The majority of it is one overgrown platform, with a single column rising in the center of one side, about twenty-five feet in the air. There's a bit of a column in a far corner, only five feet of it, and the outlines of the temple as a one-foot high circle of fitted blocks.

The Elder points at the pillar, right now about 50 yards from the party; "There's a passage under that. We had to dig there, to get in. It's a bit tricky - there was a trap that gave Zeno a bit of a shock when we came through."

Please note that you cannot at this time examine the temple, as you have not yet approached it - and the Elder says it isn't safe, until they look at that passage. Then he calls his son to go forward with him, telling the party to WAIT.

Lukas said...

Lukas waits and takes this opportunity to examine the structure before them and consider the concept of a space underneath the temple. As in, whether or not that was a normal feature for such a thing.

Andrej said...

Andrej waits as well, double checking that his armor and weapons are all in order. His shield is strapped on and Aksion Spacimo drawn from his belt.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Until Lukas looks at the understructure, he can't be sure.

Untern Elder & Younger move warily across the distance. It's quite clear that they expect to be attacked at any opportunity, that they seem unsure of their safety. The Younger moves up to the front, until he reaches a place about five feet from the column. Then the Elder catches up to him, and appears to move down into the earth. Clearly there's a hole there, that can't be seen from the party's position. The Elder disappears, and the Younger right after him.

Andrej said...

Andrej fidgets and keeps both eyes on the area of the column.

Ahmet said...

The ever-distrustful Ahmet keeps a wary eye to the rear, just in case this is all an elaborate trap.

Maximillian Boii said...

I fidget and keep my eyes on the area around us.

Lukas said...

Well, Lukas will put a dart in each hand and prepare to be charged by something terrible.

You know, as much as you can prepare for that.

Alexis Smolensk said...

You hear a dim shout - then the pillar that posed above the hole shivers, then drops about eight feet ... then the top barrels of the column very, very slowly fall over.

Alexis Smolensk said...

All is silent.

Lukas said...

Given experience with mining and architecture, I'm guessing cave in? Or some other underground architectural failure?

Maximillian Boii said...

It would appear that way Lukas, although it's unclear whether it was accidental.

I move up to see if there's anything that can be done for the two orcs. cautiously, of course, but with some haste.

Lukas said...

Lukas looks to the others. He and Ahmet understand the implications of a cave in, but everyone understands the implications of being surprised by giant creatures while trying to dig out unfortunate delvers...

Better to go with everyone than alone, but stealth may cease to be an option.

Alexis Smolensk said...

It seems quite clear to Maximillian that the half-orcs have been crushed to death. The pillar broke apart as it fell, and lays in several pieces (round 'barrels') in the hole and over the nearby ground. The Elder's head has been crushed, though his body is visible. Only the legs of the Younger can be seen. The roof under the pillar seems to have been made of stone, but it simply came loose. There is a grate, twisted, next to the bodies; a way past the grate can be seen, and the dark suggestion of a tunnel beyond.

Maximillian Boii said...

I move back to the others with this information.

Lukas and Ahmet, can you check the stability of the entrance?

These "barrels" must weigh thousands of pounds, would it be possible to move the one on the elder half-orc?

Lukas said...

The rest of the elder's body is visible, so unless you want to see the inside of his head...

I'm thinking we should get the map and proceed. In their memory of coarse.

We should also go as a group, likely Ahmet and myself checking the stability as we go.

Maximillian Boii said...

Close Lukas, I wanted to see inside his map, but I figured it was probably under the stonework. if that's not the case, well then...

Alexis Smolensk said...

The Elder's body, minus the head, is fully visible.

It would require descending about eight feet into the hole to check the body.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet volunteers to descend.

He finds something large and not topple-able to tie his rope around to use for his descent.

Alexis Smolensk said...

One of the barrels lying on the ground above the hole will do.

Ahmet can see a bit of a tunnel beyond the smashed grate. One would have to strip out of armor to get past it.

I'm going to post the map on a new post.

Alexis Smolensk said...

The next post is up.