Session Six "The Hemsdale Shuffle"
As the session begins the party (Dark Angel, Erich, Mortull, Edwin and Ooyuki)descide that it is time to rest and compare notes so as to get the party on the same page as too recent events. Bloodbourne has gone back into the Falcons Hollow tunnels in one last frantic effort to locate his companion Oscar.
After further tense conversation the group decides it best to make camp further from this damned city. As the group moves out Ooyuki decides to take a quick trip further north in search of his mount. When he was abducted it was left abandoned somewhere nearby too the north.
Mortull, having had enough of the groups inner tensions decides to accompany the troll.
The trek through the wilderness is not an extended one. Ooyuki carries a whistle to summon his mount and it just happens to be in hearing range. Soon it is charging toward them in the distance with a winded Raed trying to keep up with it. Apparently the man awoke in the wilderness and stumbled upon the giant dinosaur/bird thing just before it took off in response to the whistle.
Introductions between Ooyuki, Mortull and Raed are brief as they decide that getting back to the main group is now a priority. They turn about and follow their tracks back toward the city.
Meanwhile, having had no luck in locating Oscar, Bloodbourne makes his way to where he left the group only to find them gone. He can see their tracks in the snow and realizes the group split up just outside of town. Choosing the least traveled path he soon meets up with Ooyuki’s group on its return.
The four of them then turn and follow the path made by the rest of the group. They catch up later that night.
Dark Angel, Erich and Edwin already have camp set up when the others arrive. The reunion between Raed and his sister is joyous but brief as Dark Angel is again drawn into some great depression that has been riding her since Dariets disappearance.
As the new arrivals settle down in camp and prepare for the night Bloodbourne barely pauses before setting his gaze too the south and trudging off into the darkness. Mortull realizes the dragonman has separated from the group but everyone is so busy speaking and setting up their gear that Bloodbournes decision to keep moving goes largely unnoticed.
That night the group discusses the plague and its connection to both Jasper and Laurel. They theorize on many things before finally falling asleep.. one at a time. Erich remains “Awake” during the second watch as he has been in a deep meditative trance for hours. During this mediation he has a a dark dream.The vision reveals the presence of an untold evil. He is so unsettled by what he sees he is brought out of his vision screaming in terror. The rest of the group wakes and takes up arms as they try in vain to ascertain the threat which has the archer in hysterics. Only Angel immediately forces herself back to sleep upon waking. Her mind and heart is elsewhere and her depression leaves her uncaring of physical dangers. (See Angels Dream below)
A few moments pass before Erich calms and, soon the party dismisses his antics as a false alarm. Either Erich cannot remember what terrified him or he chose to keep it to himself and play stupid. Either way the group returns to sleep disgruntled. They all awake the next morning ready to move… save Angel who seems to have lost her drive.
(Angels Dream: Awaking in the Crystal Dream Angel seeks out Dariet. She can see him in the dream and she realities that he and Sondraes are well but they cannot see or hear her. She realizes that she and Dariet may only share the dream if they both sleep… So she watches him for a time. She is relieved he is well but still frustrated that she cannot communicate with him through their shared link with Sondraes. She has felt something blocking their connection for awhile now and has come to believe that her uncle Jasper has something to do with it.) The next morning when the others wake, Angel is unwilling to leave the dream. Even after waking she is overwhelmed with depression and a feeling of hopelessness.
Her state of mind is so bad that she refuses to join the group as it moves out it takes a small miracle on Raeds behalf to convince his sister to wake and join the group.
Further up the road, Bloodbourne has walked all night, breathing fire to warm himself and light his way. Nothing moves in the night as he trudges through the snow. He pauses only to sleep briefly alongside the road before rising and continuing on. His head-start gets him to Hemsdale a full day in advance of the party.
Bloodbourne finds Hemsdale nearly evacuated when he arrives. Only a handful of die hard locals remains. It seems they are trying to prepare defenses. Blood is to worn and hungry to ask any questions. He quickly locates the Tavern and enters. Soon he is cozied up to the bar and ravenously consuming a massive bowl of stew. He speaks with the Bartender only half heartedly as he eats. Before retiring to a room upstairs for much needed rest he pays the Bartender 10 gold to make accommodations for his party who he believes will be in town soon enough.
As he sleeps the party continues its journey south towards Hemsdale. They are close come morning and push on.
Meanwhile Tamora has entered Hemsdale from the south. Living near Falcons Hollow when the plague struck, Tamora has spent the last few weeks traveling the area trying to locate the source of the plague and learn what she can. It is through ironic luck that she eventually deduces the plague has seemingly begun in her own Falcons Hollow. As soon as she learns this she turns around and begins to head back toward Falcons Hollow and the nighmarish memmories it holds for her.
Stopping in Hemsdale on her return journey, Tamora also finds herself in the Tavern.
The bartender is friendly and answers questions the best he can, though it seems he knows little. Soon Tamora is left to finish her meal as the the towns Blacksmith enters and takes a seat at the back of the room. The Bartender excuses himself and takes a bottle to the Blacksmith. The two sit and speak with one another in hushed tones as they nervously eyeball her at the bar.
Tamora attempts to eavesdrop on the conversation but all she can make out is the repeated use of the name Laurel. Soon enough Tamora decides to explore the town of Hemsdale in search of someone who may have more answers. Unfortunately once she gets outside she begins to find the world spinning and her grasp on her balance waning. She realizes she has been drugged and only just manages to find a place to hide before her grip on consciousness slides away.
Moments later the rest of the party arrives in Hemsdale. Dark Angel and Raed go immediately to the cemetery in search of clues concerning Jasper. The rest of the party heads into town.
As they walk the main street they happen upon Tamoras leg protruding from her hiding place beneath a pile of hay beside the street. The group pauses as they decide to investigate. Of course; Tamora, on edge, reacts violently as they draw her from beneath the hay by her leg. She mistakes them for pursuers and sends Mortull to his posterior with a single kick to his face. A feat indeed as she was still prone upon the ground when she delivered the defensive blow.
Now everyone is on the defensive. The group draws weapons to defend themselves from this seemingly madwoman and the elfin Tamora stands; wobbling slightly from the drug, with her back to a wall like a cornered cat.
At this point, Raed and Angel arrive, having found nothing in the cemetery. Angel has apparently rediscovered her unstoppable drive and decides to continue on toward Mirendale with or without the rest of the group.
At about this time Bloodbourne comes downstairs from his rest. The bartender shoots him an odd look. A look that suggests confusion and fear. Blood is immediately suspicious but when he attempts to question the bartender the man tries to bolt past him in fear.
Blood trips the man and pins him to the floor. “It wasn’t my idea, please don’t kill me!” Is the only answer he gets as he questions the bartender repeatedly. Finally frustrated, the dragonman hurtles the Bartender out into the street to shake the man up a bit more.
As the group outside stands off with the elfin woman, trying to determine if she is friend or foe, they are caught off-guard as the Bartender lands in the street with a powerful thud. Before they can react Bloodbourne appears in the Tavern doorway. With a single, powerful leap he lands on the bartender with a snarl.The party, thinking Blood has gone mad attempts to defend the bartender. Bloodbourne, agitated the party is interfering, lashes out at Raed (Who just punched Bloodbourne in the face)
Chaos ensues as the party tries to defuse the situation. Bloodbourne is steamed (Pun not intended) and in the end he resolves the conflict by breaking the bartenders neck. At this point of course, the locals jump in to save their neighbor. Slowly the group lowers its weapons and begins to leave town to the south, even Tamora finds leaving an optimal choice. Eventually only Erich and Ooyuki remain.
Erich, a native to Hemsdale remains to aid the bartender while Ooyuki remains behind to ensure the bowman is in no jeopardy from the riled villagers. Soon it is apparent they mean no harm to Erich. They know him as a local and a friend. The troll however is a stranger. Erich sends the troll on to catch up with the rest of the party. He promises to catch up when he can.
Soon the group travels the snow covered road once more, this time they find themselves even more fractured and confused than ever before. Even their newest member Tamora seems more familiar than old companions.
Having left before the main group, Raed hurries to catch up with Angel along the road. When he finds her he insists upon carrying her as he runs through the day and into the night. The mans strength and stamina is unrivaled by any he has met but come nightfall his legs burn and his breath comes in gasps. The good news is that he has carried Angel as far as the Highway inn of The Splendid Puss. Angel wishes to continue on but Raed manages to convince her to rest the night… or so he believes.
As Raed cautiously enters the Inn first he fails to notice Angel slipping off silently into the night. Inside the abandoned inn Raed sees the remains of several people. Gore and flesh is scattered about hellishly. At first he believes the site looks like a Wolfen attack….. but in the distance he hears a deep, angry howl….. one he recognizes… one that sends chills through him. He turns to speak to Angel and finds she has disappeared, leaving him alone in the night… whats more… leaving her alone to possibly become a victim to tearing claw and rabid fang.