Monday, June 23, 2014

Wilds - Who Watches the Watchmen?

After a bit of R&R, the party spots a troupe of... something, moving through the darkness toward Blackpool Maze. They approach cautiously, and discover the ruin is occupied! Time for some sneaking and scouting.

Rawon and Mordikarr disappear into the undergrowth and reedy grass. Ingvild and Maro take position on the northeast edge of the depression, tracking their progress and keeping an eye on the ruin. Raúguey keeps watch on the other side of the depression. Everyone else gets low. Durego checks over his gear, clearly troubled. His strongly expressed doubts about engaging an unknown enemy gnaw away at the party's resolve while they wait for the scouts' signal or return.

Time passes. Thirty minutes. An hour. More. "See anything?" whispers Ohwatoo from his position below Maro and Ingvild.

"No. This grass is too tall to see much," answers the elf. "From here all I can see is green."

"I can barely see the ruin," complaints Raúguey. "But someone or something is definitely in there. I can see movement from time to time, and a little smoke rising now and then. Too far to make out what though."

"I hope those two don't do anything stupid," mutters Dagmarten.

More time goes by. The sun creeps higher, and the wind continues to gust and blow from the northwest.

"Look!" hisses Raúguey. The others crowd the north side of the depression. The watchers can just make out a group of six or seven creatures near the southwest corner of the wall, three standing together, the others stooped over and spread out in the surrounding grass. Most are at least Raúguey's size, maybe bigger, but one of the standing creatures is larger than the others, perhaps bugbear-sized.

"Isn't that the path we took the last time we left?" whispers Tesso. Maro nods.

"What's that?" whispers Ohwatoo, gesturing toward the ruin. Something long and low comes out from behind the south wall accompanied by a humanoid form. An occasional glint of light sparks off the creeping shape.

"I don't know what that is, but the thing with it is one of those trogs. You can tell by the head."

As the party continues to watch, the first group regathers, clearly holding some sort of discussion. The trog and its... creeping companion wind their way back into the walls. Most of the first group heads back inside, but two of the creatures take off, heading west at a ground-devouring lope. [Those two, at least are definitely gnolls. You recognize the leaping / loping running.]

"Crud. I hope they're keeping a low profile back at base," says Durego. "This whole setup stinks. Trogs, gnolls, bugbears and kobolds. Is this some sort of evil empire? How many creatures are out here?" He looks east, blinking away sweat and gnats. "Where are Rawon and Mordikarr?"

"Those things are fast," whispers Tesso, eyes on the departing pair, who are almost out of sight already. "Shouldn't we get out of here?"

"We need to wait for the others at least," says Ingvild. "And if the opportunity presents itself, ambush an isolated party."

"And draw the wrath of the others down on us," mutters Durego. The priest moves down into the depression, kneels beside his pack, and begins to pray.

Tick-tock. Tick-tock. The sun gets hotter. The wind calms and steadies, but maintains its direction. A few clouds creep in from the northwest. The watchers watch, and wait.

Finally, there is movement in the grass to the south. Suren lopes into camp, pauses, gives a grumbling growl, and then heads for Mordikarr's pack, curling up next to it. The elf and beastmaster follow a minute later. Both are covered in mud and muck. "We got a little turned around. Went too far," mutters Rawon, taking a solid swing from his flask.

"What did you see?" asks Ohwatoo.

"No see much. Too many rock piles," mutters Mordikarr, who drops to the ground next to his pack and digs out a water skin.

Rawon nods. "There are definitely watchers. We spotted three along the south and east walls, hidden in the rubble and undergrowth. I think I saw a kobold, but something bigger too. Did you see the group come out to the southwest? We couldn't get a good look at them."

Raúguey describes the group the main party spotted. "So how many are in there? Did Suren catch their scent?"

"No idea. The walls are too tall. We found one angle we could see into the center, and there were things moving across the gap, but it was too narrow to really see much."

"Suren say gola'ka and dog heads and stinky lizard things. Maybe other things, but lizard things smell much. Suren no like them."

"We should get back to camp, pack up, and move away. I got a bad feeling about this," says Durego.

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