Session 44:
Black and White


[JadedDM]: Dymin 19th, Flameday; 11 bells.  The party awakens the next morning in their respective rooms after a good sleep.  The sun shines through the windows, showing a clear and calm day.

[Psyche]: Psyche shifts a bit in her bed as she wakes up laying on her stomach with her head tilted her slightly, her arms under the pillow. She blinks her eyes somewhat as she sun shines through her eyes. "Hmm."

[JadedDM]:  Marcus is all ready up, dressing himself.  "Sleep well?" he asks.

[Psyche]: Psyche turns her head slightly to look over to Marcus, still somewhat in a daze. "Huh?" It seems to suddenly dawn on her. "Oh...uh...yeah. It was the best sleep I've had in a long time."

[Viarra]: Viarra rubs the sleep out of her eyes and quietly sits up, moving carefully, as not to wake Lon if he's still sleeping. 

[JadedDM]:  Marcus:  "Must be.  You were sleeping pretty soundly."  He starts to strap on his Bloodguard armor.

[Lon]: Lon has slept in his usual fashion, leaning against a bare wall. He slept lightly that night and is already awake, staring at the drawn shades of the window.

[Viarra]: "Good morning," Viarra says cheerily as she pulls her dress on. 

[Psyche]: "How long have you been up?" she asks before she pushes herself up so that she can get dressed herself.

[JadedDM]:  Marcus shrugs.  "About an hour, I guess.  Part of military training.  Old habits die hard."

[Lon]: Lon gives a slight nod. "It is a good morning," he acknowledges.

[Viarra]: "Sleep well?" Viarra asks, glancing out of the window. 

[Psyche]: Psyche puts her robes on easily enough, even without getting out of the bed fully. "You could have woken me up." She clears her throat. "About last night..." She glances to him, somewhat at a loss on what to say honestly.

[JadedDM]:  Marcus turns to her.  "What about it?"

[Lon]: Lon stands up, dusting himself. He walks over to the door.

[Viarra]: Viarra laces up her boots and soon is ready to go.  "We probably ought to collect Psyche and Marcus.  I can't believe we all slept this late."

[Psyche]: "Well...I'm not really sure what to say really." Psyche shakes her head as she stands up. "Nevermind." She runs her fingers through her hair, getting the knots and tangles out.

[JadedDM]:  Marcus:  "You regret it?" he asks, looking out the window.

[Lon]: "Okay," Lon says, before walking out of the door.

[Viarra]: Viarra follows him, walking down the hallway and rapping on door number four.

[Psyche]: "I thought I would, but I don't." Psyche watches him. "I guess I'm...surprised at my...," she pauses, glancing to the door.

[JadedDM]: The door opens.  Marcus stands there, completely dressed and armored.  Psyche sits on the bed, also dressed.

[Psyche]: Psyche takes a deep breath. "Morning."

[Lon]: "We should get going," Lon says from behind Viarra.

[Viarra]: "Morning.  Ready to ride?" Viarra asks with a smile. 

[JadedDM]: Marcus:  "Yeah, we're ready."  He picks up his glaive.

[Psyche]: Psyche glances to the window then over to Marcus before she finally stands up and nods to Viarra quietly.

[Viarra]: Viarra widens her smile slightly, turns on her heel, and begins to make her way down to the tavern.  "Oh, hey, I almost forgot," Viarra says over her shoulder.  "There was an odd appearance around here, not too long ago.  Some guy just up and appeared in a flash of light.  Dark hair, dark eyes and carrying a sword.  Stayed a few days, and then headed north.  Sound like anyone you know?"

[Psyche]: Psyche walks out of the room after grabbing her staff. "Uh...that sounds kind of vague, so I'm not sure."

[Viarra]: "Yeah.  Oddly, for a guy who appeared in a flash of light and stayed a few days, no one could seem to remember his name."  Viarra shrugs.

[JadedDM]: Marcus:  "Some kind of wizard maybe, who doesn't know how to be discrete."  He shrugs as they climb down the stairs.

[Psyche]: "Wizards usually don't carry swords," Psyche mutters as she thinks on it while walking down the stairs.

[JadedDM]: Marcus shrugs again.  "So we're heading out?  How long will it take to get to this Rim Elm place, or whatever it's called?"

[Psyche]: "Huh?" Psyche looks towards Marcus. "Oh...maybe a day."

[JadedDM]: The party gathers their horses outside and mounts them, and then set off for the north.  They travel a couple of hours without interruption, although things are very quiet between them.  There seems an odd tension in the air that wasn't there before.

[Psyche]: Psyche stares off into the distance as they ride on. She doesn't look like she even notices the silence between the group, as if she is in her own little world.

[Viarra]: Viarra begins humming a tune, occasionally stopping to try other variations on the theme. She doesn't seem very satisfied with any of them, but still continues.

[JadedDM]: The silence is suddenly interrupted by a large explosion about 50 yards north of the party.  The ground trembles, which upsets the horses, and a huge pillar of flame rises into the sky.

[Psyche]: Psyche snaps out of her daze and looks around quickly as she tries to calm Snow Dancer down. "W-what was that?"

[Lon]: Lon flinches in his saddle, and his horse rears on his hind legs.

[Viarra]: "Not again," Viarra murmurs as she reigns in Fluffy, to keep him from rearing up. 

[JadedDM]: The pillar of flame dies away, but you can hear some commotion near the blast sight.  Someone shouts and then you hear a couple of loud booms that sound somewhat like thunder, although there isn't a cloud in the sky.

[Psyche]: Psyche looks around. "Lon, Marcus. Move up front. We need to find out what is going on," she says quickly.

[JadedDM]: Marcus manages to calm his mount, and then he looks to Viarra.  "Again?  This has happened before?"

[Viarra]: "Not quite."  She briefly gives Marcus the highlights of their encounter with the Blisters on their way to Frilothan’s Tower.

[JadedDM]: Marcus urges his mount forward at Psyche's request, to find out what is happening up there.

[Lon]: Lon does the same, but Glas needs coaxing to go into danger, and he lags behind.

[Psyche]: Psyche has her horse follow after the other two.

[Viarra]: Viarra knees Fluffy after the party.

[JadedDM]: Arriving on the scene, the party finds a strange sight.  A crater where the pillar of flame was, but the surrounding area is littered with snakes.  There's half a score of them, and they are black, red and orange.  Furthermore, there is a small, young humanoid that is trying to keep the snakes at bay.  He has dark skin and black hair that's mostly hidden by a leather cap with goggles on his forehead.  He has some kind of metal tube in his hand, which he looks at in annoyance.  " shot left!" he laments as he backs away from the snakes.

[Lon]: In frustration, Lon dismounts Glas and runs the rest of the way, loosening his staff to deal with the snakes.

[Viarra]: Viarra takes out her mandolin and begins to play, attempting to charm the snakes. 

[JadedDM]: Marcus dismounts Sorza and surveys the scene.  "What in the nine hells?"

[Psyche]: Psyche dismounts from her horse quickly. "One of the tears..," she mutters.  "And a gnome."

[JadedDM]: (Actions for Round 1?)

[Lon]: Attack a snake.

[Viarra]: Viarra will attempt to charm the snakes with her mandolin.

[Psyche]: Psyche shakes her head quickly as she tries to place the gnome's name before she begins chanting the words to a spell.

[Psyche]: [1d10] -> [1] = (1)

[Viarra]: [1d10] -> [4] = (4)

[Lon]: [1d10] -> [2] = (2)

[JadedDM]: Psyche's turn.

[Psyche]: Psyche chants the words of the spell as she pulls a small handful of mica from her pouch. She immediately throws it into the air only for it to fall upon the snakes in the form of silvery glitter.

[Psyche]: [1d4] -> [3] = (3)

[JadedDM]: Snakes' Turn.

[JadedDM]: Three of the snakes go toward the gnome, but the others break away.  Four go after Lon, who charges in.  The last two slither up toward Marcus.

[JadedDM]: The gnome manages to dodge one snake as it leaps at him, but the other two give him a nip at the ankles.

[JadedDM]: Lon is suddenly overwhelmed by the four snakes coming for him.  He takes a couple of bites, and then goes down, unable to move at all.

[JadedDM]: The last two go for Marcus, but his armor keeps their fangs at bay.

[JadedDM]: Viarra's turn.

[Viarra]: Focusing on the snakes around Lon, Viarra plays a song on the mandolin. 

[JadedDM]: All four snakes stop suddenly, and then turn toward Viarra.  They sway slightly to the music, in a trance.

[JadedDM]: Gnome's turn.

[JadedDM]: Gnome:  "Whoa, keen gear!  Back up!"  He drops his weapon and pulls out a short sword and stabs at one of the snakes, but he's a bit awkward with the blade and misses.

[JadedDM]: Marcus' turn.

[JadedDM]: Marcus takes a step back and slices down with his glaive at one of the snakes, but it manages to slither aside before he hits.

[JadedDM]: (Tell me your actions for Round 2, please?)

[Psyche]: Psyche begins chanting the words to another spell.

[Viarra]: Viarra will continue charming the four snakes, trying to get them to go away. 

[Psyche]: [1d10] -> [8] = (8)

[Viarra]: [1d10] -> [6] = (6)

[JadedDM]: Marcus' turn.

[JadedDM]: Marcus tries another slice, but he proves too slow once again.

[JadedDM]: Psyche's turn.

[Psyche]: Psyche kneels down so that her hands touch the ground while she chants. Slowly, she starts to rise, forming a violet shield in front of her which vanishes once the spell is complete.

[JadedDM]: Viarra's turn.

[Viarra]: Viarra continues playing the mandolin, coaxing out a song about how the grass is greener, far, far away.

[JadedDM]: The four snakes, compelled to obey, begin to slither away from the prone Lon.  They move about 40 feet away.

[JadedDM]: Gnome's turn.

[JadedDM]: The gnome stabs one of the snakes, causing it to hiss in annoyance at him.

[JadedDM]: Snakes' turn.

[JadedDM]: The snake he just stabbed leaps at the gnome, biting him in the neck.  He slumps back and doesn't move.

[JadedDM]: Marcus easily evades the ones he is attacking, his armor protecting him.

[JadedDM]: Marcus' turn.

[JadedDM]: Hefting his glaive, he swings it low and decapitates one of the snakes completely.  It burns away into ash, vanishing.

[JadedDM]: (Actions for Round 3?)

[Psyche]: Psyche watches as the gnome falls due to the leaping snake. She glances around quickly before she takes hold of her staff and goes to face the snake that just bit into the gnome.

[Psyche]: [1d10] -> [5] = (5)

[Viarra]: Viarra continues to play the mandolin, trying to get the snakes to go further away. 

[Viarra]: [1d10] -> [9] = (9)

[JadedDM]: Psyche's turn.

[Psyche]: Psyche takes a swing at the snake that bit into the gnome.

[Psyche]: [1d20+3] -> [11,3] = (14)

[Psyche]: [1d6+3] -> [6,3] = (9)

[Psyche]: Psyche swings at the snake, knocking it away from the gnome before it finally burns up into ash.

[JadedDM]: Snake's turn.

[JadedDM]: The two remaining snakes that were attacking the gnome now turn their attention to Psyche.  However, her shield spell protects her.  Marcus keeps his at bay, as well.

[JadedDM]: Marcus' turn.

[JadedDM]: Marcus uses the butt of his glaive to smack one snake in the head.

[JadedDM]: Viarra's turn.

[Viarra]: Viarra continues to charm the snakes and urges them further and further away.

[JadedDM]: The four charmed snakes move another 40 feet away, to the north.

[JadedDM]: (Actions for Round 4?)

[Psyche]: Psyche attacks one of the snakes attacking her with her staff.

[Psyche]: [1d10] -> [1] = (1)

[Viarra]: Viarra will stop playing to check on Lon. 

[Viarra]: [1d10] -> [4] = (4)

[JadedDM]: Psyche's turn.

[Psyche]: [1d20+3] -> [19,3] = (22)

[Psyche]: [1d6+6] -> [4,6] = (10)

[Psyche]: Psyche brings her staff down upon the snake's body, causing it to hiss out in pain and annoyance.

[JadedDM]: Viarra's turn.

[Viarra]: Viarra throws the mandolin back into place, over her shoulder and rushes to Lon's side.  With a few gentle slaps to the face, she asks, "Lon, are you okay?"  Her eyes narrow as she checks for signs of breath and lowers her head to his chest to hear a heart beat. 

[JadedDM]: Lon is breathing normally, and his heart rate seems a bit slow, but nothing serious.  He just seems completely immobile.

[Psyche]: Psyche glances over to Viarra and Lon. "Viarra, your crossbow please!"

[JadedDM]: Snakes' turn.

[Viarra]: Viarra glances up, surprised.  "You want to use it?" 

[Psyche]: "No, I want you to use it!"

[JadedDM]: Psyche is able to keep herself safe with her shield spell.  Marcus, likewise, is protected by his scale mail.  The four Viarra sent away now start to return.  They are 40 feet away.

[JadedDM]: Marcus' turns.

[JadedDM]: Marcus impales a snake on the head of his glaive, then swings it to the side, smacking the other snake with the impaled one.  The impaled snake slides off the glaive's head and turns to ash.

[JadedDM]: (Actions for Round 5?)

[Psyche]: Psyche attacks one of the snakes again.

[Psyche]: [1d10] -> [6] = (6)

[Viarra]: Viarra will fire her crossbow at one of the snakes.

[Viarra]: [1d10] -> [10] = (10)

[JadedDM]: Psyche's turn.

[Psyche]: [1d20+3] -> [20,3] = (23)

[Psyche]: [2d6+3] -> [5,1,3] = (9)

[Psyche]: Psyche brings the butt of her staff upon the snake's head, smashing it before the snake turns to ash and vanishes.

[JadedDM]: Snakes' turn.

[JadedDM]: The last snake facing Psyche gets past her shield and bites her ankle.

[Psyche]: [1d20] -> [12] = (12)

[Psyche]: Psyche cries out for a moment as the snake bites into her ankle, but the cry is cut short as she falls to the ground unable to move.

[JadedDM]: The four snakes sent away arrive back on the scene.

[JadedDM]: Viarra's turn.

[Viarra]: With a thump, Viarra loads up her crossbow and aims at one of the newly arrived snakes. 

[Viarra]: [1d20] -> [18] = (18)

[Viarra]: [1d4] -> [2] = (2)

[Viarra]: The bolt nicks the snake, sending a long scratch along its back.

[JadedDM]: Marcus' turn.

[JadedDM]: Marcus:  "Idiots..," he grumbles, before hurrying over to Psyche and picking her up.

[JadedDM]: (Actions for Round 6?)

[Viarra]: Viarra will take out her mandolin and attempt to charm the snakes again. 

[Viarra]: [1d10] -> [8] = (8)

[JadedDM]: Marcus' turn.

[JadedDM]: He carries Psyche away from the snakes, and then sets her down on the ground.

[JadedDM]: Viarra's turn.

[Viarra]: "I'll try to charm them again, you kill them," Viarra says to Marcus just before she takes out her mandolin and plays a calming song for the snakes. 

[JadedDM]: Four of the five snakes cease movement, and then slowly start to sway to the music.

[JadedDM]: Marcus:  "If you can control them...why don't you make them fight each other?!"

[JadedDM]: Snakes' turn.

[Viarra]: "That's a good point," Viarra says. 

[JadedDM]: The last free-willed snake goes for Viarra, but she manages to side-step the creature's strike.

[JadedDM]: (Actions for Round 7?)

[Viarra]: Viarra will attempt to make the snakes fight each other.  "It looks like I can only control four at a time," Viarra says to Marcus. 

[Viarra]: [1d10] -> [1] = (1)

[JadedDM]: Viarra's turn.

[Viarra]: Viarra begins to play a fight song, which sounds vaguely comical on a mandolin. 

[JadedDM]: The four snakes begin to turn on each other.  They make quick work of themselves, mutually annihilating each other.

[JadedDM]: Marcus' turn.

[JadedDM]: Marcus finishes off the last snake by slicing it open with his glaive.

[Viarra]: Viarra puts her mandolin up and turns to Marcus.  "You doing okay?" 

[JadedDM]: Marcus:  "Yes, I'm fine.  They never touched me."  He looks at Lon and then at Psyche.  "But then, I didn't charge at them without any armor on."

[JadedDM]: Lon, the gnome, and Psyche all lay on the ground, unmoving.  A small pool of blood has formed from the gnome's neck wound.

[Viarra]: Catching sight of the gnome's neck wound, Viarra rips a strip of the gnome's shirt and bandages his wound. 

[JadedDM]: Marcus goes to check on Psyche again.

[JadedDM]: Viarra stops the bleeding.  The gnome seems just barely alive.  Another minute and it would have been too late.

[Psyche]: Psyche seems to be just fine except for the fact she isn't moving and she has bite marks around her ankle.

[Viarra]: Having stopped the gnome's bleeding, Viarra goes back to check on Lon. 

[JadedDM]: Marcus:  "No telling how long they'll be out.  We could just secure them to their horses and continue on."

[Viarra]: "Probably not a bad idea."  Viarra agrees, "No telling if more fire creatures are going to show up again.  Who’s the gnome riding with?"

[JadedDM]: Marcus chuckles.  "Good one."  He pauses, however, when he sees her face.  "You're not's a gnome."

[Viarra]: Viarra looks confused at Marcus's statement.  "Why shouldn't he come with us?"

[JadedDM]: Marcus:  "He's...a gnome."

[Viarra]: Viarra shrugs.  "I guess that means he's riding with me, then." 

[JadedDM]: Marcus looks exasperated.  "Are you people trying to bring down the wrath of the gods on us?  Surely Psyche wouldn't agree to this if she were awake."

[Viarra]: "Why wouldn't she?  I doubt Psyche would condone leaving an injured person to rot in the wild," Viarra says as she goes to collect her spent bolt. 

[JadedDM]: Marcus:  "I can't believe this."  He grumbles as he goes to collect Psyche and help get her strapped to her horse's saddle.

[Viarra]: "Seriously, what's so wrong?" Viarra asks as she collects her spent bolt.  "Help me out, here." 

[JadedDM]: Marcus:  "You sound like the rat-face.  Don't tell me you've never heard of a gnome."  He manages to secure Psyche to her saddle and then dusts off his hands and collects his glaive.

[Viarra]: "Nothing that would warrant leaving an injured gnome in the wild," Viarra says.  "And please don't call Lon names." 

[JadedDM]: The two manage to collect Lon and the gnome and head north again.  They travel for about forty minutes before Psyche and Lon can start to move again.

[Psyche]: Psyche moves her mouth a bit as she starts to get feeling back in her body. "How is he doing?" she finally asks, looking over to Viarra.

[Viarra]: Viarra pokes the gnome and smiles at Psyche.  "Glad to see you come around." 

[Lon]: Lon works his jaw and his sore joints, but otherwise is silent.

[JadedDM]: Marcus tosses the reins to Psyche's horse back to her.  "What is wrong with you?  You know, I can't really protect you in battle when you charge out like that at the enemy."

[Psyche]: Psyche catches the reigns, looking at Marcus in surprise. "I..." She looks almost shocked. "...Sorry."

[JadedDM]: Marcus:  "You're lucky that snake poison wasn't lethal."

[Psyche]: "I'm sorry. I just...wasn't thinking straight."

[Viarra]: "You doing okay?"  Viarra asks Lon as she gives the gnome another poke. 

[JadedDM]: The gnome is still quite unconscious.

[JadedDM]: Marcus doesn't say anything, but instead urges his horse forward, taking the lead of the party.

[Psyche]: Psyche watches him move forward, shaking her head and deciding it best to just be quiet.

[Lon]: "Who is that?" Lon asks, ignoring Viarra's question.

[Viarra]: Viarra's brow furrows and she frowns at Lon.  "It's the gnome we found with those snakes."

[Psyche]: "He's name is Cid," Psyche says softly.

[Viarra]: Viarra gives Psyche a curious glance.  "You've met him before?"

[Psyche]: "A long time ago. It was a...strange meeting. He apparently took out one of the Overlord’s strange...monkey like creatures."

[Viarra]: "Monkey like creature?"  Viarra glances at the gnome, then back to Psyche.

[JadedDM]: Marcus blinks and slows his horse so he’s riding parallel with them again.  "That gnome...that one there, took out a Blood Ape?  I find that hard to believe."

[Psyche]: "That metal tube is a lot more powerful than you realize."

[JadedDM]: Marcus:  "I didn't see a metal tube.  I saw a sword.  And I saw him go down pretty quickly.  Hardly a warrior that could take on a Blood Ape."

[Psyche]: "I didn't see him take out the Blood Ape, but I do remember seeing it dead. It was the first time I've ever came across one. The Overlord sent it rampaging on a town to test it out, from what I remember."

[JadedDM]: Marcus:  "It must have been a pretty weak version if that pathetic creature killed it."

[Psyche]: "Maybe." Psyche shrugs slightly, looking over to Cid.

[Lon]: "What's wrong with him?" Lon asks. "He should have woken by now."

[Viarra]: "He also had a pretty bad neck wound," Viarra explains with a shrug. 

[Psyche]: "Once we get to Edge Elm, Kestrel might be able to help him more than we can."

[JadedDM]: Marcus:  "She some kind of healer?"

[Lon]: "Why wait for that?" Lon asks. Reaching over from his horse, he uncorks a bottle and pours the liquid into the gnome's lips.

[Psyche]: Psyche merely nods to Marcus.

[JadedDM]: The gnome coughs and sputters and slowly starts to come to.  "Ughh...where am I?"

[Psyche]: "On your way to Edge Elm."

[Lon]: "How are you feeling?" Lon asks.

[JadedDM]: Gnome:  " was kicked in the head by a mechanical horse."

[Psyche]: "...Mechanical horse?"

[JadedDM]: Gnome:  "And I lie there, I saw a beautiful woman stand over me.  Could it have been an angel?  But my uncle said they don't exist...perhaps a hallucination..."

[Psyche]: Psyche laughs faintly.

[Lon]: "Now that you're awake, do you think you'll feel up to traveling on your own?" Lon asks politely.

[JadedDM]: The gnome blinks, and then looks around again, as if something were dawning on him.  "Travel?  Oh...right!  I remember now.  I was supposed to go to Edge Elm.  Uh...who are you people, anyway?"

[Psyche]: "I think we've met before. My name is Psyche."

[JadedDM]: The gnome eyes Psyche carefully.  "We...we have?  I'm sorry, nongs kind of all look alike to me."

[Viarra]: "How come you were going to Edge Elm?" Viarra asks the gnome.

[Psyche]: "Perhaps you remember the hobgoblin we were with at the time. He tried to kill you due to the fact he thought you were a demon."

[JadedDM]: The gnome twists around to face Viarra.  "Hey!  You're the one I saw...oh, I thought that was just an illusion gone awry..."  He scratches the back of his neck, and then looks back to Psyche.  "What?  I don't remember that."

[Lon]: "I'm sorry," Lon says. "My name is Lon. What's yours?"

[Viarra]: Viarra simply smiles at the gnome. 

[JadedDM]: The gnome catches Viarra's smile and dreamily returns it.  He snaps out of it at Lon's question.  "What now?  Oh, my name.  Right, of course.  I am Wingnut."

[Lon]: Lon looks expectantly at the rest of the party.

[Psyche]: "Guess I didn't know him then." Psyche takes a deep breath. "Why are you going to Edge Elm?"

[JadedDM]: Wingnut:  "My uncle sent me here to find a tree."

[Psyche]: "Your uncle? Why does he want you to find a tree?"

[JadedDM]: Wingnut:  "Uncle Cid and I are studying the effects of Negative Radiation on living organisms.  There's tons of it here in Renosia, you know.  Anyway, we heard of some tree up in this town that shields the town from the radiation.  We thought we could find a way to reproduce the effect artificially."

[Psyche]: "Negative radiation?" Psyche rubs her forehead a bit.

[JadedDM]: Wingnut:  "Yes, you know.  Oh, what was it you superstitious nongs called it again?  Dark Mist or something?"

[Psyche]: "Dark Mist. I know of the tree you are talking about."

[JadedDM]: Wingnut:  "I was making fair progress until the ground burped out those snakes.  A very strange phenomenon.  I'll have to report it to my uncle."

[Psyche]: Psyche clears her throat.

[JadedDM]: Wingnut:  "Oh, yeah.  Thanks for the help with that.  Looks like you really pulled me out of the blender.  You nongs are all right."

[Psyche]: "You're welcome."

[JadedDM]: Wingnut:  "Say, since we've traveled this far, what say I just stick with you until we get there?  You know, in case more snakes show up."

[Viarra]: "Fine by me," Viarra says with a shrug.

[Psyche]: "We are heading to the same place, so we might as well."

[JadedDM]: Marcus:  "Swell.  Next time, let's invite the snakes along, too," he mumbles.

[Psyche]: Psyche glances to Marcus for a moment, and then turns her attention back the ground.

[JadedDM]: The party travels on, and it is night before they finally reach Edge Elm.  It is, perhaps, the smallest hamlet they have ever seen.  There is one road that runs through the village, forming a spoon-like shape.  Where the spoon's handle would be are a series of dried-up, dead trees.  The mouth of the spoon appears to be the village square.  There's a large scorched area there.  The houses line the road, but you don't count any more than fourteen of them, total.  They are made of wood painted white with thatched roofs.  The road is deserted and most of the buildings are boarded up.

[Psyche]: Psyche shudders as she looks over the town.

[Lon]: Lon say uneasily, "Where were Kestrel and Wedge when you saw them?"

[Viarra]: "Well, at least it shouldn't be too hard to find your friends," Viarra says as she warily eyes the town. 

[JadedDM]: Marcus:  "Who would live in a place like this?"

[JadedDM]: Wingnut:  "Uh...huh.  I did not expect this."

[Psyche]: "It wasn't like this before. The last time I was here, the town was overrun with undead. The tree that protected this town turned against the town."

[JadedDM]: Wingnut:  "Tree?  The tree malfunctioned?  Why didn't you say that earlier?"

[Viarra]: "Well, at least this is an improvement over the last time you were here.  I don't see any undead, at least."

[Psyche]: "Would you have listened if I did mention it?" Psyche asks the gnome as she has her horse move forward, looking for Wedge's home.

[JadedDM]: Wingnut:  "Yes!  That's important."  He smacks himself on the forehead.  "Came all this way for nothing.  Uncle Cid'll kill me."

[JadedDM]: Psyche leads the others to one of the houses.  The windows are boarded up, but it looks like it's in better condition than some of the other buildings.

[Psyche]: "All the information on the tree is inside the Mayor's house, so you still might be able to learn something."  Psyche dismounts from Snow Dancer, looking over the house. "I think this is it," she says to the others.

[Viarra]: Viarra dismounts Fluffy and offers a hand to the gnome, if he needs help.

[JadedDM]: Wingnut accepts Viarra's help, as he stands only at 3 1/2' feet, making him shorter than Charr.

[Lon]: Lon gets off of his horse as well and surveys the house.

[JadedDM]: Marcus dismounts, as well.  "You sure your friends are here?  Looks like most of the town cleared out."

[Psyche]: "I'm sure." Psyche walks up to the door of the house and knocks softly. "Kestrel? Wedge?"

[JadedDM]: A few moments pass and then you hear a clicking sound on the other side of the door.  It slowly slides open, revealing a woman's face.  She has curly black hair and hazel eyes.  "Raz?  Is that you?"

[Psyche]: Psyche offers a small smile to the woman. "Sorry. I think I might have the wrong house. My name is Psyche."

[JadedDM]: The woman swings open the door.  "Psyche?  Psyche?!"  The woman throws her arms around Psyche and laughs cheerfully.

[Psyche]: Psyche nearly falls backwards as her arms wrap around the woman. "Kestrel?!"

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "Oh!"  She lets go of Psyche and backs away, trying to calm herself.  "I'm sorry.  I got overwhelmed.  Come in, please, out of the cold."  She steps aside.

[Psyche]: Psyche laughs before motioning the others to follow her as she steps inside the house.

[Viarra]: Viarra offers a smile and a nod to Kestrel as she follows Psyche into the house. 

[JadedDM]: Kestrel is a plain looking woman around Psyche's age.  She is wearing a very simple brown robe that looks to have seen better days.  There are several old blood stains on it, as well.

[Lon]: Lon walks through the doorway and nods at Kestrel as he passes by.

[Psyche]: Psyche looks around the house as she enters. "How long have you been here, Kestrel?"

[JadedDM]: They enter the living room, which looks like it hasn't been cleaned or dusted in awhile.  There are two windows, both are without glass and boarded up.  There's a couch with old blood stains on it, and several old bloody bandages piled beside it.

[JadedDM]: Kestrel almost answers Psyche's question, but she stops upon seeing Marcus and Wingnut.

[Psyche]: Psyche looks to Marcus and Wingnut. "I have some explaining to do. Is there a place a little more...private I can talk to you?"

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "Uh...I....well, if they are friends of yours, Psyche...," she trails off.

[JadedDM]: Marcus closes the door behind then and then leans against it.  Wingnut looks a bit bored and wanders over to one of the broken windows.

[Psyche]: "We just...saved, or rather poorly saved Wingnut. I...I just really need to talk to you in private...please?"

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "Of course, Psyche...but...we can't be rude toward your...companions."  She looks to the others.  "Please, make yourselves at home.  Oh, Lon.  It's good to see you again."

[Psyche]: Psyche looks at everyone. "Well, you all ready know Lon." Psyche motions over to Viarra." This is Viarra, the gnome is Wingnut, and the man over by the door is Marcus. Everyone, I guess go ahead and get comfortable."

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "I just knew you all had to be alive out there, somewhere.  Did you find anyone else?  Christophe or Draven or Jerros?"

[Viarra]: Viarra smiles at Kestrel again and tilts her head slightly to the left, as though hearing something far way.  "Excuse me."  She heads for the door.  "I forgot to let Spot out." 

[Psyche]: Psyche looks a little pained when Christophe's name is mentioned. "Christophe....Christophe was with us for a time."

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "Oh...well, I suppose we have a lot of catching up to do then."

[Psyche]: "More than you know. Wedge...I remember seeing him here when I was looking for you. Where is he? I have news of Luke."

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "He's downstairs, in the basement."

[Psyche]: "Will you take me down there?"

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "I could just call him up.  It won't take more than a second."

[Viarra]: "Mind if I get by real quick?" Viarra asks Marcus with a smile. 

[JadedDM]: Marcus nods and steps aside, letting her by.

[Psyche]: "Well, that could work too I guess."

[JadedDM]: Kestrel walks to the back of the room and calls down the staircase.  "Wedge!  Wedge, come up!  We have company!"

[Psyche]: Psyche crosses her arms as she waits, taking a look around the room again.

[Viarra]: "Thanks."  Viarra heads outside, quickly letting Spot out of her cage.  She lightly petted the owl before setting her free, into the night to hunt.  She isn't gone long and quickly returns to the room.

[JadedDM]: A young man comes up with short brown hair and brown eyes.  He's fairly good looking and clean shaven, wearing a white tunic and brown breeches and boots.  "Who is it, Kestrel?  Another report?"  He stops suddenly when he sees the party.

[Psyche]: Psyche smiles upon seeing Wedge. "Evening, Wedge."

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "Psyche?  Lon?  I...," he stops when his eyes reach Marcus.  The two lock eyes and both visibly tense.

[Psyche]: Psyche looks between Marcus and Wedge. "Marcus, would you mind taking Wingnut outside...please?"

[JadedDM]: Marcus doesn't reply, but instead readies his glaive.  "Psyche...get away from him.  Now."

[JadedDM]: Wedge likewise pulls out a long sword, his eyes locked on Marcus.  "Psyche..."

[JadedDM]: Wingnut:  "Oh, things are getting interesting."  He backs away toward a wall.

[Lon]: Lon draws a dagger, looking warily at the two.

[Psyche]: Psyche moves in front of Wedge, looking at Marcus. "What is going on?"

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "This man...cannot be trusted.  There is darkness in his heart."

[JadedDM]: Marcus:  "Psyche, can't you feel it?  The aura this guy's putting off?  I'm no mage, but even I sense it.  It's making my stomach turn upside down."

[JadedDM]: Wingnut pats his own stomach.  "I don't feel anything."

[Psyche]: Psyche looks over her shoulder to Wedge.

[JadedDM]: Despite Marcus' claims, none of you feel anything strange about Wedge at all.

[Psyche]: "I...I don't feel anything, Marcus. I don't know what you are talking about."

[JadedDM]: Marcus:  "How can you not?  It's oozing off of him."

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "What you feel is pure virtue, Bloodguard."

[Psyche]: Psyche looks to Kestrel. "Do you feel anything?"

[JadedDM]: Kestrel speaks up, having been shocked by the event.  "Psyche...Wedge, he's...he's different now."

[Psyche]: "What do you mean he's different now?"

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "He's a paladin, Psyche."

[JadedDM]: Marcus' eyes widen, although they remain locked on Wedge.  "A paladin?  That's impossible."

[Psyche]: Psyche turns to look at Wedge with wide eyes. "When?  How?"

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "That isn't important now."

[JadedDM]: Marcus:  "The only paladins in this area were with the Rebels.  And they're all dead!"

[Psyche]: Psyche takes a deep breath, not even sure what to say at this point.

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "That's where you're wrong, servant of evil."

[Psyche]: "Wedge...don't. He doesn't know." Psyche says through her teeth.

[JadedDM]: Marcus:  "I don't know what?  Psyche...are you...?"  His face registers complete surprise.

[Psyche]: Psyche turns to him, chewing on her lip. "I...I thought you would have figured it out by now."

[JadedDM]: Marcus wavers, his glaive lowering slightly, as a look of hurt crosses his face, but only for a moment.  His eyes then narrow and he backs away to the door.  "So...this is a trap then?  I guess I walked right into it."

[Psyche]: "No, it wasn't a trap, Marcus!"

[JadedDM]: Marcus:  "So are you with me...or are you with him?"

[Lon]: Lon gives a little snort.

[Psyche]: Psyche looks between Wedge and Marcus, looking like she is about ready to cry. "I..." she chokes out the word.

[JadedDM]: Kestrel steps forward suddenly.  "Whom do you serve?" she asks Marcus.

[JadedDM]: Marcus:  "What?  I...I serve...I work for Psyche."

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "And Psyche is a friend."  She walks to Wedge and puts a hand on his sword arm, slowly putting pressure down on it to lower the weapon.  "Which means no harm will come to you here."

[JadedDM]: Wedge gives Kestrel an incredulous look, but she returns it with a rather determined expression.  The paladin falters and then allows his sword to be lowered.

[Psyche]: Psyche keeps her eyes on Marcus, yet doesn't say anything.

[JadedDM]: Marcus' eyes dart around the room, but slowly, he eases his guard and allows the butt of his weapon to touch the floor.

[JadedDM]: Wingnut glances to Viarra.  "I feel like I walked in on a bad family reunion or something.  Intense, though.  Wish I had some popped corn kernels," he says softly to her.

[Psyche]: Psyche gives Kestrel a grateful look. "We...We need to talk."

[JadedDM]: Marcus:  "I need some air."  He turns, opens the door, and steps out, closing it behind him.

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  " it seems."

[Psyche]: Psyche watches Marcus leave, then turns to Viarra. "Will you...look after him, please?"

[Viarra]: Viarra glances at Psyche, about to say something, but bites her lip and sighs instead.  She wordlessly follows Marcus out the door. 

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "I just made a pot of tea...would anyone like any?" she asks.

[JadedDM]:  Viarra steps outside into the night, and spots Marcus not far off.  He's in the town square, near the scorched earth.

[Psyche]: Psyche sits down on the floor slowly, her hands shaking a bit as she nods to Kestrel. "Please."

[JadedDM]: Wingnut shrugs and plops on the couch.  "Thanks!"

[Viarra]: Viarra quietly follows Marcus, letting him be for a few moments before finally, quietly asking, "Are you all right?"

[JadedDM]: Kestrel nods and goes into the kitchen.  Wedge walks to the couch, but stops when he sees the gnome sitting there.  Instead, he walks over to the wall and leans against it.

[JadedDM]:  Marcus, his back still to her, shrugs.  "'re Rebels.  And all this time, I just thought you were refugees from another sector."

[Psyche]: "We found your brother, Wedge." Psyche finally says as she waits for the tea.

[JadedDM]: Wedge stands a bit straighter.  "Luke?  He is well?"

[Viarra]: Viarra smiles, though the gesture is lost on Marcus's turned back.  "Sorry, we're not that exotic."

[Psyche]: "He is staying at a farm, the Limani farm. They are taking really good care of him. I promised him that if I ever found you that I would send you that way."

[JadedDM]:  Marcus turns to face her.  "Then why...did you not leave me in that cavern?"

[JadedDM]: Wedge draws a circle over his heart.  "Thank Azedeth."

[Viarra]: Viarra studies Marcus intently for a few moments.  "It wasn't the right thing to do," she says simply.

[JadedDM]: Kestrel returns with a tray of teacups.  She hands one to Psyche, one to Wingnut, and one to Wedge.  The tray has two more cups on it, and she takes one.  She sets the trap on a small table near the couch.

[Psyche]: Psyche takes the tea gently and takes a few sips. "Nari also wishes to see you."

[JadedDM]:  Marcus:  "The right are Rebels after all."  He lowers his head.

[Lon]: Lon looks at the hot drink warily. He does not pick up the cup.

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "Nari is well?  I am glad to hear that, as well."

[JadedDM]: Kestrel frowns slightly for a moment, and then takes a seat on the couch next to Wingnut.

[Viarra]: "We're simply people getting by; trying to do what we believe is right from day to day," Viarra quietly says.

[Psyche]: "She wasn't happy that we didn't bring her here, but she's well." Psyche looks between them. "How did all of this happen? When did you become a paladin and how long have you two been in Edge Elm?"

[JadedDM]:  Marcus shakes his head.  "And that's why you avoid the Overlord and his men.  Because you're trying to overthrow him."

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "It is a long story.  It started with the attack on the Rebel Base."

[JadedDM]: Wingnut sips at his tea and looks around, confused.  He clearly has no idea what they are talking about.

[Viarra]: "In a nutshell."  Viarra nods.

[Psyche]: "It all starts there. The darkness...the cold, then the voices telling us it was hopeless." Psyche shakes her head, shuddering at the thought.

[JadedDM]:  Marcus:  "You can't possibly succeed.  You know that, right?"

[JadedDM]: Wedge nods.  "That's right.  But then I was covered in a soft light.  Azedeth spoke to me Himself.  He told me I was destined for great things, if I agreed to serve Him loyally.  I did, and when I woke up in Lumbertown, I realized it was no dream, but a vision."

[Viarra]: "We'll never know unless we try."  Viarra shrugs.

[Psyche]: "He did the same to Christophe, Lon, and I. He told us we needed to stick together and then mentioned the Halo. He said that we needed to find the Halo."

[JadedDM]:  Marcus:  "Then you'll die.  The Overlord is highly disciplined.  He's a genius tactician.  And you guys...?  You throw yourselves at the enemy with no thought or self-preservation.  You risk your lives to save people you don't even know. You won't last long enough to even challenge him."

[Psyche]: "Well...I'm not sure it was Azedeth, but it was certainly someone."

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "What is...the Halo?"

[Lon]: Lon blows a gust of air. "Then he, or whatever it was, didn't know what he was talking about. Especially, since Christophe..."

[Psyche]: Psyche looks to Lon sadly before looking to Kestrel. "I don't know. The dreams I've been having explain very little, but I think it is a weapon...or tool that can fight the Dark Mist."

[JadedDM]: Wingnut:  "The Negative Radiation?  My uncle's an expert on that," he pipes in.

[Viarra]: "We all die, eventually, Marcus," Viarra quietly says.  "We're not the best, and we're not the brightest.  We're just people who want to change the country for, what we believe is the better.  We challenge him simply by existing and by daring to hope for a better life."

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "Is Christophe...dead?" she asks.

[JadedDM]:  Marcus crosses his arms.  "What kind of better life?"

[Lon]: "He may as well be."

[Psyche]: "Not....not exactly." Psyche looks down at the tea in her hand.

[JadedDM]: Wedge looks to Lon, and then to Psyche.  "He turned then.  Betrayed you," he reasons.

[Viarra]: "The kind where people can grow into old age peacefully, a life without constant war.  A life where people don't have to worry about their basic needs, or about their leadership razing their village in the middle of the night."

[JadedDM]:  Marcus smirks.  "Even if you overthrew the Overlord, it wouldn't end the war."

[Psyche]: "It started in the town of Mudde . We were trying to save Nari. He never came back as we were running from the town. The Red Ram in that town said that he was dead, so we headed to Janus, and he appeared there. I didn't think much of it at first, or at all. During that month, he kept his head covered. I never saw his face. We managed to secure a base and everything. Then he proposed that we go to this cavern that once belonged to a powerful Drow Mage. We agreed to go...and that is when we learned he...he made a deal with a demon. The demon took over his body."

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "Oh, my...what a horrible fate."

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "He should not have made a deal then."

[Psyche]: "Christophe was going through a lot. With Draven gone...another rebellion failed...Draven carrying his child. It makes sense that he made the deal. This demon has a connection with my sister. I learned that my sister made a similar deal with a demon named Cefka to save me when I was younger."

[Viarra]: "Probably not.  It'll take a long time to change the way people thing, but, with new, more tolerant leadership in place, hopefully it eventually changes things.  But, we'll never know unless we try, unless we keep going, in spite of the enormous odds against us."

[JadedDM]: Wedge shakes his head.

[JadedDM]:  Marcus grunts.  "Well...I'll admit, it would be nice to get some humans in charge."

[Psyche]: "That is how we came in contact with Marcus. The reason why we went to this cavern in the first place is because we thought we could take something the Overlord wanted. Marcus was the only Bloodguard left after the whole ordeal. So I let him join us."

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "And he'll likely betray you as soon as he gets the chance."

[Lon]: "It's her decision,” Lon says.

[Viarra]: "That's not our sole purpose, Marcus.  There's more to a person than their race."

[Psyche]: "He..." Psyche sighs, taking a drink of the tea. "He is the least of our problems. Christophe, or rather Kassaroff now knows where our new base is. He...he made it there before we did and took advantage of Terrah." Psyche glances to Kestrel. "You remember her? From the Limani farm?"

[JadedDM]:  Marcus doesn't answer; instead he seems to be in deep thought.

[JadedDM]: Kestrel's eyes widen slightly.  She nods her head.  "Yes...the Limani's, I remember.  That poor thing."

[Viarra]: Viarra quietly stands by Marcus, allowing him ample time to process his thoughts.

[JadedDM]:  Marcus:  "All now you're here...recruiting a...a paladin," he says, nearly choking on the word.  "Then what?"

[Psyche]: "I've tried everything to get her to talk, but she won't do it. She was a warning to us to stay out of his way."

[JadedDM]: Wedge just shakes his head again.

[Psyche]: "So, while it is great to see the both of you okay. I came here hoping that you two will join again. We aren't the Rebels anymore, but the New Dawn."

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "The New Dawn?"

[Psyche]: "We knew it wouldn't be a good idea to go around saying we were the Rebels, so we gave ourselves a new name."

[JadedDM]: Wedge and Kestrel share a look.  Then Wedge stands up and uncrosses his arms.  "I am sorry, Psyche, but we cannot join you."

[Psyche]: "...Why?"

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "We are needed here.  Edge Elm is in great danger."

[Psyche]: "What do you mean?"

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "When Edge Elm was first attacked...I felt so helpless."  He balls up his fist.  "I prayed to Azedeth to be given the power to prevent something like that from ever happening again.  Azedeth heard my prayers and answered them, granting me holy powers.  I am a Ghosthunter.  I live to serve Azedeth by destroying all undead.  And although the Dread Elm is destroyed, the threat still exists."

[Psyche]: "Oh....I...I see." Psyche nods slightly. "If you won't join then, then could I ask a favor?"

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "What favor is that?"

[Psyche]: "Luke desperately wants to see you and Terrah needs to go home. The idea as to get you two, then send you, Terrah, and Nari to the Limani farm. I can't send Terrah there by herself."

[JadedDM]: Wedge shakes his head.  "Nothing would please me more than to see my brother, Psyche, but we cannot leave Edge Elm.  Not when an army of undead awaits us to drop our guard."

[Lon]: "An army?"

[JadedDM]: Kestrel nods.  "That is the threat Wedge spoke of.  The Grim General's army."

[Psyche]: "Grim General?"

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "A zombie lord.  He is from Necros, originally.  We believe he was the one who corrupted the Sacred Elm.  He has been building an army of zombies just outside of town.  He sends a couple now and again, just to weaken our morale, but also in hopes of leading us away from the village, so he can attack."

[Viarra]: "I can't honestly answer that question," Viarra says softly.  "If I had to guess, though, we'll be steeling up to go after Kassaroff."

[Psyche]: "Is there any way we can help?"

[JadedDM]:  Marcus:  "Okay...but I want to be on the inside from now on.  No more keeping secrets.  I'm not going to risk my life if I don't even know what I'm fighting for, got it?"

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "We could use all the help we can get.  The two of us cannot hope to stand against an army.  And we can't even leave the village to find out how many zombies he has created.  We don't even know what we’re up against."

[Viarra]: "I understand, and I'm sorry that secrets had to be kept, but I think that's something you ought to take up with Psyche."

[Psyche]: "If the rest of us agree to it, then we can help.”

[JadedDM]: Kestrel smiles.  "Azedeth surely directed you here to answer our prayers."

[JadedDM]:  Marcus:  "Yeah, I guess.  Not thrilled at working with a paladin, though."

[Viarra]: "How come?" Viarra asks, her brow creasing with curiosity.

[JadedDM]:  Marcus snorts.  "You'll find out soon enough, I guess."

[Psyche]: Psyche digs in her pack for a moment and pulls out a potion. She then hands it over to Kestrel.

[Lon]: "How many others are there?"

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "Other what?"

[Viarra]: "Aside from the fact that he seems to feel that you have a darkness in your heart?"

[JadedDM]: Kestrel looks the potion over.  "What is this?"

[JadedDM]:  Marcus:  "Paladins are uppity, arrogant pricks who look their nose down at anyone who isn't as self-righteous as they are.  Which is everyone."

[Psyche]: "A potion of zombie control. We found it in Frilothan’s Tower, our new base."

[Lon]: "Is it just us, against this Grim General?"

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "Him and his army of zombies."

[JadedDM]: Kestrel hands the potion back to Psyche.  "That is sure to come in handy."

[Psyche]: Psyche takes the potion back and then pulls out a scroll from her pack. "Prayers. I'm sure these will come useful to you."

[Viarra]: "To each, his own," Viarra says with a shrug.  "Personally, I could never really be bothered enough to care who thought what of whom.  I'd rather be having fun."

[JadedDM]: Kestrel unfurls the scroll and looks it over.  "Oh, thank you, Psyche."

[JadedDM]:  Marcus:  "And this is what you consider fun?  Running around all over the place, covered in blood and grime?"

[Psyche]: Psyche smiles faintly. "Do you two have anything else on this Grim General and his army?"

[Viarra]: "I get to meet all kinds of new and interesting people," Viarra says with a smile.  "The blood and grime washes away."

[JadedDM]: Wedge shakes his head.  "We haven't been able to learn any more than what I told you."

[JadedDM]:  Marcus:  "New and interesting.  Right."

[Viarra]: "It's better than being stuck in the same place, day in, day out with the same old faces."  Viarra smiles.

[Psyche]: Psyche nods slightly. "If we are to help, it might take all of us." Psyche sighs. "You don't know when he plans to strike?"

[JadedDM]:  Marcus frowns slightly to himself, but says nothing, as if Viarra's words sounded a bit too familiar to him.

[JadedDM]: Kestrel shakes her head.  "We can't get close enough to investigate without leaving the town unguarded."

[Psyche]: Psyche finishes off her tea. "Yet we might be able to."

[JadedDM]: Kestrel nods.  "If we knew how many zombies he had, we would have a better chance of organizing a defense."

[JadedDM]: Wingnut:  "Hey, I'll help, too.  Since the tree's dead's the least I can do for you nongs helping me back there."

[Viarra]: Viarra says nothing, looking up at the sky.  She can barely make out the sight of Spot, swooping for her prey, which she hungrily devours.

[Psyche]: "I need to talk it over with the others before anything else is decided." Psyche looks over to Wingnut and smiles faintly.

[JadedDM]:  Marcus:  "So now what?"

[JadedDM]: Wedge frowns slightly but says nothing.

[Psyche]: "Is it all right if we stay here tonight?"

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "There's not much room, but you can all camp out here in the living room, if you like."

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "Psyche, you can stay with me in my room, if you like."

[Psyche]: "Thank you."

[Viarra]: "Beats me.  I suppose Psyche'll let us know when it's all right to return."

[Psyche]: Psyche looks over to Kestrel and smiles. "Actually, that would be nice. Besides, we have some catching up to do."

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "There are some old blankets downstairs.  I'll go get them."

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "Psyche, about your two other...friends...we probably shouldn't leave them out in the cold."

[Psyche]: Psyche pushes herself up slowly. "I need to talk to Marcus anyway. I'll go get them."

[JadedDM]: Psyche steps outside and spots Marcus and Viarra standing by the scorched earth, where the Sacred Elm once grew.

[JadedDM]: Wingnut finishes his tea and sets the empty cup on the tray.

[Psyche]: Psyche watches the two of them for a moment before she walks towards where that tree once was.

[Viarra]: Viarra turns towards Psyche and smiles.  "How did everything go?" 

[Psyche]: "...Okay, I think. They aren't joining but that is because there is apparently an army of zombies threatening the town."

[Viarra]: "I wonder how we missed those on our way in," Viarra says. 

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "Are you all right, Lon?  You've been awfully quiet."

[Psyche]: "They are closer to Nercos, which is probably why. I...I want to help them though."

[JadedDM]: Marcus:  "No surprise there."

[Psyche]: Psyche looks at Marcus, wincing a bit before looking to Viarra.

[Viarra]: "Any idea just how large this army of zombies is?"

[JadedDM]: Marcus:  "Just make sure we have some kind of strategy.  That doesn't involve you running straight at them."

[Psyche]: "Actually, they can't find that out without leaving the town unguarded, but we could find out for them."

[Lon]: "Why wouldn't I be?"

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "Well...I just might have more to say," she says, caught off guard a little.

[Viarra]: Viarra looks to the skies again, and sends Spot flying north, being careful not to let the owl stray more than a mile from her. 

[Lon]: Lon shrugs. "Nothing I have to say is important."

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "I'm sure that's not true."

[Psyche]: Psyche watches the owl fly off.

[Viarra]: Viarra shakes her head.  "Not a thing for about a mile out.  Of course, I could always cast invisibility on myself and we could get some better range." 

[Lon]: "What's there to say?"

[Psyche]: "We can wait until tomorrow morning to decide all of this out. I'm not exactly sure where about this army is right now anyway. They don't know a lot."

[Viarra]: "Yes, but, in the morning, well, Spot doesn't see so good during the day." 

[Psyche]: "No, but you and I can, providing we have the right spells."

[Viarra]: "True, but, if we at least wait until tomorrow night, we have the added advantage of letting Spot recon about a mile ahead of us." 

[Psyche]: "We need to learn where about they are first, Viarra. Once we have that much, then we can plan from there."

[JadedDM]: Marcus:  "Psyche, I think that's what she's proposing.  Finding out where they are."

[Viarra]: Viarra nods. 

[Psyche]: "Oh..." Psyche shakes her head. "Sorry." she sighs softly. "I guess we can wait until tomorrow night."

[Viarra]: Viarra smiles kindly.  "It's been a long day.  I think I'll head inside."  She begins to walk off towards the house. 

[Psyche]: Psyche watches Viarra walk off, feeling a little uncomfortable now before she looks to Marcus.

[JadedDM]: Marcus:  "Why did you stop her?"

[Viarra]: Viarra knocks softly on the door.  "It's Viarra," she quietly says. 

[JadedDM]: Kestrel opens the door to let her in.

[Viarra]: "Thanks."  Viarra smiles at the other woman and steps inside. 

[JadedDM]: Wedge returns with the blankets.  He sets them on the couch.

[Psyche]: "Because it is late right now, and I don't know how far off that army is. It could take us all night to find it for all we know. "

[JadedDM]: Marcus:  "I hope the army isn't marching on us tonight then."  He looks around.  "So where am I sleeping?  The outhouse?"

[Psyche]: "Kestrel and Wedge are letting all of us stay in the house."

[JadedDM]: Marcus:  "Fun.  Let's go then."

[Psyche]: "I'm sorry, Marcus."

[JadedDM]: Marcus shrugs.  "Look, from now on, I want in on the inside.  No more secrets.  I'm not going to risk my neck pulling you out of danger if I don't even know why, get it?"

[JadedDM]: Wingnut grabs one of the blankets and lays it out on the floor.

[Viarra]: Viarra follows Wingnut's lead.  "Thank you guys for letting us stay here tonight," she says to Kestrel and Wedge.

[Psyche]: "....Okay, but why are you even staying after this? You can understand why I never said anything...right?"

[JadedDM]: Kestrel nods politely.  "I'm just sorry we don't have more beds for you."

[Viarra]: "It's just nice to be under a roof."  Viarra smiles appreciatively. 

[JadedDM]: Marcus:  "Look, I said I work for you now, right?  A deal's a deal.  You could have left me to rot in that cave, after all.  But if you're going to do something like this, you can't be stupid about it.  You'll get yourself killed at this rate."

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "Good night," he says simply, then goes to his room and closes the door behind him.

[JadedDM]: Kestrel watches him go and then sighs softly.

[Lon]: Lon sits down on the floor, leaning against a wall.

[Psyche]: Psyche nods slightly, crossing her arms, looking a little confused, but doesn't look like she is about to argue the point.

[JadedDM]: Marcus:  "Let's get inside," he says, and heads back to Wedge's house.

[Psyche]: Psyche watches him walk off before she glances to where the tree once stood. Taking a deep breath, she follows after Marcus.

[JadedDM]: Marcus and Psyche return, and he closes the door after her.  After a quick glance to note that Wedge isn't present, he begins unstrapping his armor and piling it in a corner.

[Psyche]: Psyche looks over everyone. "I'll be in Kestrel's room if anyone needs me."

[Viarra]: "Sleep well,” Viarra sleepily says from her spot on the floor. 

[JadedDM]: Marcus takes a blanket, leaving one left on the couch.  He spreads it on the far side of the room and lies down.

[JadedDM]: Kestrel guides Psyche to her own room.

[Psyche]: Psyche steps inside Kestrel's room quietly.

[JadedDM]: The next morning is Dymin 20th, Frostday.  You awaken to the smell of breakfast wafting out of the kitchen.  It's a calm and sunny morning.

[Viarra]: Viarra yawns and sits up, stretching out her neck and back.  She glances around to see if anyone else has woken yet. 

[Psyche]: Psyche slowly opens her eyes, lifting her head at the smell of food. Slowly she pushes herself up and straightens out her clothing before she steps out of Kestrel's room quietly.

[JadedDM]: Marcus is gone, as is his armor and glaive.

[JadedDM]: Wingnut is curled up on his blanket, snoozing quietly.

[Lon]: Lon is swiftly awake, and he goes to investigate the aroma coming from the kitchen.

[Viarra]: Viarra thoughtfully studies the corner where Marcus's armor used to be, then shrugs.  She quickly folds up the blanket, places it on the couch, and follows Lon into the kitchen. 

[Psyche]: Psyche walks into the living room and comes to a pause upon seeing Marcus gone. She closes her eyes leaning against the wall  while everyone is in the kitchen.

[JadedDM]: Lon and Viarra enter the rather spacious kitchen to find Kestrel over the stove.  She appears to be cooking some kind of stew.  "Oh, good morning," she says to them when she spots them.  "I'm so used to just cooking for me and Wedge.  So I hope I made enough."

[Viarra]: "Do you need any help?" 

[JadedDM]: The front door opens, and Wedge steps inside, now wearing his chain mail.

[Psyche]: Psyche looks over to Wedge as she hears the door open and almost frowns before she pushes herself away from the wall and walks into the kitchen.

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "Oh, no.  In fact, I think it's done now, if you want to grab a bowl."

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "Good morning, Psyche," he says simply.

[Psyche]: "Morning," she mutters softly.

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "Are you unwell?"

[Lon]: Lon doesn't need to be told twice and moves forward to get a bowl.

[Viarra]: "It smells wonderful," Viarra smiles at Kestrel and waits a piece to help herself to a bowl. 

[JadedDM]: Kestrel fills both of their bowls with the stew, which seems to contain both meat and vegetables.

[Psyche]: "I'm....I'm not sure yet."

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "Perhaps you need some fresh air?"

[Lon]: Lon blows at the stew, waiting for it to cool.

[Psyche]: "Actually...I think that would be a good idea at the moment." Psyche walks towards the door.

[JadedDM]: Wingnut sits up and yawns.  "Ooh, I smell some grub."

[JadedDM]: Psyche steps outside into the humid air.  She spots Marcus in the town square, apparently practicing with his glaive.

[JadedDM]: Kestrel fills a couple more bowls and sets them on the table, in case someone else wants some.  She also makes herself a bowl.

[Viarra]: Viarra politely waits until their hostess has begun to eat before helping herself. 

[Psyche]: Psyche leans back against the closed door for a moment upon seeing Marcus. She even lets out a sigh of relief.

[JadedDM]: Kestrel says a soft prayer to Azedeth and then digs in.

[JadedDM]: Wedge opens the door, causing Psyche to nearly lose her balance.

[Psyche]: Psyche stumbles forward, looking over her shoulder to Wedge. "Oh...sorry."

[JadedDM]: Wedge shakes his head.  He lets himself out and then closes the door.  "He has been up since before dawn."

[Psyche]: "He has?"

[JadedDM]: Wingnut enters the kitchen, joining them.  He takes one bite and then gulps.  "Whoa...kind of...uh...flavorful, isn't it?"

[JadedDM]: Wedge nods quietly.

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "I always heard that gnomes eat metal."

[JadedDM]: Wingnut:  "That's just a myth."

[Psyche]: "Has he been doing that all morning?"

[JadedDM]: Wedge nods again.  "He got here before me.  That's where I usually practice."

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "So, where are you from Viarra?"

[Psyche]: "He was a Bloodguard, so I guess that explains him being up before dawn."

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "Was?"

[Viarra]: "Somewhere worth leaving."  Viarra smiles easily at Kestrel.  "What about you?  Have you always lived in Edge Elm?" 

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "Oh, no.  I just kind of appeared here after...well, I'm originally from Dan'gen, actually."

[Psyche]: "He works for us, Wedge. I didn't want to send him back to the Overlord only to get killed. I know the Overlord would kill him, due to the fact he was the guard I charmed to get into the Stronghold to save Amakororo. I felt I owed him."

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "And you think you can trust him?"

[Viarra]: "Dan'gen, really?" Viarra asks.  "I can't say I've ever been there.  What's it like?" 

[Psyche]: "He hasn't left." She looks to Wedge.

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "Well, it's huge.  And lively.  The biggest city in Bloodtooth, after all.  I grew up on a farm outside of the city, but once I was of age, I moved into the city itself.  I lived with a tailor, as his assistant."

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "If he believes he can turn you in once he has the chance..."

[Viarra]: Viarra smiles at Kestrel.  "It seems that you've come a long way from being a tailor's assistant.  How is it that you became a priestess?" 

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "How did you...oh, Psyche must have told you.  Well, I was mentored by an elf named Daeval.  You see, it turned out the tailor I worked with was a Rebel sympathizer.  He introduced me to Daeval and the Rebels."

[Psyche]: "I've all ready thought of it." Psyche looks to the ground. "I've...and maybe I don't want to think he will betray us...or me."

[JadedDM]: Wedge glances at her.  "It would be easy to let one's emotions blind them to reality," he warns.

[Psyche]: "I know. I'm not sure what to do."

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "What would Azedeth want you to do?"

[Psyche]: "I don't think Azedeth would want me to give up on him. I don't think Azedeth wants me to go around smiting evil all the time. If there is a chance for change, then maybe I can go that route."

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "And you think he can change?  After living a life under D'lokka and the Overlord's thumb?" he asks skeptically.

[Psyche]: "Others have, haven't they?"

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "Name one."

[Psyche]: Psyche looks thoughtful for a moment. "Okay, I can't, but it doesn't mean I should just give up.”

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "I hope your instincts are true then."  He goes back inside for some breakfast.

[JadedDM]: Wingnut looks around the quiet table, and then pipes in.  "Well, I'm from Smog, originally."

[Viarra]: "Is it as bad as the name sounds?" Viarra asks. 

[JadedDM]: Wingnut:  "It's all right.  My uncle raised me after my parents died."

[Viarra]: "I'm sorry for your loss." 

[Psyche]: Psyche watches Wedge go back inside before she walks to the town square where Marcus is practicing. "Hey..." she calls out to him.

[JadedDM]: Wingnut shrugs.  "It was forty years ago.  I don't remember them too well anymore."

[JadedDM]: Marcus pauses in mid-swing, then turns to face her.  "Yeah?"

[Viarra]: "How old does your kind get to be, anyway?" 

[Psyche]: "Breakfast is ready if you want any."

[JadedDM]: Wingnut doesn't look much older than 17 or 18, by human standards.  "Oh, some of us live up to be 300 or so."

[JadedDM]: Marcus wipes some sweat from his brow and nods.  "All right."

[Psyche]: Psyche smiles to him before turning away. She walks back to the house to get breakfast herself.

[JadedDM]: Wedge joins the others at the table, and so do Psyche and Marcus.

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "So what is our plan?"

[Psyche]: Psyche a few bites of the stew. "Well, we need to first find out where this army is located."

[Lon]: Lon has finished his bowl of stew, even a second one, and looks up.

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "To the north, that's all we know for sure."

[Lon]: "Shouldn't we give word to Nari, somehow? In case...”

[Viarra]: "Spot and I can go looking for the army, tonight.  In honesty, between the longevity of my invisibility spell, and Spot's quietness, it's probably best if I scout alone." 

[Psyche]: "I'm not sure how I can get word to Nari, honestly Lon."

[JadedDM]: Marcus:  "What about your imp?  He can fly, can't he?"

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "Imp?!"

[Psyche]: Psyche looks over to Wedge. "We have a fire imp with us."

[Viarra]: "Yeah, there's an imp that lives in my mandolin.  He's really nice," Viarra says.  "And I don't know.  I don't like the idea of Charr being far from the mandolin." 

[JadedDM]: Kestrel:  "Wedge..."

[JadedDM]: Wedge doesn't say anything, he just rubs at his temple as if he has a horrible headache.

[JadedDM]: Wingnut:  "You can make yourself invisible?"

[Viarra]: Viarra nods at the gnome.  "And other people, but only one at a time."

[JadedDM]: Wingnut:  "Keen gear, that sounds useful.  All I can do is make myself look different."

[Psyche]: Psyche looks over to Viarra and Wingnut for a moment. "I'm not sure I want to send you out there alone, Viarra. Maybe Lon could go with you."

[Viarra]: "I don't know; there's a very slim chance of me getting spotted, and if I get in trouble, I can always use pyrotechnics to signal back." 

[Psyche]: "Well...all right. We need to know where they are located and about how many, so if you think you can do it."

[Viarra]: "I don't plan on getting terribly close to any of them," Viarra says with a smile.  "I'm sure I'll be fine." 

[JadedDM]: Marcus:  "And what will the rest of us be doing?"

[Psyche]: "I guess we could be helping with this town’s defenses."

[JadedDM]: Wedge:  "There aren't many villagers left.  We could probably fortify the inn to keep them safe."

[Psyche]: Psyche nods. "It kept us safe for a little while the last time we were here."

[JadedDM]: (All right, we'll end it here.)


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