[pnpgm] Game Update #158 - File #1097 - Recons are made

Scott Adams longshotgm at netzero.com
Mon Mar 21 20:48:27 CET 2011

  HT Alias/Player          Character Name    Type    Status/Notes  Sex
  -- -----------------------------------------------------------------
  R1.John Haight...........Arawn.............Druid  .Normal/Alfar  Ma
  ??.Chris Wells...........Ben'dar...........Warrior.Normal/Human  Ma
  R4.Tom Corckett..........Caladan...........Wizard  Normal/Human  Ma
  W2.Marcel Liberty........Chion.............Sailor..Normal/Human  Ma
  W3.Ryan Torres...........Farseeker.........Warrior.Normal/Human  Ma
  --.Tobie Bonahoom........Fremea............Sidh....Normal/Faerry Fe
  R2.Mark Murtha...........Kell..............Trader..Normal/Human..Ma
  R1.David Sanders.........Kiet.Sunan........Acrobat Normal/Human  Ma
  R4.J H Hooten............Raban.Usherwood...Bard....Normal/Human..Ma
  W2.Robert Maxwell........Strie'bog.........Bard....Normal/Human..Ma
  W4.Wout Broere...........Unali.............Ninja...Normal/Human  Fe
  R1 John.Stowman..........Will..............Hunter..Normal/Human..Ma
  R4.Alex Koponen..........Z'leyra...........Healer..Normal/Human  Fe
  R1 NPC...................Zhou Kiwat........Noble...Normal/Human..Ma
     Animals: Corona [Eagle] Z'leyra, Tef'wo (Horse) Ben'dar, 

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     Game Update #158 in sequence (file #1097)      
     Admin Notes: None. 

        From Will: [Re: Actions]                                
          Will speaking to Farseeker "If all goes well with scouting...
          Will picks up an apple with a particularly large worm hole.
          Taking out his dagger he scoops out the worm (looks at it a
          second to make sure its a normal worm) tilts back his head drops
          it in his mouth squirting juice as he bites it in half and then
          says:  "Um mm juicy!"
        GM: Ack.

        From Kell: [Re: Missing post]
          Scouting by flight is a wonderful idea, one Ha'kell agrees with
          wholeheartedly.  As long as Fremea can be safe too.

          Maybe Will and one other can scout at ground level, creeping
          around the mount looking for openings?  Squirt can run up to the
          base of the mount and scout as well, but he isn't always the most
          reliable.  The Vong will probably ignore Squirt though.
        GM: Ack. 

        From Arawn: [Re: Actions]
          As discussions continue regarding scouting Arawn stands up from
          where he was sitting at the base of one of the apple trees.
          "I would prefer neither scout go alone but Fremea has few....
        GM: Ack. 

        From Will: [Re: Actions]
          OOC:  Z' could take the form of an eagle.

          Will nods  "Good... lets do it"
          OOC:  Will leaves behind extra armor and weapons just taking bow
          arrows daggers, wand and wearing buckskins.  He will also take
          water and enough stuff to bandage a wound. He also takes time to
          examine a good spot away from any traffic or other activity to
          teleport to in case of an emergency taking time to sketch it out
          and make sure it is suitable. (Probably a sot of these things he
          could have taken care of already as he has been thinking about
          this for a while as we came down out of the pass and moved into
          the trees.)

          If I am reading the map correctly the clearing is less than 2000
          feet across so I'm thinking we only have a circumference of about
          a mile to traverse.  Though of course with the need to remain
          hidden stealthy etc while at the same time observing the mount
          will slow us down.

          By the way has anybody asked the bug map thing to show us the
          secret back door you know the one no one would expect us to come
        GM: Ack. If you guys know "Secret door" in Vong you are free to
            ask but its not on the list made by the Brigader.  Darn!

        From Kell: [Re: Actions]
          Not sure if he can help the scouts or not, Ha'Kell will do
          whatever to assist.  He will use his forest hiding abilities to
          help hide where the party waits for their return.  Both the scouts
          and the party all need to remain undetected by the Vong.

          Speaking to Squirt Kell asks the beast some small questions about
          scouting the general area.  And asks if the little devil will
          behave for Will and Arawn if they want to take him along as an
          extended scout.   If Squirt promises to behave, and Will and
          Arawn want the critter, Squirt will go with them.  As a messenger
          back to the party and as extended eyes.

          [Scott, I know this is a lot of ifs.  I didn't want to speak for
          Squirt in this case, or Will and Arawn.  Just throwing another
          idea out, even if it likely is not done.]
        GM: Ack. Didn't know you learned the Ferret language? :) Whoa
            you do know it.  Ok.  Shucks could've had more fun without it. :)

        From Arawn: [Re: Actions]
          Arawn doesn't have a problem taking Squirt along if Squirt can
          behave himself:)

          Arawn will take only advantage of his Forest Survival and
          alfar/elvish ability to Hide in Forest to scout out the forest,
          just slightly apart from Will and Squirt to minimize chance of
          detection but close enough for each to assist the other in case
          of trouble.
        GM: Ack.

        From Z'leyra: [Re: Actions]
          Z'leyra hands the hair back to Fremea and says in a low voice in
          Faerry Sidh "I was going to use the hair to dedicate the...
        GM: Ack.

        From Fremea: [Re: Teasing dwarves]
          The hidden imp of mischief finds the lone dwarf by the desk and
          pinches him. Making sure to leave behind the well chewed pencil
          of the author.
        GM: Ack. You are cruel.  For that I had to pay for the cleanup
            and FEMA refused to pay for the disaster relief.  :<

     [New Stuff]

         [Augado 10th, 1634TH]
         [Location: Middle Katai Plains] 
         [          Mountains west of Pamau]

         [Time: 9:24am]

           Farseeker nibbles on his own apple and watches other prepare
         to go on their scouting missions.

           Will listens to Farseeker's comments and replies, "If all goes
         well with scouting the perimeter I should think that after Fremea
         and I return that we should send someone behind whatever back door
         window etc we find to make sure its not a trap, Z'leyra perhaps?"
         Will turning to the others "If you don't think so maybe we should
         ask everyone else.  Who wants to know what's behind the door before
         we go in?"

           Caladan leans on his war staff, others wonder how much weight
         that thing can take since he does that all the time, he considers
         the scouting. "I think we should go as a group.  There is no telling
         if the scout will be in trouble or captured or once discovery
         is made by them how long we can act.  They could close those
         doors and the others find it harder to open them again."

           Will knows the spells the Shaman will do will take a few minutes
         so finds the apple Farseeker threw down.  With his buckskin gloves
         he picks it up.  He turns it this way and that.  Then draws his
         dagger and cuts the apple to find the worm.  It takes a couple
         seconds and he finds it.  The woodsman picks up the worm which
         is black and a bit green in places on the dagger.  The worm is
         clearly confused and tries to find food or ground again.  Will
         grins oddly and watches the panicked worm wiggle its small head.
         The worm finally sees the strange human and doesn't understand
         the sight before him.

           From behind others are watching Will with some interest except
         for Fremea and Z'leyra who are busy elsewhere.  Will has seen
         many such worms before.  In fact in the west he has heard of some
         strange drink with a worm in it, but never tried it.  Raising the
         dagger, Will tilts his head back.  Using a gloved finger Will
         shoves the worm down the dagger.  The worm slides down and
         again panics as it loses ground.  Will opens his mouth showing his
         white canines to the worm.  The worm then drops into Will's
         mouth and he crunches down.  The juice and body parts spreads
         throughout his mouth and in between teeth.  Will begins to
         do a couple of quick chews and then swallows.  Wiping the
         juice from his lips he adds, "Um mm juicy!"

           Strie'bog frowns and shakes his head.  Farseeker and Ben'dar
         grin having seen such stunts in many bars before.  A worm is
         harmless now if he had bitten a rat's head off that would be
         worth a good bar bet.

           Caladan turns from the sight and whispers to Arawn,
         "disgusting.  They call me barbarian."

           Arawn silently nods but know it is too late to save the worm.
         To abuse such life is wrong but there is bigger battles to wage
         and minds to change in more vital issues.

           Z'leyra gathers Fremea to the side and sits her down.  She
         looks over the forest for possible ideas.  She knows she
         could find a nice tree and obtain a nice sized limb.  But she
         would need to carve, trim, cut, decorate it and it would take
         some time.  Maybe too much time.  She decides that could also
         lead to further issues down the line.

           Z'leyra reaches into her bag and pulls out a strip of leather
         she has previously worked on to make a sling.  It is lightly
         already decorated.  She quickly forms into a bracelet sized
         item for the Faerry's wrist.  She cuts a small hole with her
         dagger into it.  Then she grabs the hair from Fremea to use it.
         She knows the hair isn't technically required but it adds a
         bit of non magical dedication to the magic item.

           Sitting on the grass about 30 feet from the party she casts
         a quick divination spell to see if her spells will work.  The
         spell trick was a way to cheat fate.  But she knows fate can
         cheat her by simulating a spell success when in fact it doesn't
         happen.  Arawn has mentioned the method tries to circumvent
         the god's by cheating fate.

           She casts the divination spell and doesn't hear as normal but
         only sees the quick few moments in the future.  The spell itself
         can't visually tell her of success but when she sees the bracelet
         leather strip twist and gnarl and shrink a bit that is a clear
         sign in the item construction something failed.

           Z'leyra has Fremea go to another spot and she recasts the spell.
         She finds the item seems in great shape in the future but isn't
         100% sure it will work.  she wraps the long hair through the
         tiny hole cut in the strip and twirls it around in and out a few
         more times to make a tiny hair bracelet around the leather
         bracelet.  She then casts the ensorcellment and teleport spell
         onto the leather strip.

           Finally standing she casts purification onto the spot below
         her feet.  Not using her staff she casts it the old fashioned
         way without the bonus the staff provides.  But she does have
         some magical luck behind her.  Lastly, she casts detection
         spells on the item to ensure the enchanted item is there as
         well as the presence of the teleport spell.  She confirms they
         exist and then finds the purified ground has failed.

           Since the divination spell wouldn't have alerted her to this
         fact she recasts the purification spell onto the ground
         and recasts detection to show it is in place.  She hands the
         semi delicate item over to Fremea and tells her the trigger
         phrase to cast it.

           Z'leyra examines the item carefully and considers the energy
         needed to create the item.  Such a simple item for a short term
         purpose tied to the ground below her feet.  It will be useless
         beyond today unless they can give it to a local wizard who
         might use it to escape but the chances of that are slim to none.

           Z'leyra notices Kell speaking to the red eyed Squirt quietly
         and it reminds her of FisherKing her previous eagle.  They
         were both close friends for years and to be killed on Clima
         in such a senseless way.  She is surprised Kell would bring
         the pet along while she leaves Corona.  A pain of slight quilt
         comes to mind at that thought but she knows Corona could be
         killed by Vong weapons or bugs just as easily as herself.  While
         Corona and her has become close they aren't as close as FisherKing
         due to a slight coldness to Corona's personality.  She tries
         to get close but he seems to just be wary.  Ever since Lady Varo
         gave him the strange bird she feels more responsible to him and
         her in a protective sense rather than a companionship.  She
         will have to fix that after this mission.

           Fremea taps her arm and Z'leyra comes out of her reverie.  She
         looks down at the item and decides the hair on the item
         isn't needed after all as she changed the ritual.  In fact she
         knows if others got the hair it could be used against her.  She'll
         have to explain that to Fremea at a later time.  Z'leyra begins
         to unwrap the hair from the item.

           Z'leyra hands the hair back to Fremea and says in a low voice in
         Faerry Sidh, "I was going to use the hair to dedicate the teleport
         to you. But I have decided that dedication is not necessary, so
         here is your hair back. The vocal trigger for the item will be,"
         she switches to Marentian, "the Faerry sidh word for 'Flee'."

           Z'leyra takes the small bracelet and places it on Fremea's left
         wrist. Z'leyra notices on Fremea's right wrist is the silver Faerry
         sized bracelet given to her by Kiet inscribed with the Elder runes
         for a spell.

           As discussions continue regarding scouting Arawn stands up from
         where he was sitting at the base of one of the apple trees. "I
         would prefer neither scout go alone but Fremea has few options
         for companions."

           Arawn looked away from the party, his gaze drifting off into the
         deeper part of the forest. "As for Will, I will accompany him.
         There are few that understand the forest better than the Sidh."

           Will nods, "Good... lets do it."

           Kell finishes talking to Squirt and asks him if he will behave
         if he can help Arawn with scouting.  The animal always has that
         same expression of little-me-do-nothing-bad seems to agree.
         But even though pet and master can communicate, Kell knows the
         animal has a mind of its own.  Given food, the opposite sex or
         a fun chase those instincts will kick in over the duties it
         might have to the tall human pals it has.  To ensure it isn't
         hungry Kell gives it some berries found earlier this morning and
         some cheese as well as a bit of apple.  Hopefully that will
         prevent that instinct.  The other two will have to be left up
         to fate.

           Arawn agrees to take Arawn but is a bit hesitant.  Arawn
         knows the animal likely won't hurt him.  But he'll have to
         carry him to ensure he is nearby and quiet for most of the
         trip.  This will prevent him to concentrate fully on his forest
         skills.  Besides deep down he knows no creature should have
         red eyes unless its evil or Kotothi.  Those eyes make Arawn's
         neck hair raise a bit each time he sees them.  Kell reminds
         the animal to remain quiet during the stealth mission but to
         help scout when able.

           Will glances over at the three and shakes his head just slightly
         but isn't noticed.  Going alone is far faster but Arawn does
         make a point about Sidh and those spooky forest skills.  Will
         knows Arawn has moved about a forest not seen by camp sentries
         many a night.  Will is glad the Alfar is on his side.

           Fremea also prepares to lift off shifting her arrows and
         quill to the side so they don't spill out.  It will be great
         flying once again for a purpose rather than looking for trails
         or food.

           Zhou glances at the group about to leave.  "I'm not so happy
         with folks separating.  But I see the need for it at this
         point."  He glances to Unali to see if she objects or has words
         to add.  "Just be careful.  Do NOT engage the enemy.  We must
         confirm they are here and how best to enter that rock only. Do
         NOT enter the rock if they are there or to check further.  We
         need to form a plan after that."  He glances to Will to ensure
         his words sink in.  Of the three he feels Will might be the
         rebel of the trio.  Then he glances at the others. "If you
         encounter the Vong try to avoid and report back."

           After a few moments of silence Fremea takes to the canopy
         and then looks around.  She then takes to the skies and
         flies toward the south west mountain.

           Arawn, Squirt and Will head north and a bit north east to
         check the perimeter of the mountain from the ground.

           Ben'dar and Chion secure the horses to ensure they will have
         enough grazing room but tied up to trees.  Ben'dar's mood changes
         when he realizes this will be another foot mission likely rather
         than some glorious horse battle.

           Caladan reaches up and pets his Firesnake on his shoulder.
         he never saw the need to name it as it can't hear the name
         at any rate.  But to him he has a private name they both use.
         He flashes a few hand signals and the animal rests and relaxes.
         Caladan glances around the forest at the trees.  Apple trees
         grow near his home in the forest north of Maren but not in such
         large clumps.  It reminds him of home and the days at his home
         relaxing and pondering wild thoughts.

           Farseeker pulls out a few spare weapons from his horse bags
         and prepares them to carry.  "We should prepare to take what
         we need.  Plenty of spare weapons and armor.  I suspect by
         end of the day we'll all need a bath and change of clothing."
         A slight gleam is seen to his face not for the battle to come
         but the thought of tactics and hope for his allies.  He knows
         it will be tough.  Farseeker knows he could probably even
         take Raban in a fair fight with some well placed hits but
         doesn't dare admit the Vong are tougher.  Their armor and
         love for pain make them fanatical creatures.  Though he
         could take 1 or 2 Vong easy he knows not to admit that even
         those will be a challenge.

           For the past few minutes, Raban has been helping to get apples
         from tall limbs.  While others have to stretch he simply has
         to reach up.  He doesn't mind this task but it makes him feel
         like some barbarian porter.  Lucky for his mood each person
         thanks him for the help.  Raban glances around at the party
         and hopes this rag tag group will be able to win today.  He
         worries about Fremea going it alone.  He could fly with her
         but a flying giant his size compared to her size would draw
         more attention.  He hopes she will be safe and hopes the item
         Z'leyra made will work.  A slight grin comes to his face when
         he sees Arawn take Squirt into the forest.  He knows the men
         can take care of themselves.  But he hopes squirt doesn't hurt
         Arawn.  Arawn takes a bit of water from a skin and wipes his
         face then with a grunt sits at the base of a tree.  The Bard
         wonders if his goddess knows about the coming day and how
         important it might be for him and her.  Does she even know
         the Vong exist? 

           Z'leyra takes items from bags and shifts them around.  She
         selects what she might need.  Healing materials for sure.  She
         wonders if her supplies will be sufficient to save lives.  She
         knows by sunset she'll certainly need it if the day goes as
         it seems to so far.  She had considered scouting with Fremea
         as an Eagle but knows two flying creatures might draw undue
         attention as well.  Plus Fremea is just a tad faster and
         that item she made might leave her behind if used if she
         flew with Fremea.  She glances to her staff and realizes she
         didn't use the staff for the spells.  She pauses at that.  Could
         all this time without it actually be changing her to depend
         on her skills rather than her aids? She will have to ponder
         that later.

           Zhou crosses his arms as he watches the party and paces slightly
         crunching leaves underfoot.  He is clearly nervous being this
         close to the enemy and a bit agitated.  He wishes he just had
         better intelligence for the area and the Vong presence.  The
         others have solid worries about going into this blind.  But
         with what they have in front of them it is of little choice.
         He also wages war with his motives.  Should he stay here to
         guard the horses or go with the others in the heart of the
         enemy?  Surely they'll think him coward if he remains.  Then
         Kiet would be obliged to stay and how could he get rid of him?
         Maybe he should go just so he can help out.  Even a weak
         body is better than nothing.  Plus if word gets back that he
         didn't even have one fight with the Vong it would be difficult
         facing many back home.

           Zhou glances around for Unali.  Ever since the slaughter at
         the village she has been quiet.  But there is no concern for that
         as she is clearly upset at her neighbors being killed.  She is
         probably just concentrating on the Vong rather than getting
         emotional over the deaths.  Sven always said emotion can blind
         action.  Zhou finds Unali in the bushes changing into her black
         clothing.  he sees the top of her right shoulder bare in the ray
         of light around her and glances away.  She is cute but she would
         never fall for him and his dirty beard.  Plus she is a bit too
         masculine for his tastes.  He glances to Z'leyra and shakes his
         head.  Maybe when or if he returns he can settle down with a nice
         wizard gal and have kids. 

           Strie'bog places his bow on his shoulder and taps Kell on
         his arm.  Whispering he says, "Arawn had a good idea on the
         birds.  Let's go find some and I can chat with them."  The
         bard knows a Elf even a hybrid one might be a good ally in
         the forest.  Strie'bog is no novice to the forest as his own
         innate abilities from his parents allow him to be as master
         of the forest.  But a second person is always good.

           Kell shifts his weapon on his belt and glances about.  Why
         not?  Why should the others get some fun while he stays behind.
         He shrugs and nods.  Both men slip away after Strie'bog tells
         Farseeker of his plans.  The Bard tells the warrior he'll not
         be far just within ear reach if need to yell.  But he knows
         best not to ask Zhou.

           Kell and Strie'bog slip through the moderate growth of bushes
         and trees.  The forest would be classified as medium size and
         not as thick as a jungle but not as light as woods.  It would
         make horses running difficult but walking possible as they
         avoid objects.  After about half a mile, Strie'bog points to
         a tree limb with a few birds.  

           Strie'bog asks Ha'Kell to guard the area. Once he enters
         into the ritual his attention will be distracted.  He'll be aware
         but it is good to have backup just in case.  After a minute
         or two and some Sidh and magical words he calls for the birds.
         Strie'bog doesn't know the Bird language for Song Birds like
         Arawn but his magic helps there.  Soon a blue bird the size
         of a bluejay lands on the Bard's arm.  After a few moments the
         bird begins to tweet and sing while Strie'bog makes funny noises
         on his own.

           Kell watches in some amusement.  he has seen Z'leyra and Arawn
         speak to horses.  Even he speaks to Squirt.  Caladan talks more
         or less to his firesnake.  Z'leyra to her bird.  He considers
         maybe the party should open a city zoo.  They could earn some
         nice coin by talking to animals and healing them of their
         wounds mental and physical.  The merchant side of him gets
         the better part of him and he places it back of his mind
         for later consideration.  He watches and listens to the
         forest around him.

           Kell watches the animals he can see.  Most are no smaller
         than a song bird and a few insects.  He is sure the larger
         ones like deer and squirrel are hiding from the nasty scary
         people looking at them.  Kell looks at a dark brown owl
         tall on a tree some distance away.  The owl is awake this
         time of day but likely due to the alert system that nature
         and the animals do when humans enter the area.  Kell squints
         at the owl and wonders if he would have more info for the
         Bard.  Kell finds the bird a bit creepy as well.  Any animal
         that can turn its head almost completely around isn't normal
         to his mind.  The owl soon launches itself up to higher limbs
         and out of sight. 

           After a few minutes Strie'bog lets the bird return to its
         foraging and looks around. "Let's return to the camp."

           upon returning to the camp, Zhou stares at the two for
         stomping off.  But Strie'bog raises a hand  to silence his
         scolding.  "I wanted to check with the animals.  Arawn's
         idea was solid.  I was able to find some animals for info."
         The Bard waits for folks to listen. "The Vong are in the
         area.  Of course we know this.  The birds don't get near
         the big rock as they call it.  It is too open for them
         and landing on its top could endanger them from larger
         birds of prey.  But the forest is a blaze of talk or song
         of large flying rocks that come and go overhead.  Some
         seem to criss cross and then disappear as they fly past
         or over the Big Rock.  The animals aren't so sophisticated
         so their knowledge is limited in reference.  They also have
         reported the strange walkers...which they seem to think
         humans are...also enter the forest.  I tried to give
         descriptions and they seem to confirm the big headed
         spiked creatures have been around.  They seem to leave
         the forest alone itself.  But they just walk about or explore."

           Zhou nods, "So the Vong have been here and likely are still
         here.  Do they know of their exact location or ways into the
         Big Rock?"
           Strie'bog shakes his head, "No.  If we could find a Eagle
         or hawk that tend to patrol the entire valley rather than just
         a small a area of the forest we could question it.  But it is
         unclear if they are around now.  Word is they haven't been
         seen for a couple of suns."

           "So they've not patrolled in a couple of days.  That may mean
         they are over confident.  That makes it better for us." The
         bulky warrior Farseeker adds to the topic.

           Zhou glances to the forest.  "Problem is our scouts are
         entering a danger zone.  Walking into a situation and not
         knowing this info."

           Arawn, Will and Squirt make their quiet way through the forest.
         They edge toward the eastern edge of the forest section the
         party is now in.  About a mile of travel and they get to the
         edge.  From the trees it is hard to see the Rising Mount as
         it is only a bit of brown rock through some sliver of tree
         here or there.  The trees and canopy simply block the view
         of the possible Vong base.  But now at the clearing a mile
         away from the camp they can see it clearly.

           Arawn forgot to borrow Unali's spyglass.  But at this distance
         it isn't hard to see what is needed.  The mountain is indeed
         small at only about 1,000 feet wide and 1,000 feet tall at
         best.  It sits squat in the middle of the clearing.  The top
         is not seen at this low height but the top appears to be bumpy
         with rocks and spiky protrusions like worn away rock surfaces.
         From this angle the small volcanic mountain is seen from the
         south west and south areas.  A full quarter of the mountain is
         seen from the edge of the forest.  As the two men study the
         rock they notice the mountain is indeed steep.  At places it
         is only about 70 degrees but at others it is a sheer 90 degree
         drop.  While most climbers would find it difficult to skilled
         ones that actually helps.  The hard surface looks to be prime
         for iron spikes and a steady slow climb should be easy for
         a skilled climber.  But not all the party likely has those
         skills.  The two men study the clearing and it is wide open
         terrain.  Unlike the green forest behind them the clearing
         floor is ashen white with blotches of some brown, reds and
         blacks.  But the vast majority of the ground is white.  Will
         leans down to examine the white material.  He is no rock
         scholar but the material looks to be ash and sand mostly.  When
         things got hot here the ash must've settled down over the
         decades.  The blotches of black and brown must be normal soil
         trying to break through.  The reds must be some sort of mineral
         from the long decimated lava.  There are pieces of dark shiny
         and crystal embedded rocks that must be lava remains around
         the clearing.  But it seems over the last couple centuries the
         vast majority of lava dissolved from countless rains and wind.

           The mountain at this angle appears to have no caves or large
         set of outcroppings around it.  Arawn notices at the south end
         mostly center south appears a faint puff of white fog like
         smoke or fog.  Overhead the storm is clearing.  The rain is
         just a fine drizzle now with the thunder and lightning going
         off to the east.  Some dark clouds remain overhead but it might
         clear soon.  Arawn studies the fog or smoke and notice it is
         in some random fashion.  It could be heat of the morning hitting
         a small pool or just some weather situation creating fog from
         the rain and rocks.  He has heard that mountains even volcanoes
         can create their own weather like lightning storms.  He has
         never seen it but heard about it.  The puffs of fog or smoke
         seem to go up about 30 feet then fade out.  It is faint to spot
         but the origin of it is not seen at this distance which is
         about a bit over a mile to the south edge.  Arawn points out
         the fog or whatever and makes note of it.

           Ground fog or even a burning bush not seen by them is nothing
         odd to Will after a storm.  So Will motions for Will to head
         north.  Going south that section of forest is only a bout 300
         feet thick so going north the forest thickens and could add
         better protection.  Will moves the two forward using the edge
         of the forest as their guide.  As they move they peer west
         into the forest and east at the clearing where the towering
         mountain stands.  As they move they continue to study the
         mountain for details.

           After about a mile and half going north of their past location
         they find the forest edge thins and the apple trees have long
         since left.  It seems the apple trees are along the perimeter
         rather than interior of the forest.  At this angle the mountain
         is seen from the north west and north side.  So now at least
         half of the west or left side has been seen.  Still no caves
         or obvious signs of life is seen.  But the ground looks a bit
         different here.  it is a bit more brown and blotches of green
         dot the ash.  It seems to lead up from the edge of the forest
         to the side of the mountain itself.

           Arawn places Squirt on a nearby limb to stay as he inspects
         the ground himself.  Suddenly Squirt squeals in delight when
         he notices a brown rabbit some distance away.  The ferret
         jumps from one limb to another and wiggles his tail in
         excitement.  Arawn goes to pick up the animal to calm him down
         but the instinct takes over.  Squirt dives to the ground and
         runs after the fleeing scared rabbit.

           Will glances to Arawn and sighs in frustration.  Arawn
         shrugs and shows a sorry expression.  As Will turns to
         see where the naughty animal goes he suddenly smells a faint
         odor.  He sniffs the area as Arawn begins to chase the
         animal to try to catch it.  The woodsman raises an arm and
         smells himself but no his last bath was a week ago and isn't
         that ripe yet.  Even Squirt didn't smell like it.  It is as
         if a sulfur smell.  Then he glances at the mountain.  Of
         course if the mountain has some volcanic activity deep under
         the ground he might smell such an odor.

           Arawn tries to quietly but sternly yell to Squirt to halt.
         But the instinct for a fun chase is too strong.  Arawn
         does his full best to melt into the forest becoming a shadow
         of speed and motion so not to be seen by any Vong that might
         be looking.  Suddenly the animals turn north and Arawn sees
         his chance to intercept.  Arawn cuts through trees and jumps
         over a bush.  As Arawn lands on the other side of the low bush
         his left foot feels suddenly wet.  He watches as the rabbit
         dives into some small hallow and maybe a tunnel.  Squirt tries
         to enter but finds he is just a bit too big.  The red eyed
         animal claws at the tunnel but the sneaky wood and dirt barriers
         forestall him.

           Arawn glances down to see a small puddle with sand.  A puddle
         isn't a big deal after a storm.  But it seems to be ankle high
         to his boot.  Suddenly Will comes behind him and watches the
         naughty animal clawing at the half buried log and sand tunnel
         entrance in frustration.  Arawn's foot suddenly shifts and sinks
         and Arawn realizes it is a form of quicksand.  But Arawn is able
         to yank his foot out easily enough.

           Then the wind shifts and Will gets that odor again.  Arawn also
         smells it at this time but doesn't find it as important as getting
         sand away from inside his boot.  Will sniffs the area and goes
         to pick up the animal.  Will has to sternly grasp the animal and
         hold it tight to calm it down.  Will then spots to the north a
         bit of motion.  Moving that way past the hallow Will emerges
         from some thick trees to find a large round water spring.

           The spring itself looks to be about 100 feet in diameter and
         maybe 100 feet deep.  But at this angle it is likely half that
         and seems to be more illusionary in depth than in reality.  A
         small whirlpool affect on the top of the surface seems to
         indicate the bottom is either bottomless or leads somewhere.
         Will notices to the west and north of the spring is a tiny
         brook maybe 20 feet wide.  It doesn't seem big but maybe as
         deep as Fremea is tall?  Again angle is unclear to determine
         such factors.  The brook seems to wind north and north west
         through the forest.  Will nods as from the pass to the south
         the party did spot slight evidence of water maybe a small
         stream due to lightning reflecting on the water.  This must
         be what they saw but not this far east.  They saw the far
         west portion that must widen up to the pass in the north west.
         Will knows this time of year the brook or stream must be
         a lot smaller due to the summer time.  Maybe during winter
         the stream opens up to double or triple the size?

           The spring itself emits that slight smell of sulfur that
         natural springs tend to have.  As Arawn finally comes to
         see the sight for himself he scans the area for Vong things
         like Orbs or Staves.  But nothing of the sort is seen.  Will
         walks a bit to the west to see a bit more of the spring past
         the bushes.  It seems about 30 feet deep a black hole is seen
         that might be a small cave or inner tunnel.  When Will points
         this out Arawn puts it together.  Maybe the green area in the
         ash area clearing is due to the stream going underground and
         making the area more fertile.  At this angle the steam could
         lead right up underground to the very mountain.  Maybe the
         fog or smoke seen is also some small portion of the underground
         stream creating fog from warm or hot water when it hits the
         cooler air?  But he calculates the distance from this spring
         to the mountain.  It must be maybe 3/4ths a mile to the base
         of the mountain.

           Arawn wonders if it is time to move on or go back to report
         their findings.

           Meanwhile at the same time Fremea flies over the forest trees.
         Hovering over the forest she glances to the mountains that ring
         the valley.  She mentally makes a note of them and numbers them
         for some reference.  The first mountain is to the south east
         of the valley and #2 is the one the party came down from.  She
         decides to fly toward the third one which is in the south west
         corner of the valley.  It takes her no time to reach the top
         of the mountain which is a bit over a mile high.  It is one
         of the smaller ones in the valley.  But she finds a perch
         on a tree and pulls her spyglass from the belt.  She scans
         the forest below and the mountain.  From this angle she can't
         see the party at all.  When she scans the south west and south
         area of the mountain she also notices the small puffs of white.
         But the magical spyglass allows her to zoom in closer.  As she
         does she notices the puff of white comes from a small cleff on
         the south side.  There is a patch of green where some light
         sage like bushes are.  The bushes seem to block further detail
         of the puff's origin though.

           Fremea then heads toward what she labels mountain 5 and 6
         which are on the far west edge of the valley.  They are both
         over 6 thousand feet tall.  As she flies over the forest she
         scans with her eyes the forest.  She looks for signs of problems,
         Vong or strange plants with her skills.  But everything seems
         normal to her vision.  Soon she reaches mountain 5 and perches
         for another scan.  But no more info is gleamed from this location.

           Crossing a mile north she reaches mountain 6.  From this
         mountain she notices the stream.  it winds west and north
         west of the forest and valley.  It raises up toward the
         pass that is large between mountain 6 and 7.  It goes over
         the other side and out of sight.  At the top it is small but
         nearing the north west edge of the forest it is as big as maybe
         50 feet.  She scans the water for Vong materials but does not
         see anything.

           She decides mountain 7 is the next target.  But she knows the
         flight could be hard going that three miles to the east might
         make her more visible.  She decides to fly just above the tree
         canopy and at times under it.  She could spend a few hours just
         going over the forest itself and there is little time for that
         unless a grid search is needed later.  With all her might she
         flies fast to the east to the mountain in the north east of the
         strange Rising Mount.  From above she can see the stream
         wind and twist going east.

           Then she breaks over the small clearing where the spring is
         and spots Will and Arawn.  Will drops Squirt and draws his
         bow in what seems to be a second or two.  Drawing it he
         finally sees her and lowers it.  Arawn is amazed at the speed
         but figures it to be some hunting reflex.  Fremea smiles down
         and inspects the spring for herself.  it indeed looks deep to
         her and seem to close into the dark some distance below.  As
         she glances to the mountain she notices a bit of dark area on
         the north edge of the mountain.  She realizes that the two
         are scouting below so gives a slight salute to Arawn and flies
         east without a sound.

           Fearing the splotch on the Rising Mount might be a Vong sentry
         she takes to the forest and flies through the trees.  She
         twists and turns around trees with the deft agility of a bird
         through a obstacle course.  She is a blur as she moves east toward
         mountain 7.  Absently she begins to hum in excitement as she
         finally feels good flying like this for a change.  To be back
         in nature and in her element.  As she whizzes past tall trees
         that go as high as 200 feet she almost looks like a machine maybe
         one of those chariot or bike vehicles seen in Katai cities.
         She zooms in and out of the trees humming her song to herself
         like a speeder bike in some forest that reminded her of mount
         Endor near Avalon.

           Fremea soon gets to Mountain 7 and flies to the summit.  This
         one is about 8,000 feet high and towers over Rising Mount
         easily.  She relaxes and uses her spyglass.  From this angle
         she can now see the north, north east and east sections of the
         mountain itself.  From the east side she notices little but
         the same steep angle and rock formations that make the texture
         of the barrel like mountain look bland.  But on the north
         side she notices that dark spot.  She twist the visual eye
         piece of the magical spyglass and zooms in.  She could see
         miles away as if it was 10 feet away in clear skies.  but
         the drizzle and steam from the forest heat make things a bit
         hazy.  But as she concentrates on the black spot she notices
         it is a opening in the side.  It must be 

           The dark spot now what has to be a cave of some sort is
         about 300 feet from the top or 700 feet from the ground.
         From below it is a 90 degree fall it looks to be from this
         angle.  The cave opening is dark but must be 10-15 feet
         wide and maybe 10 feet tall.  It appears to be natural made
         but Fremea is no rock expert.  Around the cave are the typical
         signs of water and wind erosion with spiky and smooth rock
         formations.  She scans the base below the cave and notices
         the texture is also smoother than to the ides of that likely
         from water erosion as water must've trailed down from the cave
         at some point from intense storms.  

           Perched on a rock she is about a mile north east of the
         Rising Mount.  She has the best angle and distance to finally
         see the top.  The top is indeed flat but has the rough texture
         of a chaotic field of rocks.  Spiky and random rock formations
         abound the top surface.  Most of the formations are low maybe
         only a few feet due to wind and water erosion.  She does notice
         the top is a lot browner in color than the sides though.  The
         top spans a thousand feet and there doesn't seem to be any other
         top caves or holes that she can spot at this angle.

           Fremea sighs and who would've thought she would come from
         being some scum bag's thief slave to a rock watcher.  She
         can't tell the difference between a lava rock and a piece
         of coal unless she guesses it.  It all looks the same to her.
         Now the forest she has a bit more expertise on.  She scans
         the forest but still sees no sign of Vong or their materials.

           Finally she scans the east side taking close zoomed in views
         but no more caves are seen.  She knows she could go south to
         watch from mountain 1 but it wouldn't help too much she
         thinks.  She spots mountain 4 further east and figures it
         would also give little detail.  Mountain 7 seems to be the
         best angle for spying on the Rising Mountain.  She scans
         west looking for Will and Arawn but can't see them due to the

           Just as Squirt has his fun and Fremea reaches mountain 7,
         Kiet finds the need to relieve himself.  He heads a bit east
         into the forest to find a good spot.  He only goes about 100
         feet away from the camp.  Sometimes a man just needs some
         privacy.  He notices Unali is now in full black clothing having
         changed and he sighs at that.  If only he did this a few minutes
         earlier he might've seen her change!  But now she is fitting her
         black boots and belting her daggers as she checks her bags.

           A few moments later Kiet finds himself looking around the quiet
         forest and finds a nice tree to help out with moisture.  At
         least the storm has ended.  But now some limb above him shakes
         in the wind and a blob of rain water hits his face.  He wipes
         his face with his spare hand.

           Suddenly a sharp pain reaches the center of his back.  "No
         silly moves.  Quiet or I'll show you the end of this blade
         through your chest."

           Kiet freezes and muscles tense in mid-stream relief.  With
         his left hand on his face and right on his groin he curses himself
         for being caught off guard.  But he is no Sidh who can blend
         in with the trees like the Forestal Strie'bog speaks of.

           "Hands off...and up.  Start moving in that direction your
         facing."  The strange male voice speaks again in Katai.

           Kiet realizes if it was Vong he'd be dead or captured for
         torture.  No this man is just threatening him now.  It
         could be a Brigader working for the Vong?  Kiet tries to
         shrug and glance backward to get a glance.  But the man
         punches him the back of the head with his left hand. "Eyes

           Kiet considers his options.  his dagger is nearby but the
         blade in his back is closer.  Even if he could twist and
         turn and draw he might be dead before then.  Might as well
         go along with the man.  It doesn't seem he doesn't want him
         knocked out or killed out right.

           Kiet wonders how he didn't even hear the man approach.
         Maybe he is a skilled forest person or maybe it was the
         noise of his activity on the bush.  Kiet then realizes he
         needs to finish!  He curses the man who dares to disturb
         another man in such a delicate time.  Couldn't he even
         wait till he was done?

           Suddenly the blade in his back lessens in pressure and
         Kiet hears a grunt.  Then a rush of noise as something
         breaks branches of a small low lying bush.  Confused Kiet
         steps a half foot back to see if the man is there but nothing.
         Kiet whirls around and draws his dagger with his spare hand.

           There standing over a man is Unali in dark black with
         daggers in hand.  Based on the angle of the downed man the
         man looks to have been knocked out.  Why didn't he hear her?
         Well she has always been that scary stealthy type.

           Unali nods and a faint smile is seen on her face before
         she leans down to inspect the man.  Kiet then realizes why
         she was grinning and turns around.  Red faced he has no
         choice but to finish the task and cover up.
           Soon a not so stealthy bulk approaches and Raban helps to
         haul the uncnnscious man back to camp.

           Once dumped on the ground the man is inspected.  He looks
         to be typical Katai stock about 5 foot 8 and maybe in his
         early 20s.  He has some face growth but no full beard.  He
         must've been without a shave for a few days.  He is dressed
         in brown leathers that make it seem like he could blend in
         well with the forest.  He carries a Katai style sword which
         was in Kiet's back.  On his belt Unali pulls a dagger free
         and inspects it.  She nods and shows it to Chion to confirm
         her theory.

           Chion confirms it by saying it is a typical military issue
         dagger.  The hilt is not decorated and has the metal end with
         simple hilt structure.  Even thieves like some decoration
         on their daggers.  But the bland military do not.  She finds
         in his vest a small map.  After some time studying it she
         finds the map is of the immediate area.  It has marks and notes.
         The marks seem to indicate villages.  In fact the one south
         they inspected with the dead Vong is marked.  The notes
         are numbers likely the dead found.  There must be 5 such
         villages on the map.  The scale is guessed but it must be
         50 miles in diameter?  All seem to be marked with notes.  That
         must mean the Vong hit them all.

           Unali searches the pockets and finds nothing like coins or
         even dust bits.  She finds the hands rough and callused which
         are typical of hard labor or fighting.  The face is brown
         and tanned from long exposure to the sun.  A faint odor of
         body odor and horse hair exudes from him.  Unali suspects
         the man had a horse at one time.  That means he is likely
         not a normal villager who can't afford a horse but someone
         more skilled or important.

           Chion leans down and pulls off a boot.  He says that some
         of the military hide stuff in boot niches.  This way if they
         are killed or searched it isn't found.  The first left boot
         is empty.  But the second right boot Chion grins when he
         finds a small niche.  He pulls the strings apart to open it
         and finds a small rolled up compact scroll.  Unrolling he
         reads it.  He hands it to Unali for inspection.
           Unali scans it and quickly finds it to be notes.  "Two
         strange flying things day 2.  Gray headed creature atop
         small flying disk flying over forest day 3."  Then there
         seems to be short hand notes that Unali can't decipher.

           Zhou asks, "So is he local military or a ally of the Vong?"

         [Time: 9:58am]

         Actions? Comments?

         Next Update...Friday...

         GM: A big update but I did it large since last one got delayed
             to balance it.  I tried to give something for most folks.
             Hard to do it all for everyone but hope it was good
             enough.  Had some fun doing it.  Some good details for now.
             As to time technically Fremea's time would be the longest
             moving around.  But I figure Will/Arawn would spend a
             great deal of time looking around rather than just moving
             around.  So the time will be equal with Fremea's and
             the camp's final time.  So all 3 areas are updated and
             equal time.  Almost 30 minutes have passed.

         GM: Originally I had planned on Kell joining Will and dong
             the Squirt thing but Arawn spoke up to join Will so
             threw it with them.  So figured I'd toss Kell in with
             Strie'bog then.  So that's what I had to rewrite from
             the last minute posts Thursday night.

         GM: Hope the detail is understood.  I tried to give as much
             fleshing to the facts and details as can be done.  I
             used the map mountain references in Fremea's section for
             ease of figuring out things.  If questions just ask.
             I will work on update likely a bit Wednesday night and
             rest on Thursday unless slew of posts that night back
             things up.

         GM: BTW still working on next adventure details.  I got behind
             a bit on that.  Hope to be finished in next few weeks before
             end of this one.  I will be working on a post to vote on
             some options.  I will assume unless stated otherwise that
             all wish to replay in the next adventure?   To make the
             group smaller Ben'dar, Caladan, Chion, Farseeker, Strie'bog
             and Zhou will not be around.  A large group is needed
             for this one due to the large battle to come.  But a small
             group would make things easier.  This will leave the
             8 core active folks - Arawn, Fremea, Kell, Kiet, Raban,
             Unali, Will and Z'leyra to play.  * is a fairly decent
             size and not as large to be a small army. 

         GM: Website update - I added a tag so you can jump right to the
             most current update.  It is at the top of all the links.
             I may add more such easy tags for next website.  Too bad
             we don't have a good search script so you guys can search
             for particular keywords.  I can do that here though.

         GM: Generic map of area in rough form.

             /I\ = North
              1 Row    = Half a mile [around 2640 feet]
              1 Column = Almost 1/10th mile [Around 410 feet each column]

              4 Miles by 4 miles 

                       1         2         3         4        5
             I           %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%                     I A
             I        %%%%%%%%%%%%%   % %%%% 7                  I B
             I6    %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%       %%%%  %%%%%   4        I C
             I       %%%%%%%%%%%%%   X    %%%%%%%%%%%           I D
             I    %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%        %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%       i E
             I5      %%%%%%%%%%P%%        %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%       I F
             I           %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%                   I G
             I        3            2              1             I H

             X = Rising Mount [D24] -  1,000 feet high, 1,000 feet wide
             1 = Mountain     [H37] - 10,000 feet high
             2 = Mountain     [H22] -  8,700 feet high
             3 = Mountain     [H9 ] -  5,600 feet high
             4 = Mountain     [C42] -  8,000 feet high
             5 = Mountain     [F1 ] -  6,900 feet high
             6 = Mountain     [C1 ] -  6,400 feet high
             7 = Mountain     [b32] -  8,450 feet high
             % = Forested area major tree area
             P = Party place  [F18]    Forest ground

             Party is now about 2,000 odd feet to the Rising
             Mount inside the forest.  Can move deeper if needed.
             Party is about 500 feet from edge of clearing at this

             All heights are estimates.  

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