After The Fall: EarthFall

Week 2 The Long Road

As night encroaches you settle down with the others at the base of the creatures legs. Victor points out that no scavengers seem to be collecting around the dead creature. You spend the early hours of the night discussing with the other travelers the possible cause of this unnatural event.

Chip sets up a group of people to patrol the area in case the battle did alert other dangerous creatures of your location.
You settle down for the night eating rations and fighting off the dropping temperature. The shattered moon rises up across the horizon and the reflected sunlight of the dying sun sparkles across bits of the moon that have shattered and broken off. Throughout the night flashes of light mark the entry of moon bits dying as they fall into the worlds atmosphere.

“May I sit?” An elven woman asks as she encroaches the small fire under the lean to. She is tall and built for movement, and dressed with an assembly of canisters and flasks along belts and bandoliers hanging from her thin frame.
“Of course.” Chip nods to the ground, “Pull up some sand.”
She nods to each of you awkwardly and sits down near the fire. She is thin and both her hands are stained a deep black that streaks up from her fingertips to her elbows. Your recognize that as a sign of a Mactaro the scarring and burns are a simple side effect of working with explosive and corrosive materials.
You watch with fascination as she begins pulling out a small metal plate and handle and starts pulling canisters from her belt.
Chip raises a hand, “I do not plan on being blown up tonight.”
The woman smiles and sprinkles a small amount of powder onto the plate, “It is a salve for my burns, nothing dangerous I assure you.” She waits until Chip nods in response to her answer.
Within a few moments a sweet smell comes up from the powder which begins to melt into a paste which she then spreads across her hands grimacing as she works.
“Lady…you have some serious sand.” One of the men states as he watches her work.

You trade off with the patrol for a second watch which goes slowly but without real issue and wake at dawn to a strange chattering sound.
“Do not fret.” Chip says as you roll quickly out of bed. He points to the feet of the golem where Xitix have begun collecting the skin from the golems foot.

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As you pack up and prepare to move on the X!!itix continue working on the body of the creature completely oblivious to you and the group. You notice that a small group of them are gathered around the small burial site where the party buried some of those killed yesterday.

Chip nods to you both and then smiles at the creatures, “They will wait for use to leave.”
“How do they know?” Ezra asks.
Chip shrugs his pack over his shoulder, “No clue. I like to think it is in honor of our dead. The more I think of it the less special it becomes.”

The dawn begins clear but quickly clouds begin to shelter over your heads angrily as yellow and green streaks of silent lightning sparkle back and forth like gods waring in the sky.

By noon the wind has picked up and the sand is ablating across any exposed skin. Ezra is the first to notice that the group is being spread thing across the dunes and Chip halts from the front of the group so the rest can gather together.

“We are down one.” Chip counts heads a 3rd time. “Markus is missing.” He counts a 4th time, “Damn it. I should have slowed us down.” He looks back the way you came then finally seems to have made a decision.
“You both. Keep heading East. If you lose sight of the sun stop on the opposite side of a dune and wait it out. If I don’t return in 2 hours keep moving East.”

He turns to the others in the group, "Follow them, they know where we are headed. Derrik, Pete, " he points at two of the men who have run patrol most nights, “Keep everyone together.” He moves to them and shakes there hands and without another word goes turns back the way you came and moves off quickly constantly searching the ground for signs.

How do you want to continue?

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Week 1 Fight Act 5 Fight with the Golem Part 4

Ezra Fires a series of shots that impact the screaming golem’s mouth and neck with spurts of black blood rewarding each shot. Victor runs at an angle firing again and again as fast as he can. The golem takes a step towards Victor crushes a Elven man who was attempting to damage its legs with a shotgun. Chip’s strange grenade arcs perfectly through the air and breaks on the creatures face spewing glowing yellow embers in a cloud around its face.
For a moment the golem seems puzzled by what happened then suddenly the glowing embers begin to puff up in size and then burst with incredibly bright but silent flashes. So bright that they dwarf the suns brightness on a cloudy day. The creature moans a angry moan and swats at the glowing embers as each one bursts you see bits of flesh and steel burn off in a circular pattern like the bubble of light was superheated. Finally one of the embers bursts near the creatures chin and just as instantly the creatures moans and screaming are silenced as a massive amount of its neck evaporates.

Without another sound it falls backwards to the sand shaking the earth as it hits.

Quickly you come together to take stock of your situation. In total 6 people have perished during the creatures attack. Some of the party strip the bodies and take them to the bottom of a gulch nearby and bury them in the sand there. One of the elves drops some kind of green leaf over the grave of each of those that died and says a few words in their strange guttural language. When the prayer ends the leaves instantly burn and turn to ashes.

Chip gathers everyone together.
“We knew this kind of thing would happen. Its sad yes but they knew it was dangerous when they accepted the job in town. Zed and turner can you go and find their supplies and split them up. Spread out their weapons and ammo amongst the group. Rifles for anyone who just has a handgun now.”

He turns to you both, “Well it is good to know you handle yourselves as well as I had heard. You handled yourselves in a scrap.” +3 EXP for both of you.

“I say we stay in the shadow of this thing until nightfall and continue from there. Daytime is getting too dangerous and will only grow moreso as we continue to the mountains.” He gives the path ahead a quick glance than looks back at you. “Catch some shuteye someone will wake you for your watch.”

As you go to lay down to rest some of the party are already making small leanto’s against the creatures lower bodies and legs to protect themselves from the sand. Out near the parameter of the camp one of the party members has a piece of thick paper and sits facing the creature, sketching quickly.

Roll Investigation + Perception + card.

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Week One Act 4 Fight with the Golem Part 3

Victor’s grenade explodes with a tremendous flash spewing hot glass around the body of the Golem, steaming and blistering the steel. A few of the party leap for their lives as the burning glass and bits of fiery steel fall down around them almost burning 2 of the group before they can roll out of the way.
Ezra fires two more times slamming another shot into the Golem, this time putting a 2 inch hole in the armor of its neck, and another through the bicep of its right arm. Still unmoving, Chip fires as quickly as he can pull the trigger, chipping away the armor at its chest but to no real effect.

One of the men standing near the things feet yells at the top of his lungs, “Watch out!” He then thrusts both of his hands into the sand and grabs two large handfuls, as he pulls them up the sand begins to sparkle and shift and swirl, turning into 2 separate clouds. Growing, the sand clouds, one around each hand, quickly spread to the height and width of a man. The creature seems to stare at the man in puzzlement for a moment then reaches down to smote him from the dune the fingers of his hand creaking open as if almost rusted shut.
But the man is quicker and thrusts both his hands straight up towards the giant and screams something you can’t understand through the cacophony of sound. The sand streaks up into the things face, sandblasting inches of steel from the creatures head and flesh from its face. It bellows and steps back stunned by the sheer damage it has taken. Quickly another man leaps up and sprints along the dune and quickly tackles the Mage out of the way as the Golem’s hand comes crashing back down into the dune where the mage had stood just a moment before.

Another Mage, a thin bald headed woman with burn scars along her lips, uses the creatures surprise against it and arcs 2 silvery electric shots of energy into the flesh of its face, melting an eye and twisting 2 of the gears from its skull that go flying into the sky with a wrenching tearing metal sound.

“We are attracting every flesh eater for 10 miles and just pissing this thing off.” Chip yells, quickly reloading his rifle. What do you say we send our uninvited guest home?" He flips open his coat and grabs what looks like a mason jar filled with greenish yellow fireflies in it and tosses it lightly into the air."

“I need a diversion.” He yells again nodding at the creature that is currently swatting at some of the party members who are baiting it into attacking them so the slower people can escape. “What do you say?”

What do you want to do to get the creatures attention so that Chip can get close enough to use whatever weapon he has planned?

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Week One Act 4: Fight with the Golem Pt2

As the whistle fades into the wind of the desert Victor fumbles on his belt for one of the glass grenades and sets the sandpaper primer for a short burn of maybe 3-4 seconds.
Gunfire erupts from a few of the scattered men and women at the creature’s feet momentarily distracting it. One massive hand goes up to cover its face just as Victor fires his rifle, the bullet tearing through the creature’s hand and entering the metallic half of its head. The crunch and screech of gears fills the air and a black viscous fluid flies out of the wound like an exploding balloon.

“Stand Away Foul Demon!” You hear a voice call loudly. The old man, one hand raised commandingly towards the Golem, the other holding the bent staff above his head like a lightning rod towards the heavens, strides forward to stand before the Golem. For a moment the creature pauses in its bellowing and rampage steam boiling off the melted glass along its side and black fluid pumping angrily from the head wound.

“And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man. Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed!”
The old man finishes with a flourish and slams the end of the battered staff against the dune.

Nothing happens.

The creature’s fist slams down onto the old man’s head with a sickening crunch that sounds like a mix of smashed trail crackers and broken glass. The ripple of the impact rolls up through the body of the Golem the metal groaning and creaking from the impact and sand from years in the desert puffs off the creature’s body in a thick yellow-white mist.

For a moment everything is still. The creature lifts its arm up from the sand trailing a black and red mist of body parts that leave no mistake that the old man did not live through the attack. The Golem lets out a bellow of satisfaction that rolls across the dunes like a drumbeat.

Victor tosses the grenade as the rest of the party opens fire.

Simon what do you want to do?
Josh I need a card.

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Week 1 Act 3 Fight with the Golem

In one split second Esra begins running down the sand-dune as duel shots hit the creatures body. One from Chip’s long rifle the other from Victor’s handgun. The creature doesn’t seem to notice at all and brings both if its fist down onto a female Elf you never got the name of. She explodes in a mess of wet bones and internals as she is crushed instantly. Ezra makes it to the bottom of the sand dune and begins sprinting at an angle to keep a wide distance from the creature.

Suddenly an explosion rocks the area as one of the groups glass grenades smashes into the creatures right arm sending melted glass shards into the air and burning down the creatures neck and side. Those beneath it scatter in terror as a screaming whistle erupts from the creatures skull and it claws at the burning glass.

Simon roll to shoot.

Victor what are you going to do?

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Week 1 Act 3

Within minutes you sit down with the old man, while the rest of the small group sits a good distance away just in case something is amiss. The man sits directly on the dunes, despite the backing sun heating the sand to burning temperatures. The rest of you sit on the leather strips that most carry for the need, small leather and cloth squares they allow people to sit or kneel on hot sands without burning themselves. You pass the water to the old man who pulls a long draw greedily from its contents. Ezra is the only one still standing, switching his gaze from the old man to the dunes from which he came. The wind wipes around you and makes the smallest of musical tones as it hits any exposed metal.

“So you have news of the path ahead?” Chip asks finally.
The old man lowers the water and then wipes his hand across his lips. "Well. Rightly so its not a path you see. More a trail, or an outing. Depending on yer cantations. Soft in spots though. Came from the Half Moon, 2 days distant. Pinning for obsidian or salavage.
“Any luck?” Victor asks quickly.
The old man nods. A bit sure but we don’t talk salvage we talk trail." He then takes another swig and then looks at the bottle. “Good container. Barely tastes of shit.” He continues as if talking to himself. “Something dogged me. Stopped yer-day or maybe day before. Can’t swallow what it can’t see or hear. I can quiet step with the best o’ them. But it was searching. Heard it I did. Something sandy and metallic.”
You all look at one another. It could be anything really. Its not much to go on.
The old man takes one last drink than hands it back to you. “I warn you this. Heard some kind o whistling along with it. Out of tune…not sure why I noticed that but it was for all that matters.”

“Where are you headed?” Chip asks.
The old man thinks a moment then points straight ahead. “Seems obvious. Straight that way.”

“Sir!” One of the men at the back camps voice calls out over the dunes.
Chip stands up alerted by something in the man’s voice.

Without warning the dunes where the secondary camp is sitting explodes upwards, sending men and equipment 10’s of feet into the air, a massive erupting whistle breaks through the winds call and as the sand falls back to earth accompanied by the bodies of those that had been thrown into the air, you see before you a massive construct of bipedal form.

15+ feet tall, the thing is a mess of flesh and gears, half its skull is gears spinning and spitting sand and some black fluid into the air, the other side is a mockery of a man with a single baleful green eye casting all those within the group a diabolical eye. Its skin is a stony copper color and its body is almost fully encased in pockmarked greenish metal of some kind. With disdain it swings an arm and catches the remaining man who is falling to the ground in an almost lazy slap. With a sickening thud the man flies off into the distance, dead instantly if not already.

Behind you, in the pause between action and reaction, you hear the old man say very calmly, “Guess I wasn’t as quiet as I thought I was.”

Roll initiative and explain what the first action you want to take is.

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Week 1 Act 2

The figure continues to solidify in front of you as the watery eyelid of the mirage opens to true sight and you begin to catch details.
A man by the looks of him, he moves with a shuffled gate like he is carrying a bag or game over his shoulder and uses a bent barreled rifle as a walking stick. He leans heavily against the rifle as he walks and you can see that the hand that holds it is covered by a thick brownish leather glove to prevent chaffing from long hours of heat, sand, and sun.
“Like one that on a lonesome road…” Chip whispers behind you.
“Damns man that is omonious.” Victor cuts back.
Chip chuckles under his breath. “Apologies. It just reminded me of the story of the ancient sand sea pirate. A man, who was betrayed by his shipmates and tasked with walking the sands for all eternity until he took vengeance on those who betrayed him.”
“Story time must have been enjoyable in yer home.” Ezra points out.
Chip shrugs. “All tales tell tricks as my father used to say .”
You finally stop at the top of a thick curly dune maybe 50 yards from being face to face with the old man. The brisk wind that Chip warned you about is kicking up and by now the black thick trail of hardened track has twisted into the north leaving you at the beginnings of the True Dunes.
The man stops at the top of the dune he was ponderously climbing and looks up as if noticing you the first time.

From here you can see that he is as tall as an average man, his face is shiny with sweat and brown from the sun. A thick belt is wrapped twice around a thin frame that is bare of anything but what appears to be a book or square of leather for sun timing. His head is thick with white and stringy hair that hands to his shoulder. He looks generally the worse for wear.
“That’s the look of a man who has been desert bound for a long while.” Chip says to no one in general.

“A pint for information of the dunes ahead?” The old man calls out suddenly. His voice is dry and you can here the hoarseness from here.
Chip turns to you both. “I have no qualms with information. Do you?”

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Week 1 Act 1
Hmmm..

Previous Actions:
Victor-
Marctaro or mage are possibilities that run through my head, and I relay Fridge’s info to the rest of the group. A lone man walking through the wastes is bold or stupid. We ain’t lucky enough for stupid.

Ezra
“Too true friend. Too true… " Ezra removes his rifle from his back and cocks the hammer. He aligns the sights towards the horizon and pulls the trigger. Click. After a glance toward the Victor and Fridge, “Just making sure, Don’t want to be late to the party again.” Ezra inserts the clip into the rifle and levers a round into the chamber.

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Summary

Fridge seems surprised the gun doesn’t fire than smiles at the realization that Ezra was only playing. He pants for a second then again there is no continued game to be had and whines in frustration as he turns to trot back to the main part of the group to see if anyone is interested in discussing the finer points of flea removal(one of his favorite subjects).

Victor moves off to the front of the group.
“No no. You can roll in sand. It works.” Victor hears Fridge telling one of the disinterested group as he moves past the group and the Dorgal and jogs up to the lead tracker.

The half/elf tracker is a tall fellow always dressed in yellowish dirty robes to camouflage his shape during travels. He wears a set of scars down both cheeks that look more interesting than threatening and as usual he wears a pair of old goggles around his neck for sandstorms. The man is a picture of preparedness and beneath the robes various bumps and shapes threaten hidden weapons.

Humorously his name is Chip. It is either because his front tooth is chipped, as someone pointed out last night with the observant skills of a blind man, or because he is one of the nicest people you have ever traveled with.
“Victor.” Chip greets Victor quietly. “There is a wind brewing. Do you hear it?”
Victor stops for a second and listens. The day is as still as a dead cow and easily smells worse.
“No.”
Chip smiles. “Indeed. Nothing. We are in the center of it. Its been moving with us, or we have been moving within it for a day now. But we are getting to its edge. Soon we will be right in the teeth of it. See the black stream begins to wind and twist on itself up ahead?”
Victor looks and sees that the Deadeye, the name for the black hardened surface the group have been walking on, does indeed begin to twist and turn and meander over itself a mile or so ahead and shimmers with an almost watery glow. “Ya”
“If you look close you can see the sand blow over it.” He turns back to you for a moment, “I am sorry. Did you need something?” He then goes back to scanning the horizon as he walks.
“Fridge says someone is coming.”
Chip stops. “He does?”
Victor nods.

The rest of the group, seeing Victor stop slow their pace than cease walking as well.
“I see nothing. I smell nothing.” He scans intently for a moment, squinting against the yellow cloudy haze.
“But my brother used to say ‘Never question a Dorgal’s sense of smell.”

Victor smiles, “Smart man.”

Chip shrugs, “He was stabbed in the lung by one of his many lovers. So he may have been smart but he wasn’t fast.”
He turns to the group and holds his fist up. The group begins to slowly condense, each reading arms quietly as possible, those with long range weapons in the back, those with chemical weapons or slug throwers in the front.

Moments pass then Chip nods towards the horizon, where, far off enough to almost be imagination, a dim black dot can be seen slowly growing closer.
“Damn the skin of my brother and damn the noses of Dorgals. Yep that is indeed someone.” He shifts slightly and before Victor realizes it he is holding an odd wooden and burnished copper or bronze barreled long rifle. He puts the scope, a recently added peice if the lack of damage is any indicate, to his eye.
“One man. Hood. Limp. Staff. No wait. Gun. Not usable.”
Victor smiles, "Right. How can you tell its not usable from here? He is like 2 miles away.
Chip shrugs, “Barrel is bent. That’s why I thought it was a staff. He is arrow straight right towards us.”
He looks at Victor and then back at the group and shoots Victor a smile, “Why don’t you go grab your friend and bring him up here? I want to go meet him, share words, break our fast and since we aren’t even near the Grit Grind or the Mirrorshard and he doesn’t walk like an Elf. I would rather have some some of you fine Human Beings with me just in case he doesn’t agree with my upbringing.” He accents the Words Human Being like he is slow or dimwitted but is smiling the entire time.

Moments later Ezra and Victor rejoin Chip.
“Victor fill you in?” Chip asks without indicating what he is talking about.
“Yep.” Ezra says simply.

Chip nods again then slowly turns to the group, “We will be back. Stay here. If you hear shots. By my eyes do not shoot at anything. You are more liable to hit one of us 3.”
He shoulders the rifle and waves you forward.

What do you want to do?
Remember you can actively take a task and roll on your own if you want without me prompting. Lets break up responses like this.
Sample:
Victor
Roll: Perception + Investigation (short description of what the roll is for like “Spot weakness” or “find fleas”

Narrative:
I begin following chip, constantly eyeing the shape on the horizon trying to make out features as quickly as I can."

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Week 1
Travel

To the north and south lies sand, here along this stretch of land that travels east and west is a thin blacked out road the asphalt burnt from a great fire. Occasionally a yellow splash of color can be seen in the center of the road like some crazy painter ran down the highway and occasionally touched a dirty yellow brush to the surface. 16 men and woman travel with you to the East Lands. Moving only as fast as the slowest member, a large rotund human named Jake you make slow time. The sun beats down through a mist of yellow smog and the heat is oppressive and threatening. Occasionally dirty green lightning sparks in the distance to the North, electrified by the heavy layers of sand brought up by last nights winds.

During the trip no single person has been put in charge. A dorgal named Fridge, a barrel chested Scottish Terrier mix, scouts 200-300 yards ahead of you. Occasionally lifting his nose to the air to search out the scent of enemies and friends alike.

Around noon Fridge comes trotting back to your group. Ezra is chewing a piece of dried pork and Fridge comes and sits down in front of him expectantly. Ezra tears off a piece and tosses it to the Dorgal who catches it expertly.
“Man coming up, half a mile ahead.” The dorgal says, chewing the meat with savor. He scratches behind his ear with a hand then looks at his hand as if he has found something interesting.
…“Anything else?” Victor asks impatiently
Fridge looks up startled, “Smells like gunsmoke and old books.”

You both exchange odd looks because in a world of oddness that is still an odd way to describe a smell.

In one sentence what do you do?
Reminder: No complex actions. Moving and doing something is fine but its a 1 for 1 thing here.
“I walk forward and try to see if I can catch a glimpse of the person coming?”
“I inform the rest of the group of what Fridge said making sure they understand that he hasn’t said anything to indicate friend or foe.”

That kind of thing.

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Memoirs of an Ableman part 2
"Every man dies. Not every man really lives"

“Every man dies. Not every man really lives”
Day 5 (continued)…

Truth and lies. The time has come for Victor and I to make a very important decision. Do we leave Pipes to its fate? Let the trolls attack and secretly head our own separate way? The answer is no. We must stay. Victor and I cannot turn away from our friends here in Pipes. We must, at all costs, protect our friends and our newly found home. I did not think that I would use that word “Home” for this little run-down town, but it has become our refuge in the wasteland and maybe our salvation.

Our path is leading us into danger once again. The sheriff made a deal with the trolls in order to save the town. We have been tasked with destroying the tooth and wing fortress somewhere in the north, a days walk from Pipes. The trolls claim that gargoyles are building a nest and killing everyone in the area. We must investigate and decide how best to deal with the menace, or Pipes will suffer if we fail.

Day 6
Our journey starts this morning, and the plan has been laid out before us. It is our intent to travel north to the gargoyle fortress but first we must get past the Mythra Car park. We have heard stories that the car park is the home of a gang. For me Gangs are one of the worst evils that this world has spawned, they symbolize lawlessness and are run by only the worst kind of men. It will take every ounce of will to leave that evil alone.

The day has almost come to an end and I am taking a small rest to add to my previous entry. We ended up actually going into gang territory and survived. I really can’t believe that we actually made a profit by selling our extra equipment to the merchants located there. As I had figured it our corpses would have been stripped bare and laid to rest in a ditch. I must admit that even though gangs house many evils, I was actually surprised about how some good still lives in their midst. I think that we might have come back here one day and sell off any salvage we have. Good business, plus maybe a we might have a chance to influence evils grip on this place.

Day 6 (continued)…
Don’t mind the blood drops on this page, Victor and I are ok, the blood is not ours. I feel the need to explain the last several hours so that one day I might be able to make sense of them.

After leaving the car park the night was approaching, we came across a ruined house located in a row of other buildings. We decided to make camp on the upper story and set up a few defenses. While Setting up our gear a strange noise broke through the nighttime silence. Before we could place the sound a weird scene befell our eyes. A man and a woman riding a smoke spewing machine stopped in front our makeshift campsite.

“Dexter!” the man yelled. Before I knew what was happening the man and woman burst into the house opposite of ours. A gun fight broke out inside and we witnessed a man being shot and killed. A moment later the strange man and woman ran out of the house and down the street, still raging over the name Dexter.

Victor and I decided at that moment to run to the house opposite of ours. Once inside I was nearly shot by a one armed man. I’ll call him “Mel’s Friend”, since I can’t remember his name, “Mel’s Friend” explained to us what had happened in the few seconds that happened before we arrived. His friend Mel had been killed by the strange duo. We decided to stay upstairs with the man in hopes of having one more gun to throw bullets if the need arose.

We heard another commotion from a house to the south of us, and witnessed a horrible sight. The strange woman was throwing junk out of a window, after several objects flew from the window we recognized what came next, a woman and her infant.

I remember Victor and “Mel’s Friend” open fire on the woman. I sat stunned and could only watch as their gun fire tore though the woman. Justice served. A few moments passed, we all took aim at the building waiting for the man to emerge and we knew the fight was just about to begin. The man came at us with his crazy shouting for “Dexeter!” on his lips. He took several hits from our bullets but kept on coming. After that brief fight everything else is just a blur of motion in my mind. In the end “Mel’s friend” lay dead by the window with Victor and I standing victoriously over the unconscious body of the crazed man.

Little did I know at that point but the strangest thing was still yet to happen. We had searched the man and removed his belonging and then we tied him up so that we could actually get some rest. The night passed without further incident but when we awoke the crazed man was gone. I find it rather odd that anyone could escape one of Victor’s knots, that man could tie up a troll with its own nose hair.

Day 7
Victor and I did what we could to lay to rest the many souls that died in the night, and said our farewells to Mel, his friend, (sorry to you that I never knew your name) the woman and her newborn, and lastly with regret we even buried that crazy woman.
Little else can be said, we must continue on.

“Get Busy living, the dead will only drag you down to them!” – Grand Father Bristle.

Several hours after leaving the ruined housing block we ran into a family heading south. The Andersons, let me take a moment and describe this motley group. Sara, the mother, sad and weary from her trials for caring for her children. Trish and Jenny, the eldest daughters, Billy and Pacwin, the boys, Billy being the current head of the family (as I suspect their father is no more). Finally the little ones, Melanie and Wind, the cutest and dirtiest girls you have ever seen.

Billy tells us of the family’s strife, they were formerly from the town Mayflower which has recently been destroyed. The family is fleeing with no known direction as to where they should head. Victor and I help them with what supplies we can spare and point them in the direction of Pipes. If we did not already have a desperate situation on our hands I would have chosen to escort this family back to Pipes, but we did as much and even more then most would do. I truly hope they make it.

Day 7 (continued)…
We traveled on, before long riders on horseback appeared on the horizon behind us. As it turns out it was a group of Ablemen heading toward the town of Mayflower to determine the cause of its destruction. We talked to them and told them of about our task to find the gargoyles and we learned from them that Mayflower was probably destroyed by the very same creatures. The Ablemen could not afford to waste time helping us to get to our destinations any faster so they continued on.

In the few short moments that we talked to these men I had learned that they knew of my Grand Father, which is not a surprise, most true Ablemen have come to know about my grand fathers legacy in one way or another. But I can’t help feeling strange that others are also trying to follow in his foot steps.

After the dust from the horses settled Victor and I continued on and eventually made it to Mayflower. The only thing we found there was death. We helped the Ablemen pile and burn the bodies of the dead. Evidence surely does point to a gargoyle attack. After laying the dead to rest, the Ablemen once again left without us, as we could only slow them down due our lack of a faster means of travel.

Traveling again at our slow pace we finally sighted what the trolls deemed as “the tooth and wing fortress”. A large rusted metal dish protruding out of a hole in the ground. We cautiously made our way to a better vantage point only to notice a large pile of dead horses at the center of the crater. Victor let out a gasp that conveyed my own thoughts and my heart sank, were the Ablemen dead?

As it turns out this had been their plan all along. The horses were just decoys, so that the Ablemen could hide under the sand and ambush the gargoyles. We hid under the sand with the Ablemen waiting for the gargoyles to return. The waiting was unbearable.

My breath was stolen from me as a shadowy apparition passed overhead, fear threatened to set my body into retreat. I glanced at Victor and saw his determination, that quick look gave me the will I needed to quench the rising fear. The apparition came into my sight and hell was unleashed upon the demon. The Ableman, Victor and I started shooting at the great beast. As the shots rang out we saw that the bullets seemed to have no effect on the creature. Fear was quickly growing inside us again, this time we could not wrestle ourselves from its grasp. The fight was short and unsuccessful and it was now time to retreat. We quickly decided that we could not head back south because we did not want to lead the evil gargoyles back towards Pipes.

Victor tells our group about a rumor of the Old Repeater way station to the north, and we quickly decide that it is our only choice. We ran faster then I remember running in my entire life, fear keeping us going long past our muscles were willing. As the fear slowly starts to fade we eventually realize that our group has shrank. Victor, Tod Sanderson, Heath Feather, Randy Sinlin, and I are the only ones remaining, fear turns to dread and heartache.
Heath yells at us to stop, “Tod is hurt and needs to rest”. I checked Tod’s wound and know that something needs to be done quickly or else Tod will die.

The Old repeater way station, A tall rusted metal tower rises out of the ground at an odd angle, that combined with disturbing buzzing sound that surrounds the area. What is this place? Why did someone build this crazy structure in the middle of nowhere? Too many questions come to mind. I see Victor eying the tower and know that he calculating the value of all that metal, I almost laugh at the thought but Tod’s health must come first.

We entered a run down structure at the base of the tower. Tod is in bad shape, we bandaged Tod up as best we can and decide that someone must go for help. Randy volunteers to head back south to find what ever help he can muster. As Tod rests we search the building for supplies.
I found Victor messing with a strange machine with the words “generator” inscribed on it, whatever he did to it only shows our ignorance of the past. No, maybe I am wrong Victor is a smart one, he might have actually fixed the device. Whatever it is remains a mystery to me.

Day 8
Food and water is running low. What food we do have is rationed out equally. Heath saves his portion for Tod. Tod seems to be getting better, but he is still in need of proper medical treatment.

The day is long, and uneventful. To pass the time we share our stories of our time traveling from pipes and learn that the strange man in the ruins goes by the name “Masterson”. This Masterson fellow is known by the Ablemen. What little we learn about Masterson is that he is apparently hunting down Dexter who is an Ableman from Ithica. More then that Randy and Tod are not willing to tell.

Day 9
As dawn arrives we hear the sound of horses being ridden fast. Randy returns to us with extra horses and supplies. None too soon. The ride back to Pipes was quick and uneventful.

Upon our return we are happy to find the Andersons alive and well in Pipes. They are thankful for our assistance and have decided to make Pipes their new home. Sara invited us to have dinner with her family. As our journey ends we learn that Tod is doing better and he will survive his injuries. The Ablemen leave Pipes and head toward their home in Ithica. The time has come for us to rest and renew ourselves. The journey was dangerous and unsuccessful, but we survived… I am sure grandfather would have something to say about that…

“those who never step, never stumble.”

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