After The Fall: EarthFall

Memoirs of an Ableman
"Damned if you do, dead if you don't"

Memoirs of an Ableman, “Mad” Ezra Bristle.

Day 1 (Not sure of the date, lost track many suns ago. Lets call it Tuesday)
After another mishap in the wasteland Victor and I find ourselves without any water. Our luck never seems to hold up anymore in this fucked up world. I am writing this now because death is getting closer by the minute and we wont be able to make it back to Pipes without a miracle.

I have to laugh at Victor because he is either insane or brilliant, only time will tell. Victor says he came up with a plan to get us some water and as absurd plans go this one is over the top. Victor says that trolls always keep water in abundance and he means for us to sneak into a troll encampment at night and steal their supply.

Grandfather Bristle always said “Damned if you do, dead if you don’t”, I suppose he meant that no matter what you do either way you are screwed.

Day 2
Victor proved me wrong again, I guess I owe him again, his plan worked flawlessly. We got enough water for today and tomorrow. It should be enough to make it home.

Damn it to hell, I thought those stupid trolls would not be able to track us down. I can see their dust trail getting closer. At least we managed to find a burned out scrapyard to hold up in and I think this is where we will make our stand against them. There is no way to make it to Pipes in time so we will just have to dig in and give them everything we have. Victor just gave me the thumbs up sign and for whatever reason I got chills running down my spine, again. He must have hatched another brilliant plan. Shit on me.

The fight was quick and deadly, albeit comical. I lay here nearly dead in a junkyard car being blasted by sand and wind and Victor is unscathed and sound asleep. That boy never seems to even get a sunburn. All I can say about the fight is that we used everything we had against them and I barely survived. At one point I remember being pinned under a car while Victor “thinned the herd”, as he calls it. He had a chance to leave me there and flee but he stayed, amazing to have at least one friend out here.

That just reminded me of another saying from Grandfather Bristle, “Only your real friends tell you when your face is dirty.”

Day 3
We finally made it back to town. Sold our salvage and cleaned our wounds, in that order. Heh, when did health take second place to salvage. I don’t remember it being like that when I was a kid. Wayland was kind on us again and gave us a fair price for the crap we had salvaged.

I had another run in with the town marshal, this so called lawman will bleed the town dry if he could. The marshal is as crooked as a Dorgals hind leg. This time it was my fault, I just can’t stop myself from telling that bastard off.

Teresa, proprietor of the Pipes inn, told us about a job. The town is willing to pay us to find out what is happening at the Freedorn farmstead, apparently the much needed produce shipment from the farm is late. We will have to talk to Wayland tomorrow.

Day 4
Off to the farmstead to find out why the shipment is late. We were told to head north to the “white rock” then turn toward the twisted tree and follow the path to the farm.

On the trail we ran across a few troll tracks, Victor and I agree that there might have been a troll revenger among this group, for the troll foot prints in soil were quite large.

Another strange site, we found a troll that looks to be squished flat, either stepped on or fallen from a great height. Very unusual.

Luck is with us today, we found an old vehicle that was uncovered by the sand storm. Inside we found some nice salvage that will have Wayland drooling. Maybe with all this potential cash Victor might actually want to spend some of it and get his clothes washed. Hard to hide from trolls with that smell. Maybe I should start calling him “Troll-bait”.

Arrival at the farm. I write these next sentences with care, whether to provide an accurate account of what transpired or to just give meaning to the chaos that is this world.

We arrived at the farm with relative ease and we were not greeted by anyone. Nell, the owner of the farm, is known to be a expert marksman and she usually greeted “guests” with a keen eye and uncanny aim. At a distance the farm appeared to be deserted.

Victor and I hesitantly approached the farm house and proceeded to search for clues. We entered the house we found poor old Nell. All I can say about her is at least she died in her own bed, but I would not choose to die that way. It appears she died from what I have termed as “Black Rot”, possibly just another sort of wasting disease brought on by this harsh climate.

We proceeded to search the farm and found it in good condition. The pigs were amazingly still alive and the greenhouse is intact. We also found the missing Dorgals, who were apparently still working the farm and did not have any knowledge about Nell’s death. One of the Dorgals was not so lucky though. The dead Dogal was shot and killed by someone, another mystery for us to solve. The other Dogals have no knowledge of what transpired, they just want to finish their work. They have been blindly following orders from their dead master since her death.

Victor spotted someone on horseback coming down the trail, we prepared for the encounter by telling the Dorgals to hide as we ran into the farm house. The man rode up to the house and tried to barter with us. He wanted to buy the Dorgals from us, disgusting. We instantly peg him as a poacher and are appalled that he skins Dorgals for profit. Guns are drawn, and a shoot out ensues.

In the end Victor and I are still standing as the stranger lays on the ground collecting flies.

I am again reminded of another saying from Old Grandfather Bristle. “Take what you need, use it to survive, die if you don’t.” The meaning is as clear as glass, its not stealing if they don’t have need for it anymore. We proceed to take anything of value.

Afterwards we helped bury the dead, Nell and the dead Dorgal are at peace now, and the stranger just fills another hole in the ground. Good riddance to his kind.

The day grows late so we decided to stay the night in the farmhouse. It is going to be a long and cold night.

Day 5
Victor must be a salvager at heart, he came up with an idea to make a drag sled and attach it to the strangers horse. We will pack the sled with fresh produce for the town and valuables from the farmhouse. Then make our way back to town.

The ride home was uncomfortable on the horse but the time flew by. Our first stop was at Wayland’s to collect our reward and to inform him about Nell. Wayland can see profit from a mile away. Wayland and the marshal are planning on sending a family out to the farm to take over for Nell, and also to provide the town with a food supply. Problem solved.

After settling up with Wayland and selling some of our salvage Victor and I now have enough profit to keep on living for a few more days. If we can get a few more jobs that pay well Victor might be able to start his own Armatist shop one day. As for me, well Grandfather’s legacy is looking more appealing every day…

I am startled out of a daydream by a loud ringing noise, I glance away from my journal to see Deputy Bill running through town. He stops for a instant and plainly says.. “Trolls are coming..” then he continues on running alerting everyone of the approaching danger. I clearly hear Victor say.. “Revenger…” and an image of the large foot prints snaps into my mind.

Shit on me……

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Adventure Part 2

Beginning for Friday’s story.

Story part 2
Men and women armed with all manner of ragged weapons rush to the front buildings that offer a small screen of cover from the approaching trolls. The guard continues to ring the bell alerting the town to the incoming menace. Children are swept off streets, those unable to fight rush to back of the town and into whatever buildings that can house them.
The frantic pace slows as the defenders continue to check and recheck weapons while the trolls, still incredibly distant continue in their almost mechanical march towards the town.
As the sun climbs higher into the sky the heavy smell of sweat and nerves collect all around you. Ben Bobbin moves to your side and stands next to one of the faceless buildings that face the desert. Scattered metal railings are dragged out and efficiently block off the roadways that enter the town on both ends. Though they will most likely do very little good against the Trolls.
Far out into the distance you can see the tawny black and red skin of the revenger as it towers above the trolls. Chains connect it at the arms and neck to 3 handlers who juggle its control, keeping the blindfolded creature on pace with the trolls leading it.
The Revengers head is covered by a helmet of old car rims, one on its crown and a rim covering each side of its head. Even from this far away you can see the blindfold that covers its massive eyes. Along its shoulder appear to be an old steel beam. Either from an ancient building or some other massive construction.
“What the fuck do we have here Ben?” Marshall Wallace tromps up to the deputies side, barely coming up to the thin man’s chest. His bearing and the general feeling of threat that he exudes makes him look equal to the human. His black curly hair and beard and streaked with dust and sand.
“Looks like a 5 by 5 formation Marshall. Revenger in the back.”

Wallace spits onto the side of the building, pulls a large long cylinder from his side and holds it to his eye. “Aye. That’s what it is. Good eye Ben.” He looks at you both as you stand there.
Then he looks back to the Trolls. Then back at you.
“Ben, go get Grot from his mine.”
“Yes Marshall.” Ben runs off.
The dwarf says nothing to you, simply pretending as if you don’t exist. He pulls an old long cylinder handgun from the holder on his side and checks the chambers. The gun is massive and as he checks each bullet you can see that they are almost the size of a human’s index finger.
He sees you staring at the gun. “And old earth Paladin carried this. His name was Harry. Saw a pic of him once.” He clicks the cylinder back into the gun. “Ugly fucking human.” He adds muttering to himself.
A moment later Ben returns. Behind him, still wiping soot from his face, stands an 8 foot troll. His black and gray hair matted down with soot and sweat. he wears no shirt, but wears dirty brown breaches and massive boots. He bristles with troll muscle. His features are bulbous, brows as thick as a mans’ fist, eyes like palm size saucers filled with glittering gold and black flecked eyes, and a nose like an engorged sausage with deep black nostrils.
“Grot!” Marshall greets the troll.
The troll looks from the Marshal to you and then back to the Marshall. “I am not digging.” The troll says plainly.
The Marshall nods, “I will get you back to your mine. I need you to help us out Grot. We have some of your brothers on their way here. Can you talk to them?”
Grot looks out into the desert and then back to the Marshall. Thick black fingers folding over a belt around his waist he looks as if he is staring down a child.
“Came to fight.” Grot says matter of factly.
Marshall nods at that. “Rare though. We haven’t had problems with them in some time. I would rather not kill them all.”
Grot stares him down for a couple more seconds. “I need a new shovels.”
Marshall nods again, “I will make sure you get them.”
“And a pick. Short one. The tunnel is small. No room to swing. No…2 picks.”
“Wayland will get you what you need. On me.” The troll nods to Wayland who is standing behind a series of boxes and barrels he has piled up beside the building. The shopkeeper calls back over his cover, “Grot. Its yours!”
“I like horse.” Grot says to no one in particular.
Marshall shakes his head. “I told you. We need them for riding. Wayland has jerky.”
Grot thinks a moment, “Hard meat?”
“Yes just the way you like it. Lots of pepper.”
Grot nods. “Deal.” Without another word he walks past the Marshall easily steps over the barricades the town has put into place and begins to walk out into the desert.

10 minutes pass as the solitary troll and the phalanx make their way towards one another.
Out in the sands you see the phalanx come to a stop and the center of the troll group separate to let one of their members walk forward.
For many minutes Grot and the troll talk, occasionally gesturing back into the desert and towards the town. For a moment the conversation seems to be at an impasse. Then both trolls step forward slap one another on the shoulder and turn around.
In a few moments the troll phalanx is heading away from the town while Grot makes his way back. An almost tangible feeling of relief comes over the town but no one leaves the battlements yet.
Grot makes his way up the little incline and steps back over the battlements. The troll phalanx is almost no more than a dot in the distance now.
“So?” Marshall asks.
Grot points to you both. “Came for them. Says that these two killed a tribal brother.”
Marshall shoots you both a look of disgust, “How did you get them to leave.”
Grot smiles, yellow and dark skinned teeth flashing rarely, “They want help. There is a tooth and wing fortress 1 days walk to the north. They have killed all the trolls nearby. They want someone to destroy the fortress. If we don’t they will come back and take the town.”
Marshall thinks a moment, “How the hell does a Gargoyle kill a troll?”
Grot thinks on that a moment then looks up.
Marshall doesn’t understand and says as much.
Grot looks up again.
Only then does the Marshall smile in understanding. “Ah. You guys can’t look above you very well.”
Grot nods. “They drop us. We weight lots…fall fast.”
“How many?” Ben asks the troll.
Grot smiles again and slowly chuckles “Less than a phalanx.”

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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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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.

View
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.

Sunrise-.jpg

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."

View
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 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 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 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 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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