Chaos Land

You are on a wide open plain, with short cropped green grass all about and the occaisional frightened animal to be found. This particular area seems to have been untouched by the war. It is midday and the star of Pelor hangs high above you. The party has made quite a bit of progress since leaving The Broken Blade encampment. Your guide, who has indentified himself as Tharum, has given you quite a bit of information along the way, as well as some rather colorful stories of his own exploits. You know that this mission is a sort of test, a way to see how capable you all are. You know that two other adventuring bands have been comissioned in the past for this very job and that both have failed.

"As for the undead themselves," Tharum continues, "They say, y'know, them folks what comissioned us, they say that they be the most 'orrible things. And I 'eard the descriptions meself, they ain't pretty. I'd say zombies by the sound o' things, but it just don' seem right. Somethin' don't click. I ain't never heard of a zombie like what's they told me. But I 'ave seen some nasty stuff meself, why this one time..."

Tharum stops and points ahead. "Ah, well lookie here. I'd say that's the place! Y'see that hill there?" Straight ahead of you is a small hill covered in grass. There is a sizable hole in the front of it, the hole itself boardered by wooden supports. "That's the place there. Old graveyard they say. Not for them Vesus neither, back before even them y'see. Had a bunch of people researchin' it or somewhat's like that, back before the war. Looks like someone's moved into the place in the meantime, eh?"

Your escort nears the entrance and then stops, placing himself up against the hill itself. "Hole goes pretty far down from what I knows." He smiles and nods his head. "That's right, almost forgot. One group had a survivor. Came back lookin' worse for wear, but the man survived. Had quite a tale to tell too. Same tales of strange undead things down there, but what's more he said it felt like 'e was always bein' watched. And there was this laughin' sound, always low and nearby. And them undead types, it was like they was waitin' for him, wherever he went."

Tharum smiles wider and then motions dramatically towards the door. "So have fun, gents. This is as far as I take ya. I'm not gettin' paid enough to risk my tail like this, y'know? Nothin' personal a'course. At any rate, I'll give you fellas a couple hours, maybe till nightfall. After that, you're on your own for getting back. But tell you what, you make it out of this alive, I'll buy a round for each and every one of ya!"
Nalerenn Brokken, the Druid of the group, obviously had an underlying hatred for these foul creatures. Undead of any sort were just not natural. Worse, however, it sounded like these ones were slightly different than the usual shambling hordes. He peered through the doorway that Tharum pointed out, trying to squint into the darkness [[Spot check roll was a 24, though I'd expect a penalty for darkness]].

"What was it you saw, exactly? It may help us be more prepared to help you"

((For a description of Nalerenn, check the "Show Thine Face" topic. The LARP gear I have, minus the armor, is Nalerenn))
A 5'11", slender female stands in the back of the group. Her blood red hair almost blocking her hazel and her blue eyes. She is donned in breastplate. Her chin is on her scythe, which is almost as long as her body. Her face seems to have the look of her pounting about something. She does not speak, and her eyes seem to not be focused on where the durid is, but rather the surounding area, looking for other signs of life.
"The stairs look rather steep, so we will have to be careful while heading down. I can't see anything else down there, it's just too dark to see."
In clear sight is a flight of stairs leading down into the grave, leading into the darkness. Nalerenn's wolf sniffs at the air and crinkles it's nose in distaste as it whiffs a foul odor. And Tharum continues to babble as he opens a flask and pours a brown liquid into his mouth.
Andria squats down, and begins using the scythe to cut some of the grass. She sighs, and there is a tear on her hazel eye. It's just not the same a cutting into a living humenoid.
Nalerenn coughed loudly and deliberately, more to Tharum than Andria.

"So, What was it you saw, exactly? I don't beleive you answered my question"
Tharum blinks. "Eh? What're you talkin' about. Oh, oh, oh!" His eyes go wide and he smiles. "That's right, my little story! Right afore we found the grave, right? So there I was, me and Bofomit, we were right there in Southern Vesuvia right after the war, right? So we gots a job to do a little business, take care of this big.... green... thing! Yeah, that's what it was! Okay, so we go into the swamp, just like we were told, right? No kidding, soon as we get to this place, stone walls and stuff, like this crazy old temple, this big.... green... thing! Yeah, he comes out of nowhere, knocks poor Bofomit on 'is arse! Hah, never seen anything knock Bofomit on his arse afore and never did again! That big'ol bastard was a good sort, he's up in Death's Hand from what I hear now."

He takes a swig from his flask and continues. "Right, so there's this big green thing? But he's undead, swear to the gods! Stank like no tomorrow! Like rotting meat, y'know? So me and Bofo, we get to choppin', but the thing just won't die! Keeps comin' back, like, I dunno, like we wasn't even phasin' it! I got so fed up with the damn thing, I threw me flask at it, smashed right on top of the bastard's 'ead! Lost a gold worth of fine liquor too, but that's not the point. Good ol' Bofo decides he wants to set the thing on fire and, by the gods, you never heard such a sound! Wailin' and screamin', I think it was some kinda banshee or something with that noise!"

Tharum shrugs. "So it burned and burned. Then we took what was left and got us our reward. Good mission, good pay. Never did find out what that thing was though. Nasty critter." He takes another swig before saying, "Say now, speaking of which, did I ever tell you gents about..." and then continuing to babble.
Mercutio made fully sure that he was standing on the opposite side of the pit from the ruffians that had congealed around the lip of the grave. He folded his arms and twisted his mouth in an unimpressed way, as he tried to pierce the gloom with just his eyes. [Not even bothering a check here.]

If he was in charge of this silly group, he never would have taken a piddly little job like this one. Who had signed them up to flush out zombies? He didn't like the idea of creatures from beyond the grave at all. Those other two, the tall man with the sword and the girl with the scythe, seemed to be totally at ease with the prospect of undead. Well, it was their funeral. He would just let them walk in front of the rest of the group.

"Yes, that's all very nice," Mercutio snapped at the man who had shown them to the grave in order to keep him from going off into a bard's epic of idiotic proportions. "Go and wheeze yourself out in an inn. Come on, you lot, get moving." He jabbed one finger down toward the hole, indicating for either Nalerenn or Andria to descend first.
A massive man, standing a full six foot five with heavily muscled arms and a barrel chest, stood behind the rest of the adventurers. His face held a calm expression, as though he hadn't a care in the world, as he drew one hand over his stubble covered cheek. His half-plate glinted in the midday sun as he took a casual glance around the grave, looking for anything that might be of interest. There was no hurry, nothing to stop him from taking his time.

A rather irritated voice instructed their guide to leave and for the group to climb into the grave, but the tall warrior paid it little mind. Perhaps something interesting would show up.

((Attempt a Search Check. As there is nothing pressing, I'd like to take a 20.))
The stairs are wide enough that 2 of you could stand by side and move comfortably. The steps are made of stone, and old stone at that. They are cracked and have flecks of moss spotting them. The steps are narrow, it looks as if certain segments have crumbled off.

Tharum gives Mercutio a nasty look. "Sod off. I'm gettin' payed to escort you newlings to and from the job. I sit out here while you fellas do your thing. But after that last bit, you're on your own! No more help from Mr. Tharum! I'll just hold that last bit of info I remembered to meself, thank you!" He leans back up against the grassy hill and takes a swig from his flask.
"Undeads, eh?" muttered Shuryou as he closed a pouch with magical ingredients for spells. He hung it at the right side of his hips and stood up after sitting himself down on a rock. "This should produce an interesting tale to tell," he said with a smile. Shuryou was a tall Half-Elf with a long white robe. On the right side of his hips hung a white cap that he never bothered to wear. His hair was long and seemed like white silk, styled in a ponytail. His skin was tanned, close to being like chocolate, and his eyes were dark red like the rock of a volcano. Walking over to Tharum, he gestured to the hole in the ground and started to talk to him, "From what I've heard from you, I figure you have been down there personally... What can you tell us about it? Monsters besides your green buddy? Secret passages? A route through the cave? Anything to help us at all or something for my stories? Or some details about the things the last survivor told you?"

[[ Attempting Gather Information throw. I'm at 11 with this skill. ]]
"Eh? What now?" Tharum says. He rubs at his head a moment and then looks Shuryou in the eye. "Eh, I figure you're a nice enough chap. Not like captain stick up his arse over there. I tell ya what, howsabout I tell you a secret? Now listen here..."
Nodding silently while listening to Tharum, he remembered the information word by word in case they would need it. After he was finished, Shuryou nodded one final time and straightened his back after bending slightly towards Tharum. "Thanks, Tharum. You're a good man," Shuryou said with a smile and then turned towards the others.

He slowly walked to the middle of the group and held his hands out to the sides. "I think a round of introduction is appropriate, would you not think? It would be useful to shout each other's name in case of danger or when you get lost," Shuryou added with a soft laugh, "My name is Shuryou Darkholme. I'm a bard who has been fascinated with tales of demons and dragons. I'm a travelling man, a Half-Elf by heart, and have joined this crew for the glory and wisdom. I, personally, like to see myself more like a scholar instead of a singing bard. And to be quite honest," Shuryou whispered to them, "I'm a horrible singer."

"And now..." he added with a smile as he turned around in a full circle to see all of them at least once, "What are your names?"
Andria looks at this bard, and begins joining on the converstation. "Name's Andria. Undead are no fun to kill." She lifts her scythe up, and uses it to shove Mercutio towards the pit entrence. "And if your so egar to get this started, why don't you take point man!" She said with a grin. She turns her head to Tharum and asks" A big green monster that just won't die till it got burned. Coundn't it be some kind of troll or something? They sound fun to kill."
Tharum looks up suddenly as his eyes go wide. "A troll? A troll! Oh, well by Gruumsh's gimp eye, I'd say that's it! Wait till I get in touch with good'ol Bofo! Never struck me that might be what we done killed was a bleedin' Troll!"
"Undead..." Riverwind let the wretched word escape from his mouth, knowing the implication. Their touch corrupting, their existence unnatural--these were the fiends that he had vowed to erradicate, ever since a lone necromancer had desecrated his home so very, very long ago...

He preferred not to talk, only muttering "Riverwind." in a deft reply to the bard. His bow strewn across his back, Riverwind waited silently for the impatient types to go in first. He had skill with a blade, but his job was that of a sniper, striking swift and deadly from afar.

Swiftgale pawed the ground nervously behind him, a real beauty of a mustang, with tawny markings across a solid wheat coat. Softly, Riverwind ran his fingers through the mane, clicking his tongue softly. He knew that his friend despised the undead, and its natural fear for the unknown made it uneasy. Their bond was strong--he wouldn't force the horse to fight.
Mercutio raised his lip in a half-snarl as he glowered at the half-human who had requested the names of the people he was going to be stuck working with. He straightened his back to attain his full--although thoroughly unimpressive--height, and snapped his heels together.

"Mercutio Strongarm, Duke of the Strongarm Barony! Perhaps even ruffians like yourselves have heard of me? Great-grandson to the seventh generation of the Priest of the Five-Fold Goddess, and current lord of the Goddess in this coil!"

His cold eyes snapped around at each of the group in turn, searching for any sign of recognition. Respect was something that he could extort for his own uses. However, rather than falling on her knees and worshipping him for the royalty he was, the girl with the scythe jabbed him in the back with it. With his feet together, he very nearly lost his balance and was just able to grab hold of the half-elf bard of wyrms and fiends and whatnot to keep himself from tumbling straight into the grave.

"Indecent wench!" he roared, rounding on the girl who had delivered the shove. "If our travels ever take us across the borders of the Strongarm Barony, I will promptly have you executed!"

[22 Intimidate check to try and freak out Andria, if you'd like to go down the path of numbers. If you'd just like to straight-up RP the whole thing, then that's fine.]
Andria just looks at Mercutio, and starts to chuckle while a..... pink pony is behind Tharum, grazing on grass.
The massive warrior, one Geraden Tarcho, knelt down next to his discovery, and an interesting discovery it was. Footprints, and large ones at that, moved to and from the opening that the band of adventurers even now gathered around. Geraden measured the size of the prints, using length of his hand to mark them in place of a ruler. They were twice again as large as any he could make. He turned to report his findings when he witnessed a shoving match between to of his "companions".

Calm yourself Strongarm," Geraden growled. "We have more pressing matters to attend to than your boastful honor nor your idle threats. I have found footprints of remarkable size, suggesting that whatever is down there are no ordinary zombies." As if as an afterthought, he turned to the half-elf. "I am called Geraden, a warrior by trade and by creed."