RoC Online – Group Phantom – A Local Place

Exploring the Village – 5 Fate spent, 5 Fate challenge. Silvana attempts to read minds – 0 Fate spent, 20 Fate challenge.

The village of Zemahra sits against the landscape much as the psionicists had already seen from their scrying. With Twinhorn joining their ranks and sticking close to the powerhouse that is Thaddeus Kael, the group looked out over the little logging village. Cleverly, those who have built Zemahra had understood the symbiotic relationship the people would need with the forest, and had positioned the houses inside a great circle formed, on one side, by gnarled and creaking trees, and on the other by the river, slouching towards an unseen sea. A small dock catches Philip’s eye, boats are loaded with planks ready to be shipped away downriver, but no townspeople can be seen who might be doing the shipping.

It becomes apparent in the short space of the time that the group are watching the village, that those who make up this small community are not out taking care of their day to day business, whatever that might be in such a forgotten place. The woodcutters are the only visible, busy people, continuing in their eternal, and somewhat lost, struggle against the trees of the forest whose blackened fingers snatch at hats with callous caresses. Aside from these men, (and how unfortunate they are to have to work in the outdoors, thought Twinhorn), Zemahra’s Ondrask and his assistants are the only others the group have seen in the fresh air. The rest of the village, it appears, have retreated behind the safety of their doors. There is no village wall, no barricade, no clear defence against the creatures of the North; any number of beasts could be lurking with shadowed claws and misted teeth, waiting for an ambush to become whole, vital, and deadly. The forest itself, and the river, too, must make up the majority of their hope for safety, thought Thaddeus, surveying the scene with a tactical eye. Anyone on the approach would need to cross the small slither of open rock; and even a child would catch sight of something making that journey.

As the group pondered the village, Silvana pushed her mind toward Zemahra’s Ondrask and his assistants. Slowly, with the utmost care, tendrils of intent swept out, ribboning towards the other group who were engaged in animated discussion. This should be easy, Silvana intoned in the quietest recesses of her brain, they’re not even paying attention! As the first coil reached its target, a shudder passed along its length, sending Silvana into a moment of shock. Her efforts are recoiled by a sudden, irrefutable force, directed entirely at the Tzi Tzain who dared to try and see what was not hers to see. In that moment, Silvana understands that some great and terrible force watches over this place, different to Archibald and his intimate domination of the Astral, but no less horrifying.

Helgathian women, Tzi Tzain women, they are strong. They fear and feel no cold save that of the deep waters in the depths of winter. They barely feel the cold. How, then, did Silvana suddenly understand the meaning of cold? Ice blossomed across her temples, the sudden attack of frostbite as it sinks into her frontal lobe. Pain, stabbing cold pain, blossoms in waves of fury behind her eyes, sealing itself in the blood that runs from the corners of eyes which have never known frost to hurt. Philip catches her, steadying her and holding her strong in his arms. The pain pulses deep within her for a few more moments, seconds that will never be forgotten, her brain frozen in that moment of panic. When Silvana’s thoughts begin to run again, she straightens back up, proud and undiminished by the injury. Or so it appears to those who watch. For Silvana, the memory of that moment will linger on her for some time to come. She shrugs off any continued help from Philip, and strides towards the Town Hall, not once looking at the Ondrask.

 

Entering the Town Hall

As in any small village where everyone knows everyone and their cat, the group’s arrival attracted attention. Entering the building, it immediately becomes clear where the majority of the population seem to have congregated. The first thing Twinhorn notes, as any Seeker of Lost Tales is wont to do, that a line of salt, ash and blood has been carefully laid across the doorway creating a total barrier when one considers the careful arrangement of brashtika around the doorway itself. Every adult in the room holds their own brashtika close, but they keep their children closer. There are more than a few protective hands clenched on the shoulders of the younger members of the congregation.

All conversation ceases.

They have, all of them, experienced this, more than once. The sense of being Other by the very nature of their work, appearance and stature, outsiders; intruders into some situation which they do not fully comprehend. That feeling washes over them again as they take in the stares of the people of Zemahra. There is hostility here, certainly, but there is also a deep-seated wariness and none of the party believe that there is much in the way of actual aggression. It is clear that every adult in this place carries a weapon, and many of the children have short blades tucked into their belts, although none have felt the need to present arms.

A huge pot of stew bubbles in the centre of the room, sending an enticing smell to Twinhorn’s discerning nostrils. There is an earthy, wild scent of mushrooms and rabbit, savoury and wholesome. Loaves of bread wait on long benches to be torn and dipped into clay bowls full of the unctuous mixture. Twinhorn could picture it now and Gods he wanted some, it had fully captured his… and then he saw the bar. Dominating one of the long walls was a bar stocked with dozens of bottles, each bearing a label written carefully by many different hands. Any of those fine brews would be the perfect accompaniment to the stew, Twinhorn salivated. When did I last eat, anyway? He reminisced with himself.

The rest of the space is taken up with families sitting together, playing cards or games with small wooden pieces. The games are not immediately familiar to the group, and it doesn’t look like they’ll have much of a chance to learn, considering that all movement in the hall has paused, some people still holding tiny pieces, clearly in the middle of a move now forgotten.

The Ondrask that the group had brought with them does not enter the space. “It would cause more problems.” He says, “I should probably return to my village. We will not be welcome here. We will bring the anger of the Dralkosh.”

He speaks quietly, and it does not seem that his words are picked up on by the villagers. 

Results

Silvana suffers 1 Fate Wound from the backlash.

Actions

Action Type Cost
Commune with the Power of Sewrag Interact 5
Return outside Move 2 +1 per person
Introduce Yourselves Openly Interact 4 (RP will assist this)
Introduce Yourselves Deceptively Interact 4 (RP will assist this)
Introduce Yourselves Carefully Interact 4 (RP will assist this)
Question the Ondrask before he leaves Interact 4 per question
Question the Villagers Interact 4 per question
Use Magical Sights Interact 4 per realm – please specify what you are looking for.