There Were No Skulls

Ludo moved up to Hasan and whispered, “I think we should go and have a look at who is making the fire, this far into the wilderness the only people I would expect to see would be more ‘Sons of Night’ cultists, or possible hunters, either way we will get some information about what is around here”.

“Da, Ludo,” Stephan said. “You and Hasan can likely get a good view from up that way before getting closer if needed.” He pointed to some bluffs overlooking the river.

Stephan peered at the smoke again. “A small fire. They did not travel far for the wood. It appears to be this riverside oak bramble,” he indicated the dominant foliage surrounding them. “They’re not expecting anyone in these parts, I’d wager. Or they’d have taken better care with the smoke.”

“I doubt that they are travelers this far up the valley.” said Maruc, “I suspect a scouting party, guardians or watchers of the path. Be careful. Halav go with you.”

Miklos nodded in agreement. “I’d suggest preparing ourselves for the worst and hoping for the best, as they say. There are many dwellers of mountains. A best they are dwarves, at worst a stone giant. I doubt dragons would build fires so little chance of that! But knowing our luck I’d imagine a goblinoid race of some description. I’d get your axe ready Feldard.”

Hasan nodded. “The land grows rougher by the mile, but it’s still forestland to me. Come along Ludo, and walk softly now.” The elf handed his shield to Maruc, “Bring this ahead for me, alright? A little glinty for now, I think.”

And with that, the elf and stealthy human ascended the first hillock between themselves and the smoke. At the summit, Hasan waved his companions forwarded, then turned to plunge quickly into the deep brush. The elf unslung his bow, as he and Ludo walked and winced their way through the brambled wood. The ground grew a little damp under their feet, and mushrooms grew larger. A tributary to the Foamfire winkled through the wood, 200 yards away. A raven’s distant shriek echoed through the vale.

Hasan judged the smoke. It was small like Stephan had surmised. It had the characteristics of a dying fire, perhaps from embers still smoldering from morning. It was still. He could not be absolutely certain, but he doubted there was anyone, or anything, still around to pose a threat.

Ludo followed Hasan amazed at how quietly he moved even whilst wearing armour. The forest seemed still and the air heavy in the midday heat, and the moisture under his feet was welcome even though he could not help occasionally making a ‘skelch’ sound as he moved through the undergrowth. Eventually Hasan lower his body to the ground as they approched a clearing, Ludo followed suite and slithered forward to the edge of the clearing.

A flock of black crows took to the air, cawing loudly, startled by the party’s approach. Scattered around the smoking remains of a large fire were a few pots and pans, the torn fragments of some bedrolls and a broken spear shaft.

The other joined them and commenced a search of the area that revealed numerous footprints, some human and others that were slightly larger. A noticeable trail lead northwards up the valley. In the remains of the fire were the blackened bones of a group of humans. There were no skulls.



Filed under D&D, Dungeons & Dragons, rpg

6 responses to “There Were No Skulls

  1. 1:30pm, Nytdain, the 9th of Flaurmont, 1001AC
    Cloudy, cool.

    Maruc: 10xp+10xp
    Miklos: 10xp+10xp
    Hasan: 10xp+5xp+10xp
    Stephan: 10xp+10xp+10xp
    Ludo: 10xp+10xp

    Maruc: 27,290/48000
    Miklos: 27,200/40000
    Feldard: 27,705/34000
    Hasan: 26,820/32000
    Stephan: 26,775/32000
    Ludo: 26,395/40,000

  2. Ludo

    Ludo advanced into the clearing. He used his the field craft taught to him by his father’s game keeper to explain to Maruc what happened. Pointing to the various spoors “looks like the attackers came in from two directions at once and took these poor sods by surprise. there were it least eight attackers, most likely more, its hard to tell. A classic and well co-ordinated surprise attack. The attackers quickly overcame resistance and killed them gesturing to the bodies within the dying fire within seconds. I expect they attacked at dawn going by the state of the fire, which means the attackers could be miles away by now. Equally they could still be close by. They decapitated the bodies which is disturbing. They could have taken the heads for a ritual or just to warn off anyone who came looking for the source of the fire, by that statement I mean us. Ludo shuddered, there is nothing we can do for them I suggest we move on as quickly as we can and get clear of this area before they come back”.

  3. Maruc

    Maruc cast around the scene. “Its a warning. To my mind its to ward off would be adventurers. These larger foot prints how tall were the attackers? Six or seven foot tall? You say this was a surprise attack? So we are looking for cunning creatures larger than the largest man? Weapon users, look the at the spear there. The tracks goes back up into the mountains? Hmm I’d rather not leave these poor souls unburied but we cannot burn them, we don’t have the time or resources and we cannot give them warning that we are coming.”

    He knelt in the centre of the camp. “Blessed Halav on your carven throne in the south, receive the souls of your children who have fallen here.”

    He stood up and faced the north. “As Halav is our guide. Let us revenge this travesty.”

  4. miklosdostevar

    Miklos rubbed his hand over the blackened soil. “Normal. No magical blast here. At least that’s something.”Yes Ludo, although ghoulish you are correct, we cannot tarry.” He looked at the tracks, the mage was no expert but by the gait he would be surprised that these creatures were capable of stealth.

  5. Stephan

    Stephan touched some blood splattered on a tree. “A bit tacky still. Maybe 2 or 3 hours old.” It was easy to see more blood balled up in clots of the loamy river soils. “A lot of blood here. Maybe it’s where they bagged the heads,” he said looking down at a spot near the edge of the camp. “Sloppy work,” he muttered shaking his head.

    “Da,” Stephan said as if he’d come to some conclusion. “We are lucky to have this warning. The trail heads in the direction we go but we now go with great caution. We are the hunters now. Let’s find our prey.”

  6. Feldard

    Feldards palms itched. Whatever attacked these poor blokes would find that he and his companion more than a match for them. He nodded at Stephen’s comment that they hunt these creatures down. He let the elf and Ludo lead they would be better able to see an signs along the trail.
    For his part, Feldard kept an alert watch as they continued on along the trail.

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