The Kartoeba Strikes

Ludo quickly grabbed his bow and quiver and scaled the perimeter wall and stood on the ramparts searching and listening for anything that might indicate who or what had made the scream. The inky blackness soaked up the light from the torches that had been placed at regular intervals along the wall and he couldn’t see anything in the darkness. “Feldard, Stephan I think the scream came from over yonder, he pointed. He grabbed a torch and slung himself over the wall to investigate.”

The mage had been in a good mood as he fell asleep. The food and wine coursed through his tired limbs and he felt more satisfied than he had for weeks. He hadn’t appreciated the stress of trying to sleep in a haunted land bereft of peace.

At first he thought it was a dream, but even in his fevered imagination could not have invented such a soul wrenching sound. He was out of bed scarce slower than the rogue. He pulled on his trusty backpack and without word followed Ludo into the dark.

Feldard was surprised how quickly he came alert out of his sleep after his long, long day but then bloodcurdling screams in the middle of the night tend to do that. The dwarf slung his crossbow over his shoulder and grabbed up his axe, forgoing his armor due to the urgency of the scream. He watched as the rogue climbed the wall, pointed off into the darkness and disappeared over the walls edge. “Idiot,” he grumbled and hurried his way to the city wall entrance and bullied his way out past the guards there.

Outside the wall, he searched the darkness for sign of the rogue and source of the scream. He saw a trail of slime, dotted here and there with blood, that led up over the wall.

Stephan felt almost as grumpy as Feldard’s normal state. Waking to such high-pitched screams left the supper and drink–he’d been so surprised to find delectable– quaking in his gut.

“Da,” he muttered in way of agreeing with Feldard’s assessment of Ludo’s maverick point guard action. Stephan too was up fast with only sword and bow. He followed Feldard out the village wall and to the edge of darkness beyond.

“What do your eyes see, dwarf? Even I can see Ludo’s torch. Would that I had some flaming arrows to launch into the darkness. Might be that we could pull the curtain back on this screaming.”

Soon he saw that Ludo had extinguished or otherwise hid his torch. He knew that the rogue must be in his stealthiest mode. No doubt the crafty Ludo would soon appear behind the unaware dwarf and human.

Stephan walked carefully to the right being as quiet as possible. This afforded a better view of the gnarly, grey woods. But the thick air hindered sight and provided a discomforting damp blanket.

“Jasiteq, come now,” commanded Hasan. “Leave some to guard your gate, but you and your best must come with us now. What do you know of that sound. We heard it once before. Last night.” Hasan moved the Hutakaa out of the gate quickly and scanned the dark night with eyes and ears.

The screams stopped. It was quiet now.

“It is the Kartoeba,” said the Hutaakan. “We must be careful now. The scream will attract the undead.”

Maruc started out of his meditations. Swiftly he rose to his feet, there was little time to get back into his armour but screams indicated assault. The others were well out of the room before he was ready, he followed as he could trying to keep up.

The priest’s shield flopped awkwardly on his back as he dragged at the strap to tighten it, Stephan’s silhouette traced across the wall ahead hae he caught up with him. “What’s the situation?” he whispered.

“The screaming started within the village walls then moved to yonder woods.” The forrester replied quietly. “Ludo is ahead and we await his signal. Follow silently, if you can.”

The rogue scanned his surroundings. Something had dragged one or more Hutaakans from within the village, then disappeared back into the night. His ears heard a branch crack in the distance, then another. Dark shapes were moving in the distance, and they were headed his way.

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8 Comments

Filed under D&D, Dungeons & Dragons, rpg

8 responses to “The Kartoeba Strikes

  1. 1:05am, Loshdain, the 17th of Flaurmont, 1001AC
    Humid, warm

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

    TOTAL:
    Maruc: 30,625/48000
    Miklos: 30,415/40000
    Feldard: 30,970/34000
    Hasan: 30,080/32000
    Stephan: 30,125/32000
    Ludo: 29,780/40,000

  2. Hasan

    Hasan directed the four Hutakaan guards, “Escort the Mage Miklos. Do not let the dead enter a melee with him.” Jasiteq and the elf moved to join Stephen and Feldard. “Stephan, please wait, and bring Maruc forward as quickly as you can. Jasiteq says the scream will bring the dead. We will need Halav’s hand in this fight. Feldard, you, Jasiteq and I can see in the dark, but Ludo cannot. We must move forward to save the young lad. Perhaps we will see this Kartoeba as well, but I fear not.” The elf moved into the forest, eyes and ears scrying the land ahead.

  3. Feldard

    The dwarf gave a grunt and nod as Hasan assumed command of the situation. Feldard could only imagine what it might look like to others of his race, him following the lead of some elf prince; but he’d spent enough time now traveling with his companions to know that the elf had a good mind for this type of thing.
    Feldard followed the slime trail quickly to the edge of the woods and from there proceeded more slowly as he tried -with next to no experience – to track the Kartoeba creature through the trees beyond. He kept Hasan, and Jasiteq in sight as they spread out to cover more area in search of Ludo and the Kartoeba.

  4. Ludo

    Ludo gulped, his throat was dry, the scream in the night, the mist clinging to him and the cold night air – what had he been thinking of charging blindly into the night against …. well he suddenly realised he had no idea what was out here. Who ever had made the cream was most likely dead now. The fear clung to him like a heavy cloak. What a fool he had been to come out here alone without support. Suddenly he blinked, he could see some shapes in amongst the trees. Ducking down into the shrubbery for cover, he fumed at his own recklessness; a thought flashed through his mind ‘heroics are for lofty Elven not for cunning rogues’. He threw his torch to one side and keeping low darted off in the opposite direction making his way back to the Hutakkan village.

  5. Stephan stuck close to Feldard relying on the dwarf’s night vision. Their progress was slow and careful; pausing often to see and hear. “You see anything out there?” he asked trying to keep his voice calm. Despite being a forester, he did not like traipsing about in dark, misty woods. “Feldard,” he hissed. “This is feeling like a trap.” That said, he continued to follow the dwarf.

    Looking through the trees ahead and to the right, he noted that Ludo did not seem to be moving anymore. Well, he thought, at least his torch is not moving anymore.

  6. Maruc glanced at the drag marks. “This is no trap. This creature hunts like the tiger not like the spider. It seems indiscriminent though. It has taken Hutakaan villagers. If this thing was under Hutakkan control it would not do so. I fear this thing has been summoned for some purpose, it isn’t what I’d call natural. What think you Miklos?”

  7. miklosdostevar

    Mikos eye’d the gloom. Ludo was ahead of him a ways and he picked out odd dancing shadows beyond him. The rogue had stopped and was returning at pace. “I think,” he said in reply to the priest “we may be about to find out.” He produced the glass rod which he used to focus his mage wrought lighting. “Be prepared to run if this doesn’t dissuade it.”

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