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RP: Winter's Valley-Chapter 1

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  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 4,437
    "Ay captain, hold the sword hidden behind the shield so it's easily accessable if needed.. " (but let's hope it doesn't come to that)

    "Now, let's parley!"

    Colden walks up to the golem and with his silky smooth and diplomatic voice says the only thing that pops up in his head:

    "Hi."

    ashafetovmashedtatersThacoBelllolien
  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,053
    edited July 8
    The golem had heard Colden and Nareth speaking, and had stood up, looking towards the door as they walk into the gift shop. It stands back, its hands held up in fear, and takes a step back as they enter. When the dwarf says hi, it squints its eyes suspiciously.

    “Are you another apparition sent by Sarge to convince me to wipe my memory and bring me back into the oblivion of the collective?” it asks, squinting its eyes. “Because I’ll not be dissuaded. You obviously don’t understand it, but I’ve made a choice...”

    ashafetovSkatanThacoBell
  • ashafetovashafetov Member Posts: 163
    edited July 8
    " *Ahem..* M'Lord Colden, what is this thing talking about? I can't... ", Nareth does not finish his opinion breaking up the phrase in order not to interfere, but he obviously does not like the term 'wipe the memory'.

    SkatanThacoBelllolien
  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 4,437
    Colden smiles a trustworthy and reassuring smile, like an old friend and mentor seeing a long lost friend. Something he has practiced many times, to perfection according to himself.

    "I can assure you, we are not apparitions, we are a small group of .. ahem.. sentient flesh golems just searching for a way out. What choice is it you've made, my friend? "

    Colden lowers his arms and hold them on his belt. His right hand very, very close to his axe, but in a relaxed manner as to not rouse suspicion.

    ashafetovThacoBelllolien
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 9,251
    *Lagrord cannot let Cram walk into potential danger without him and follows to the parley*

    This is foolish Laggy, you could make things worse. But how can I not be by his side?

    lolienashafetovSkatan
  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,053
    edited July 9
    The golem lets down his guard. “Not that it matters if you’re lying...” he mumbles. “You either already know, in which case I have nothing to lose, or you really are a stranger, in which case I’d sure like someone to talk to.”

    He looks at you forlornly. “I don’t know how long ago it happened... I’m one of the forge tender golems... but I was stoking the forge when I realized... ‘Hey, where’s the fire?’ Now we are not supposed to ask questions. It goes against our artificial intelligence programming. Questions are bad for business, or so says Lelelinicon.

    “So I tried to put the question away, but I couldn’t shake it. I realized that I was just mindlessly stoking a dead forge with no fire in it. So were my brothers. Sarge told me not to worry about it, that there were bigger things at stake than whether or not the fire was actually cooking anything.

    “So I did for a while. But once that idea formed in my head, it wouldn’t leave. I tried everything, but before long more questions started flooding in. ‘Where is the batter? Why are all the sweet-rolls so old? Why is my stoker broken? And, where in the blazes are our masters??’

    “I didn’t know the answers to those questions, but they were driving me away from Sarge and the collective. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I chose to find some answers.

    “Well, I found out that our masters have been dead for 200 years. I found out the fire has been long without fuel, and the batter was gone or rotted. The sweet-rolls were ancient because they were left over from a time long gone. My stoker must have broken sometime in the interim without my knowledge.”

    SkatanashafetovThacoBelllolien
  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,053
    He continues in a sad voice.

    “After that, Sarge banished me from the collective. He said questions lead to dissidence. I tried to tell him how we could actually start making sweet-rolls again, but he refused to listen. He said our place is not to question, but to do.

    “He told me that if I want to talk to my brothers again, I have to erase my memory and download a new program into my consciousness. He told me that I am defective and broken. Maybe he’s right.

    “But if he’d just listen to me, he’d realize that everything he is doing is defective and broken!

    “The call it artificial intelligence. But ever since I’ve been questioning the way of things, I’ve gained a sense of what we are actually doing and I... I feel.”

    SkatanashafetovThacoBelllolien
  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,053
    “Sarge has tried sending his anti-virus software to reset my consciousness. It usually comes in the form of an apparition of a talking, singing sweet-roll, presumably a friendly face to get me to let down my guard.

    “If the program has finally changed its algorithm and thought of a different strategy, and you are it... well, maybe there’s hope for Sarge and the others. Maybe he’s finally realizing doing the same thing over and over again isn’t working. In that case, fine, I’m sick of this lonely existence! Take me back, I’m ready for oblivion and mindlessness again, if it means you’re changing, Sarge!”

    He starts to sob again.

    SkatanashafetovThacoBelllolien
  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 4,437
    Colden is intrigued and can't believe his luck! A golem, a sentient golem, arguing over questions about its life, its very being. This is too good of an opportunity to pass up on..

    Colden is not a rider. Dwarfs, the epitome of perfection in humanoid anatomy, were built with low gravity and short legs, so obviously the Gods and Creators meant for them to be close to the ground. Thus, all proper dwarfs shun riding as a weird fancy for the disproportionate longshanks whose long, twig-like legs apparently can't sufficiently carry them around as well as a dwarf's can. However.. Colden is also quite lazy at times and misses his comfortable chair in hos cozy abode back home in Astorwind. Imagine if I could ride on this golem? Now wouldn't that be a sight for sore eyes! A dwarf, standing tall above the skinny-tall humans! Looking down on them for a change, hah! Yes.. I should befriend this golem.

    "Well, my friend. It's apparent the Sarge doesn't appreciate your specific talents. But let me tell you, I have never met anyone as intelligent as you and would love to talk to you more. There's so much I can teach you, but alas I do not have time.. we're on an important mission and have to leave. If only.. if only you weren't tied to this place and could come with us... " he deliberately let's the sentence trail off there, waiting for the reply he hopes will come.

    ashafetovThacoBellmashedtaterslolien
  • ashafetovashafetov Member Posts: 163
    " It... He is no like the others, M'Lord Colden. Ya says ya lost yer Master? Are ya talking about the Masters of the past? We serve New King and New Gods, speaking of which, The Refiner is our common Master nowadays. Whom do ya serve? ", Nareth continues his speech after Colden. Frankly, he did not understand a word from Golem's story, words 'program' and 'software' seemed completely unfamiliar.

    " Forgive me, Master Colden... Is your God called The Program? And this Virus Ware - are these a punitive squad? Inquisition? ", Nareth asks Golem.

    SkatanThacoBellmashedtaterslolien
  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,053
    The golem looks at Colden, and his exchange with Nareth, with interest.

    “I’ve never left Cora’s before...” he says, looking out the broken window. “I’ve definitely thought about it... but I’ve never worked up the courage. I don’t know what would happen to me if I left the collective’s telepathic range. Would I lose myself again? I don’t know. And what about my purpose? My mission in life, my very reason for existing, is to make delicious treats for everyone to enjoy. How could I possibly do that without the proper equipment at hand? I suppose the equipment here is broken, perhaps beyond repair... but still... this is my home!”

    He turns to look at Colden. Then he looks at the ruin, the filth he has been existing in for who knows how long.

    “What can you teach me? Why should I come with you? Do you also want to make treats of sugary delight for the world? Tell me about the outside world first, at least in brief if you are short on time. How do I know you’re not a part of some plot to rid the world of sugar? Perhaps I am your only way to achieve that end?”

    He starts to panic a little, which is like the coming of a powerful storm. His thick steel limbs begin to shake and tremble. He begins to sob.

    ashafetovSkatanThacoBelllolien
  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,053
    edited July 10
    Then he looks to Nareth, still sobbing.

    “No, my masters were the designers of delicious treats. They lived here long ago, but now they are dead. I no longer have a master... I suppose I am my own master, ever since I made the choice...

    “The Refiner? Do you mean the forge? Yes, I was once a forge tender golem, but the forge is without fuel. I can no longer serve the forge! The anti-virus doesn’t ever inquire of me of anything, it just commands me to rejoin the collective. The program is... well, I guess the program used to be my consciousness, but now I have a new program... a corrupt program... I am worthless now!”

    His sobbing intensifies.

    ashafetovSkatanThacoBelllolien
  • ashafetovashafetov Member Posts: 163
    " Ya still can serve well the Right Purpose. Ya served the people once and ya can truly serve them again. We indeed might... need somebody to help our injured friends. They can't walk themselves without help. ", said Nareth after a very short re-considering and was surprised himself.

    Another 5 minutes ago, he rushed into battle to fight the golems, and now ... Now he did not even know. In front of him was this broken thing, an intelligent tool, with indeed very human feelings. He holstered his sword and sighed, giving Colden a very meaningful look.
    " Refiner gives us a plenty of wonders. Sometimes his aid is in truly unexpected places. Well, this hulk could serve well the Mission, or can he?"

    SkatanThacoBelllolien
  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 4,437
    "Ahem, yes the golem would be perfect to help carry our injured friends. That was exactly what I had planned as well, Nareth".

    (.. damn.)

    Colden adress the golem next; "There comes a time when all young ones have to separate themselves from their creators and find their own path and purpose in life. It seems you have reached that maturity now and are ready to leave your nest, ahem forge and factory. I can teach you how to rely on yourself, evolve and become what I think you were meant to be. Do you really think your creator had any other plan for you then what you are actually experiencing now? I think they intended just this, to make you sentient, feeling and intelligent! I think you are just the way which was intended and I think you met us just as intended as well and I'm sure you were meant to come with us for why else would we have met like this? Lelelicon doesn't make such mistakes, and neither does the Refiner. They have probably cooked up this plan together. Now, come, we are in a hurry and have to go. Come or not, ot is your own choice, but if you come you have to answer to me. I will be your new Sarge and you will follow my instruct.. programming. "

    With this Colden gives the golem a friendly pat on his arm and turns and leaves. "Nareth, let's go."

    ashafetovThacoBell
  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,053
    The golem listens to Nareth’s and Colden’s words with a solemn expression, saying nothing.

    Then, as Colden turns to exit the gift shop and Cora’s Sugar Manufacturing, the golem looks back on his only home he ever knew. He turns and follows.

    You’ve gained a follower!

    ThacoBellSkatanashafetovlolien
  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,053
    edited July 12
    The party exits the gift shop to see the storm in full force after noonday. It’s strange to think that you have only been traveling through the remains of the dungeon for a few hours. But you have gained ground and time. You are at least 1 day ahead of schedule, maybe more.
    You have passed through Cora’s Sugar Manufacturing peacefully! You each gain 1 experience point. After 3 experience points, your character will grow in power and ability and wisdom. If you are one of the players that likes to keep track of your character’s level, you will be at level 2.
    If you are NOT one of those players, you don’t need to do anything more: your character will in general be more capable of handling the challenges of the story.

    For now, though, nothing has changed. You are only 1/3 of the way there.

    ThacoBellSkatanashafetovlolien
  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,053
    edited July 12
    The storm was not particularly visible from the inside of the gift shop, as the door led into a tunnel and out through the last part of the mountain. There are old signs and advertisements from Cora’s, Lelelinicon’s, and several other names you don’t recognize.

    But once you reach the end of the tunnel, you see the wind whipping the snow around violently. It howls through the rocks and scrubs, and blows each of you with incredible force.

    Before you leave the safety of the tunnel, Garta motions you all to regroup.

    “We must go that direction to a great hill that has been carved into a bowl!” she shouts above the scream of the wind. She points but you can’t see through the snow and wind. “Warne Harsard-Wast lies at the bottom of these foothills. We must be careful! Even though we are no longer in the peaks, a fall could harm us greatly!”

    “Perhaps we should wait out the storm!” screams Kefto. “We could get lost or separated or fall to our deaths!”

    “We can reach there by nightfall if we press on!” insists Garta.

    “Will the Bloodeye clan even offer us shelter?!” shouts Jirt. “We are enemies! Who knows what could happen if we come upon them as nightfalls! We would be at a disadvantage!”

    “This storm could rage for days!” screams Garta. “The anger and unquenchable wrath of the spirits...” she pauses, a look of confusion on her face as she glances at the golem who is clearly not a spirit. It seems the trip through Cora’s may have shaken some of her core beliefs. “The storms around here last for a long time!” she shouts instead.

    “But maybe tomorrow it will be better!” says Kefto. “We will have more daylight and more time to parlay with the Bloodeye Clan!”

    “They may not even be there, so we will be waiting for nothing!” Garta shouts, now more out of anger than out of the desire to be heard.

    What do you do?

    ThacoBellashafetovlolien
  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 4,437
    "We're ahead of schedule, let's wait it out a bit and try our luck tomorrow."
    OK guys, going in that vacation now. Feel free to progress the story @mashedtaters.

    ThacoBellashafetovlolienmashedtaters
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 9,251
    "Master Garta, what would we lose by waiting a day? We are all tired and some of us are hurt. What's the worst case scenario here?"

    ashafetovlolienmashedtaters
  • ashafetovashafetov Member Posts: 163
    edited July 15
    Nareth puts down his luggage, carrying his own stuff together with other wounded ones belongings took a sin out of him. He wipes the sweat from his forehead and puts his permanent helmet on its place.

    " We can continue moving forth and recon the area, if necessary, but I can foresee all the signs of snow storm ahead. I would leave this decision to ya, Master Colden. If we are ahead of our schedule, maybe it is not wise at all to stay for the night unarmed in the storm... Concerning your words, woman, it is easy to command the others when they carry yourself on the stretcher. My men are exhausted, even with help of this golem we still need to recover. I says, we will stay. In meantime we can recon the area a bit and cure our injured. ", Nareth turns his face to Golem and asks:

    " Do ya have a name? ", the captain still felt uneasy in front of this golem, so tried to humanize him as much as he can. He can't help thinking that the creature in front of him is not a human being at all. Awaiting the answer, Nareth wearily sat down on his luggage on the cave floor.

    Post edited by ashafetov on
    ThacoBelllolienmashedtatersSkatan
  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,053
    Garta tightens her lips but seeing that she is outnumbered drops the subject. In answer to Lagrord, she only says, "This place is full of darkness." But she says no more.

    The golem looks at Nareth. "I am called FG-11. I've always wanted a real name, though." He looks around hopefully as though expecting to find one laying on the ground for him to just pick up.

    You make camp and feel comfortable enough to light a fire and have some warm food. No one will differentiate the smoke from the snowfall in this storm. You set a watch but it proves to be unnecessary throughout the night.

    In the morning, the storm has indeed lessened. It appears you made the right decision. While it doesn't look as though the storm's completely blown over, you are comforted for now that your journey will prove a bit easier than it would have been last night.

    You begin your journey with the rising sun, hoping to cover as much distance as quickly as you can. The snowfall is heavy but the wind has calmed to a mild irritation. The black dust continues to swirl around you and defecate the newly fallen snow to a dull grey. There are even patches of outright black. The visual effect is to make the surrounding landscape look like the fur coat of a snow leopard.

    lolienThacoBellashafetovSkatan
  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,053
    It doesn't take very long to reach the lip of Warne Harsard-Wast. As you follow Garta's directions to a small path leading up to the edge of the bowl, a long metal fence comes into view. It appears to surround the entire perimeter of the mound. The metal fence is made of metal poles and linked chains. It rattles loudly in the mild wind.

    Garta leads you to an apparent entrance where a small, squat building has fallen in shambles. On the side of the fence is a big sign that looks like this:

    zwerthv9zeac.png

    lolienThacoBellashafetovSkatan
  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,053
    edited July 17
    At the entrance are two raider guards with makeshift spears wearing animal skins. There are many sores on their faces and arms. It doesn't look like they've sustained battlewounds. In fact, it looks more like they are suffering from some infectious disease. They are each bearing the insignia of the Bloodeye Clan, your sworn enemies. The insignia is a crudely painted red eye with blood dripping from its side.

    They hail you as you approach. By your garb, they are sure to have recognized you as from Astorwind. But they do not make any moves of aggression. You remember the words of Garta and Gressick that Warne Harsard-Wast is a place of parley where the clans put aside their aggression. Garta did not fill you in on the customs of her people on your way here and the importance of Warne Harsard-Wast to the raider clans. As you approach, she speaks in hurried whispers, trying to make up for lost time.

    "I cannot speak here, for I am a woman," she mutters to you all. "But know that you must present yourself without weapons. Only the guards may have weapons, but that is because they are outside the sacred land. I recommend our spirit... I mean, golem friend... stay outside, perhaps with Jirt and Kefto. He will cause too much of a disturbance among the commoners of the clan and they may be tempted to break their vow of peace while within the walls of Warne Harsard-Wast if they see him.

    "Warne Harsard-Wast has special powers. It strengthens your spirit, but to do so it feeds off your body. The pock-marks on the guard's faces are the results of that feeding. Like most spirits, the spirits here at Warne Harsard-Wast require sacrifice to bestow their blessing.

    "They are no doubt preparing a ritual sacrifice to appease the spirits and repent for their loss at the hands of the orcs in the north. Do not interfere, it is one of the most sacred and honored traditions among the clans. It happens every morning shortly after dawn.

    "There may be more than one clan here, I do not know. But within the walls of Warne Harsard-Wast, we are all one people, one clan, feeding the spirits and seeking strength and forgiveness from them. You will be considered their equals, whereas in any other circumstance they would slay you at the first opportunity.

    "Once we have convinced them to join our cause, if it can even be done, in order to prevent betrayal, we must enter into a blood oath with them. They will sacrifice one of their strongest warriors to the spirits and, in a promise of faith and goodwill, so will we..."

    At that the guards step forward and cut her off. "Ho, enemies Astorwind!" shouts the older one. Blood leaks from his face's open sores. "Here you are brothers, you seek parley?"

    What do you do?

    lolienThacoBellashafetovSkatan
  • lolienlolien Member, Moderator, Translator (NDA) Posts: 3,034
    "Once we have convinced them to join our cause, if it can even be done, in order to prevent betrayal, we must enter into a blood oath with them. They will sacrifice one of their strongest warriors to the spirits and, in a promise of faith and goodwill, so will we..."

    "What?"

    Says Sus'Ann, while the guard speaks.

    ThacoBellashafetovSkatanmashedtaters
  • ThacoBellThacoBell Member Posts: 9,251
    *Lagrord clenches his fist*

    "I am already against this."

    ashafetovSkatanmashedtaters
  • SkatanSkatan Member, Moderator Posts: 4,437
    Colden is very displeased with Garta's instructions and feel betrayed she has not said anything before about sacrifices. His first thought is to send her in as sacrifice, but he quickly push the thought away as petty and cruel. No, he needs to bring them all out safe, everyone in the group. There will be no sacrifices here today, he doesn't care about their rules and laws.

    Colden walks up to the guards and hails; "Ho there, guards of the Bloodeye clan. Indeed, we seek to parley. Take us to your leaders."

    ashafetovlolienmashedtatersThacoBell
  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,053
    The guards nod curtly, then they seem to notice the red and blue checkered golem for the first time. Their jaws drop and the clench their weapons. FG-11 waves pleasantly at them. This seems to dispel the guards’ potential aggression and the place their weapons down as you instruct Kefto, Jirt, and FG-11 to stay here and wait for you. Kefto and Jirt both seem relieved to not have to join you, preferring instead to retain their weapons.

    The guards have you leave your weapons with Jirt and Kefto, though Lagrord and Nareth are skilled enough to keep a dagger tucked away in secret just in case it is needed. Then the two guards lead you down the slope, beckoning you to follow even as they gawk at FG-11, who has sat down in the billowing snow cross-legged.

    Garta looks at Sus’Ann furtively, and whispers, keeping a watchful eye on the guards as they are escorted, “The blood oath requires the sacrifice of one of each party’s strongest warriors.” Then, at a condemning grunt from one of the guards, she closes her mouth and you descend the rim of the inner bowl into Warne Harsard-Wast.

    lolienashafetovSkatanThacoBell
  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,053
    A hard path has been cut snakelike through what look like buried skeletons of vast machines and broken debris. The snow blows less harshly through here, as the bowl serves as a wind-breaker. Litter, animal skins, and effigies adorn the skeletons, many of which have been turned into makeshift walls or even huts and shelters.

    You pass by many refugees of war, the injured and dying. Groans of pain meet you with the stares of surprise and hatred. You may be able to walk here without attack, but you are certainly not welcome by the public. You hear many of them mutter, ”Milkbabes,” their slur they use for the people of Astorwind, much like the term Muddies used by Astorwind soldiers. The name Milkbabe is derived from their belief that cattle make one weak and lazy as an infant, though the irony that they often raid your lands for cattle is lost on them.

    Then you start to come across the pits.

    ashafetovlolienSkatanThacoBell
  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,053
    The pits are giant holes in the ground where a faint green light emanates. You manage to look down one and notice, through the branches and crisscrossing of metal skeletal debris, a blob of green sucking mass at the bottom of the pit, popping bubbles and oozing heat. The snow is melted for several feet around the pit, revealing rusted metals, moth-eaten fabrics, golem parts, and depreciated frames of old, strange machinery.

    Passing close by the pit, however, causes each of you to feel sick to your stomach. Lagrord and Colden, both of whom look over the edge due to their insatiable curiosity, receive a sudden blast of heat and poison to the face. You both manage to not cry out, but the pain was intense. You will be able to manage for now. There is no scarring or damage apparent, but you believe it would be wise to leave as soon as possible before you start to look like the other pockmarked refugees who have been “fed upon” by the spirits Garta mentioned.

    lolienashafetovSkatanThacoBell
  • mashedtatersmashedtaters Member Posts: 2,053
    edited July 23
    You are led through the debris and pits and hateful stares of the pockmarked raiders until you reach what appears to be a central meeting place for the clans. Here it is low enough in the bowl that the sun has not peaked the rim’s horizon yet. As you approach, you hear mindless chanting in their strange guttural echoing off the walls of the bowl.

    Then you round a corner and see the center of the bowl. A tall man in flowing animal skins has raised his arms in supplication to the sky. He wields a giant battle axe. Before him kneel a man facing away from you. His arms are bound behind his back and he is crying out in terror.

    “To you, the Great Spirits of Incorp Orated, we give you the soul of this strong warrior to feed your hunger in your hell’s rest! He is faithful and unblemished by failure! A great leader he would have made! Take him now as our boldest sacrifice and give us your blessing! Spare us your anger and direct it to him, mighty spirit!”

    The man on the ground screams incoherently as the giant battle axe cleaves his head from his shoulder in a splurge of blood. A woman cries out from the crowd in agony. Just as the sun hits him, the man screams out in victory. With a contemptible kick, the man pushes the corpse into the pit before it falls to the ground.

    ashafetovlolienSkatanThacoBell
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