War of Dragons: The Commune
An isolated commune of adventurers within the Ninetales Dominion has gone silent, no longer sending traders to the more populated cities of the Dominion. Palace Lands interference is suspected, but the Princes are reluctant to commit military force to what amounts to a scouting expedition. Instead, the Hunters Guild is asking for adventurers to investigate and, if possible, deal with the situation.
This is an investigation scene which may lead to PVE conflict, diplomatic negotiation, a stealth mission or other outcomes depending on what players choose to do and how skilled they are at their chosen tactics.
New Tamura - A village built by adventurers in the north of the Ninetales Dominion. The adventurers remember their old world and old stories, and desire a simple but fulfilling life for themselves where they are not constantly faced with being intruders in a world not their own. The point was not to forget their past nor to fight either to return or to advance themselves. Instead they wanted to make do among like-minded individuals. While not closed off to the outside world, they deliberately isolated themselves to minimize the amount of influence the outside world would bring to bear. They do trade and exchange news, but by and large just want to be left to themselves.
The powers that be keep an eye on the village of New Tamura, but are sensitive to the discomfort of some adventurers. So long as the commune has no great ambitions and pays its taxes to the merchant princes, they are content to let it be, to trade on its terms and possibly to produce goods or techniques unique and innovative as Adventurers sometimes do. But when the commune went silent not that long ago, people took notice. Just because they wanted to be left to themselves was no guarantee that they would be left to themselves, and fears are that the Palace Land armies are making moves somewhere along the coast preparing for invasion. The isolation of the commune and the timing of the silence is suspicious enough for the Ninetales Dominion to want something done, but the current uncertainty means it's impossible to send a large military force on what amounts to a scouting expedition. They have commissioned a group of Adventurers in turn to poke around and see what's happened to the commune. Should it turn out the Palace Landers are indeed responsible and present the army can be sent into the field to oppose them, but no one wants to march on an isolated commune only to discover later that the Palace Landers are attacking elsewhere.
And so you find yourselves in the northern Ninetales region, a rugged and hilly region with only poorly-maintained and sparse roads leading to the more civilized lands.
(OOC: What preparations will you make, both for the expedition and for the approach? How do you intend to approach and investigate the commune? What skills/concepts do you expect to be using? Please discuss amongst yourselves on S-Chatter to decide what the group itself will be doing, but direct questions to me through +OOC or page, as well as to ask me about any rolls you may wish to make as the scene progresses.)
He pauses at some distance from the village to try and sense the metaphysical wrongness of Crowning, but he can't sense anything like that. It's not entirely reassuring, the skill isn't reliable enough, and he's not sure how far away he needs to be to get a feel for it. But he'll go with 'No news is good news' for now. He looks to the others for situational updates.
But for one to go dead silent without warning, one of Adventurers no less who should be able to Chimlink still, was weird and potentially wrong in so many ways it couldn't be left unlooked at. For all the know there's still loose bands of leaderless Undead lurking around. Or worse, with the ungoing crawl of War.
Shiruba keeps close enough to stay in sight with Erufu, but far enough they won't get in each others way. Now was time to get down to business and be professional about it.
As they near the location of the commune she's already on wary alert, keeping watch for any signs of who or what may of come to the village that looked out of place. They could possibly get a lead on what might of happened before even getting close to actual settlement, if anything unusual passed through...
That wouldn't save them from the Zealoty of the Palace Land's rulers mind slave army, however. She's not moving in and is working with her friendly rather wolfy friend and Rival Shiruba on this as she sought to use her skills at tracking to look for signs of things out of the normal for the region, signs the Palace Lands may have been there. She wants to know if they are marching into trouble or something took the people who lived here. Her ears twitch a bit as her eyes dart about looking for visual tels.
"We should be wary if the Palace Landers have hit here? They may have left them to act as normal to trap others..."
Kotono had heard bits and pieces about it, and while she wasn't entirely privy over what was going on with it, she wanted to check it out.
Now you see her.
Now you don't.
And now you see Kotono again. The swift ninja Spriggan makes her way into the area with swift speed just like the ninja she's meant to be like. Upon hearing the mention of Palace Landers, Kotono shakes her head. "More Landers... not good."
Yamato - -20 - 14 - 0
may not understand why someone would want to just... live here instead of having a life of adventure, but... a heroine fights to protect those not up to fighting, why should it matter whether they're Landers or Adventurers? Oh, maybe that explains it, perhaps they aren't heroes. Given how many of them are trapped in here, it makes sense that there could well be a small town's worth of casuals or people who were just trying out the game with a friend, right? Yeah. That makes sense. That's probably the deal with this town.
After seeing the state of the three prisoners rescued from Mac Anu, Mizuki... can't let another town of adventurers fall into those evil, evil Palace Lander hands! Since she's a ninja and all, she scouts ahead of the group, keeping sharp feline eyes, ears, and nose out for any sign of ambush.
"Shadows of the night, guide my eyes," she murmurs, one finger scribing a single rune as she looks about, taking advantage of her familiarity with illusions to search for tricks and traps.
The lands around New Tamura seem fairly peaceful and quiet, though there are monsters and beasts in virtually all lands. Those around here are weak compared to the strength of the adventuring party however, and pose no challenge worth mentioning. There are signs that the commune takes some efforts to patrol the local countryside to keep monsters in check, and the threat levels don't seem to show any change in this pattern. The surroundings are still apparently patrolled and Shiruba makes note of very recent passage of booted feet, so it seems the village is not abandoned.
It might not, however, be signs of ordinary villagers that Shiruba's taking note of. Erufu, traveling and scouting as Erufus do, comes across signs of military presence. Wagon tracks and the passage of many booted feet, not just the patrols that one might expect from a small village. These signs are older though, not something from the past few days.
Whatever is going on here though, it doesn't seem to be anything that violates the Law of Yamato, at least not to the attuned senses of Schneider. There may be wrongs, but nothing that rises to the level of violation of Law, not at this range.
Merek manipulates the winds, aiding Mizuki's stealthy approach by muffling sounds and redirecting scents - probably an excellent idea given that this land is strongly dominated by werefangs and cait sith. This allows the stealthy ones to get close to the outlying fields and farms to see what's what. What that is... well, she'll have to share. As will Miyako, whose arcane senses give her some insight into some of the magic in the region.
Unfortunately, the Spriggan fails to pick up anything, leading her to seem a little annoyed when she replies to Miyako with, "Well, I'm doing my best, but I can't make promises." She sighs slightly. "Gotta keep-" She stops when she hears Miyako call out to Mizuki, and Kotono grabs her blades and gets into a ready stance. Hopefully Miyako can grab her in time, and if not...
Good thing Kotono never leaves home without her blades.
Yamato - -20 - 14 - 0
Mizuki stops, and carefully takes a few steps back, responding on the chimlink. <"I see farmers... farming, I guess. There's someone with weapons watching them. They don't look like they like their overseer... but they at least don't look to be in ill health.">
"We best be cautious as we near the village."
The more she thought about it the rulers of the Palace Land were very Goblin Like.
Then retrieves her relic that lets her see through her animal companion's senses, using the literal bird's eye view as the falcon cirles over the commune to look for people or details that might be out of place.
"It's got fortifications," she murmurs over the chim, "but they're geared more towards monster defense... looks like there's been plenty of wagon travel.. there's another caravan being put together in a wagon yard..." A pause, and then she shakes her head. "I can't get a good look for that," she answers Schneider. ".. If it wasn't for the whole dropping of communications, considering it looks like they're prepared caravans for moving goods or materials, I'd almost say it was normal."
She starts off by drawing several runes in the ground, near but not quite on the line, and watching as they cycle through several colors as they iridesce under the magic of the nearby ward. It's apparent to anyone watching that she doesn't particularly like what she sees.
Shaking her head, she adds a second, smaller set of runes, that show similar behavior before fading out. As before, she shakes her head disappointedly and backs off as she gets to her feet.
"We're not getting past that here without setting off the alarm," she whispers, "It's right up against the fields, so for all I know it might well have been set by the locals, not a trap from our 'friends'."
With that she'll fall in along side Shiruba as the paiur head out once they get the full rundown from Miyako.
Crouching down low, Kotono looks to Miyako and Schneider and says, "Leave the sneaky stuff to me." Then she heads off, keeping a low profile as she moves swiftly to avoid being seen. Apparently being an acrobat helps one with ninja-style tactics.
Kotono, covered somewhat by Merek's spell and the combined insight of Schneider and Miyako, finds an appropriate spot to approach as unseen as possible. Making herself small, she eases across the ward. She sees a faint glow but nothing more, the light not spreading to anywhere or doing anything, and there seems to be no negative effects. The light brightens a little bit as more of her crosses, but it still remains faint. Perhaps if she were larger or not so good at sneaking, the light would become bright enough to be a signal!
"Alternately. We could find a bear in the woods. Then just control it and send it in and see who scrambles or what happens. The thing is, I don't know if there's a way to see if someone's mind controlled." He considers. "And I also wonder... the Guild said that villages hadn't heard from them in a while. But they'd have sent someone, wouldn't they? If someone goes missing, you check their house yourself first, you don't call the cops unless you see something weird. So what did they see weird that they called adventurers?"
Kotono passes the ward and continues her sneaking, getting in position to spy on the farmers. There, she quickly learns that none of them are crowned... except the well-armed overseer. That one is very definitely crowned. Also it's a pooka, which is definitely not a common sort of race for this region.
And one more thing... Kotono is (temporarily) leaving very faintly glowing footprints. Not enough to give her away, but enough to track her.
It is with a heavy heart that the group withdraws from the farm. The signs seem clear enough. The farmers are working, but they're not working for their own gains. Instead of the food going to their trading partners in exchange for goods and coin, it's being claimed by an invading army. There's no sign of the sort of violent vicious activity the Palace Lands have shown in other areas, but the operation seems well-organized. At least one farm is surrounded by a Light-based enchantment that seems designed to alert at anything crossing the line and make such a person easily trackable, and the Palace Landers have apparently disarmed the Commune members.
Depending on how many forces are in the area, this may take a military force to dislodge... or there might be something a well-motivated group of adventurers can do. After all it may be some time before an army can arrive, and who knows what could happen in the meantime!