The Story so Far... By the time the party reassembles outside of the Iron Pony the looks on Maurice, especially from Hugo is intense disappointment. Maurice stands apart, looking over the group, he can feel the look he gets from his Gnomish companion.
Maurice: “Hey, look, nobody got hurt. It's not a big deal.”
Hugo: “We could have also just stayed together. Or we could have just opened a window.”
Maurice: “It was good practice.”
Garp: “Pretty good shooting on my part. I got one, I think Mary got one... Oro? Can I put you down for a kill?”
Oro: “The one I chopped the leg off of. That's mine.”
Garp: “Great. So can I put you down for one? I figure we can get our kill count going.”
Oro: “No thank-you.” He stretches yawns, “Fine day to start the morning before breakfast.”
Garp: “Come on, Oro. I thought Minotaurs loved the thrill of combat?”
Oro: “I like the thrill. I just don't like keeping score. Now, how about breakfast?”
<The party has a breakfast of dry rations with an emphasis on bread. The current ration die is d8. A roll of 3 means the party has not reduced their meal any significant amount. After their meal the party picks up their gear and heads north.>
Note: Party founds campsite at the Iron Pony Inn.
The party continues on the trail north of the Iron Pony. The trail leads down a ways and the going is slow, particularly to accommodate the short and the stout, but also for care and consideration. The marching order is as follows:
Garp – Ahead at a “Far” distance from the party scouting.
Oro – Ahead at a Near distance. He serves as a screen between the others and danger.
Mary – Is at close range and the immediate lead of the party.
Maurice - Is besides Mary. Like Mary, he is at Close distance with Hugo and Moira.
Hugo - Is walking besides Moira. After a brief look he reaches out and takes Moira's hand.
Moira - Takes Hugo's hand and walks next to him.
Moira: “Were you really scared for me, Hugo?”
Hugo: Chuckles briefly and shakes his head. “Not scared all. Just mad about taking unnecessary risks. I know you, Moira.” Leans towards her. “You're still the toughest woman I know.”
Moira: “Damn right, love. Toughest gal of all that Mithralspur.”
Hugo: “But next time I want to be in your group. Worst part wasn't worrying about your health. It was me waiting for Oro to get the hell out of the way.”
The party reaches the bottom of the hill and stand upon what seems to be the wide green field of the valley. The day's sun is partially obscured with by a slight haze in the air. As the party looks further the haze deepens into a gloomy mist that begins just a few steps, or perhaps laps through the water. The waves of the lake, they certainly lap on the shore as far as Garp can tell. The rest is obscured by mists.
Garp: Waits and rests his musket on a tree trunk. He cocks the longarm and shuts one eye as he looks down the barrel. His rounded ears quiver in the air (d20+7 = Natural 20!). The only sounds he hears are the tramping of hooves onto the ground behind him. He barely turns his head to see if Oro is behind him, instead, he faces forward. His eyes scan the shoreline until he sees a wooden dock with the dim glowing light of a hanging lantern. A boat that is tethered to the dock softly rocks with the waves.
Oro: “Anything?” Shading his eyes he also tries to look (d20+6 = 17). He sees the brief shadow of a flying creature in the distance.
Garp: “Boat on the water over there. Not a whole much else except for fog.”
Oro: “I think I saw a flying bird. Wonder if that's a woodpecker or a Blue jay.”
Garp: Looks up from his musket: “This is probably the part where I ask about how bird watching you do.”
Oro: “This is the part I remind you that just because I hit people with a fancy spear that I'm not some stupid bull- plus I'm strictly amateur.”
<Mary, Maurice, Hugo, and Moira arrive.>
Mary: Approaches casually, “What are you an amateur at, Oro?”
Garp: “Apparently our fighter gets touchy about us questioning his bird watching skills.” Stands up and sets his rifle down. He takes a swig from his canteen.
Maurice: “Damn spooky about that mist. Hugo?”
Hugo: “Hey, Moira told the story, I don't know what's the matter with it.”
Maurice: Turns and looks at Hugo. “Would you kindly get us a sample of lake water?”
Hugo: “You don't plan drinking it do you?”
Maurice: “Just get us a sample, and be quick about it.” Shakes his head, “Come on, Hop-frog. Hop to it!”
<Hugo and Moira separate from the party>
Hugo: “Hop-frog... hop up and down on his ass when I knock him out. You know something, Moira?”
Moira: “What darling?”
Hugo: “He thinks he's the tops because he tongued kissed Mary. That's the thing with tallfolk. They get a little bit of affection and all of a sudden-” Snaps his finger. “He's got to impress her by puffing out that chest of his.”
Moira: “Need to suck yours in too, hon.”
Hugo: “Oh? Right... just saving up air. This place feels a touch of chill already.” He stops at the water line and kneels, drawing out his black bag.
Moira: Looks around <d20+6 w/ Disadvantage = 18>.
Moira's eyes adjusts to the mist that surrounds them. Her eyes can barely makeup the shapes that perhaps are of a distant shore. Her eyes scan the lapping waves. Despite the tranquility, her neck hairs on edge. She thinks she sees a flash of something just beneath the surface that quickly vanishes.
Moira: “Be careful.” She says, her hand on her pick.
Hugo: “Just nice and easy...” kneels by the shore and leans out to take a sample of the water. As he kneels his eyes briefly scan the waters around him. He rolls with a Disadvantage: <d20+7 = 15>.
He also sees a flash of green. It is a skeletal hand that snakes through the water, clenching and unclenching as it reaches out towards him. He races to take a sample and lift his hand out the way.
Movement Roll Off: Skeleton MV: +6 vs. Hugo MV +8 = Natural 20 (Hugo), 16 (Skeleton).
Hugo is able to dip the vial into the water and withdraw his hand as the fanged mouth of a green skull with its outstretched hand moves to take him. He falls back, his hand still holding up the vial. The action disturbs the water causing to water splash up and for waves to break the surface. Moira draws her pick, but the skeleton retreats.
Moira: “Kind of a scare, huh?”
Hugo: “Yeah, I think moldy green corpses reaching for me isn't the highlight of the day.”
<Garp, Oro, Maurice, and Mary>
<A d20 check for Garp, a Ratfolk with good hearing reveals he rolled a 12, below the set number of 15. Despite the splashing it appears that the mist in some manner muffled the sounds coming from the lake. He stands at watch as he listens to the others.>
Maurice: Sits with his back against Mary's as he looks over the lake. “So... you think of a place you want to go when we get back to Seaside?”
Mary: Laughs and says: “Seaside? Your most romantic spot in the Borderlands is the same town we step over dead drunks every time we go there.”
Maurice: “It can't be every time-”
Mary: “Look. If we're going out I want to see Port Kyna. Catch a Gnomish fire show or sip with finer company than sea dogs.”
Maurice: “Alright, Port Kyna then. I just figured you'd want to go somewhere kind of nice very quick.”
Mary: Leans back rolling her head against the back of his head. “We've been in the sticks for awhile. I want somewhere very nice this time.”
Oro: “As for me, I'm planning to head north Gorman's Junction.”
Maurice: Opens his eye, his moment of quiet bliss smothered by the deep voice of Oro. He looks up at Oro and says: “Oh?”
Oro: “Yeah, I know you two were talking about your stuff. But there's actually a group of us here.”
Mary: “So, what do you plan to do up north, Oro?”
Oro: Shrugs. “See the sights. Visit the family.” Leans against his polearm: “Mother Battleborn likes to cook up a feast when I come to visit, that or my brother Mosby.” Spits to the ground-
<Hugo and Moira have made their way back up the hill.”
Garp: Mutters: “Oh thank Mercy- Hey guys! What's the news?”
Hugo: “We have a slight issue.” He shows up the vial.
The vial is is half full with a clear liquid that Hugo shakes twice, producing a small bead of air.
Hugo: “I believe it's a case that we have here, right now, clear drinking water. This water was darkened when I first drew it from the lake. We also some trouble from the natives.”
Moira: “He means skeletons. There's dead in that lake. Animated dead.”
Hugo: “Made me nearly jump when it reached for me. Anyway, at first the water felt colder and thicker to the touch. I suspect that when it is in the lake that's how it is. Whatever magic surrounds the lake and the island makes the water, well, fel with corruption. But as you withdraw individual beads of water and move away from the lake, whatever power is doing this, fades with it. I'm kind of sure I could drink this right now.”
Mary: “So what does that mean about crossing?”
Hugo: “Who wants to test that boat? Maybe somebody who doesn't mind swimming in semi-polluted water... or perhaps it's pseudo-polluted water. Anyway. I wouldn't try to swim it off or get that into your body in a vast amount.”
Before eyes can go looking around to see who will volunteer. Oro speaks up.
Oro: “I don't suppose someone wants to ride in the boat with me?”
The others look at each other for a few moments. Eyes, at least the eyes of Mary, Maurice, Hugo, and Moira settle on Garp.
Garp: “You know, personally, this is why I don't believe people should be couples and in the same adventuring party. I just don't.”
The party makes their way down to the coast towards the misty dock that separates their half of the land from the Isle on Darkmoon Lake.
Maurice: “Just this hurdle and we'll be at Darkmoon Keep.”
Moira: “Where the real fun begins.”
<Will there be an encounter? 50% Chance = 85%. No>
Despite the feeling of eyes upon the party, nothing is there to greet them in the way of trouble. Just water, dark lapping waves.
Garp: Climbs aboard and closes his eyes. “Your turn Oro.”
Oro: The Minotaur climbs down into the center bench of the boat.
Oro rolls a general save to make sure he doesn't rock the boat too much <d20+5 vs. TN 10 = 20>. The boat shifts but is generally stable. There is a sigh of relief from the party.
Oro: “I'll be back to pick someone else up.” He makes a rowing check <d20+5+2 for lifting the Oars. Result is a 10 vs. 10>
The boat shifts a little between the crossing and requires some course correction, but generally stays on mark. As he rows Garp can see shoreline loom ahead and the wall of mist close behind him. As he looks down he beholds that just beneath the surface of the water are many moldy green bones. As the breeze passes there are whispers within: Go away! Keep away! Unwanted!
At last the boat pulls to shore and Garp hops out.
Garp: Looks around <d20+7 = 12>.
Garp sees the island's center is obscured by a row of ominous trees. He does manage to have a clear shoreline to himself.
Garp: “Any chance I can ride with you back... serve as some kind of balance?”
Oro: Shakes his head. “Sorry, Garp. I'll row as fast as I can.”
Garp: Sighs and says: “If we don't see each other, do me a favor... punch Maurice in the mouth for me.”
Oro: “Just hang around, I'll be back.”
He rows back towards the others on the opposite shore.