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 The Land Cries Out!

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HeavensMistress

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PostSubject: The Land Cries Out!   Thu Sep 26, 2013 9:56 pm

Prologue: Necromancy!
((The DM Event. Note this is Muirne's personal accounting of it. Post okayed by DM Jimmies))

She headed toward Shadowdale after spending the day hunting. The sun was sinking below the horizon at her back. She carried some dried meats, as well as some pelts she hoped to trade the next morning. The further east she walked, the more she noticed how still the evening had become. The insects were quiet, the frogs had ceased their chatter… the hunters of twilight and their prey seemed absent. Silently, the evening held its breath.

She paused, her toes curled into the dirt beneath her bare feet. She didn't see anything, and didn't hear anything out of the ordinary aside from the heavy silence. She stowed the burlap sack that held dried meats from small game, drew her spear from her back and slung the string of small pelts into her free hand. The hackles of the wolf that walked with her were raised. The canine growled low in her throat. The pair continued, cautiously, as neither knew what to expect.

The air was still by the time she reached the town gates. As though the land around her dared not breathe. By now, she smelled a faint odor… Her brow creased as she looked to the wolf. The tiny redhead's companion was rather spooked. The woman didn't want to send her dear friend away, but knew it was safer for the wolf not to walk through the township. The wolf whined. Both knew something was amiss, but both knew for now that they would part ways at the gates. The barefoot druidess watched the wolf slink into the bushes. Somehow she knew the wolf would not go to hunt as she usually did. Her friend watched from a hidden perch.

Her eyes scanned the fog as she inched through the cobbled streets. The unusual quiet had settled more so over the township too… No people moving about. It wasn't that late in the day, but it was far darker than it should have been. Fog? No. Not fog, something else. Ahead of her there were people. Were those people? And what was that stench?

She adjusted her grip on the spear, and moved into the malodorous fog. She neared the commemorative fountain, and spotted a familiar face. It was what else she saw that gave her pause. Shapes moved in the fog, lurching steps and movements caused by magic most foul moving tissue and bone long after the bodies were meant to have rested in the cradle of the land. The pelts were dropped, forgotten as she took the spear in both hands. She didn't have long to contemplate the scene, because a familiar voice carried through the air.

"Hurry! Go get help! The theater, Myth Drannor, ANYONE!"

She turned on her heel, and found herself bounding over the grass with a speed she'd forgotten she could run. The unnerving quiet of the night was broken by a wolf's howl as her companion rejoined her. The small woman looked ahead as she knew the wolf would alert her to danger from behind. The empty roads frustrated her. By the time she neared the closest port, all she could think of was finding family and trusted faces.

Though no one readily knew her, much less those she called kin, she was relieved to find the Dancing Moon's tavern rather full. She struggled to catch her breath as she told the others that they had to hurry back the way she'd come. Those gathered wasted little time once she finished speaking.

"There were bodies and ... something rotten... in Shadowdale."

As they made the hurried flight back to the small town, that now seemed ages away for the small woman who was covering the distance for a third time that day, others joined the flight. From the corner of her eye, she saw the wolf, pacing the group. As they neared the town, the wolf broke for the woods, she'd watch from there. The small druid didn't give it a second thought. Even the most well trained of wild creatures were hard pressed to face undead.

The band arrived at the center of the village, amid the aftermath of a battle. Fetid corpses littered the ground. Guardsman and adventurer alike looking rather winded from the fighting all seemed glad of reinforcements. It was a short-lived moment of joy as the fighting was far from over.

A sickly cackle resounded within the -minds- of those present. A voice, disembodied and unbidden shouted through everyone's thoughts, "How long can you last?!"

The threat came from the north. Night of more than one variety had swept over the hamlet. Those gathered to defend it watched as corpses ambled toward them. For now, at least… the Numbers were in the favor of the defenders. They would push the undead back the way they had come from, intent on keeping more townspeople from falling. The town guard would hold the town… The rest would push northward toward a crypt.

The tiny woman knew better than to let fear show in the face of a predator, still she was glad she wasn't wearing boots to shake in. Her toes curled into the earth as she watched the horde move on the group, many of which were family and dear friends. As the stench threatened to overturn her stomach, she growled and stabbed her spear into the ground. A growl started low in her throat as the group was surrounded by all manner of foul things. It ended in a roar as the woman had taken on the skin of a bear. A massive paw knocking the lolling head from a walking corpse.

Each person present brought their own skills to the battle, doing their best to keep each other in one piece as wave after wave of unnatural monstrosities met their blades, magic and arrows. The fighting was none the less… brutal. There was precious little time to get everyone back in fighting form as they continued to push northward. It was slow and bloody, but they were gaining ground. It seemed like inches at a time, bought with blood.

Something powerful drove the undead at the group… It drew the once resting remains up and hurled them to a second death, but it wasn't random lurching about any more. No… The things were organized against the assault that the town's protectors brought to them. It forced the living to outthink the undead.

Finally, they found themselves at the door to the crypt within the large hill. They split into two groups. One to push forward and one to guard the exit. This allowed the adventurers to maneuver the crypt's tunnels. First they had to take the corridors on the other side of the door. Once that was done, the tiny redhead, less tiny as a bear… used herself to block the door. This kept the hapless out and the undead in. Those who pushed lower into the crypt knew that if anyone fell in battle or was too badly wounded, they could return to the entrance. The group that remained was left to keep the upper corridors clear and prevent the main fighting force from being flanked as best as they could.

The night passed seemingly slower than the sands passed through the hourglass. The druidess could do little to fully cloak her anxiety. She was haunted by the cries of the lands beneath her feet. There would be much damage to undo, but first they had to survive. She'd seen many loved ones nearly lost completely to the fierce undead. Even within a man made structure, the earth around them cried out. The taint of necromancy withering precious crops and once lively plants. Good blood soaked into tainted earth, tainted corpses rotting all they touched. The air of the foul fog suffocated plants. Nature itself withdrew from the accursed touch of the magic at work. Inside, past the stoic face of the large bear, the tiny druid wept as she gagged on the foul air and scanned shadows for movement.

They fought their battles of blade, bow, magic, will and wit. Eventually the two groups slowly rejoined. Haggard, bloodied, worn and wary, compatriots, some only allied by the common foe, others glad to see the faces of friends, filed up from the lower regions of the crypts. There was confusion in the aftermath, but gradually the oppression receded to the darkest corners of the most tainted of places.

Something significant was destroyed in part in the depths of that place. It's taint spreading like shrapnel from an explosion. The remnants of the thing would need to be cleansed and/or destroyed. It was unclear what was truly behind the menacing corpses rising up… But clearly magic of no good intent was at work. Necromancy far beyond the small druidess' ken…

Even as they made their way back to Shadowdale, the fog had lifted, but the evidence of the battle remained. The tainted corpses were burned by the town guard and the adventurers… but where the bodies fell, the grasses were dead. Trees wilted, flowers had withered, crops were dry and brittle anywhere the fog had reached to. The tiny druid heard the lands weep with each step across the stiff grass. The crunch of leaves on a stale breeze added to the chorus as she walked back the way she came. She knew there would be much work to do to see it set right, and that she would need help. She was resolved to do what she could… but first… She needed rest.
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PostSubject: Re: The Land Cries Out!   Thu Sep 26, 2013 9:56 pm

Part One: Cleansing the Soil.
((In Game RP, overseen by DM Jimmies, post approved by DM Jimmies))

The tiny redhead wakes early the next morning. The man beside her stirs a little when she kisses his forehead. The fight took much out of many, but whether he was too exhausted to wake, or pretended not to for her sake, she couldn't say. Her own body still aches, muscles stiff, but she has too much to see too. The screaming lands echoed through her uneasy sleep. She was anxious to set to work. The sun had barely touched the horizon when she made her way out.

She knew where to find the stands of trees who would offer fallen bits of bark and limbs. Knew where to find the fresh mint and chamomile. Murmuring prayers as she walked the woods, the wild paths seeking this ingredient or that. By noon she had scoured apothecaries and traded baskets for what she couldn't find. There was a great deal of time spent grinding bark and wood to a pulp. Herbs were ground with a mortar and pestle. It was late in the day, once again evening as she made her way back toward Shadowdale with a large pouch of powder. It was made from a recipe passed down through the grove elders of the Moonshaes. A recipe meant to help cleanse the land of the taint of Kazgoroth the Beast and his minions.

The creatures of the lands near the town had resumed their normal rhythms, songs, hunts, and activities expected. It was a somber song, that grew more melancholy as she drew closer to the village. The melody of the evening sounded like a lament to the druid. Beneath the song, the lands wept. She walked slowly past dead and dying plants, bare patches of earth. The air, though it no longer smelled of rotting corpses, no longer choked by unnatural fog, or smoke from funeral pyres… was stale, still… expectant.

A shudder worked through the small woman, her bare toes curling into parched earth. She swallowed tears as she took in the devastation from the magic the night before. The long day was already turning into the long night. She took a steadying breath as she knelt, her hand on the soil as she murmured something comforting in the language of the druids. She stood, adjusted her pack, then adjusted the shoulder strap for the pouch of powdered bark and herbs so that the bag rest on the front of her hip.

A small hand dropped into the pouch and drew up the mixture. Carefully she scattered it over the damaged plants. Her steps were slow and measured, both hands drawing the cleansing powder out of the pouch and applying it to the ground. As it does when she is troubled, her Moonshaen accent thickens… At some moments her use of the Common tongue fades altogether. Comforting words and phrases mixed with prayers to the Earthmother spoken in Druidic. Passing the wilted saplings and trees in the damaged areas, she murmurs comforts in Sylvan.

For some time, her work continues as such… She's so focused that she barely notices people noticing her. If at all… She has been seen in the past planting some of the saplings, and much of the grass that now crunches with each of her small steps. Ordinarily, her bare feet pass through the grass with an ease known to the druids, and years of passing barefoot over grass… leaving it unharmed in her passing. Brittle grass prickles uncomfortably on the bottom of her feet, but the look on her face speaks what she cannot… A hate for what caused the death of the growing things, a sense of loss most might not understand, and a resolve to set it right.

An insistent chicken squawked at her, pecking at her toes to garner her attention. She managed a small smile, letting the fussy hen lead her about. In the midst of the small crop fields she offered prayers, casting druidic runes of purification with the powder, hands moving in symbolic movements as she had been taught by her Elders. In each place particularly troubling to the hen, as each bit of ground before, the herbal dust was scattered. As had been true of the night… no whisper of a breeze disturbed her work.

A resident of the city followed the druidess along the northern path… Following less the road and more the path of destroyed plants, she gladly let him walk with her. The conversation was surely welcome. The woman who normally speaks to the growing and green things, is glad of a moment or two of actual conversation. All the while she scattered the herbal mix… Occasionally the conversation is paused as runes are drawn through the air, prayers are offered, or comforts are again murmured. She looks surprised when he offers to help, and grateful. There were still many fields to see to, and a whole hill to cover. This stranger to her was kind and willing to help her help the lands, something she found rare compared to her childhood home.

She's distantly aware of being watched by passers by, and seemed to be constantly splitting her focus between her task, and the land she listens to. By the time she crossed paths with a familiar face, the young woman allowed herself to pause in her duty. The conversation is lighthearted, and in the back of her mind, it seems out of place, but she was glad for the measure of cheer. By then, Selune is high above Shadowdale. Her spirits lifted some by good company and the fact that an end to the day's… and night's… work was near.

Her mood was brought up further by the arrival of her lover. Now that he was done with his tasks within the village, he would gladly help her. Boon to her spirit that both of her friends were in better health than they had been the night before. By this time tomorrow… perhaps the land would be too. That hope spurred her forward over dry grass, around dead flowers, through withered crops and around wilted trees. With more hands scattering the mixture evenly over the soil, the work was drawing to a close much faster.

With determination the trio worked their way up the hill to the crypt. Each step they took revealing just how much stronger the foul magic had been at the epicenter. She had just enough of the powder to scatter over the hillside touched by undead… and to wreath the crypt. She sighed as the bag of powder was finally empty.

As though the land itself had waited for this moment too… a gust of wind moved over the land, down the hill and back the way they had come. Strangely enough, the breeze did not disturb the dusty ground. Instead it moved over the parched landscape like a sigh of relief. Beneath her feet, the earthy landscape quieted. A balm had been placed over a raw wound, and succor had been found. The small woman sighed with the lands.

It was clear as she stood glowering at the crypt that much more work needed to be done. She would send blue birds to the grove, owls to find her brothers and sisters wandering… She would have to speak to the Earthmother's 'city clerics' as it was clear the taint that poisoned the crypt ran much deeper and raged beyond her skill. Tomorrow there would be a planting of seeds. New grasses on what she hoped would be fresh soil. Purified water… and a little Druidic aid…in a few days time they could be well on their way to healing the damage.

She entertained the sobering thoughts a moment longer, considered carefully the implications of treating the symptom without knowing the cause. Surely it was better to try to prevent further loss of the crops while seeking the Necromancer behind it. Earth and sky… Pray it wasn't worse than that, hope it wasn't just the beginning… and prepare for the worst. Yes. She'd talk to the Circle. To anyone truly willing to help. There was a lot of ground to cover. Metaphoric and Literal.

Her musings were interrupted by a tug beneath her feet. Beneath the earth… through it… a warmth like the beckoning of an old friend. It was more than that though, tugging at the wild places in her own heart. Honestly, something she'd not felt since she left the Isles. She followed its pull down the hill, to a tall oak.

Slowly she inched closer to the tree, watching transfixed as it moved subtly. It woke from its seeming slumber and the bark parted in a rough smile. The tiny druid looked up to the old oak respectfully, "Elder…"

In speech that sounded much like wind through its branches it beckoned her closer. Its movements slow and measured. This tree had no doubt stood for decades, watching the lands around it, seen people and animals come and go, seasons change in endless succession… It had no cause to hurry. The druidess inched forward, then stood to listen, still as though she were a sapling rooted before her patron. She bowed her head as the oak whispered and rumbled like a tree in the summer breezes. She spoke of answering when called, and the oak smiled as well as it could. A branch lowered to the woman, like an outstretched hand. A small tendril of a new branch curled around, forming itself into a small circle. It broke away from the branch and rested within the 'palm' of the outstretched branch. As the minute redhead took the ringlet of wood, looping it over her first finger, the piece of oak wrapped about comfortably.

"You have done well, child. Your service to our Mother shall not go unheeded."

With that the tree stilled, resuming its silent watch. She stood rooted a moment longer in awe. Such gifts were granted rarely. She felt what she hadn't felt in months. The Earthmother smiled. The lands smiled in the familiar ways of the lands that she grew up in, of her home… Not like home, she thought. This was home, as much as the Isles were home before. These lands were home, and she would guard it with all she was able.

She turned toward her beloved, smiled at her dear friends that were present. For now she would rest and wait, letting the herbs do their work to further ease the suffering the necromancy had caused. For the moment there was cause to smile and she didn't want to waste it. Tomorrow bluebirds would seek the druids of the Circle, owls would seek the Circle Elders, and the planting would begin. Much of it would have to wait for Spring to come to fruition, but at least the crops could be saved if they wasted no time. She once again left the small town during the small hours of the night, exhausted… at least tonight it was in better spirits.
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PostSubject: Re: The Land Cries Out!   Thu Sep 26, 2013 10:04 pm

Part Two: Sewing Seeds
((RP Welcome!))

Early in the morning, just after dawn, several bluebirds leave the woods near Shadowdale. The tiny redhead watches them fly in various directions. They each bear a tiny bit of parchment with a simple message. Some fly toward the Grove, and others seek the wandering druids of the Circle.

A short while later, the druidess makes her way to the small town, hoping to see at least some improvement in the soil. She walks slowly over the brittle grasses, quiet, and she pauses to rest a hand on a sapling here or there, her lips move in a soundless prayer. She seems to be listening to something... or for something.
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