1397-04-21-B: Sinkholes by Starlight

A game of (in no particular order) politics, intrigue, and swashbuckling adventure - set to a backdrop of an industrialized Amber.

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1397-04-21-B: Sinkholes by Starlight

Postby Wyvern » Mon May 01, 2017 4:18 pm

Steel rail-lines track across the barren landscape of Tyrell, under sharp stars in a clear and moonless sky. Well, clear aside from the plume of smoke rising from the iron dragon locomotive Eschaton as he rumbles his way back towards Amber from distant Jade.

Most of the train is allocated to cargo, but it still includes a mix of staterooms and less-expensive shared coach cars, along with a single dining / lounge car that remains open despite the late hour.

A peaceful trip, all in all... until the night's silence is broken by the screech of emergency brakes and the curses of engineers; in the dining car, loose tableware (and an occasional unfortunate passenger) slide towards the front of the train as it comes to an unexpected stop in - almost literally - the middle of nowhere.

From somewhere up ahead*, a deep growling sound can be heard, resonant and angry.

_____
* Actually from the Eschaton's engine - though that's hard to tell from inside the train.**
** Unless you've heard an upset iron dragon before?

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Joshua
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Re: 1397-04-21-B: Sinkholes by Starlight

Postby Joshua » Wed May 03, 2017 7:57 pm

One of the passengers sighs, and checks his watch... Which makes a winding whimper and releases some of the magic smoke demons that keep it running*. Theodore will sigh and stand up, retrieving his top-hat from the luggage compartment. Thinking about it, he will also retrieve a small carry-on.

"Might as well see what the trouble is," he says to ... well, no-one, as he picks up the tome of forbidden magic he was reading and heads to the exit. Dimly, he's aware of the 'bubble' his presence created closing as he gets off the train and heads to see what caused the iron dragon to stop.
_______________
*: Unsure if this is metaphorical or literal.
Last edited by Joshua on Tue May 16, 2017 12:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1397-04-21-B: Sinkholes by Starlight

Postby ShadowOfPreservation » Thu May 04, 2017 12:16 pm

The woods were quiet, perhaps unnaturally so. The distant howling of wolves seemed all the more pronounced amid the stillness. In the darkness beneath the heavy canopy, the dark night turned to pitch, becoming all the more welcoming to the Shadows that flowed unnoticed in the night. Heightened canine perception took in the complexities of the mournful calls, reassuring the prowling forms that the sense of wrongness that had been ruffling their fur would not set upon their mortal brothers and sisters this evening.

They smelled it’s approach some time before the rumbling ground announced its approach. Metal Dragon they thought, identifying the scent of burning coal drifting among the trees. No, Iron Dragon, they mentally corrected themselves, their thoughts becoming clearer as the curiosity drew the attention of more shadows then simply those who had gathered atop the ridge line, red eyes glowing in the darkness as they scanned the metal road, rail line, for signs of the approaching beast.

They didn’t wait for long. The ground vibrated with increased intensity and soon canine eyes could pick out a beam of light and flashes of movement as the train made its way around a bend and onto the straight that would take it past their chosen vantage point. Shadow had mixed feelings about the beasts. There was a part of him that had come to appreciate the unique beauty of creation that was not of the natural world, the sort that only mortal hands could craft. If not for their offensive stench and sense rattling racket, Shadow might have been intrigued. As they were though, he’d much have preferred they kept away from the forest.

As if to validate this opinion, a piercing screech tore from the beast, causing their collective ears to lay back against the clamor. The Dragon slowed it’s charge through the darkness until all momentum ceased. These Beasts were rare enough in the forest to warrant some of their attention but the Iron monsters never broke their tireless lope along their metal path anywhere outside of mortal habitation, towns. Something was amiss. They could all smell it now, a scent of something foul. It was not necessarily anything truly olfactory but they perceived it as such nonetheless.

Without any need for communication, half a dozen forms flowed silently down the wooded hillside toward the Iron beast to investigate further. The pack spread out, each wolf taking a different route through the woods as they descended toward their target. Their different approaches would help them scout more of the surrounding area for whatever it was that was offending their senses as well as outmaneuver their prey and cut off escape. Their movement went unnoticed as several of the pack crossed the Iron road with no more than a flicker of deeper darkness against the shadow of the moonless night. Others moved onto the railway itself, advancing slowly toward the Dragon from both directions of the track.

Eyes of glowing red fire surveyed the scene intently from just inside the sheltering darkness of the dense woodlands barely thirty paces away from the motionless Engine.
________________________________________________________________
OOC: sorry for the long flowery intro but I wanted to describe one of Shadow's common forms (a Wolf Pack) as well as hint at some its Aspects and Approaches.

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Re: 1397-04-21-B: Sinkholes by Starlight

Postby Wyvern » Thu May 04, 2017 4:04 pm

[spoiler=OOC]
Firstly, Tyrell is a badlands - a non-sandy desert region that's usually dry but suffers the occasional savage rainstorm and flash-flood. There shouldn't be a forest here... but fortunately for all the work that went into the above post, there are some pretty good reasons why, under these particular circumstances, there could be. It's just not going to be a very nice sort of forest.

Secondly, both Theodore and Shadow gain a fate point for accepting a compel against their respective trouble aspects, Dark Calls To Dark, and Something Wicked This Way Comes - there's trouble here, and you've both decided to show up for it, and that's worth a fate point.
[/spoiler]

"Excuse me, Sir, but this isn't a scheduled stop- Wait! You can't just-!"
The steward's protests fall on deaf ears as Theodore exits the train and descends the short ladder to the ground. Up ahead, a knot of engineers and rangers is already clustered around the engine - the engineers focused on the track ahead, while the rangers nervously scan their surroundings, the light from their lanterns somehow fading out in only a few tens of feet. Something shifts in the oppressive shadows off to the side of the train, though merely human eyes aren't quite good enough to pick out exactly what - at least, not so soon after having left the lit interior of the train.

Shadow, by contrast, has an excellent view of the goings-on:
The engineers peering at a hole, thirty feet across, that has quite neatly swallowed the tracks in front of them.
An elegantly dressed aristocrat descending from one of the passenger cars.
A woman, clad in the pitch black cat-suit of someone who thinks she is stealthier than she is, climbing out the window of an un-lit room and ascending to the train's roof.
And the forest behind him, shifting, twisting, the trees now stunted and gnarled and spiny, crouching down as if the entire forest were some vast predator preparing to leap on an unsuspecting prey...
(Although, of note, if any of Shadow's pack have stayed in the forest, what they see is quite different: A flicker of absolute darkness beyond the forest's edge - and then their view looks out on an empty glade, with neither train nor tracks nor the rest of their pack in evidence.)

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Joshua
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Re: 1397-04-21-B: Sinkholes by Starlight

Postby Joshua » Thu May 04, 2017 9:07 pm

"Greetings." Theo will greet the rangers. "That looks fairly bad. Need any assistance?" If pressed he can produce a writ from the collegetat. Stating that he was, at some point, a student there.

Looking around, he will absently start work on a little bit of elder sign, leaving some glowing runes in the air.
(OOC: Crafts + time to create the advantage "Warded," on the scene.)
Last edited by Joshua on Tue May 16, 2017 12:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1397-04-21-B: Sinkholes by Starlight

Postby ShadowOfPreservation » Sat May 06, 2017 5:22 pm

The wolves remain on alert, the unfamiliar terrain only adding to the general feeling of uneasiness they sense in the area. They somewhat split their collective attention, making sure to track each person of interest. A quiet growl rumbles up in one’s muzzle as it watches a man work arcane sigils into glowing runes.

For the most part, each takes up a well-hidden position in order to continue their observation. However, one moves in closer to the train, slipping beneath the cars and moving along its length, scenting for threats and to be closer to the action if the time comes to switch from scouting to fighting. Simultaneously, another of the wolves that had circled around ahead of the train moves silently towards the large hole to get a better look, staying outside the light thrown by the Engine and using the brightness to help hide his presence from the engineers.

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Re: 1397-04-21-B: Sinkholes by Starlight

Postby Wyvern » Sun May 07, 2017 12:11 am

The rangers are rather more interested in escorting Theodore back to the (presumed) safety of the passenger cars than in accepting any offer of assistance... right up until he sketches a subtly misshapen violet star in midair and they suddenly realize that he's got some actual Power here.

"...Fine." growls the leader of the rangers, a lanky young woman with black hair. "If you've got some trick for making holes go away, we'll take it. If not, I'm putting you on fire support in case anything's stupid enough to attack - something smells off here."

The hole, now that you can see it a bit more closely, doesn't go straight down - instead, it looks like something burrowed up, breached the ground under the tracks, and then burrowed back down again in the other direction. Almost resembles a Dhole-tunnel, though the diameter's a bit small for that.

Meanwhile, visible only to a pack of as-yet-still-invisible (or at least un-noticed) wolves, a single figure skulks back along the roof of the train, pausing on the second to last car and looking around warily.

(( OOC: and, as it's been over 48 hours since Theodore's most recent post, and I technically could have replied to that without waiting for Shadow, this invokes my incentive-for-minimum-delay rules, and everyone in this thread gains a fate point. Let me go update the totals now. ))

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Re: 1397-04-21-B: Sinkholes by Starlight

Postby Joshua » Mon May 08, 2017 7:34 pm

"I could- Uh, no. Nothing that'd be stable enough for the iron dragon to ride over. I could get something to start to fill in the holes... or I could go track down what made them." He pauses... "Probably not a good idea. How about a light spell?"

He will continue making the wards... and testing the darkness. When their finished, he will invoke light in the general area and down each hole. Since he's not tapping into his strong magic, it'll have to rely on his focus or power, using mostly-collegitat spells.
Last edited by Joshua on Tue May 16, 2017 12:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 1397-04-21-B: Sinkholes by Starlight

Postby ShadowOfPreservation » Tue May 09, 2017 12:23 am

The wolves retreat from the light so as to retain the secrecy of their presence. Though nearly imperceptible, the shadows beyond the light's natural reach dim slightly so as to better conceal the pack. To the side of the tracks, one of the wolves detaches itself from the surrounding darkness and moves to the edge of the magic-wielder's light. A deep rumbling voice emanates from the darkness, addressing all in the area. "Whatever made that hole obviously burrows. Wouldn't it be much safer for all of you if you were not standing so vulnerably on the ground?"

Anyone shifting their attention to the voice in the darkness would see a pair of glowing red canine eyes for a brief moment before one of the assembled group trains a light in that direction. Rather than some sort of demonic wolf, as the light passes over where the voice seemingly originated from, it reveals a man, seemingly in his mid twenties, wearing a simple tunic and trousers of black and grey. He looks decidedly unkempt, though his wild tangle of raven black hair and 5 o'clock shadow place him firmly on the ruggedly handsome side of homeless vagabond. Tall and athletic, the man somehow conveys cold confidence despite being alone, unarmored, and unarmed.

"Whatever it is is not natural. I will deal with it for you. Get to safety."

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Re: 1397-04-21-B: Sinkholes by Starlight

Postby Wyvern » Wed May 10, 2017 4:25 pm

The ranger captain snaps a quick "Hold fire!" order, as several of her men aim rifles at Shadow.

"Unless you brought wings for everyone," she comments dryly, looking at the newcomer through narrowed eyes, "I don't think 'off the ground' is an option, here."

(( How much area is Theodore trying to ward? If he's protecting just the Iron Dragon itself, he can be done with that and moving on to setting up light spells. If he's warding the full length of the train, that will take a bit more time - and potentially put him in direct conflict with the shadow-wolf that slipped in under the train earlier. ))


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