Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Living in the Crescent Forest is Hazardous for Your Health


Ren pulled away from Aziza and dashed off into the forest, wishing to be alone. Aziza initially chased after him, but decided to let him go. It wasn't long afterward, when Ren heard something crashing through the forest. He tried to hide, using psionic camouflage. As he hid, a giant creature crashed through the trees above him. The monster was a gargantuan lizard with multiple legs. It sniffed Ren out and stared right at him. Ren ran.
Forty feet long and hungry.

The monster caught up with Ren and began thrashing him. Aziza heard the commotion, ran back to Ren, and engaged the giant reptile. Aziza's loud screams could be heard back at camp, Yaotl, Kaza, and Cyrus got up and started running toward the screams. The lizard was having some difficulty dividing it's attacks between the two opponents, but it grabbed Ren by the head and crushed his skull.
The rest of the group arrived and jumped to Ren's aid, casting his most powerful healing spells. Yaotl engages the lizard with a flaming scimitar and Kaza begins to build by a static discharge. The static seemed to draw the attention of the lizard and it ferociously attacked Kaza. The rest of the group tried to help, but the gargantuan lizard swallowed Kaza whole.
Ren had recovered enough to fight, thanks to Cyrus' magic, and together, the group was able to slay the beast. They quickly went to work, carving up the creature, fighting to get to Kaza in time. Upon reaching the creatures stomach, Yaotl pulled Kaza's body out. He was burned badly by acid and Cyrus checked his vitals.
Cyrus shook his head, “He's dead.”
Ren carried his body back to camp, as Yaotl carved meat, hide, and bones from the creatures body. Using two large bones, Aziza and Yaotl dug a hole. Ren meditated and used his psionic regeneration to completely heal his skull. Cyrus, exhausted from casting so much magic, passed out. They dug for a couple of hours and placed Kaza's body in the earth. Yaotl and Aziza rested, waiting for Ren to finish. When he did finally finished, they woke up Cyrus.
“I don't know what to say.” Yaotl began, “He was always so quiet.”
Aziza nodded in agreement, “Perhaps that is the way of earth.”
Ren nodded.
“I think he'd like it here. There's so much life.” She added.
Yaotl pushed a mound of earth onto his body, “We send you to the earth Kaza, may you know it's embrace.”
No one could think of an appropriate song to sing, so here's "Rainbow in the Dark", by Dio.

Exhausted, the group went to bed, except Yaotl, who took the first watch. Ren took second watch and as he was watching, he noticed a vine laying across Cyrus' leg. Ren walked over and grabbed it, trying to remove it from Cyrus' leg. It was sticking to his leg, so Ren gave it a mighty pull. It tore free, along with a chunk on Cyrus' leg. Cyrus screamed, which woke up the whole camp.
Ren discovered that the vine was now stuck to his hands and he started to get weaker. Yaotl cut the end of the vine, and blood poured from it. Aziza cut the other side, stopping the blood sucking effect, but the vine was still stuck to his hands. Aziza then helped Ren peel the vine off his palms. Yaotl lit the vine on fire, burning it back to the tree it was wrapped around. He put it out, just as it reached the tree.
“I don't like this place.” Ren began, “Even the plants try to eat you.”
Eventually, everyone went back to sleep. Aziza took the third watch and Cyrus the last. Cyrus fell asleep, but luckily, nothing tried to kill them while they all slept.
In the morning, the group gathered everything up and began marching. Ren finally decided to ask the Shom agent his name. His name was Nuru.
They walked until high sun, and although the forest is exceptionally cooler than the desert, Cyrus insists on resting. The group finds water easily and continued on a short while later. After a few hours, the group stumbles upon a group of dangerous giant beetles!
Come on, gimmie a hug!
 The beetles were just as surprised and failed to react quickly. The group engaged the giant insects and the insects retaliated in force. They ganged up on Yaotl and knocked him out. Cyrus, always with a healing spell handy, rushed in and started healing Yaotl. Aziza and Ren held back the beetles. When Yaotl re-entered the combat, the beetles where quickly killed.
As the group continued walking, Yaotl tried to talked about Aziza with Ren, but Ren quickly changed the subject. Daylight turned to darkness and the group settled down to sleep. Ren decided to keep watch all night.
The group slept well and rose with the morning, except Cyrus, who had to been harassed. The group marched on, noticing that the elevation was increasing. Ren asked Nuru if they were going the right way. Nuru confirmed they were. At high sun, Cyrus forced the group to rest.
As they continued, Ren began a conversation with Nuru about slavery. Nuru saw slavery as a necessary evil. His reasoning was that society would collapse without slavery. Yaotl and Aziza strongly disagreed. They discovered that Nuru used to be a slave, but through hard work and dedication, was set free and was now employed by his former master.
Ren made the point that maybe not all slavery is bad, as long as slaves are treated properly. Aziza strongly disagreed, stating that even a cage of water and iron is still a cage. Yaotl apologized for getting upset with Nuru and decided to judge him based on his actions. Nuru thanked Yaotl, but Aziza still did not like him.
Yaotl fell back and began a conversation with Aziza about Ren.
“What's the problem?” Yaotl asked, referring to her relationship with Ren.
“You're filling his head with nonsense. He has to hunt and kill for me, he has to keep me safe.” She lashed out at him, “He doesn't need to do any of those things.”
“I never said he had to protect you.” Yaotl remarked in a matter of fact tone.
“Stop filling his head with your barbaric culture. He doesn't need to please me.”
“Does he not?” Yaotl asked, “He feels for you and needs to express it.”
“Look at me, Yaotl.” Aziza fired back, pointing at her scared face.
“What?” Yaotl asked, confused.
“He doesn't need a woman like me.” She began, “He needs a Mul, or a pretty little thing, like back in Nibenay. He only thinks he has feelings for me because I'm the most interaction with a woman he's ever had! Stop filling his head with nonsense! He'll find someone else he has feelings for soon enough.”
Yaotl laughed in response, “You're as lost as he is.”

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