The Expedition - Necromunda forum RPG [New players welcome!]

KopMcGinty

Ganger
Mar 14, 2017
220
319
63
Isle of Wight
Bella hoped this would be it. A big score was just what she needed. But she was beginning to have her doubts. It had seemed too good to pass up in the heat of the moment. A Guilder was something to take seriously after all. Even one with such a tiny badge.

But.

Something about Christiana was still bugging Bella. And the team she'd put together? The kid seemed resourceful and the big man could be good to have at her back in a scrap but the others? The female figter was clearly unhinged and the Vase freak.. less said the better... She honestly had no idea what his deal was!

No, the more she thought on, the more she doubted the sanity of getting involved. She had however given her word.

Checking her gear was quick and simple. Her blades as always were razor sharp. Shame she didn't have any Nightshade toxin for them. Something to keep an eye out for. Her worn Laspistol would as ever be a last resort. She never had been much of a shot. Ideally she'd have liked all sorts of miscellaneous gear but would be travelling light. Not out of choice but because the last year had been hard. Besides that vase freak didn't look like he could lift his feet let alone a proper travel pack.

It was going to be a long and journey. Time to rest up. She wasn't sure she'd get much rest once underway.
 

HorribleHedgehog

Gang Hero
Aug 16, 2017
576
1,033
103
In the following morning shift, the gates of Wastelake were abuzz. It seemed half the settlement had come to see the expedition off, the settlers looking on at the preparations being made with an odd mixture of contemptuous jealousy and genuine concern. Cairistiana was loudly chewing out Dalton, who had revealed a back injury that prevented him from carrying a full pack. Gesilde and Brucke were dividing up a substantial pile of ration bars into a small collection of utilitarian backpacks. Sevro was pacing around with nervous excitement, while Bella was double-checking her kit.

"- and so Emperor forgive me, if you weren't my employee and if we weren't in a hurry, I'd have you strung up on the nearest signpost from your goddamn intestines, you damnable pig of a lying scav-suck." Cairistiana finished her rant and took a moment to breathe deep before continuing, in a slightly more calm manner: "You'll have the first watch for the rest of the week, and don't you dare complain about it."

Without expecting an answer, the guilder turned away from the now-sheepish Tex and busied herself with the minutiae of their impending departure. Hiring the mungware-enthusiast was seeming a worse move by the minute, but Cairistiana wasn't about to go back on her word - and at least now she had someone she didn't like if they turned out to need milliasaur bait.

Soon, the preparations were complete, and Cairistiana gave her rag-tag expedition an assessing look. Not too bad, considering the circumstances, but she did feel somewhat anxious about venturing into the badzones with such a small escort. No matter, it was far too late to turn back now. Gesilde got her attention with a small wave. "We're as ready as we're ever gonna be, miss. You got a speech for us?"

Cairistiana shook her head, the little matter with Dalton having soured her mood. "No. Let's just get going."

***

The first few days of the expedition had been mercifully uneventful. The group had been traveling through a desolate area known as the Drossfields; heaps of scrap and detritus studded the landscape.

Cairistiana was tired and irate - although her life as a small-time guilder had meant plenty of travel on foot, she wasn't used to carrying a full pack, and her shoulders ached under the load. The night shift was approaching fast, so she ordered a halt. "Alright - we've made good enough time. Let's get a camp set up."

Brucke produced a portable heater from his belt and the others laid their sleeping bags around it in a circle. After a quick and quiet meal, everyone busied themselves with various tasks - Gesilde and Brucke started to give their guns a meticulous cleaning, Cairistiana buried herself in her sleeping bag in an effort to get as much rest as possible, while Dalton was standing guard atop a scrapheap, trying his best to at least look attentive. Sevro went out to establish a perimeter of traps and Bella slunk off to scout the nearby terrain.

***

A few moments later, some ways from the camp...

Sevro was squatting down next to a small pothole, setting up one of his homemade nailbombs. He was never quite at ease without a well-established perimeter of booby traps to guard him, and out on the wastes he felt this was even more prudent than in the relative safety of Wastelake. With practised motions, he was just about to arm the makeshift explosive before being surprised by a coarse voice.

"Turn around real slow, kid, or you's gonna get to see the color of yer brains."

Startled, Sevro did as he was asked and turned around with his hands held in front of him. He was met with the sight of three sickly-looking men dressed in rags, one of them - the leader, he presumed - brandishing a makeshift blunderbuss at him. The other two were armed with simple metal pipes.

The leader was grinning wide, showing a dwindling collection of rotted teeth. "You's not here all alone, are ya, little git? Of course you ain't. You's gonna be a good little kid and show us the way to your camp, and we'll be nice and won't eat yer. Deal?"

82gpNHK.jpg
 

KopMcGinty

Ganger
Mar 14, 2017
220
319
63
Isle of Wight
"I wonder if a knife to his throat might convince him to actually do something worth a damn" Bella mused to herself as she slipped into the shadows. "Dangerous my ass"

She soon found herself a short distance from camp, perched atop a slowly rusting structure. Time and neglect had long robbed it of any purpose or even an indication of what its purpose ever was.

From here she could see Christiana, Brucke and Gesilde down in camp with Dalton on lookout. Miracle of miracles the little man seemed to actually be paying attention to his surroundings.

From her vantage point there was no sign of Sevro. No doubt he was in some hole trying to blow himself up. She'd give him a little while longer while she completed her circuit around the camp, then amuse herself slipping past his traps. Little bugger was getting better at hiding them every time they stopped though. She'd have to watch her step.
 

JBScion

Juve
Mar 21, 2018
15
29
13
Ashbourne DE6, UK
Sevro eyed the blunderbuss as he raised his arms, it had a basic spring loaded firing mechanism, that didn't look too reliable. Not enough to risk his life on though.

"Eeh, yeah, I fink I can do that"

Smiley grunted, "right, now slowly step back, away from the bomb"

Sevro glanced down at the nailbomb, and his half open pack beside it. He backed up.

"now, slowly put the gun and the knife on the floor"

Begrudgingly, sevro complied.

Smiley walked a wide arc around the nailbomb and Sevro's pack, stopping when the blunderbuss was pressed against the boys chest.

"Now backup again" Snarled the Scavvie, now close enough that Sevro caught wafts of his rancid breath.

Sevro backed up.

Smiley stowed the pistol and knife in his belt, evidently not trusting his comrades with the task. One of them was drooling though, so it made sense.

"You're doing well kid, naw, lead on"

Sevro turned, and very deliberately started moving up the track, back the way he'd come.

One of the thugs shuffled behind them. Smiley's head snapped round.

"leave the bag dipshit, 's a bomb right there. Yah can ger it later"

Sevro smiled, they thought he'd armed it. Then smiley pressed the business end of the blunderbuss into the small of his back.

Shit, this scabby bastard was too close for him to risk using one of his earlier traps on.

They closed on an outcrop where Sevro had rigged a shotgun shell to a tripwire. Sevro tried to look casual as he skirted the small boulder to which the wire was tied. He veered back onto the path, gaining a little distance from the end of the gun.

"stay close brat" rasped his captor, "wouldn't want to put a 'ole in ye just yet"

Sevro grunted. The loud bang of a shotgun shell exploding and the shreik of one of the lackeys robbed him of the need to reply.

Smiley looked round in shock.

Sevro lunged at him. One hand pushing the blunderbuss aside, the other reaching desperately for his stub gun.

Smiley snarled and pushed him back, Sevro caught hold of his coat and pulled himself close, sinking his teath into the mottled flesh of the scavvies face.

Smiley screached and pushed harder, sevro felt the muzzle of the blunderbuss against his stomach.

In desperation he wedged his hand into the firing mechanism. The firing pin cut into his hand as Smiley puled the trigger. Sevro's fingers closed around the pistol hilt.

Smiley threw them apart. both stumbled back, Smiley raised the blunderbuss.

Sevro shot him. Three times in the chest.

Sevro turned the gun on last skavvie.

"Shittucks"

The last scavvie was giving Sevro a lopsided grin. he was flanked by four more flybitten figures, two were armed with more of bits of pipe, two had crude looking firearms pointing at him.

The scores I got for the conflict resolution were as follows:

Motion - 1 a Partial Success: Sevro aims to incapacitate/rout the Scavvies, however there are more around.

Pride - 2 a Complete Success: he's gonna raise the alarm and fight the skavvies. No-one's likely to care that they snuck up on him.

Safety - 1 a Partial Success: smiley has a blunderbuss pointed at his back and is staying close, no way a 14 year old is getting away without taking a hit.

Co-operation - 1 a Partial Success: he's going to need help dealing with all of the scavvies

And I'm using Sevro's strength (Mechanic/tinkerer) to boost the safety score to a complete success so he spots the weakness on the blunderbuss to stop it firing and doesn't take any serious wounds.
 

KopMcGinty

Ganger
Mar 14, 2017
220
319
63
Isle of Wight
Carefully stepping around a pile of rubble, Bella found herself confronted with a discarded pack in the dirt. If the fact it was obviously Sev's wasn't alarming enough, the nearby trap being left unset certainly was.

Quietly drawing her blades she was about to head back to camp to warn the others when the distinctive blast of a shotgun echoed violently somewhere from her left. She broke into a run directly for the sound..

There.. ahead now she could see Sev with stub gun pointed at a group of muties. The little guy stood over the unmoving corpse of one, while another whimpered piteously on the floor trying to put his insides back where they belonged. The other five didn't look like they were about to back down though!

With no time to think of a plan she simply dashed up behind the oblivious muties. Before they could react to her attack she had sliced her sword across the thighs of one of the pipe wielding thugs. Screaming he crumpled to the ground hamstrung and unable to support his own weight.

She jabbed her dagger into the exposed neck of another as he turned to face her. A shocked look forever etched on his face as he fell lifeless to the dirt, a crude length of metal clattering to the floor a he did.

The muties may have been dregs, scum and thugs but they hadnt lived this long without a strong survival instinct... the remaining three reacted desperatley trying to rush past her.

One raised his pistol at her and squeezed the trigger. The blast would surely wipe her out at this range, but as so many times before Bella felt like her opponent had kindly told her exactly what he was going to do. She stepped aside a fraction before the firearm roared and she ran the now frantic Mutie through as he tried to bundle her aside.

Suddenly another gun roared, desperatley Bella gripped her previous victim, just barely she swung his dead weight round as the muties rounds hit him instead.

The combined weight and impactifrom the shots dragged Bella down as she tried to free her stuck sword from his gut. Fortunately the final two muties had no time to take advantage of this as Sevro came after them snapping off shots with his stubgun as they fled.

By the time Bella had extracted herself from under her foe, the last two enemy were long gone into the darkness.

"Well kid, having fun yet?" She asked Sev as she tried and failed to wipe Mutie blood from her attire.

Motion: 1 - a partial success. Bella is trying to kill the scavvies - she'll likely win the fight, but one or more scavvies will get away.

Pride: 2 - a full success. Bella isn't in any danger of losing face.

Safety: 0 - a failure. Even though Bella has the element of surprise, the scavviesoutnumber her five-to-one and the fight will be very risky for her.

Co-operation: 2 - a full success. Bella is an experienced combatant and will see the fight to the end.

..................................

Ouch.. safety failure!

I've used my Strength (prescience) to change that to a partial success. Not really wanting to take too much harm so early I've also burned my grit point to further change it to a success.

Means I then had to accept that some of them would get away.. I wonder if that will come back to haunt us?
 

HorribleHedgehog

Gang Hero
Aug 16, 2017
576
1,033
103
The sudden shotgun blast, faint though it were, nearly made Cairistiana jump out of her sleeping bag. Restless dreams immediately made way for a hectic reality.

"SHIT!" she heard Gesilde exclaim. The scummer had jumped to her feet, blade drawn and laspistol in hand. Her other laspistol was still field-stripped on the ground, next to Brucke's likewise disassembled shotgun. "That wasn't far off. Shit, shit... I'll go check it out, if it's that brat playing around I'll fucking have his head..."

Before Cairistiana had fully regained her wits Gesilde had already ran off. "Throne's sake, wait, you bloody fool!" Cairistiana shouted after her, but if she heard she wasn't listening. Cairistiana looked around herself to take stock of the situation. Brucke, looking only slightly more stressed than usual, had started to reassemble his weapon with quick but decisive motions. Dalton was nowhere to be seen.

"That lily-livered little bastard..." Cairistiana muttered under her breath.

The shotgun blast was followed by gunshots. The sound shook Cairistiana fully awake; there was no time to waste. A lone shotgun shot might have been one of Sevro's traps misfiring, but the three gunshots confirmed her fears of a fight. She grabbed her sleeping bag and started frantically stuffing it inside its covering. Glancing up, she saw Brucke was almost finished with his shotgun. She figured it was best to get the camp packed up, in case whatever was making noise out there won the fight... or had friends. "Help me pack this shit up, double time!" she said to her hireling, who nodded and slung his shotgun on his shoulder before joining her.

***

Gesilde was frantically running towards the gunshot sounds, impotent fury building up inside her. Of course it all had to end in tears... and blood. No riches or glory, just miserable death, like always.

Running past a large pile of refuse, she was suddenly greeted by a sight of dead scavvies strewn all around, with Sevro and Bella in the middle of the carnage. Driven by panicked impulse, she aimed her laspistol at Bella, trigger finger tensing, before realizing who she was aiming at and lowering her gun.

"Damn." She took a moment to survey the scene, her body still tense from the overflow of adrenaline in her system, forcibly suppressing her killing impulses. Bella was covered head-to-toe in blood - presumably of the scavvies, many of whom sported nasty blade wounds - while Sevro was obviously shook by the violence, though he kept his composure remarkably well for someone so inexperienced.

"What the hell happened here?"
 
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CaptainDangerous

Executive Officer in charge of Fraggles
Staff member
Yak Comp 3rd Place
Oct 30, 2016
4,146
13,715
288
Durham, uk
maybe they were getting attacked or maybe the boy had just triggered one of his own traps,
When Tex heard the shotgun blast he ran hot off the blocks and found a good hiding place!
The guilder Cairistiana had thought she had punished Tex by putting him on the crap watch shifts, but this was a relief to Tex as being the first to spot danger was the best chance of evading it, the rest of the camp had read Tex’s ready to run stance as attententive watching Tex was sure!
As more shots sounded, Tex pulled out a small book, ‘The AAAAA pocket guide of Erotic Pottery’
He watched the sleepers of the camp make ready and run toward the direction of the fighting, he Flicked through a couple of pages before figuring now would be the best time to make his move.
Jogging to the best of his unfit ability and unhooking his trusty crowbar from inside his coat, he rounded a corner to be confronted by the scene - Scavs!
The battle was clearly over, to tex’s relief, and as a hero might slay a dragon, Tex brought His crowbar down upon on of the already dead scum, dramatically and completely unnecessary.
“ Phwor, looks like you lot had it easy! Iv just chased off a group of them by myself!”
 

HorribleHedgehog

Gang Hero
Aug 16, 2017
576
1,033
103
Dalton's theatrical arrival was met with disbelieving looks - not because anyone believed his fanciful claims of fighting off scavvies, but rather that he had the gall to even show up on the scene in the first place.

"Behold, the vasehead actually ran towards the fight rather than away from it. Got lost in the excitement?" Gesilde spat derisively at the potter. She was not in the mood for his antics and turned back to Bella and Sev. "So - what happened?"

Wiping her blood-slick blade with a rag torn from the clothing of the nearest scavenger corpse, Bella matter-of-factly stated: "Scavvy ambush. We got most of them, but two got away. I expect they know the terrain better than us, so no point in giving chase."

"Oh hell" Gesilde scowled. "We'd better get back to the others."

Bella nodded and the group began making their way back to the camp.

***

The group found the campsite packed up and ready to go. Cairistiana and Brucke were standing guard atop a nearby trashpile. Cairistiana had procured a small snub-nosed stub gun from her longcoat's breast pocket.

The guilder greeted them with an anxious holler. "What the hell went down there?" She then noticed the caked blood still covering Bella's attire and visibly paled a little.

"Scavengers ambushed Sevro. He and Bella took care of it, but a couple got away." Came the answer from Gesilde.

"... Oh shit." Cairistiana took a moment to evaluate the situation. "Well... good thing we already packed, because we've got to move. Rest shift's cancelled for now. We're not going to risk it."

She let out a little tired sigh and hoisted her pack on her shoulders.

***

Some hours later, a few klicks away...


Two raggedy, panting figures were closing on a makeshift shelter constructed on a dried-out sump crater. If Wastelake looked slummy, the rickety construct was downright squalid in comparison. The surviving scavvies hurried inside.

They stumbled to a sizable, dimly-lit room with a low roof and some makeshift attempts at furniture. They immediately felt a dozen pairs of eyes focus on them. A gravelly voice originating from a scrap metal throne on the far side of the room greeted them.

"Welcome back."

The figure sitting on the throne was exceptionally tall and lanky, but years spent in the wastes had hunched his back. His long face was dotted with warts and he had a lazy left eye, bad enough to be completely useless. His sparse, greyed hair was barely clinging to his scalp and his left ear looked like something had taken a bite out of it. A vague shape of a hulking mutant could be seen standing vigil behind his throne. He took a moment to assess the survivors before speaking again.

"Where're the others?"

One of the hapless scavvies tried to babble out an answer. "Umm, boss, Festus... see, there was this, uh, a- a complication, and-"

"Where's Smiley?" He squinted menacingly as he focused his good eye on his underlings. "Where's my boy?"

What little colour remained on the scavenger's face drained with the mention of Smiley. "H-he's... dead, boss. He's dead, he's dead, but see, t'wasn't our fault-

"QUIET!"

The dilapidated hall fell silent. The scavvy leader was shaking with fury and the luckless survivors with fearful unease. Slowly, the old outlander seemed to calm down, letting out a heavy sigh followed by a fit of disconsolate sobbing. The others remained silent, none willing to interrupt their leader's grieving.

"My boy... my boy." The scavvy king once again directed his attention on the messengers. "Tell me who's responsible... tell me everything."

Fh3hLCV.jpg
 
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HorribleHedgehog

Gang Hero
Aug 16, 2017
576
1,033
103
Cairistiana was more tired than she'd ever been. It had been almost two days since the scavvy incident, and the group had been traveling with minimal rest since then for fear of pursuit. The guilder knew they'd have to stop for a real rest soon - exhaustion was taking its toll on the mood of the group. Gesilde was constantly on the brink of a violent outburst, while Sevro had become unusually quiet. Even Brucke was showing signs of irritability.

A klick or two more just to be sure, she told herself, before Bella got her attention by lightly tapping her shoulder.

"There's someone coming towards us." she stated while pointing on the horizon. Squinting, Cairistiana could indeed make out a small, hunched shape walking towards them. "What's the play?"

Cairistiana looked around, searching for potential hiding places. She found none; they were coming to the edge of the Drossfields, and the ever-present piles of scrap were growing smaller and smaller. She weighted the situation for a moment.

"Whoever it is, they're alone. We'll talk, but keep your guns handy." She nervously gripped the handle of her stub gun in her pocket. The group stopped to wait for the stranger to come to them, weapons drawn.

As the traveler made her slow approach, Cairistiana started to make out details. The outlander was a female, dressed in filthy, raggedy robes. She looked impossibly old and stunted by age, leaning heavily on a long walking stick. Around her neck hung a talisman of tiny bones.

GwqvLYx.jpg

"Halt!" Cairistiana called out to the old woman. "What's your business?"

The woman stopped, peering at the group with squinted eyes. She spoke, her low, raspy voice sounding even older than she looked. "I'd like to ask the same of you, guilder, come to my land brandishing guns and blades, a retinue of killers in tow. I dare tell you, if you've come looking for plunder, you'll find none here."

"We mean you no harm. We're on an expedition to find the Mourner's Mill. The armaments are for self-defense, as I'm sure you understand."

"Treasure hunters, then? Hmph. Well, I know of no treasure, but it's good to see some proper folks out here for a change. Normally I only have the scavvies for company, and the buggers have been keeping their distance since I shot a couple of them." the woman flashed a grin, showing some crude metal replacement teeth jammed into her gums. Cairistiana noticed what she had pegged for a walking stick was actually an antique long rifle, wrapped in rags to protect it from the grime of the hive.

"You lot look desperately in need of a rest, if you don't mind me saying. I'm Babayj, and I have a shack near here - you're free to come spend the night-shift there. I have some excellent fungus wine brewing up and I'd be grateful for the company."

Cairistiana raised an eyebrow slightly - such hospitality was uncommon in the underhive. Still, the woman's offer of wine and shelter was extremely tempting. She turned to her group. "Well?"
 
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JBScion

Juve
Mar 21, 2018
15
29
13
Ashbourne DE6, UK
Emperors balls, servo was tired. They'd been walking for ages and he'd been left lugging all the scavvies weaponry. no-one else had thought it was useful... I mean, there was a good chance these weapons would explode on use, but that was what made them such wonderful boobytrap material!

He'd managed to rig up one or two surprises for any pursuers, he particularly liked the sump-acid spray trap. it was such an elegantly simple design, he was surprised he hadn't seen it used before. Must be because he was a genius everyone else down here thick as pigshit.

No, he reminded himself, there were a few smart people around here, Bella for one. His thoughts trailed off as he thought back to how she had danced through the scavvies, like an avenging angel of death...

***************

Servo was still daydreaming when the strange lady appeared, and had almost walked into Tex when they stopped.

Whilst the lady was talking, he toyed with the mechanism on his blunderbuss (commandeered after the earlier fight) and considered the situation.

People had told him he was paranoid before, but considered himself to have a more acute grasp of the possibilities. The most obvious possibility was that the shack was a trap, but there was really no way of telling right now, so it was best to eliminate the more dangerous possibilities first.

First and foremost of those, was that this unassuming lady was a heretic-witch-traitor to the emperor.

Servo had tried and true method of detecting witches, it had a one hundred percent success rate. nobody had sprouted wings around him yet.

He sidled up to the probably-witch, and was quite close when Christina turned and asked the opinion of the group.

"She seems ok guys, I think we can trust-HIYA!"

Servo produced a small pewter aquilla from inside his coat and shoved it right in the face of the almost-certainly-witch.

Servo blinked at the cane-rifle that was now invading his personal space. Damn, this lady was fast. Her face wasn't melting either, so she probably wasn't a witch...

"What are you playing at boy?" inquired the elderly woman, after realizing he had not in fact, pulled a gun.

" 's checking you weren't a witch..." Sevro replied sheepishly.

he turned to face the others

"she's not a witch guys, can we go sleep under 'roof now? Oi like roofs..."
 

HorribleHedgehog

Gang Hero
Aug 16, 2017
576
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In her fatigued state, Cairistiana didn't fully realize what was happening before Sevro had already accused the old hermit-woman of witchcraft, and the woman had aimed her walking-rifle at the boy in response. Although the old woman seemed to take it in stride and lowered her weapon when she saw Sevro wasn't actually threatening her, Cairistiana could've sworn that for a split second she saw an unhinged glint in the hermit's eye.

Still, this far from any settlement it was to be expected, she told herself. Doubtlessly the hermit had a good reason not to be too trusting.

"She's not a witch guys, can we go sleep under 'roof now? Oi like roofs... -OW!" Cairistiana interrupted Sevro by giving his ear a sharp pull. She turned back to the hermit and apologized.

"Sorry about the boy, he's... quite excitable. I'll make sure he behaves."

Babayj nodded. "See that you do. Ain't never seen nothing good come from misbehaving youth."
 
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CaptainDangerous

Executive Officer in charge of Fraggles
Staff member
Yak Comp 3rd Place
Oct 30, 2016
4,146
13,715
288
Durham, uk
Tex was daycycle dreaming about the time giselde spoke to him and spat in his general direction, when the company suddenly stopped and he was broken from his happy memory by Sevro walking into him!
He stared at the haggard that was in their path with suspicion and had to hide his smile under his coat, in fear of facing another round of the guilders ire, when Sevro used his witch finding technique!
Since they had set off most the really crap jobs around camp had been allocated to either himself or the boy, and dispite his impish ways and the suspicion that he had gone through his pockets when he was asleep, tex was beginning to like him.
Knowing better than to make a suggestion, and semi shocked by the reflexes of the witch, tex kept quiet.

He didnt like the idea of going to this wastelanders hovel at all, nobody takes you to their resting place, surely!?
Tex reassures himself and feels in his pocket for his auto pistol.
 
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KopMcGinty

Ganger
Mar 14, 2017
220
319
63
Isle of Wight
Bella found herself done in. Since the fight she had been doubling back and trying to watch their trail for pursuit before catching up with the small group.

It had seemed a good idea at the time incase the muties brought reinforcements after them but with nothing to be seen and fatigue clouding her mind she now numbly stared at the crone that had appeared.

She felt no sense of alarm at her presence , not even when she reacted freakishly fast to Sev's antics. Old crones had no right to be that quick!

That in itself almost did alarm her but whether through sheer exhaustion or some other reason, Bella couldn't seem to articulate an objection.

All she could think about was resting somewhere sheltered and perhaps not having to worry about pursuit for a night.

Now they had stopped trudging along, even words seemed difficult. She simply gave a small nod and hefted her small pack of gear.

One way to find out what the crone was about she guessed.
 

HorribleHedgehog

Gang Hero
Aug 16, 2017
576
1,033
103
Cairistiana took Bella's small nod for an agreement. Gesilde, for her part, gave a tired grunt that the guilder assumed meant she was in favour of sheltering at the hermit's house. Tex had stayed quiet, but after all that had happened, Cairistiana didn't particularly care to hear his opinion on this or any other matter. Surprisingly, it was Brucke who actually voiced his thoughts.

"Let's do it. We won't get a better chance out here."

Cairistiana acknowledged him with a nod before addressing Babayj. "Very well, we'll take you up on your gracious offer. Lead the way."

***

Numbly shuffling forward after Babayj, Cairistiana was almost startled when the elderly woman turned around and announced they had arrived at her shack.

"That's it up there." The hermit pointed to a small scrap metal shack precariously perched atop what looked like it had once been an industrial crane. "Bit of a pain climbing ladders at my age, but it keeps the animals out."

Cairistiana winced at the thought of ladders. She'd never been too keen on heights, but promise of a good night's rest made her swallow her fears. Slowly, the group made their way to the base of the crane and climbed the rickety ladder leading to a small balcony with the shack's entrance. Cairistiana noted the balcony railing had two skulls hanging from it by strings - the scavvies Babayj had mentioned shooting, she assumed.

Stepping inside, Cairistiana surveyed the room - it was somewhat more spacious than it had looked outside. The walls were adorned with numerous tattered pelts and skins, with the occasional animal skull thrown in for good measure. There was a small stove and a couple of shelves filled with an assortment of trinkets, trophies and kitchenware. A small but comfortable-looking bed sat in the corner.

"Well, it ain't much but it's kind of a home. Make yourselves welcome, there's some pelts and blankets on the shelf. I used to be quite a hunter back in my day, though nowadays I mostly live on mushrooms. There's all sorts if one knows where to look." The little woman hurried to her bed and fished out a plastic container from underneath it. "Now, I realize you must all be very tired, but if I may trouble you for a drink? Like I said, it's been a long time since I've had anyone to talk to."

Feeling it'd be rude to disagree, Cairistiana took a cup the hermit offered her and sat herself beside the stove. "So, how long have you lived out here, anyway?"

"Oh, almost my whole life, longer than anyone cares to remember. I was here before the scavvies moved in, and before that settlement beyond the Drossfields was founded..."

While Cairistiana was making small talk with their host, Tex spotted a peculiar object sitting on the hermit's shelf. For a moment he doubted his eyes.

Surely, it couldn't be... a genuine Mung vase?
 

KopMcGinty

Ganger
Mar 14, 2017
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Isle of Wight
It was surely nice to be sheltered. Bella loved the stair climb.. meant they were well out of the way of any pursuit she figured.

Maybe this could be the opportunity to get some questions answered.

What the hell was Tex actually going to contribute. Snivelling weasel.
Could Sev get through the journey without blowing himself up.

More importantly, would Cairistiana and her muscle screw them all over when they got what they wanted.

Bella had dived into the enterprise willingly enough but was now really doubting the wisdom..

Along the journey, while scouting she had found a Shadeweaver Spider. It was trivial to harvest it's venom. You didn't spend long in House Escher without learning a thing or two. She now seriously considered using it. A small dose in some food or drink would see the Guilder and her muscle comatose. Long enough to rummage through some travel packs. Maybe she could figure out if Cairistiana was genuine?

It would be a gamble for sure. If she was clever, they might not even realise anything had happened.. on the other hand all hell could break loose.. Tex was out of the question but maybe Sev could be trusted?

Checking everyone else was distracted she drifted over to the kid.

"Hey Sev, you trust our bosslady?"
 
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CaptainDangerous

Executive Officer in charge of Fraggles
Staff member
Yak Comp 3rd Place
Oct 30, 2016
4,146
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Durham, uk
Tex looked around the room in disgust, you could really tell she didn’t get many visitors!
There was no way he was going to use any of the furs that had been offered as bedding, he could have sworn he had seen one of them moving!
But a set of shelves had caught his attention and he was eyeing up any stealable objects. It was mostly tat, bits of string, spent shotgun cartridges, batteries that had obviously been used to depletion, skulls, but as he knelt down to view the fourth shelf a flash of exuberance hit him as he realised what he had just found!
Time to turn on the charm he thought...
“Oh ash strewn beauty!” He gestured towards the hag “ what a marvellous collection you have! The red on that severed Escher finger nail is almost as enchanting as your bloodshot eyes!”
He picks up the precious vase.
“I have a chamber pan just like this at home, I beleive you outlanders call them piss pots, and I would really love a spare, .....what would you take for such a flimsy looking jug?”
 

HorribleHedgehog

Gang Hero
Aug 16, 2017
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Irritation at having his conversation with Cairistiana interrupted writ large on her face, Babayj turned to face Dalton.

"You come to shelter under my roof and yet you dare to try and deceive me of my possessions? Hmph." The ancient outlander glared at Tex through narrowed eyelids. The potter gulped audibly, the elder's stare clearly unnerving him. As if pleased by Dalton's unease, a small smile crept on her wrinkly face.

"I know what that vase is, and what its worth to your kind is. What would you give me in exchange for it, hmm? What are you willing to part with for my vase?"
 

CaptainDangerous

Executive Officer in charge of Fraggles
Staff member
Yak Comp 3rd Place
Oct 30, 2016
4,146
13,715
288
Durham, uk
”This is no deception oh lovely sump maiden” tex lied “I have sold one or two of these before and I can honestly say this ones a fake!”
Tex lifts the vase upto the dull mining light hanging from the ceiling.
“See these marks here....” pointing to some really delicate scrolling work, exquisite tex thought “these are complete giveaways! And also if you look at the quality of the pot itself...” tex holds the mungware towards his ear “there is a little test to show its authenticity.....”
Tex flicks the vase “dinggg” it rings as if a voice of an angel, then flicks it again......
The Vase Explodes in Tex’s Hand! Bits of pottery fly across the room in all directions and, what appears to be ash inside, falls to the floor in a heap, sending a dust cloud that envelopes all those around him!
Covered in dust and a shard of pot in hand Tex rasps “I’ll give you five creds”
 

KopMcGinty

Ganger
Mar 14, 2017
220
319
63
Isle of Wight
Before Sev could answer her, Bella heard a smash. Whirling around she saw Tex looking for all the world like he'd just returned from a month in the ash wastes and surrounded by shards of pottery.

"For Thrones sake, now what?"

Maybe they weren't getting to sleep easy after all. Worst, maybe she wouldn't get an opportunity to dig into the Guilders motivations either.

Sighing dramatically, she tensed but waited to see how their host would react.
 
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HorribleHedgehog

Gang Hero
Aug 16, 2017
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The room seemed to freeze for a moment. Everyone was staring at Tex and Babayj in a stunned silence. After a second that felt like an hour, the hermit finally cut the silence with a strained voice.

"Of all the things here, you... you simple-minded, oafish... contemptible, scav-shagging, moronic, arse-headed, detestable grox-suck of a human being... GET OUT OF MY HOUSE! OUT! OUT!"

Before the dust and ash had fully settled on the shack's floor, the enraged woman had grabbed a nearby broom and started viciously beating Dalton over the head with it, driving him towards the door. The potter didn't need much encouragement and ran outside, trying to shield his head with his hands, pitiable whines escaping his lips all the while.

"AND STAY OUT, YOU VILLAIN! SADIST! PIG!" Babayj screamed as she stood on the doorway, shaking his broom and throwing a few more choice insults after Tex, who was descending the ladder leading to the shack with astonishing speed.

After Tex had escaped her sight, the hermit slowly ceased her fuming, taking deep breaths to calm herself down. Without turning to face the rest of the group, she addressed them with a flat tone of voice.

"The rest of you... I'm not going to go back on my promise. You can stay the night. But you're going to leave before the first alarm of the morning shift, and you best not come back." The crone shuffled to the center of the room, where most of the vase's contents had fallen, and started sweeping them into a small plastic container she fished from the folds of her raggedy outfit. Cairistiana could hear her mutter some dark curse under her breath.

The guilder thought to offer her apologies, but decided against it. The hermit was obviously in no mood for talking, and Cairistiana didn't want to test their luck. When she spoke, it was in a hushed tone and directed at her entourage. "Alright, you heard the lady. Get as much rest as you can."

After a bit of thought she added: "And someone throw Tex his sleeping bag."

***

Sevro, having followed the incident from the corner he had claimed for himself, wasn't listening to his employer. Instead, he was intently staring at the hermit cleaning up the room. He could swear that during Babayj's furious outburst, some of those vase fragments had risen a few centimeters off the ground...

Or maybe he was just tired. It was starting to get difficult to keep his eyelids open, and the blankets he had wrapped himself in were so unbelievably comfortable after all those nights spent on the uneven and prickly ground of the wastes...