July 18-30, 2016
Coming in From the Rear
Dead Dog Alley
Hoping to get a good tactical backup for his companions, Moonscar moves into the open area behind the buildings he saw from Monkey Street. A couple dirty kids can be seen playing in the dirt off to his right and he can see a couple of men across the expanse playing cards on top of a crate near the rear of what he guesses is the Taxidermist Guildhall.
One of the card players nods his head in Moonscar’s direction. The other card player puts his cards down and looks in Moonscar’s direction as well. Moonscar, feeling well hidden, is not sure if the card players are motioning to him or something else.
Once he’s scanned the terrain Moonscar decides to take the high ground. Just to be sure of avoiding unwanted attention he waves his hand slightly in front of his face, causing the crescent shaped marking on his brow to glow softly as he murmurs, “This is not the lunatic you’re looking for.” He then heads up to the rooftop to see if his friend Squirrel is around while he watches the vicinity. From his vantage he also tests the wind for any tell-tale scents and swivels his ears about to see what sounds he might pick up, hoping for snatches of conversation.
From his vantage point on the roof top, Moonscar has a good view of the entire space known as Dead Fog Alley. He sees that the two card players were looking at an approaching kid carrying some wine skins and a parcel wrapped paper. Moonscar listens as the men harass the delivery boy, though they seem to tip him well. Before it is even opened, Moonscar can tell the parcel contains some food, definitely fish and possibly some bread.
The delivery boy joins the circle of children playing nearby. He shows them the coins he earned and then they all rush across the lot and head north between two adjacent buildings just to the east of Moonscar’s perch.
Realizing there are not nearly enough trees on this small island to find Squirrel, the Druid instead calls for Rat. The little smoke come scurrying out of a nearby rain gutter. Dirt and debris cover his back. Nimbly, Rat approaches, walking right on the edge of the roof. He stops right in front of Moonscar and stands up on his hind legs, wriggling his tiny pink nose in the air.
As he starts to question Rat, he hears something of a scuffle from the front of the Taxidermist shop as well as some muffled shouting coming from one of the buildings. He sees the two card players jump up and one readies a nasty looking club that had been leaning against the wall while the other draws a cutlass and readies a buckler. The one with the cutlass goes to the right, heading toward what looks like a narrow alley just to the right of the Taxidermist Hall and the other (with the club) goes to the left toward what might be a recessed entrance to the Guildhouse or possibly the building directly next to it.
Moonscar then notices someone standing on top of the Guildhall roof. He had apparently been laying down or hiding somewhere. The figure, probably a Human male, it's holding a crossbow and is moving to see something going on out front, out of Moonscar’s sight.
Moonscar chuckles as he readies his bow and aims a magic arrow, “Two can play at that game, but the Kankoran are the masters.” He glances down at Rat, “Wish me luck Elder Brother, this one’s gotta count. . .” He inches forward over the rooftops, a step at a time trying to narrow the gap but still drop his target before the man can shoot any of his friends outside the guild hall’s front. When he thinks he can no longer delay he lets his arrow fly, seeing it hit true into his opponent’s kidney. Even as the other shooter starts to go down he reaches over his shoulder and snatches an arrow from the magic quiver in case he need to finish him.
The would be sniper drops his crossbow and grabs his side where Moonscar’s arrow pierced him. He lets out a sharp yelp then pitches forward and disappears from sight. Neither of the two men in the lot below seem to have notices the incident on the rooftop above their heads. Moonscar can only see one of the men now, as the one to the left has disappeared past the edge of an intervening building. The one on the right, the cutlass wielding fellow, continues to run and turns a corner heading toward Water Street and out of the Druid’s sight as well.
After several moments of watching the back of the building from the high ground, he hears a soft crash, like a small clay pot being broken, and then sees not one, but two Humans come running out from the right side alley. He is pretty sure one of them was the card player that just ran into the alley. Moonscar takes aim on them, but before he can get a shot off, they run up and hop into an uncovered well that is in the middle of the lot and about 15 feet from the back of the Taxidermist’s Guildhall.
After another handful of moments, Moonscar sees two more men rush from the area he is watching, this time from left side of the building, where his line of sight had been impaired. These two men, who both appear to be unarmed, approach the well that the other two had jumped in, lean over the side and one of them shouts something down into the well.
The druid creeps forward over the rooftops as he watches the activity with his diminutive friend and ponders what he’s learning. He looks down at Rat and asks, “So what have they got down this well? Do you know how many of them there usually are?”
Rat wiggles his whiskers and does a little circle before running up Moonscar’s leg and body before coming to rest on his shoulder. “Many come and go from this place. Twice a dozen at least. They move in and out of these buildings and down the well sometimes, though usually only when in a hurry. I have heard there are many rooms below, though my family does not go there.”
Moonscar squirms and suppresses his giggles as Rat’s paws tickle their way up his body. “Hmm, are there usually many in the buildings? My friends and I will likely have to go through them, maybe down the well, so whatever we can learn in advance will help stay alive. Would you be willing to guide us and scout with me?” Hoping his friends will spot the oddity and connect the dots he then tilts his head back and gives a few owl hoots.
Rat replies, “They do not stay in the buildings, they are only a way to the down below. Yes, I will come with you if you ask.” Rat nibbles his ear and then crawls down inside Moonscar’s cloak and begins rooting around for a snack.
The Kankoran nods, “Good idea,” and fishes some jerky out of a pouch and shares it as he continues to watch for further developments. He keeps his bow ready and scans the other rooftops and windows all around him as well as the ground, glancing skyward occasionally.
Though he can hear normal city activity nearby, Moonscar does not see or hear anything going on at this end of the island. From his vantage point, it appears that most of the buildings surrounding this dead-end plaza are abandoned with the Taxidermist Guildhall being the only operating business directly adjacent to the space. A few of the buildings on the opposite side of the street are possibly occupied based on smoke coming from their chimneys, but he wouldn’t be able to tell for sure without a closer look, and that would take him away from his overwatch position. Up above, he sees the many scattered clouds running quickly across the sky while Moon tracking low beneath them, hugging the horizon. She should be gone shortly after the sun goes down, he thinks.
Moonscar comments thoughtfully, “It reminds me a little of an anthill - tunnels underneath hiding the group and a dead zone circling it. Only they’ve emptied that area on purpose without removing the concealment I think, so I’m probably inside the circle of their camp. Do you know where else they keep lookouts? If there’s no more movement here I think I should go hunting to make sure no one sets an ambush. If the Stonerunner were camping here we’d have many up high and drawn the invaders into the clearing as some fled to the burrow. A second group would be hiding in these buildings. The attackers would never leave the clearing.”
Rat chews on his piece of jerky and seems to ignore Moonscar’s question but then answers. “There are many tall ones about in many places, but they are not ever in the same place twice, except for the one that perches on the top of the house of unmoving animals. That one is always there. But you made him leave with your flying stick.”
The Kankoran nods, “Well then, let’s go down and make sure no one’s hiding around the clearing.” He secures his bow lets Rat climb back to his shoulder before stepping to the roofs edge and downclimbing. Once on the ground he readies his cloak and long knife then proceeds to sweep a moonwise circle of the courtyard, sniffing, listening and peering into any windows and doors as he makes the round and checking the well for the same and any sentries as he passes.
Before he can get too far in his hunt, Moonscar sees some of his companions exit from the narrow alley to the left side of the guildhall with Arn carrying an unconscious and bound Human.
Cast of Characters:
+Amergin O'Kai plays Moonscar, the esoteric Kankoran Druid
and +Jason GURPS as the GM