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An Unexpected Stop REPOST ATTN: Wall and Andular


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The journey east was made pleasant by Wall’s story telling. Both Eyota and Nights enjoyed listening to the big man talk and the three shared a laugh at many of his tales. Once they rode out of the Mountains of Mist Eyota took the point and led them to some back trails well away from the main roads.


The weather was kind to them with warm dry days and cool cloudless nights. Nights enjoyed those times most of all seated around a fire roasting rabbits and joking with his friends. The wolves were always with them of course warning them of any unwanted attention they might be riding toward.


Good to his word Eyota kept them on sound trails away from the well traveled roads. As they rode Wall told them more about the girl they were going to find. His friend was hopelessly in love it seemed and Nights hoped that this meeting did not break his heart. Or worse the young woman had not wed another. It would be hard for her to accept what had happened to Wall and his communing with wolves. But that is what Nights and Eyota were there for. With luck Wall would be returning to the stedding with the young woman. If not, well there was always an inn and a mug of ale to wash away ones worries.


Toward the second week of their journey Eyota began to turn their path more northward. Neither Wall nor Nights questioned their friend and soon they found themselves riding over rolling hills. Towards night fall Quickening sent Nights an image of a ruined city and warnings of dark things hidden with in. Startled Nights called a halt.


“Eyota where are we headed that the wolves would warn us off of ?â€


ooc: we are headed for Shadar on our way Wall me and Aurin thought it would make an interesting pit stop.




The journey was pleasant and full of fresh color and life. It had been long time since Eyota had been on a journey as just a guide. For so long now Eyota had been busy with bringing in new wanderers; always out on the trail with a purpose, never just out to lead a group along their merry way. As the journey progressed and Eyota let Walls tales wash over him like a soothing tonic he was pleased to find that most of the trails he used often when leading merchants, rich country folk, and sometimes smugglers away from prying eyes was still intact.


About two weeks into the journey Randon was sending images of Two-Legs ahead who looked less than respectable, almost as if they were tainted. Eyota suspected they were white cloaks, though the images were fuzy since the wolves stayed away from two-legs at almost any cost, and didn’t fancy an encounter with them.


He took them off the trail they were on crossing a road and a stream bed it took them almost an hour moving through the undergrowth of the woods that hadn’t been disturbed in years before they found the rarely used trail that he vaguely remembered stumbling across on one journey. It took them north of the path he had planned but shouldn’t cause to many problems…or so he hoped. If they kept their heads they would be fine. After his last visit along this trail Eyota had set out to find out as much as he could about the strange ruins and had learned more than he cared for.


Randon was of course protesting to him that they shouldn’t be going this way, it was dangerous, blah blah blah; Eyota shut his mind to Randon, something he had rarely done until he had lost Feilena; it had become a easier lately and he worried that he was losing contact with what little hold he had on his humanity as it was. That was a worry for another time and place right now he had to focus on the trail ahead and any sign of passage.


After an hour on the trail Eyota had choosen the sun was reaching it zenith and John called a halt; “Eyota where are we headed that the wolves would warn us off of ?â€


He had been afraid this question would arise; and had given some thought to how he could answer it. “Why don’t we stop and fix some lunch. This is a tale that could take some time.†The three men sat down and Eyota pulled some dried venison from his bags and passed it around to his companions. “The wolves are right to warn us off; but there was evidence of a large group of people moving a long ahead of us. They’ve done a good job of disguising their trail, and when large groups go to that trouble it can mean nothing good, so I felt it best to avoid them. This trail was the only one I could remember and I decided on it with some trepidation.†Eyota was watching Wall while he told this part of what needed telling to see if his one time student and now friend had seen the sings of the other groups passing. It appeared that he had since he didn’t baulk at the suggestion. “What lies ahead of us could cause a problem, I found it once while leading a group of smugglers (though they told me they were merchants, the way they wished to travel made it clear what they really were, but the color of their coin was right). Regardless we ran into some local authorities and had to travel this trail. It was only years later I found out how dangerous it really had been.†Eyota paused to chew his jerky and drink from his water skin; then looked to Wall. “Friend if you have any of that fine brew from the inn now would be a good time for it.â€


Wall grinned and reached into his saddle bag pulling out a flask and passed it around, each man making a face as the liquid burned down their throats. “What lies ahead is the ruins of a city known as Shadar Logoth. It was once apart of Manetherene; and now carries a dark curse. The people of that long dead city shut their doors to the world afraid of their own shadows and untrusting of everything and everyone. This darkness and fear consumed them until it became the ruins which we are about to see. If we are forced to enter their it would be best if we leave before dark. Even Trollocs will not enter there unless forced by their masters. If we enter take nothing from there, not even a stone, the curse resides in every particle of that place and its taint will do who knows what to you. I have heard tales that would chill your blood, though I don’t know from that point on what is fact of fiction. At the moment though I feel it’s our only road. However as the eldest here I will bow to your wish’s John. If you feel we should not continue we will undoubtedly be forced to confront whoever is ahead of us, and though they hid their numbers I’m going to guess that there are at least 50, perhaps more.â€




Wall had noticed the signs and agreed with Eyota''s assessment, though he was curious how long his friend had known about the party before Wall had picked it out. The big man was good in the woods. He never would have made it as a Tracker if he wasn't, but Eyota had trained him and sometimes it seemed like he could read the forrest like words on a page. The trail they followed now was unfamiliar, but the wolves warned against it. That was a bad sign.


Wall listened closely to the description of Shadar Logoth as his special liquor burned its way into his belly. By the end of teh tale he needed another drink. Eyota looked to John for the final word on what to do, but the Ranger just nodded in Wall's direction. "I'm older, but this is Wall's call. He is the one who needs to go on this journey. He should be the one who decides whether we go through or not."


Nodding his shaggy head, Wall studied the ground between his feet for what seemed a long time. Decisions about his inn he could make easily and often without thinking, partly because he knew what needed to be done and partly because if he made a bad call then his customers would drink stout rather than lager for a week and nothing worse would come of it. This time people could die.


They couldn't go back the way they had come. The armsmen made that clear. That left the ruins ahead. If they left soon, they could make it through with an hour or two of daylight left when they reached the other side. That was cutting it closer than Wall wanted to cut it, but their options were bad. "A group like the one we are avoiding will surely have scouts. If we wait for them to leave, we run teh risk of being spotted. I say we push through those ruins as fast as prudence allows and then put a lot of distance between us, them, and the men as possible." The other two men nodded and the three of them were mounted in short order. Wall gripped his reins a bit tighter than was absolutley necessary




Nightsfire liked their situation not one bit and grimaced as he guided his horse forward. The Ranger felt the hair on the back of his neck rise as he insisted on taking point and leading the others toward the light forsaken ruins.


An ominous silence hung over the forest around them and all three men used their hightened senses to search for the danger closing in on them. The last thing they could afford was a pitched battle between armed men who could quickly call for reinforcements. The wolves helped them keep track of men as they rode along a faint path toward the ancient city.


It was nearing mid afternoon when the trees parted before them revealing a crumbling city of ancient buildings. The sound of their horses hoofs on the worn cobble stones was the only sound that greeted them as they entered.


Dismounting the three led their horses on foot. “We need to get through here quickly this is no place I want to be at Nightfall.†Nights said and the other two men nodded in agreement. The lack of any sound in the ruins was disturbing. Many of the buildings were in ruins and surprisingly many were very much intact.


With reservation Nights led them toward one of the more intact building and stopped at the steps that led up to a plaza. “I say we stop for a bite to eat and let our guests in the forest move on. A hour here will still see us out before dusk and that should give them enough time to be convinced there is nothing worth pursuing in the area.â€


Eyota nodded the concern on his face obvious while Wall sat down on one of the steps with his back pack. Nights remained standing as he ate his meal of dried meat and cheeses washing it down with cool water.


The city was ancient and the oppression and evil that radiated from it was unnerving. Nights spotted tall building with a large bell tower in it a few hundred feet to the east. The tower was in surprisingly good shape and rose well above the other buildings in the city.


“We should go up there and have a look to see if we can spot any activity in the surrounding countryside.â€


OOC: ok we can get caught up here for the night or move on your call guys




Not only were they on a trail that led to a city which he had always avoided at all costs; but there was a force of armed men moving along just to the south of them. Now they were about to go into the heart of that darkness. “Alright, we go in together; don’t get separated and we leave as soon as we can. If we move quickly we could still get a mile or so past this place before sundown.â€


They moved towards the ruined tower, the sun slowly sinking into the horizon. The sense of evil moved through every stone, every building, every alley way. Strange words were written in what appeared to be blood on the walls they moved past. Eyota tried to breath but the evil seemed to be pressing in on him; making it hard to breathe. “Remember…not even a stone.†It was all he could get out, speaking was too hard in this place.


They made their way up the stone steps of the crumbling tower. The shadows seemed to have eyes, out of the corner of his he kept seeing movement almost as if there were people in those shadows. Even though there was movement Eyota couldn’t catch even the smallest scent of a person, there was only evil; pervasive, flooding, and all consuming evil.


Once they reached the top of the tower they had a clear view over the trees. Though the shadows were lengthening they could easily see in the pail light that was dusk. “I can’t see anything, they most be out of our line of travel. Lets get out of here before the sun fully sets.â€


It was then the shapes in the shadows finally took form. As they turned towards the stairs a man in a dingy red coat that could have once been noble stood blocking their way. “Hello travelers, it’s been a long time since any one has visited my humble home.†The greasy smile that slid over his face only served to send chills deeper into their souls. “Come with me, I have a place were you can shelter from the shadows, keep them from getting to you. There’s even a treasure for you to take along your way.â€


It was almost like the man’s words were hypnotizing them; the sense of evil that he had originally felt from the man seemed to be diminishing and his offer seemed to sound more and more attractive.


OOC: Alright up to you guys where we go from now.




"...There's even a treasure for you to take along the way." The words washed over Wall and took with them many of his trepidations regarding this evil place. Gold never interested him before, but if there was a treasure, he could use it to buy a something pretty for Cicilia, and maybe even pay Sosumo back for the Inn's building materials. The stranger in the dingy coat saw the effects his words were having and smiled. "Follow me. I need three strong backs to help me open the door to my treasure vault." The three wolfkin nodded in unison, as if the strange man had given a signal.


The stairs and turns that had taken a quarter of an hour to climb seemed to take no more than half a heartbeat to descend. They had hardly walked through the doorway in the tower when they found themselves suddenly at the bottom of the stairs. The red noble beckoned and again the wolfkin followed. Wall glanced at John and noticed a grimmace on his face, as if he were fighting something. He looked to Eyota and saw the same expression, with the excetion of a feral edge that showed Wall exactly how much his friend had changed lately. Wall felt strained himself and looked down to see that he had a white knuckled grip on the power wrought spear that he had taken with him to use as a walking aid and to probe old floors to see if they would crumble. Something was wrong. He tried to tell his friends and found that he couldn't. Just as he couldn't reach behind him for his axe.


Wall took a deep breath. A stink filled his nostrils. The stink came from the red noble. Wall sought the Spring. Feeding all his emotion into himself he found the calm and heightened sensitivity that comes from this Ranger technique that Owen had shown him. Once wrapped in the Spring Wall found he was able to talk... but barely. "John...something...wrong...with...him!" Wall could barely get even that much out.


He could see John out of the corner of his eye. His lips were moving but Wall could hardly hear him, even with his wolfkin hearing enhanced by the Spring. "mrgmrphrn...kill..hrrmm" Wall didn't need to hear anything else. By luck or fate, he had his spear in hand. He didn't think he could have reached his axe. A low growl started in his throat as he began to raise he spear. The more he defied this strange power, the easier it was to defy. With a deafening bellow, Wall hurled his spear at the red noble. It passed right through him, like he was no more than a shadow, and burried its tip in the doorway. As the setting sun came through the doorway, Wall noticed another thing about the red noble. He didn't have a shadow.


Apparently, his control on them had broken, because John yelled "RUN!!" And they did. Wall charged through the door, yanking his axe free as he did, followed closely by Eyota and John. They vaulted onto their horses and galloped for the exit they had chosen. They didn't slow their pace until the evil city was hidden by a rise. They didn't stop at all until daybreak. They didn't speak until they woke up at midday.

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