Hi all and welcome to our twist day where we look at what curve balls, forks in the road and pitfalls we can put in the path to adventure for our parties. Tonight I want to explore a little bit more, perhaps put some mystery and intrigue into our little adventure.
The warm air that blew across the last of the marsh was enough to calm the nerves that had built up over the past few days since the Oni first appeared out of the mists. A shudder rippled down her back as they remembered the ruthless efficiency at which they killed indiscriminately before moving to the next target, passing by the seemingly lifeless body that crumpled under a man who had taken an arrow to the chest – her body, not lifeless just cowardly.
As the Oni rushed past the fields, torching the houses and building that nurtured them the feeling of guilt and relief mixed together like a witches brew in inside, maybe just maybe she would get out of this nightmare alive.
“Hey, pssst, do you need some help?” a voice said after what felt like an hour of listening to the sounds of distant battle. Daring to open an eye and look up at the source of the voice they were greeted by woman, wrapped in furs and cloth and huddled behind a wagon that had been turned on its side – the draft horse having been shot through with arrows when the Oni attacked.
“Yes, please.” she whispered her reply, nodding as the woman ran over and crouched next to the girl stuck under the body of the dead man before slowly pulling the body off and helping the girl to stand to her feet. “I-I-I don’t know where to go or what to do. The Oni are attacking the town now and I don’t think I can make it on my own in the woods.” the girl stammered as the sat next to her saviour who looked at her with a calculating stare.
“I have… no, sorry. I couldn’t do that to you…” the woman began
“No please anything. I need help I don’t know what to do or where to go” the girl asked.
The woman looked to the girl and sighed “I have this stone, a cursed object that makes it nearly impossible for someone to look at you even when you want them too. The catch is that you cant drop it or give it up until someone does notice you and then the curse is broken. You broke the curse for me, somehow, so I can give you the stone but no one will see you, truly see you even if they search for you until you find someone who can then the curse is broken.” the woman began “It’s a curse and a blessing as it could get you into the town if you are swift about it – but you will be cursed for some time and be alone with just yourself to rely upon..” she continued before the girl spoke up.
“I will take it, please anything to get me away from the Oni” the girl pleaded – her eyes searching for the stone that would be her salvation.
“There is something else…” she continued as she produced a black stone from a pocket. But by then the girl had snatched at it and the rock was gone. The woman’s mouth turned into a grin for but a moment before returning back to a concerned “The other thing is that you will owe one favour, but a small price to pay for your life. But when its called upon you will be magically bound to complete it. You will know the price of the stone when you see it, or hear it or even just feel what its asking and to ignore it means a painful death. – You will be unable to speak about this promise, this favour, until you complete it – much like I have just completed mine.
The girl stood up and stumbled back – looking upon the woman with both manic relief and panic, this sounded like the type witchcraft where the price was always too high for what it gave you.
As she ran away from the woman she stopped dead in her tracks as an Oni rounded the corner and stared at her, then past her towards the woman before taking off at some speed in that direction, running right past the girl. Amazed that the stone actually worked she ran to the city walls, where the piles of dead humans and few Oni were littered around the gate which was slightly open so people could rush in and out to retrieve their wounded or fallen brethren.
“Thank the ancestors you’re here. Plea..” she began but the solider she was talking to walked passed her – ignoring her completely even when he bumped into her.
“Private, bring those men in. Lieutenant make sure none of those Oni are living.” the man barked as she went from one Oni body to another – driving a short blade through their chest.
Stumbling through the gates the girl looked at the black stone that refused to fall from her hand, as if glued to her palm and she began to cry as people pushed past her carrying bodies or wounded, dying and dead men and women in from the outside of the ruined gates and walls.
Days later and after a week or so of hard nights of stealing to eat and survive a large red sailed ship moored at the docks and the people of Jade Point rushed onboard the ship. The girl stumbled towards the ship, determined to survive but the past week had crushed the hope she had as she was sure she was going mad. A day after the stone came into her possession – which she had worked out how to get it to be in a pocket rather than in her hand, it was all about intention – she had started to hear whispers, telling her where to find food, talking to her like an old friend or like someone who cared about her which she wrote off as just herself creating voices and friendliness in the space where she felt none of that.
As she stumbled onboard no one looked out towards her but there was rations, fresh water and a place that was far from the Oni – even now there was the sounds of battle could be heard from the raised ramparts on the hill as a group of people created a distraction to enable the town to escape – well those who survived.
The next morning the ship stopped to let the adventurers who faced the Oni alone back on board and as she lent across the railing with the warm breeze as a chorus of cheering and celebration took place she managed to smile for herself for the first time in a few days.
“I was awestruck too the first time I saw what they could do” a voice said next to her. “These adventurers from across the sea – they are pretty amazing don’t you think” the friendly face said to her with a warm smile.
“Yes” she replied back, the stone dropping like a heavy weight in her pocket – no longer bound to her. “Yes it is pretty amazing. Thanks for rescuing me – I have a something I want to give to you…”
Thanks for joining me tonight for what proved to be a more lengthy writeup than what I had intended – but I kind of got lost in it and enjoyed writing up something that I think will cause some chaos a bit later – but more on that when it comes up. Don’t forget to come back in the next couple of days to catch up on what I have planned for this week and especially this weekend with some of the additional content I have for this end of month write-up, and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe