Welcome to Wednesday where this week we are looking at what has happened in the Kugani Ranges recently as well, more importantly, what happens when the sun goes down. Without too much waffle and giving things away let’s kick it off.
Flight by Firelight
The plains were just as beautiful on sunset as they weren’t hours earlier and as the sun turned the sky the colours of autumn the party set up tents that they adorned with a charm that supposedly would keep spirits and the fey away from them. Sitting down to a meal cooked over the coals the party made small talk with Jason who had joined them to camp out on the plans as the town had shunned him just as they did the party.
Jason revealed more about his past, about how he had lost his father early in his life, a mercenary fighting for gold and glory whilst his mother had worked hard to give him the opportunities in life and now he was selling wares on a distant land so that he could provide a comfortable life for his mother who lived in Shuimu.
Saying goodnight to the party Kuang went to his own tent while Kyoko and Hana went to separate tent leaving the party and Jason to organise watch rotation for the night – just in case the night and light from the fire brings the creatures that hunt in the dark.
It wasn’t until after the moon reached the cusp of its travels across the night sky that the first signs of something amiss appeared. A vibration through the ground that the person on watch noticed first before waking the others. Gathering around the firelight heartbeats turned into the vibrations continued and gradually increased as the moonlight shone across the plains catching movement across the plains like a drift of snow moving in a straight direction – but the light from the fire, distance and how the moonlight trickled through clouds above made it difficult to see what was going on. Soon though the ground began to shake with such ferocity that lose stones, the utensils used to cook dinner and even the doors on the wagon began to shake and bounce in place as the vibrations turned from a little tremor to a thunderous cacophony.
As the party went back to back around the fire a gust of wind rushed past them all but extinguishing the fire as dozens if not hundreds of white shapes darted towards them from the darkness from the direction of the village. Thundering hooves, broad antlers and glowing white coats meshed together to form a wave of flesh as the crashes around the party, forming a wide berth around the tents as if it was a boulder in the path of a raging river. The tall fox-tailed elks madly rushed around the camp, pushing each other to avoid the camp but also driven by fear or madness to stampede past the party in a blur of white fur, broad antlers and the thunderous explosion of noise that their hooves on chilled soil created.
After a minute the last of the stragglers ran past and into the distance, the plain flattened in a straight path that was easily sixty feet white and went on for as far as the moonlight and the parties vision could see. Looking in the direction they came from the party could see them continuing to stampede into the distance until the moonlight no longer revealed the beasts in their frantic pace to get to where they were going, or away from where they were leaving.
The rest of the night went fine with the party and those on watch who had a quieter duty, albeit more alert and potentially spooked, and by the mornings first rays of light the full devastation of land was revealed. Several dead or dying Elk were found scattered across the hills, gored and crushed by their own kin as they stampeded which Jason, Kuang and Kyoko aided in their passing to end their suffering where possible. Looking in the direction they had come from it was plain to see that the source of their stampede lay back towards the village some way and the party would need to make a decision to investigate or move on and through the pass.
It’s a relatively easy part of the adventure, build up the tension for the party with the increasing temp of the vibrations, then the cacophony of sound, then the faint movement at the edge of vision before the wave of white furred flesh breaks around them – the creatures themselves are not malicious by any meaning of the word but they are affected by the charms to some degree and treat the tents and camp as if to enter it or go near the charms would be a worse fate than potential goring or crushing.
Thanks for joining me tonight for a small snapshot of what I want to try and stress upon the importance of building up the mood and the tension of the situation. This weekend I will touch upon it a bit more so don’t forget to join me each night this week as we explore more of these lands, and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe