She stood and checked her burns. The wererat’s Hellfire Juice had done the job, thankfully, even if it did singe her hands and face slightly in the process. Countless dead Bone Spiders littered the ground, others had scurried back down their holes.
Turning to Dog, she projected her thoughts to him... Well, sir, what do you think now? Where did Mr. Fox go?
They began walking down the middle path, heading straight into the heart of the forest. The ghost was correct. This place did hold mysteries. Dahlia could only imagine what other mysteries were in store for her and her canine companion.
Post by vladtaltos on Oct 25, 2014 10:25:08 GMT -5
On your mental command, Dog begins to veer off the path, and heads down the embankment to your right, sniffing along the ground the whole way. He descends twenty-five feet before the land flattens, you trailing after him. This way. He came this way, moving between all these pee posts, he communicates.
You take a closer look at the knot of trees where Dog is standing. You see a thin film coats some of the tree trunks. It’s the same type of black, oily substance you saw at the top of the path, the shadow-stuff that dripped to the ground, becoming holes. The ghost of Paolo Ruminoff came this way.
It’s strange, Dog tells you. The scent-markers end here.
You look around you. To your right, if you were to continue in the same direction, the tree line ends and the terrain rises up a steep slope. What’s on the other side of the slope is blocked from your view, with the exception of a small cottage that rests atop the hill.
Ahead of you, behind you, and of course, to your left--the way you came--is all trees. You can’t see more than twenty yards in either direction due to the denseness of the trees.
Navigating through the forest didn’t interest Dahlia any longer. If she had to she had to but if she didn’t...She was pleased to see clear ground. The sight of the cottage, though, was both welcoming and concerning. It suggested someone to interact with, someone that might be familiar with the forest and its mysteries. It may also harbor someone dangerous, someone who has chosen to live away from humanity in seclusion.
Come on, Boy. Let’s see what this cottage holds. Maybe you’ll get a snack.
She led the way up the hill toward the cottage. She’d walk around it first, getting a feel for its layout. She’d then approach the door and knock.
Post by vladtaltos on Oct 28, 2014 10:05:11 GMT -5
Dog marches in front of you, proudly leading the way up the hill toward the cottage. Plodding through tall grass, this is what you see when you come to the top of the rise:
It appears inhabited despite the wear that’s evident, and the hole in the left side of the roof. All the windows and the lone door are at the front of the house. There are no other windows or doors, or nothing of note at the sides or at the back of the house.
You step up to the porch and knock. No one answers.
Last Edit: Oct 28, 2014 10:33:29 GMT -5 by vladtaltos
There were worse crimes than breaking and entering Dahlia realized (she had committed several of them), but what prevented her from doing just that right away was the location of this odd little house. Within a strange forest where few people ventured, it had an ability about it to project phantasms, fantastic illusions in the mind of its wanderers. That’s what she’d experienced moments ago, a phantasm? Was this cottage the source of the magic, or was it the person or entity that lived within it?
She sided on caution and simply didn’t try the knob, but decided to check the entire front of the house, including the door, for traps.
10:04, Today: Black Dahlia rolled 8 using 3d6 with rolls of 2,5,1. Trap check (if needed)
If she found something, she would disarm it, and go inside. If she found someone in the house she’d explain that she was on the trail of a wanted murderer but wouldn’t go into specifics.
If she found the door locked, she’d attempt to pick the lock.
10:08, Today: Black Dahlia rolled 13 using 3d6 with rolls of 1,6,6. Locks check (if needed)
Post by vladtaltos on Oct 30, 2014 10:51:08 GMT -5
This small, strange house has aroused your curiosity, but it has also made you suspicious. Before entering it, you inspect the front of the house, including the door itself, but find no evidence of traps.
Its appearance of being inhabited is, perhaps, confirmed when you test the doorknob, and discover it’s locked. You find your reliable hook pick in the small case of lockpicks at your belt, and unlock the door after only a few seconds of manipulation. It is then you ease open the door.
The storm clouds that have hovered overhead for the last three days finally make good on their threat, and with a snap and a crack unloose a deluge. The rain comes down in sheets, thunder rolling through gray-black clouds in the sky.
You cross the threshold. To say the inside of the cabin is in disrepair would be kind. What little furniture there is---table and chairs, a settee against one wall, are either chipped, ripped, scarred, or old. There is trash everywhere---old clothes, papers, dirt, clumps of dust.
But perhaps the most chilling aspect of the main room are the hanging dolls. A cord tied around their necks with the other end attached to beams just below the ceiling, there are two dozen dolls hanging seven to ten feet above the floor. The dolls depict children, boys and girls.
Two dozen dolls hang seven to ten feet above the floor
Light diminishes in the cabin as storm clouds hover directly over the house. Nonetheless, you can see a hallway leading toward the back of the cabin, and off to one side a filthy kitchen area with a stove.
The likelihood of the fox wandering into this cabin is nil, Dahlia thought. But, it’s not the fox I’m after; it’s a spirit, the spirit of a child-killer. The spirit had possessed the fox, now it may have abandoned the animal and just be floating around. In any event, this looks like the type of place a ghost wouldn’t mind floating around.
It was for that reason Dahlia decided to investigate the place. Plus, she was curious. She was not an assassin that was of a single-minded purpose, diligently following the trail of her mark, fulfilling it, and then going on to the next job. No, she was curious about the world around her. And right now the cabin had drawn her interest.
First task, a thought projected to her companion: "Dog, I need you to remain on the porch and look for anyone--or anything--that approaches. If you see someone coming, bark. Bark loudly!"
Now, where to begin in the cabin? The peculiar, scary, macabre hanging dolls were the most dominant feature of the room. She’d leave them alone for now. She decided to pick and kick through the papers and clothes on the floor, maybe reading one or two of the pages before moving on to the kitchen and investigating the stove.
Having been given his marching orders, Dog turns and sits on the porch, gazing into a rainstorm, and down on the woods and the hill you just ascended. You turn your attention to the mess on the floor.
The papers are wadded into balls. You reach down, pick one up and unravel it, discovering an old and worn page torn from a personal journal. You can read the date in the upper left corner---five months ago. The script has slightly faded and is written in a messy scrawl. Only portions of the entry are legible.
...found another...nice, yes, very nice...better this way. Better for all...they speak to me, never stopping. Silence. I need the silence...
You move on to the kitchen area of the cabin. Soot and filth is encrusted into everything, and the stale smell of smoke lingers in the air. The stove consists of a roasting spit suspended above a single burner.
It may not be needed, but just in case, roll 3d6 with your next post.
Last Edit: Nov 1, 2014 10:06:13 GMT -5 by vladtaltos
Well, what had she stumbled on to? The diary of a madman? What was this place being used for? Before venturing deeper into the house, Dahlia decided to unravel a few more of the paper wads, and read them. She’d then walk down the hallway toward the back of the cabin.
11:07, Today: Black Dahlia rolled 12 using 3d6 with rolls of 5,6,1.
You pick up more paper wads, unravel, and read them. The messages are similar to what you’ve previously read, bizarre passages that speak of silencing voices, and acquiring others. The more you read, the more the passages take on a violent tone, then the violence becomes graphic.
It’s easy to reach a conclusion. The writer has recounted the abduction and murder of his victims, their deaths recounted in sickening detail. He’s further recounted his troubled thoughts at murdering innocents, and by the odd desire to write down his exploits. The page was then torn from the journal, wadded-up, and thrown to the floor, the writer hating and disgusted with himself.
The dolls that hang above, one represents each victim. All the victims were children.
You walk farther into the cabin, following the lone and short hallway to a back room. There, you find more dolls. Some hang from the ceiling, others are posed on the single bed or on the tabletop in the room.
Dog’s thoughts penetrate into your mind. Someone is near. Doesn’t come. Hasn’t seen me. The drinking water falling from above has stopped them. They wait. Should I warn them to stay away?
Outside, the deluge continues, obscuring your vision of the person(s) Dog sees. You study the tree line through the torrent and see him, the Man-in-Gray, almost invisible through the falling rain, and by his shifting, flowing cloak and veil. He sits astride his horse, and doesn’t move under the shelter of overhanging branches.
You spotted him for the first time yesterday, and knew he had been following you. You see something now you didn’t see then---a quiver of arrows at his back and a bow in a harness at his horse’s side.
A clap of thunder as sharp and surprising as a slap in the face splits the dark clouds above. When your attention returns to where the Man-in-Gray waited, he is gone.
Last Edit: Nov 5, 2014 10:06:47 GMT -5 by vladtaltos
She couldn’t spare too much time thinking about the man under the mask and cloak, but she had an idea who was behind his appearance here. The same person that informed Benedetto that she’d be coming for him was, most likely, behind the presence of the Man-in-Gray. One of her own. Someone associated with the Azzuri.
What bothered her was his ability to vanish in plain sight. What magicks or special abilities did he have? Would she be able to overcome them?
If he approaches the cabin, Dahlia thought to Dog, bark twice.
She returned to the room in the back of the cabin and began to search through it, looking for evidence that backed her new idea.
11:29, Today: Black Dahlia rolled 9 using 3d6 with rolls of 4,1,4. (In case a Search roll is needed).
You find nothing in the squalid room in the back until you slide the filthy mattress to one side of the frame. There, you find the journal. Pages have been ripped from the binding, countless past remembrances torn, wadded, and thrown to the floor in the front room, leaving over half of the book a shredded ruin.
Leafing to the most recent entries, you come to a passage written two days ago, recounting the abduction of a child from a tiny village three kilometers south of here. Unlike the passages preceding it, there has been no entry made recounting the child’s murder.
Flipping back to an entry made several weeks ago, you make out the following hastily scrawled passage:
The idiots of Florence have found their killer. So stupid. They told me it would be so. Yes, they told me. Have to shut them up now. Yes, they must shut up. SHUT UP!
The SNAP that goes off in your head is painful. You drop the journal, and clutch the sides of your head, but fortunately the pain leaves you instantly. You realize what has happened. Andreas’ potion from vial C has worn off, the hour has passed. You no longer have a mental connection with Dog.
Last Edit: Nov 6, 2014 11:31:00 GMT -5 by vladtaltos
Great, what a time for this to happen, she thought. The spell has worn off.
The good news was she’d given Dog the command to bark twice if he saw someone approaching the cabin. Even if the spell has worn off, he should still follow his last order, shouldn’t he?
Now, the pressing news was the evidence seemed to indicate the killer’s most recent victim was still alive, somewhere, but where? Dahlia took a moment to think. He wasn’t here, inside his home, so could it be he was with his victim now, carrying out another murder, or preparing to carry out that murder?
Dahlia had to find him fast, but where to look? And what of Paolo Ruminoff, the spirit she’d been contracted to destroy? Her conclusion: he’s survived death, of a sort, to clear his name, and has led her here to find and destroy the true child-killer of Florence.
Self-doubt crept in. No, I’m wrong. I must complete the contract, regardless. That’s what I was hired to do.
She returned to the journal, to look for any clues as to where these children are kept when they’re kidnapped. If she found nothing, she’d take Vial B, quaff half of it, and give the rest to Dog.