Erimeyoma steps between the child and whatever she is looking at, and turns to try and see what’s caused her fear. She loosens her daggers, taking one in her right hand and keeping the quarter staff raised, ready to ward of any blows, in her left. She sees a spectral image in the window, a ghostly apparition that appears both haunting and beautiful. It looks to be that of a man in one moment, and a woman in another. It shifts between the two, as though in a dream.
Ouriana slowly turns around, tilting her head to the side. “Well… That’s a thing that’s happening…” She slowly slides her Longbow back into her hands and nocks an arrow, narrowing her eyes and trying to gauge the danger they are all in, ready to grab the girl and run after firing a shot.
Both seeing the shifting spectral shape and standing firm, taking up their weapons and an aggressive stance, Erimeyoma and Ouriana glance quickly at each other as they shift their weight in readiness.
The ghostly form moves through the wall and window into the air, hovering inches above the ground, reaching its hand out and getting closer ever so slowly.
After a few seconds that feel like an hour, the thing stretches forward in a lunge, screeches an unearthly sound like nails on a chalkboard and charges the two warriors and the girl, dissipating into harmless smoke as it hits.
The smoke clears quickly, and as the seconds roll on it becomes clear that the main danger has passed… for now.
The girl faints and collapses to the ground. Eri and Ouri pick up the girl and carry her to the tavern to get help and find her family. The tavern is silent, the fire nothing but low embers casting the room in an eerie orange/blue glow.
A dozen people crowd together at the bar, cautiously holding their breath and listening out for signs the danger has passed. The door swings open and clatters against buckets and rods behind it. Erimeyoma strides in, carrying the unconscious girl. The crowd gasps and whispers, and then a single man steps forward. He stands tall with a broad chest and a heavy-looking beard. His hair is dark and thick, while his clothes show signs of wear and repair.
“Is… did they get her, too?”
“Did who get who?” Eri asks him, “And where are this child’s parents?” As Eri asks her questions, Ouriana casts her eyes over the man who spoke, before looking around the room. She’s taking in the faces, and the interior, trying to gather anything she can from the room and sees Humans, Halflings and a Half-Orc among the patrons, all looking terrified.
The burly man answers Eri. “The spirits… the damned! Strangers, evil plagues this village. A curse is laid upon us and terror stalks our roads. You would do well to leave this place if you can.”
When prompted again, the man will stare at the girl for a bit. “I do not know this child. She is a stranger to me.” It becomes clear that everyone in the village knows everyone else, and they likely know the others from the nearby villages given the small populations.
“Is there a chance her parents could be passing through? Has anyone seen her before at all?” Eri asks, disappointed that this girl isn’t elliciting the overwhelming support she thought she would.
“No. We rarely get travellers here overland, and the last ship that docked was months ago. She must be from elsewhere… Or she’s part of the curse…” The rest of the room gasps again and reels back, shrinking into the darkness behind the bar. The man turns and holds out a hand to stop them. “It is merely a possibility. We should take care of this child until we know more!”
“She seemed as afraid as you all are now. Maybe she can help resolve this issue with spirits.”
“How can a dead girl help us? Let’s burn her body and hope the curse leaves with her ashes!” A drunken patron shouts up, with the breaded man who’s been speaking up to this point raising apologetic eyebrows. His broad size and bearing, however, tell you that he’s not going to let the other patrons act on their fears.
“A dead girl might be a little hard to talk to, but as far as I can tell this one is just passed out from fright. Maybe you should hold off before holding her funeral … you were planning to give the poor child a funeral, weren’t you?” Eri asks, trying to shame the speaker.
Ouriana steps forward, her Bow once again across her back and a dagger in her hand. She tosses it casually, from one hand to the other. “Perhaps we just need to be calm.” She states clearly, bringing the room to a comfortable hush. It seems she’s confident in dealing with these sorts of alienating situations. “We have some questions about the evil that seems to be plaguing you. Tell me about this curse you speak of” She leans against a table while waiting for the response, for which the burly speaker takes responsibility.
“I am Arth, Harrison. My vocal friend at the back is Ed.” He says this while clearing a small rectangular table that is just big enough to place the girl upon. He gestures for Erimeyoma to put her down. “We are simple folk, here. We fish, for the most part. Little else to do. Our lives are without complication. When the natural world fails to be explained, we find it hard to operate clearly.” He helps in looking the girl over, and waves to someone at the bar to fetch him some water.
“As for the curse that currently afflicts us, we know only that it’s been a few months that things have been going strange. It started as noises at night, and then things started going missing. We thought it was one of those damned Cursed Children from Somergleam Hold at first. Then… then we began hearing stories of things being seen in the night. Spirits, often in the shape of loved ones. And the screams…” He trails off, lost in thought.
Ouriana placed her hand gently on his arm “Somergleam Hold?”
“Yes… Somergleam Hold is the large town to the north. We do most of our trade there, and by the grace of our Queen we are protected. You truly are strangers to this place.” Ouriana is convinced he’s earnestly trying to help, but he has limits on how much he’s willing to do. He also seems out of place for the area, but the sort to stay put.
Erimeyoma opens her small wooden box and pulls out the hinged sections. Quickly pulling spices and herbs from various stoppered bottles, bundles of cloth and glass tinctures, she finds the right combination of substances that, when passed under the nose of the girl, wake her up immediately. From what she can tell, Eri sees no lasting effect of her fall.
She helps the girl sit up. “What’s your name, child? Where is your family?”
The girl looks at the reptilian eyes of Erimeyoma, and the demonic horns of Ouriana, and seems oddly calm about the situation.
“Tel. My name is Tel. Bettel Primrose.” She looks around the room, her eyes adjusting to the dim light of the embers. “My family is… far away.”
“See? She’s part of all this! We should send her on her way!” Shouts another patron. The room seems to be turning. Arth shoots Eri and Ouri a look.
“Perhaps we should retire to less public surrounds. I have a cabin at the far end of the beach.”
“Do you think you can walk, Tel?” Erimeyoma helps the girl to her feet as she nods. Ouriana slides her second dagger out and flashes her sharp teeth at the room before nodding to Arth. “Let’s.”
Arth leads the way and takes everyone across the beach a ways. After fifteen minutes of walking in the freezing evening air, a turn around to the other side of some rocks reveals the cabin. A simple structure, with no lock on the door and only two rooms. Inside, the wind seeps through various small holes and gaps, but is greatly reduced.
Lighting a lamp that hangs from the ceiling, Arth grabs a half dozen blankets from a small cupboard. Placing them in the middle of the floor, he then rearranges the five stools that were set against one wall and places four of them in a circle around the blankets.
Arth then goes to the other room, from which the sounds of clattering can be heard, and then he emerges with a small cloth bundle, about the size of large pumpkin or melon. Sitting upon a stool with a slight curl in the corner of his mouth, he places the bundle on the floor and opens it up, revealing sweet cakes, glazed buns and fruit-filled breads. Taking one up, he motions to the group with it before taking a hearty bite. “Dig in. I don’t have a hearth, and it’s too windy to build a fire outside. I buy these from some Gnome merchants whenever they visit Bersault-on-the-Hill… They’re the best in the land. Try one!”
He’s obviously trying hard to make Tel more comfortable, but she simply takes a blanket and wraps it around herself.
Ouriana continues to stand, looking around the room. Eri sits next to Tel. “How did you end up here?”
Tel stares at a glazed bun for a moment before snatching it and returning to her stool as though she never moved. Munching hungrily into it, her face scrunches up as though she’s not used to such sweetness, but she powers through it. She manages to answer between chews, her voice growing steady as she bundles up in the blankets. “I came with the travellers. They brought me here last night, but they turned mean.” Her eyes flick up to the lantern light, and she shifts her stool slightly as if to get closer to it.
Arth grabs the lantern and brings it down, placing it in front of Tel. He then sits back down and looks thoughtfully at Ouriana and Erimeyoma. “You’re travellers, aren’t you?” As he sees faces turn, he throws out a rebuttal of sorts. “I don’t mean to accuse… I simply say that Tel came here with travellers, and you are travellers yourselves. Did you arrive with a party? Or did you follow a group here?”
What do you do?
Erimeyoma +15XP (85 Total XP)
Ouriana +15XP (95 Total XP)