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Back Alive or Maybe Dead [Quest]

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  • ... I don't think I've gone outside the usual given options yet. Time to change that, maybe even add something more than just trains.

    We shouldn't reveal the Ranger to the others, not yet... except to Lans. Get him away from the others, and then tell him. Then, ask him:

    "So now that I've told ya that, there's sumin' I've been wanting to ask you... were you the original White Plains Ranger?"


    Mouse monk riding a tiny pig avatar courtesy of the very talented forumite Jen!

    Jen's original portrayal of Mouse Monk, featuring some human or other named Tybalt Farwander.

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    • This is the time to earn the posse's trust. I vote yes.

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      • OOC commentary

        No: 2
        Yes: 1
        Only tell Lans: 1

        Is that all?


        On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

        Avatar by K.S. Brenowitz

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        • I'll change my vote to only tell Lars. Give Ash someone to talk to about the Ranger.

          (unless it is already too late.)


          I write things.

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          • Originally posted by Prometheus878 View Post
            ... I don't think I've gone outside the usual given options yet. Time to change that, maybe even add something more than just trains.

            We shouldn't reveal the Ranger to the others, not yet... except to Lans. Get him away from the others, and then tell him. Then, ask him:

            "So now that I've told ya that, there's sumin' I've been wanting to ask you... were you the original White Plains Ranger?"
            I love this response more than words, so I'll vote for it. And uh, I have no appropriate gif to represent that.


            I post Artifacts in this thread. How I make them is in this thread.
            I have made many tools and other things for 3rd Edition. I now host all of my creations on my Google site: The Vault of the Unsung Hero

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            • Ash sucked air through her teeth while she thought. She knew she'd have to tell them all someday. But old habits died hard, and she didn't feel ready. The time wasn't right, she told herself.

              But she should tell one person - Damon Lans. She had a hunch about him, and if she was right then getting the most out of him would require spilling the beans sooner rather than later. And so she waited for a time when she could talk with him alone.

              Later that day, Lans came back with a piebald mare, a bulky rucksack, and a saber belted to his waist. The others had already packed and made ready to leave. Their animals were rested and their packs partially resupplied. They had agreed earlier not to stay the night in Outpost, choosing speed and distance over the luxury of sleeping under a roof. Lans stepped into the Lonesome Drove one more time to exchange a few words with Mevis and hug her goodbye. And then they set off.

              Soon they were truly in the Wastes proper - a land of dust, rocks, and heat mirages. They traveled very slowly, and Ash doubled everyone's water rations. Heatstroke was their biggest enemy in this place. Ash led the way, although she continued to be cagey about just where they were going. She only insisted that everyone keep a lookout for a particular landmark - an almost perfectly square mesa standing tall somewhere to the northeast.

              When dusk fell, the temperature started to drop fast. The sweltering heat gave way to a surprisingly deep chill. And so the posse made camp, making a tiny fire from what little plantlife they could scrounge up, then huddling around it in their coats and blankets. Bo made a stew from some of their rations and water, which Ash reckoned was as good as anything she'd ever eaten on the trail.

              After they'd finished eating and gotten ready to rest, Ash finally took Damon aside for a private chat. They walked together up a rocky hill and stood on a little ledge at its peak, looking up at the moon.

              "There's somethin' I've been wantin' to ask you... were you the original White Plains Ranger?" Ash asked, out of the blue.

              Lans glanced at Ash, then back up at the moon. "The White Plains Ranger... now that's a name I haven't heard in... oh, must be fourscore years now."

              "Does that mean 'yes?'"

              "If you mean to ask, 'did I occasionally change my clothes, wear a mask, and get into scraps with bandits while in disguise,' then yes, I was the White Plains Ranger." Lans slowly sprouted a nostalgic smile. But then, after a brief pause, the smile faded. "...I stopped wearing that mantle once the Marshal system became an institution. I found that showing my face better suited my purposes when I had real authority to lead." His expression soured further. "But you just now referred to me as the 'first' Ranger. Do I correctly assume that you are, or know of, one of my latter day imitators?"

              Ash frowned. This wasn't going as she had hoped. "I have... I am dragonblooded," she began, then stopped. She wasn't quite sure how to express what the Ranger meant to her.

              Lans looked at her while she continued to look at the moon. "Yes? I might have guessed as much, if I'm to believe any of your stories are true. But why would you not announce... ah." He looked back in the direction of the campfire and the people gathered around it. "...The others don't know. Why haven't you told them?"

              "It's... hard to explain," said Ash, then paused.

              Lans chose to fill the silence. "I wore a mask for tactical advantage of being unknown... and that worked, to an extent. But I never pretended to be someone else to my trusted companions."

              "To me, it's like bein' another person," said Ash, finally. "When my blood runs hot, and I see the fire, it's like I'm somewhere else, watchin' somethin' uncanny steer me." She shook her head. "I become the Ranger to get the drop on people, but it's more than that. She helps me... she helps me concentrate, make sense of what I'm doin'."

              Lans didn't answer for some time. "You were not raised on the Isle?"

              "No."

              "Were you born on the frontier?"

              "Yes."

              "Did you know your family?"

              "Yes... but I don't want to talk about them."

              "...when did your blood quicken?"

              Ash's face pinched. This really wasn't going as she had hoped. "I was thirteen. There was..." She took in a deep breath. "Listen. I didn't bring you up here to talk about that. I just wanted you to know that, sometimes, I may need to change costumes and go off on my own for a while. I'm tellin' you because I think you know how important it is to make sure as few people as possible know who, or what, is under the mask. Alright?"

              Again, Lans took a long pause before answering. "...alright. I suppose I should be flattered that you told me at all, though I still don't understand why you can't tell the rest."

              "Miss Bo knows... that couldn't be helped..."

              "And the youngster? Or the campaigner who's most likely not a Tepet?"

              "...Not yet."

              "As you like." Lans looked back up at the moon. "Well, this adventure is off to a promising start," he said to the air. "Our band consists of a girl who doesn't appreciate limits, a lying mercenary, and a single camp follower. We're led by a compulsive secret-keeper, heading the wrong way to fight a singular anathema."

              "Don't forget the one-armed old man," Ash quipped. "Havin' second thoughts?"

              "...No," said Lans, finally. "I couldn't say why, but I have a good feeling about this group. Our odds of glory are slightly higher than our odds of death, or so it seems to me."

              ***

              There were no real roads in the Wastes, but there were known trails to certain people. The trail Ash chose for the group led...
              • ...through a series of canyons, as shaded as anywhere in the Wastes.
              • ...over a rocky plain beneath a hot sun, difficult for the equines but easy for King.
              • ...into the high hills, where the air was even dryer and the view was clear.
              • ...something else?
              OOC commentary
              It never occurred to me that the "White Plains Ranger" could be an inherited role. But I suppose that's what the "Something Else?" option is for.

              So then, house Damon -

              House Damon is what is known as a "foundling" house - a house founded by a Lost Egg. Most Lost Eggs join one of the existing houses on the Blessed Isle, either through marriage or by becoming a retainer, if they do not live a celibate as an Immaculate or die fighting for the Legions. But a rare few manage to start successful families on their own with hard-won fortunes. These may gain recognition as minor houses by the Imperial Court, although their ability to hold that status is tenuous in the face of a political and social system designed to keep power in the hands of the Great Houses at the expense of all others.

              House Damon was founded by Damon Lans' late grandfather, Damon Mors. Mors bought his way into high society several centuries before with copious amount of war-plunder, but none of his children exalted. Of his grandchildren, only Lans was Chosen. Faced with a choice between marriage into another house, lifelong military service, or a religious calling - all choices that would have likely meant the end of House Damon - Lans decided to go south and try to repeat his grandfather's feat of winning fortune and glory abroad. Lans' escapades in the frontier were intended in part to help his family maintain relevance on the Isle, but even a hero cannot defeat the forces of time and socioeconomics. In Lans' middle years, Mors died and house Damon collapsed without him. Now Lans is the last of his line, having outlived all his immediate family.
              Last edited by semicasual; 12-02-2016, 12:26 PM.


              On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

              Avatar by K.S. Brenowitz

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              • Into the High hills. If we are going to be miserable, might as well have something awe inspiring to look at.



                I write things.

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                • Yay! I'm contributing!

                  Hm. The canyons are a prime spot for an ambush. The rocky plains will slow the party down in serious heat... sounds like our best bet is the High Hills. More visibility.


                  Mouse monk riding a tiny pig avatar courtesy of the very talented forumite Jen!

                  Jen's original portrayal of Mouse Monk, featuring some human or other named Tybalt Farwander.

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                  • It's time for a little action in this story. And nothing says action like a good ambush. And nothing says a good ambush like a


                    I post Artifacts in this thread. How I make them is in this thread.
                    I have made many tools and other things for 3rd Edition. I now host all of my creations on my Google site: The Vault of the Unsung Hero

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                    • The path led through a series of canyons. Though the winding river trails lent themselves to the possibility of ambush from the hostile denizens of those parts the shade and water were welcome to Ash's band.

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                      • OOC Commentary
                        I see an even split between Hills and Canyons. Any other takers? Feel free to drop more lovely landscape photography, either way.


                        On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

                        Avatar by K.S. Brenowitz

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                        • ...through a series of canyons, as shaded as anywhere in the Wastes.


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                          • Originally posted by Ferryman View Post
                            ...through a series of canyons, as shaded as anywhere in the Wastes.
                            Ferryman wants to see the team react to an ambush! Well, so do I too. What a great way to start a training montage......

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                            • Ferryman grew up in the actual desert, and knows the value of water and shade.

                              Ferryman does also like a good ambush.


                              Share your wonders in The Artifact and Evocation Workshop

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                              • The trail Ash chose for the group led through a series of canyons, as shaded as anywhere in the Wastes. Picture a narrow passage, flanked by two high cliffs. There was just enough space for two riders to go side-by-side, although King didn't much like other animals in his space. Just after noon there was enough light to see by at the bottom, but the sun's heat didn't quite reach that far. At some point, a river probably ran through there - the path was windy, but the relative cool made it easier to ride for long stretches. On the rare occasions when it rained, floods and mudflows could make those passages impassably dangerous. But at the time Ash and company went through, it was dry as a bone. Ash figured that meant the trail was safe. She should've been alert to other kinds of trouble.

                                Ash led the way, naturally, with Lans, Serge, Seres, and Bo in train behind them. Each of them was focused on the path in front of them, so they didn't look up.

                                Ash felt a premonition an instant before they all heard shrill shrieking from the cliffs above. She looked up, and saw a dozen or so figures looking down. They wore dirty, brown, sleeveless, hooded tunics and loose, wide trousers. Any exposed skin was covered in tattoos or warpaint. All of them were armed with spears and slings. Dunefolk.

                                Time seemed to slow. Everyone started reacting at once.

                                The Dunefolk raised their spears and spun up their slings, ready to rain down death.

                                Lans whipped out his saber and squeezed his horse very tightly with his legs. The mare turned slightly and started to trot.

                                Serge leaned forward and wrapped his arms around his nag's neck. His skin was turning grey and rough.

                                Seres rolled off her pony and began running for the wall.

                                Bo looked up and around every which way, practically frozen. Her mule started to bray.

                                Ash...
                                • ...started hollering in the Dunefolk's language. "{STAY! WE ARE FRIENDS!}"
                                • ...snapped King's reins and turned the lizard towards the cliff face. The rough stone was easily climbable for a sand-dragon.
                                • ...pulled her matchlock firewand from where it hung in her saddle. She grabbed some dust, loaded a charge, and wrestled with the slow-match.
                                • Something else?
                                OOC commentary
                                Hey, you wanted an ambush...

                                By the way, what do you all think of "wandman" as an exalted quivalent to gunman? Hired 'wand? Wandslinger?
                                Last edited by semicasual; 12-02-2016, 12:33 PM.


                                On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

                                Avatar by K.S. Brenowitz

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