The Mistmarches

Among the Trees

Perhaps new friends? Friends with interesting habits?

Session Summary
The team made a daring escape, not without sustaining some scrapes and worse injuries, from 20+ Beast Men who came upon them as they were leaving the ceremonial area. Sh’Rylye was just as eager to escape, and led them northward, through dense, treacherous jungle and to a swift, deep river. Crossing the river seemed to reduce the threat of pursuit, and within a few hours of moving at a good pace through increasingly more open jungle, they reached the massive trees they’d though were mountains, and found a town built up and within the gargantuan roots, many feet above the ground.

Making some headway to bridge the language gap, the team was invited to a celebratory dinner in which they were thanked and honored for bringing back the girl, whose station was still unknown at this point. The ritual consumption of a well-prepared Beast Man was a shock to the Scouts, although all but Ti’ un Ril opted to eat at least some of the meat, served alongside a bounty of other exotic foods.

Given a secluded, open-air platform on which to sleep, the team decided to trust their hosts and relax as best they could.


Moving Forward
All four Scouts wake around the same time, in dim light and to the sounds of what perhaps passes for a normal morning in this new place: conversations echo off the massive trees trunks; there is the sound of tool use here and there; and there is even some singing heard – both from men and women, it seems.

The sleep was good, and in fact was the best that any of them had experienced in weeks. Even back at the garrison sleep could be hard to come by, given the communal bunking and duty rosters. This morning greeted the men with the scents of spiced cooking and a ever-present, albeit faint smell of cooking fires, which could be seen dotting the darkness out in all directions, giving the impression of stars at night poking through clouds, although the texture provided to the field of view was from the smooth tree trunks and exposed roots, rather than formations in the sky.

The platform on which they’d slept, constructed of a few layers of woven rope, was about 50 feet off the ground, and partially overlapped a similar, although empty aside from some sacks and rolls of cloth, platform about 20 feet below. Their platform had only one path that led back to any others, with the other four supports being just large ropes connecting, at various lengths, to trees around them.

Upon closer inspection, the rope appeared to be made of many fine fibers, almost hair-thin, and ranging from light browns to black, with the color variation only clarifying as the light level increased. Sunlight was evident, probably 100 or so yards to the south, in the form of a glow near the ground and a few broken views of what was either outside the trees or near to it – the jumble of so many trunks and roots of trees prevented a direct view. But from their elevated vantage point the team could make out many more platforms, small wooden buildings, and other evidence of habitation, giving the sense that this town could be even bigger than they’d initially thought.

Not long after waking, the team is approached by a pair of locals – a man and a woman – who greet them in a manner similar to others they saw the day before, and indicate that they are to follow them. The mood is courteous, not rushed, and yet formal.

What do you do?


For Reference
I bet that opening within the trunk, through which you can see, is about 2 or 3 feet high. Imagine if you were no larger than a game mini, and that the scale represented the lowest trees. That’s generally the look.
080518-root-formation.jpg

Comments

Sarick awakes refreshed and takes his gear out of the room to find some place he can clean his gear, bathe and do his morning practice rituals.

Among the Trees
 

The two locals show up early – as if they’d been watching and waiting for the four of you to wake, and then they showed up. Remember, too: it’s not a room. It’s open-air. You’ve no been inside any of the structures you’ve seen. If Sarick wants to warm up some there’s space on the platform itself, as it’s pretty big.

There are jugs of water and some food on the platform, which look to have been left there before you gents woke. And there’s water enough for both cleaning up a little and drinking.

Among the Trees
 

After cleaning up, picking the gore from his hammer and mail, Ti’Un pours the used water down a groove in the nearest tree… and then decides to relieve himself by adding a chaser of yellow to the water drainage groove.

During this process, he noticed the two locals and sighed. Again, he let out the remainder of his Dunsward length, careful not to let it dangle too close to the tree. Tu’Un recalled the exotic animal brought through his village when he was a child. How that giant cat must have hated the gawking.
Retying the leather cords of his armor, he hoisted his massive hammer and tossed it in the air in a flourish of youthful bravado. The head landed over his shoulder and he acted as if that was how he always did something so mundane.

Along with the others, he followed their guide with his habitual wariness.

[Counting the guards, noting choke-points, looking for details about armor and weapons, searching for patterns in guard movements and attempting to discern their foreign martial ranking system is his typical M.O.]

Among the Trees
 

The escorts are armed only with long daggers, worn on their belts. Their armor consists of what looks like a leather cuirass-like piece, sandals, and a dense cloth kilt. As for the area around them, and those places that can be seen from the high platform, there do not seem to be formal guards, detailed to watch this or that, nor walk patrols. Many people are armed with small hand weapons, and a few carry what look like slings. No bows of any sort are evident.

There are many places that could serve as choke points, given the connections between trees and rope platforms. Enclosed structures are here and there, mostly tucked within the folds of the larger roots, and together with the open-air platforms create a multi-level criss-cross of areas small and large. The daring might think to jump down a level, or swing on or climb up or down vertical ropes here and there. The only stairs are attached directly to the larger trees, and those would be obvious places where oncoming threats could be channeled, or the team could get itself trapped.

Everyone is aware of your party. You stand out – your skin, your height, your dress and equipment, and your bearing all mark you as outsiders.

The four of you are led down a level and around a few trunks – something akin to walking down the street and around a few corners, probably – until you reach a wooden structure that looks much like a facade built between two large trees that lean toward one another. The structure looks like combination of a gatehouse, a palisade, and, if some of the more ornate decorations are any indication, perhaps a place of ceremonial value.

You are brought to an open platform, formed of rope and tightly-woven reeds, while just in front of the facade stands the older man from last night and several other men and women, all of whom look older. They are wearing colorful robes and are flanked by four – two on each side – actual guards, armed with long, bronze-tipped spears.

One man and one woman step forward and speak.

Among the Trees
 

“We recognize and thank you for bringing our sister back to us,” the man begins, in accented Common, although his mouth does not move in sync with the words and there is an almost imperceptible delay from when his mouth moves and his speech is audible.

“You cannot understand our ways, and yet we appreciate your attempts at civility,” the woman continues.

“We wish to know where you come from, what brought you here, what you know of the world beyond the cliffs, and how your kind control the powers, as we do,” the man picks up a breath after she finishes.

“And tell us, too, your names, what your people are called, and your stories. We wish to know,” the woman adds.

They appear earnest, and betray no emotions. They’re calm, serious, and waiting for your responses. The crowd, made up mostly of those who attended the banquet the night before, with some extras, looks on in anticipation.

Among the Trees
 

Korrigan does not feel like he’s the spokesman for the group, especially since the old man has acted as translator/spokesman for us so far. So, he’s is happy, waving and smiling to the locals. He’s interested in everything, decorations, fashions, etc. As we were led to the meeting place, during one of the turns he headed toward one of the interiors, as if he didn’t see the everyone else make the turn. Just to get a quick look.

Among the Trees
 

Korrigan is able to make it to the doorway of one of the structures before the friendly escorts notice his absence. What he sees is a small hut, basically, built on a platform like the others, and with a Dutch door, the bottom closed, giving him a good view of the interior.

It looks like it’s probably someone’s home, with some blankets rolled up here and there and some other domestic-looking items like bowls here and there. One boy is inside, sitting next to a colored glass (think Mexican bubbly glass) bowl, about 2 feet across and a little over a foot high. He’s feeding a mouse to a bright green snake inside the bowl and is surprised to see you.

Just as you see this, one of the guides claps his hands three times behind you, says something in their gibberish, and taps his own shoulders, which seems to be a gesture that is a request to follow. He has a slight smile, but looks wary, too, like you’re not supposed to be there.

Among the Trees
 

I still play nice and go along as if, “My mistake, sorry.” I share the info quietly when the opportunity presents itself.

Among the Trees
 

Korrigan is able to communicate that information to the others before you all arrive at the scene described a few comments above, where we’ll begin tonight’s session.

Among the Trees
 

Ti’ Un will play nice with the foreigners, but he is always at the ready – attempting to appear at ease, almost nonchalant, but underneath he does not trust anyone who eats other people.

Once, along the walk he slowed as they approached the palisade while scrutinizing it for exits, strengths, weaknesses, etc. When the thin guide tapped him gently on the arm, reflexes kicked in and he grabbed the man’s hand in his huge paw, but had to stop himself before he crushed the startled servant’s hand.

Grunting an apology, he walked briskly back the group leaving the man rubbing his hand and looking quite distracted.

Did the palisade look sturdy? What could Ti’Un glean from a warrior’s perspective?

Among the Trees
Lyle

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