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 Episode Three: The Bleeding Forest or 40 Ways to Defy Nature and Ruin Lives - Gaiden A; Story

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PostSubject: Episode Three: The Bleeding Forest or 40 Ways to Defy Nature and Ruin Lives - Gaiden A; Story   Sat May 30, 2015 3:01 am

The Short Version: What are these Idiots Doing?
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PostSubject: Re: Episode Three: The Bleeding Forest or 40 Ways to Defy Nature and Ruin Lives - Gaiden A; Story   Sat May 30, 2015 3:03 am

Episode Three: The Bleeding Forest or 40 Ways to Defy Nature and Ruin Lives

Not all adventures are fruitful. Not all adventurers are heroes. Not all stories have a happy ending. This is one such tale of all of those things. It begins in the forest in the west of Aaralynn. Five selfish beings convened in the town of Sabel; Roadhouse, Teyren, Nikolai, Karl, & Kara, or so they all called themselves.

After causing a sizable ruckus among the elven townspeople, the five of them had all reached the bar in the center of town. Upon the bartender walking into the back room, a very strange grey cloaked man exited the room followed by a disturbing slender black creature with no discernible facial features, wearing a formal suit. The grey cloak held a symbol of a snake wrapped around a stick, with its head protruding through a ring. He declared upon all of them that they were now in his service, as he waved a tentacle appendage summoning a strange mark onto the hands of the five of them. He instructed them to locate six different statues located within the forest; a teal bear, a crystal hawk, a golden crocodile, a ruby viper, a silver penguin, and an onyx guinea pig.

He left them to their own devices instructing them to hurry in their pursuit of the items. The group was in no mood to co-operate with each other, and their quick fighting led them to find out attempting to injure each other would only lead to hurting the attacker, and that separating was not an option, due to the symbol apparently. Begrudgingly, the group of five started out towards the nearest town to the north. During the travel there they group was assailed by a swarm of stirges that cripplingly weakened Karl into near death. Along their travels they saw a flock of both ravens and doves flying above. Arriving in the elven town of Fia they were met Davis Yuvolle, the head guard of the town, who informed the group that the town was about to celebrate the coming of fall with a feast later in the day they arrived. Nikolai set up shop selling his wares, while Kara sought out a new target to drain. Teyren got right to work attempting to skulk around trying to find out more about any kind of statue which fit the description they were sent for. Karl ran into bad luck as he attempted to feed on one of the doves sitting in the large tree central of the town. As he strangled the bird, he was struck in the back by a poisonous shuriken that sapped his strength. Nikolai witnessed him fall from the tree and also a small shadow tumbled out from the tree as well and scurried away from sight.

Nikolai inspected Karl to find him incapable of moving. Hearing opportunity knock is what Nikolai does best, thusly he gave his bat-like traveling companion some “Herbal aid” that put the humanoid bat into a stupor but allowed him to walk of his own accord. All the while Roadhouse was acquainting himself with the leader of the town Sarah, and her bear companion. As Sarah excused herself to prepare for the feast later, Roadhouse conversed with her bear companion, learning from him that Sarah and Davis are romantically involved with each other, and that Sarah has a small bear statue in her belongings in the town’s hall. With this information Roadhouse informed Teyren of the statue and asked him to procure it during the feast. As Nikolai drew a bit of suspicion from the other vendors in the town, Karl began causing trouble in the town in his dazed stupor, eventually coming down from the effects of the “Herbal Aid” given to him by Nikolai.

Davis dragged him out into the main square as Kara was finishing her business with her target and exiting the target’s home. She dragged him back over to Nikolai’s stall as Teyren was forming his plan; he intended to distract the guard and town leader with a false fire in the school house. Kara followed along after he had started his distraction, but her presence tipped off Davis to their position behind the town hall, before Sarah noticed the “fire” in the schoolhouse. With the two of them dealing with the rest of the group’s shenanigans, Roadhouse took the opportunity to transform into his bear form to aid Kara whom was having significant trouble fending off Davis.

Karl “restored” to mobile ability, once again by Nikolai’s “Herbal Aid” robbed houses while the panic was erupting in the town. Sarah quickly diffused the situation in the school house, lapping quickly at the back of Teyren’s heels. Davis fled to safety after being heavily wounded by Roadhouse, whom had made his escape to change forms again in the woods to his common humanoid self. Kara had caught up with Teyren after he had escaped Sarah’s onslaught. Eventually the two crooks inside the town hall located the Teal Bear statue, as Sarah began to burn down the building to smoke them out. An attempted magical distraction yielded no result, and Teyren fled by flight while Kara attempted to jump out the second story window with a pilfered chest of unknown contents. Her attempt failed and she landed squarely in front of both the head guard and town leader. Roadhouse saw his opportunity to leave in “tracking down” Teyren, and joined with the rest of the group minus Kara at Nikolai’s cart. The contents of the chest Kara had taken had spilled out however in her jump attempt and a piece of art by Davis to Sarah had distracted them long enough for Kara to escape with the rest of the group unscathed.

Their travel continued through the Marsha Forest. That night, wanting to relieve some of the stress in her mind asked Nikolai for some herbal aid. Ready and willing to have another customer at his disposal, Nikolai administered to her a drink that promptly knocked her unconscious. This proved more harmful than helpful as during the night the group was set upon by cockatrices, which petrified both Karl and Kara in their sleep. Roadhouse dispatched the cockatrices after being awakened by Teyren after their two traveling companions had become stone. Moving on through the following day, a trio of thuggish bugbears attempted to impede the path of the traveling malcontents. Nikolai was quick to distract them with drugged tea as Teyren feigned counting out money for their “toll”. The drugs quickly took hold, slaying one of the bugbears while leaving the other two in a stupor. Their stupor yielded to Nikolai the wealth lining their pockets.

The three of them arrived at the fringe of the city of Adelle by the start of the night. They investigated a nearby bar to find a beautiful woman playing music as the night’s entertainment. Nikolai remained outside, only to encounter the pair of bugbears the group had left in the thicker parts of the woods. The pair of them came not in anger but fervor for continued access to Nikolai’s “tea”. Seeing as they had nothing left to pay him with, but refused to leave, he fed them over a lethal dosage of his drugs, ending the thugs’ lives then and there. Teyren remained hidden within the confines of the cart until later in the night when he agreed he would watch after the cart proper. Roadhouse helped himself to the hospitality of the bar, introducing himself to a nervous man called Vince. Roadhouse sat and drank with Vince attempting to calm his nerves with a drink. After her performance, the woman introduced herself to Roadhouse and promised to see Vince home that night.

That night would indeed change the status quo of the group as it was, or rather begin the change. During the night Teyren was visited by a curious child with a blue glow to his eyes. The child revealed himself to be their “employer” possessing the body of the child to berate and hurry the moth-man before leaving the unwitting boy at the mercy of the distraught insectile being. That did not bode well for the kid. Teyren quickly took out his rage at the robed tentacle man on the then fleeing boy, shooting him in the back with a crossbow, then attempting to construe a scene behind the nearby musical instrument shop using the corpses of the bugbears from prior. Only after he’d finished attempting to make the scene its best, did he realize he was covered in evidence of his own crime. He quickly awoke the other two still flesh travelers only to hear their collective disappointment. The pair fell back asleep as Teyren attempted to wash his hands quite literally of the boy’s death. While distracted with doing so, Kara’s statue was stolen out from under the group and Karl’s knocked to the ground.

The next day Nikolai escorted himself to the shop of a man named Bobert, whom sold the potion needed to cure Karl proper. Upon arriving he found Bobert was charging exorbitantly for said potions, capitalizing on his wife’s magical abilities and people’s need for ridding themselves of the affliction of the cockatrices plaguing the forest. He left the store unwilling to pay his own funds to the greedy man. In the morning, two officers from the local branch of The Internal Force of Criminal Subjugation arrived at the scene of the murder intent to reason out what had happened to the small boy known as Johnny. Roadhouse fled the scene after inciting the ire of one of the officers, and eluded his pursuit by transforming into his bear form in the nude and acting inconspicuous. The senior officer began to speak to Nikolai, who was in no mood to talk, about the incident but complied to smooth along the process. In talking to him, Nikolai learned that a Lizardfolk city to the north with a bustling gambling scene named Carmen was the probable place that Kara’s statue was taken to.

Teyren attempted to conceal himself inside the nearby bar, where the woman had sang the previous night, however the senior officer eventually happened upon him, and the moth-man’s appearance did not lend well to his story that was crumbling under the interrogative assault of the officer. Teyren found it almost impossible to escape the bar, but intervention from the hooded betentacled man allowed his evasion of the confused senior officer whom ran in search of the insectile being in vain. Teyren then hid inside of Nikolai’s cart for a majority of the remaining day. Around Noon the woman from the night before returned to the bar to retrieve her left behind guitar pick. She revealed her name to be Astrid Colbana, and offered Nikolai to buy the needed amenities for the group in exchange for them coming to her show that night. Nikolai agreed, and she purchased the potions for him. He utilized one to revive Karl from his petrification.

Roadhouse came out from his hiding to begin shopping around the nearby area, both for clothes to suit his larger form and smaller form proper, and found a pair of pets; a small slightly venomous snake and a tiny dog with a lot of bravery. Roadhouse however found no clues as to the next statue they sought. Karl still in a slightly drugged state from Nikolai’s amenities began to cause trouble around the shopping district at the edge of the city and quickly found himself underfoot of one of the enforcers of The IFCS. He eventually began snooping through Nikolai’s belongings looking for something which would soothe his problems, much to Nikolai’s rage. A short scuffle between the two broke out igniting the ire of the cloaked betentacled being, whom appeared in order to stifle Karl’s idiocy by quite literally zipping his mouth shut and inform Nikolai of the presence of the next statue was in possession by the singer. Armed with new information Roadhouse and Nikolai entered the bar where Astrid was set to sing. Teyren intended to follow but was deterred by the presence of the senior officer whom had returned to the bar that night to investigate the disappearance of Vince. Teyren quickly leapt back inside the cart until Nikolai & Roadhouse returned.

Astrid had invited the pair of “gentlemen” to her home for dinner after they had informed her they were just rolling through. Karl followed in behind in order to scout the area she took them to. Her home lied outside of the city to the northwest. After the trio had entered her home, Teyren flew around back to conceal himself within a tree, while Karl began to investigate the small shed that sat behind her home. It contained stairs that led down to a deep basement, covered in bones and viscera. As Karl slowly lit the way he happened upon a trembling Vince. After inquiring what was wrong, Vince pointed out the large mass of breathing fur that quickly revealed itself to be a feral three-headed Minotaur. Meanwhile inside, Astrid had asked the pair of men outside to help her in her shed. When they found the door open, the singer gasped in shock wondering what had happened.

Roadhouse entered the shed intent to investigate, while Nikolai remained back in skepticism. A strange voice called at him to go inside the shed, but he resisted its call. Suddenly, Astrid had disappeared from sight without a trace. Teyren came to Nikolai and attempted to sort out the situation at hand before they both descended to aid Roadhouse and Karl in slaying the Feral Monstrous Minotaur. After dispatching the creature, Nikolai, Karl, & Teyren all went to comb through Astrid’s home in search of the next statue they needed. Roadhouse went to console Vince however fell victim to a sudden strange magical compulsory effect. Astrid revealed herself to be the creator of such to the cowering man and werebear now under her control. She immediately had Roadhouse dispatch Vince, and told him to travel inside to do the same to his traveling companions. As Roadhouse exited the shed he saw a strange scene behind the shed. The flock of ravens and doves circled above a battle between the slender being that the group had seen before accompanying their “employer” and the shadowed creature which Nikolai had seen fall from the tree in the elven town. Strange metallic gonging noises erupted form the slender being.

Upon Teyren finding the Crystalline Hawk, Roadhouse entered the room in strange fashion. The other three were quick to notice the sociopathic Roadhouse was not himself and a fight quickly broke out. The fight itself proved to be meaningless given the magic binding the group prevented them from harming each other, thusly Karl simply tried to escape the bear-man’s wrath only to be met by Astrid guarding outside. As the fight inside raged, the duel between the slender suited being and The Shadow ended with the suited creature exploding into ribbons of black material with a raucous bang and the flock of birds dispersing into the night. The noise distracted everyone’s attention and The Shadow quickly then cut down Astrid relieving Roadhouse of her control. Confusing night aside, the group had progressed further towards their goal and set off to locate the stolen member of their group to the north in the city of Carmen.

To travel to Carmen, they would first need to cross the Marsha Lake which sat in the center of the forest they had been trekking through. Conversation was sparse between the tense group. After traveling straight from Astrid’s home until about noon the four men arrived in a port town and settled for a moment to catch their breath. The group met a strange half-orc fishing by the lake side in a small dinghy named “Chuck”, but also seemed to call anyone he met Chuck. Teyren began searching for more information on the way to travel to Carmen and happened upon a drunken paladin woman in the empty town. The woman, Anika Neschume, informed the cloaked moth-man that since the shipwrights were out on leave for the season that their best bet was the expensive ferry that routinely traveled around the lake picking up passengers to sail to Carmen.

Teyren left in thanks of the information only wondering how a shipbuilding business survives inside on a lake inside a dense forest. Roadhouse also happened upon Anika once Teyren had returned to inform Nikolai that all they could do was wait while Karl attempted to directly search the shipwright’s warehouse for clues. Roadhouse convinced the winged paladin to head out of the bar for her own ship that she might rest, and she obliged, leaving Orpheous alone in the empty bar. While passing the shipwright’s center Karl’s snooping attracted her attention and she went to investigate which incited a drunken altercation that Karl shuffled off from, due to still being in bad shape from his run of bad luck thus far. As Roadhouse searched for unattended liquor, a single dove and raven flew in the door and landed on a table to stare at him intently. Seeing it as an ominous sign due to their previous appearances, he took cover behind the bar top. After his duck for cover a small Kenku revealed herself to him. She referred to him with respect to Roadhouse’s surprise as he had never met her before. She explained to him her situation.

The clan of ninja assassins she belonged to was headed by a powerful Weretiger named Ichi Naara Kohagaito. The assassin clan had a prior contract from the Drow community to eliminate all of the members of the gang known as “The Fast Hands” due to the gang’s theft of the drow royal jewels years prior. Karl being one of the final few members of said gang had been the target of her efforts as of late. Ichi also takes it upon herself, and by extension the ninja assassin clan, to protect lycanthropes in the nation after the vigilante Van Horen had gone on a spree of slaying lycanthropes nine years prior. Thusly, the Kenku owed loyalty to Roadhouse simply by blood, and she requested why she was traveling with Karl.

Roadhouse was quick to explain that he held no true loyalty to Karl or for truth any other member of the traveling group since they had all been forced together, and that the Kenku should go on with her mission undeterred. She thanked the werebear and informed him that once his current mission ended that he should seek out her clan leader and master Ichi in the City of Farrah on the north coast of Aaralynn. The assassin disappeared into the shadows just as she had entered and the pair of birds exited as well. As Roadhouse returned to the group, the ferry to Carmen arrived. Complications began to arise when Karl didn’t wish to pay the price for travel and the ship began to sail off. The ominous flock appeared once again overhead as Karl heard a voice calling from the shadows asking if he needed help and to come towards it. Heading his better instincts he joined the ferry and paid double the proper price to travel.

After a full day and a half of nautical travel, the four of them arrived in the Lizardfolk city’s gambling district port, where upon they were made to hand over their weaponry if they intended to continue into the casino areas. Security was made up of 9 foot tall lizard men with black scales and the city sector lit up with a magical glow, with myriad types of debauchery lining the streets. Upon entering, the group took no time to begin gambling the chips they had purchased as part of their ferry trip admission. Teyren encountered behind a building the grey-cloaked figure that seemed weak and pained as he informed the insectile man of the last things they needed to do to complete their task. He engraved in Teyren’s arm carapace a checklist; 1. Find The Monk, The Maniac, The Nymph & kill her son, 2. The Book of Curses will find you, 3. Three of you must survive to complete the ritual, along with a timer that counted down four days.

Arriving in the largest casino and hotel the four of them quickly saw Kara’s nude petrified being alongside other disrobed statues being held as prizes for dealer’s cards. Inquiring further they found they needed to win a set of poker against the dealer and other players to win a dealer’s card. They would need three to win Kara proper. Karl however turned his attention to another prize lining the wall; a golden crocodile statue with a plaque that read “Property of ‘The Wiz’”. Further inquiry on his part led him to the drow slots prodigy known as “The Wiz”. Karl challenged the drow youngster for the crocodile and “The Wiz” obliged the challenge declaring quite loudly “Nobody! Beats! The Wiz!”

Roadhouse’s luck didn’t yield him well in the black jack tables as opposed to Karl whose luck shone through like a diamond against The Wiz. He had beaten the drow at his own slots game and won fair and square. The drow fetched the golden crocodile and handed both it and his title over willingly. Things were not flowing as swimmingly at the poker table as a high roller calling himself “Gambol” had been easily besting them in hands back to back. The dark skinned human showed an interest in Kara’s statue and revealed to the moth man and the drug pusher the hideous secret behind the statues on the prize wall. All the men women and children on the wall had once been people, and were all petrified at some point by a cockatrice. Their bodies were robbed of their belongings and they’re put on display for winnings along with a single potion to cure their status. Being that the hotel rooms existed on the upper floor, the high-roller let the pair come to their own conclusions. Now knowing this the two quickly convened and decided to let the man win her statue and find out about her draining abilities the hard way.

With that decision the pair threw their hands continually, Gambol redeemed his dealer’s cards to gain Kara’s statue and he brought her to his suite on the upper floor. Nikolai found a small fortune selling his wares to the people of the casino under the tables. Karl came along as he walked off showing off his statue warranting a look of uncaring disdain. Teyren asked him for the statue, but Karl wouldn’t give it away to his traveling mate without some kind of recompense. Teyren handed him over half of his chips, knowing now he didn’t need them since now they had the statue and Kara was about to dispatch her “captor”. Karl handed it over and proceeded upstairs behind Gambol to ensure his own share in Gambol’s coming misfortune. Roadhouse so fed up with losing had some pity taken on him by a black scaled guard whom gave him a strange grey book bound in what felt like flesh. Apparently it had washed up on shore and the guard had wanted to give it away for a reason he could not explain, almost as if the tome had possessed him to do so.

It was then that half the group’s luck took a turn for the significant worst. Karl had followed to just outside of Gambol’s room listening in to the conversation inside, when all of the sudden his anticipant glee turned to paralyzing horror. He looked out the window across from his position to see a raven and dove pecking at the window with a flock of both flying fast towards the glass in the moonlit night. He shot down the stairs quite literally like a bat out of hell, passing Orpheous as a crash of glass erupted in the hotel room hallway alerting the guards patrolling. Inside Gambol’s room Kara awoke from her petrification to the dark skinned man going on about how fun a time the pair of them were about to have. Quick to adapt, she began to get in just the right mood for what she thought was coming. To her surprise however, he snapped his fingers and his clothes warped from his body, and his body changed to a sleeker form of yellow skin tone and long slick brown hair. A pair of demonic wings then sprouted off of his back. “Oh this will be such great fun.” He grinned.

Her attempts to place him under her magical ability seemed to only blow past him as he gave an arcane wave of his hand to place her under his control. She was at his mercy, and he was no merciful partner. Roughly assaulting her in his sexual throes and constantly admiring himself in the act in the mirror while waxing on about how she reminds him so much of “her”. Roadhouse continued upstairs to find the Kenku assassin having had dispatched a cadre of guards and was stowing the bodies in closets. Roadhouse remarked to her that her attempt seemed very crass and hurried and she replied in explaining that she was motivated not only by duty to her leader but out of vengeance, as the Bathurian people had hunted the Kenku people for the sake of their bloodlust.

The Bathurians had been a horrible and vicious race of people intent on making those around them as miserable as themselves, and the assassinations of their kind had been a personal vendetta of both The Shadow and of her clan of ninja assassins. Roadhouse offered to aid the assassin in her vengeance kick, even if only to further his own desire to be freed of one of the people he’d been forced to travel with. He found Karl downstairs unable to leave the casino area due to the spell’s effect tying the five of them together and began to drag him back upstairs in order to quell the requests of the guards to keep him quiet since he was making a scene downstairs. Karl fought back, but due to his still weakened strength, he was no match for the werebear and could not even start to injure him. Upstairs The Shadow struck the humanoid bat with a shuriken laced with the same poison that had sapped his strength before, completely incapacitating him. She then went into a slow sequence of torturing the wretched creature as Roadhouse watched. She sliced open his throat, severed his ears, sliced off his wings, violently ripped open his arms with her short sword, put him in a poison induced nightmare that to him seemed to last for years before finally slicing him down the center skull to groin, slaying the thug. She asked if Roadhouse required anything more from her before she would disappear into the shadows. Roadhouse only pickpocketed Karl’s mutilated corpse and said “Nope, you’re dismissed” and the kenku hid the bat creature corpse and disappeared.

“Gambol’s” violent sexual assault of Kara was sapping her strength slowly and painfully until she could barely move of her own volition after he finally dropped her. She weakly asked “Who…are…you?”

“Sweetness, I’m your father.” The incubus hovering over her declared.

In a flash his clothes replaced themselves and he resumed his disguise. He told her to not worry about getting up, as he had a favor to fulfill. The half-succubus crawled weakly over to the side of the bed in the suite to try and cover herself in her pain, but her effort were in vain. Her father in his disguise had returned with a short scrawny well-dressed lizardfolk alongside two guards. “Gambol” informed the scrawny lizard that he felt Kara ought to be ample payment for the debt he owed, to which the small lizard agreed with a tongued toothy grin. With his exchange done, the high-roller left his daughter to her fate by the lizards’ hands. As he exited, the crooked disguised demon passed by Roadhouse whom he recognized from a gambling table from earlier. They exchanged goodbyes and Gambol left as Orpheous entered the room where Kara lay helpless.

Roadhouse explained to the reptilians that he only intended to watch which seemed to excite the scrawny one even more. As the three of the assaulters were distracted, Roadhouse reached for one of the guard’s unattended swords and slew the reptilian closest to him and ordered the one still holding his traveling mate to stop or he’d slay him too. The guard dropped the woman to the bed, on top of the scrawny no longer suited lizard, and the werebear jumped across the room to slice his head and torso in twain down the center. The confused trapped short one’s throat was no match for Roadhouse’s bear grip, as his eyes bulged out of his skull until the sorry creature died a miserable death. The conqueror of the room took Kara to the bathroom that she might clean herself proper and left downstairs to reconvene with Teyren whom had been playing Pachinko during the whole of the ordeal upstairs. The moth being inquired as to the whereabouts of Karl, but Roadhouse remained silent on the subject and just informed him and Nikolai that Kara would be down shortly. The broken and injured woman ambled downstairs wrapped only in the sheets of the bed on which her ordeal had taken place. The four remaining realized as the morning dawned that their time was ticking and that whatever had happened to Karl would ultimately resolve itself.

Moving on, the four of them found a cabin home in the forest which they attempted to rest at, but found it already occupied. While traveling Roadhouse began to explore the book he’d received in the Casino city finding all myriad of curses and strange summoning spells for odd creatures of amalgam nature. After a full day and a half of travel up the riverbank the group arrived in a backwoods town and encountered a woman named Rosalind who seemed eager to help them but would not offer any reasoning why. A trio of young men however happened across the still barely dressed Kara and seeing a perfect opportunity for herself to regain strength, she enticed them to join her in some “fun”. The three sixteen year olds obliged gladly, delaying their trip to the hill top to train with the monk atop it. They would never make it to their master for training, as the half-succubus drained them all of all their life force and left their husks of bodies where they’d lain in the room.

The group eventually gathered that “The Monk” in the checklist on Teyren’s arm may well be the one atop the hill outside of town. With nothing but time to lose they traversed up the hill to the small pagoda of a building, within sat a single blindfolded man before a ruby viper statue. He stood and challenged the all of them to show him their best as he absorbed the statue into his being. Upon attacking the monk, they learned that he had some strange ability to duplicate both himself and the inside of the dojo that he resided in claiming that the place and he were one, and as he grew so did it, and so did his power. Rosalind did not show much ability in their attack of the monk as her sword broke early into the fight, not yielding her to their trust in the slightest. Quick thinking on the group’s part thought that if they could not seem to damage the monk himself that the dojo itself must be destroyed. Their ploy worked and made the monk distraught to the point he attacked them directly after he willingly broke down the pagoda. Kara fell to his attacks however when they attempted to finish her off a strange purple barrier protected her unconscious form. Despite all the monk’s efforts, he was ultimately outmatched by Roadhouse’s superior strength.

Now with the fourth statue, the five of them continued to travel along until about noon the next day when they encountered a town that seemed to be under a strange curse. All of its citizens were stuck doing some strange action and saying some strange phrase for what appeared to have been days. Kara in her desperate and weakened state saw an easy bunch of targets, while Teyren robbed the houses spread around the town of Marla. Rosalind spent the day repairing her sword. Roadhouse in his search of the town gone mad found a talking horse whom said his name was Ed. Ed had allegedly gained the ability to speak when the strange event that caused the people in town to go mad about two days prior. A man wearing a purple cloak who spoke in an unknown tongue was being run out of town when from his body erupted and odd ping noise. After the noise, the people all seemed stuck in their trancelike state.

Informing Roadhouse that he ran to the west after the incident, Ed seemed terrified to leave the town. Roadhouse promised him they would go have marvelous adventures if the horse accompanied him. Ed obliged and introduced himself to the group. In his casing of the houses in town, Teyren came across an official paper in the town hall informing him of the Royal Intelligence Laboratory to the west of the town. Teyren and Roadhouse put two and two together and assumed the strange cloaked figure had gone to the laboratory and he might hold a clue as to the next statue they needed. Setting off in the early night the group arrived in the early morning after midnight and entered the abandoned laboratory. All of the faculties of the research building had been growing decrepit and decayed. After a short intense run-in with the purple cloaked being the group found itself lost inside the building’s massive hallways and corridors. Entering a test room, they heard a strange laughing. Before them five of them appeared the ghost of a half-elven man.

The ghost identified himself as Rad Odessa the former councilman of Magical and Technological Studies, and he was glad to see his former creation, referring to Teyren, Theo was alive and well. The ghostly figure laughed and danced around the adventurers and asked them why they’d come to the laboratory. Teyren was quick to inform him of their search for a statue of either a silver penguin or onyx guinea pig. With strange enthusiasm the ghost informed them that he’d help them get the penguin statue, if they aided him in return. Rad informed the group that to enter the living quarters where both the items they needed were kept, the group would need to split and deactivate the security switches on the opposite sides of the laboratory at the same time so that his ghostly form could lead them there. Wanting to hurry things along, Rosalind split with Nikolai going west and Teyren, Kara & Roadhouse went east.

As the group had been moving through the laboratory, a myriad of lab notes had been scattered about. Through reading them, Teyren had learned that he was indeed a creation of the laboratory and an improvement on a prior experiment. The insectile being had long wondered of his origins and now he had found them by chance. It all felt empty and meaningless after he found out, but he soldiered on nonetheless. In the west wing as Nikolai searched with Rosalind, the mysterious woman found the perfect opportunity to enact her plan. She turned her arrows to Nikolai in the dark while he was not looking and utilized her slaying arrows to cut down the man. She ran over to his corpse, and in her continued rage stabbed him viciously with her sword. Once she regained composure she left out of the broken window. The other three had reached the switch at their side, only to wait extensively for the pair of Nikolai and Rosalind.

Teyren headed back in their direction, as Roadhouse continued to study the book of curses, attempting to implement some of them in a terrarium space. This left Kara by her lonesome in the experiment housing wing by the switch. It was not long before the strange man appeared from seemingly nowhere, and the two were in a different dark room. The being was clearly mentally damaged, unable to properly express whatever he meant to do as he began to manipulate himself in front of Kara. His disgusting form reviled the half-succubus and she attempted to leave only for him to hold her still with some strange ability non-magical in origin. Before he could attempt to have his way with her however, his head glowed with a strange green light and he held it in pain. His body was flung around the room until he disappeared in a purple flash. With Kara free from his influence, she quickly located a door in the dark room and found her way back into the room with the button proper. She didn’t wish to remain there though and quickly found Roadhouse to inform him that the cloaked figure had attacked her while she was alone. With that, the two went to regroup with Teyren and the others.

Teyren had however quickly found out when he arrived at Nikolai’s body that Rosalind had been responsible. Out of a purple flash appeared the cloaked disfigured man, groaning in pain. Rosalind outside had taken to burning down Nikolai’s cart, which contained a large amount of intoxicating elements which sent of smoke of the ingredients down wind. On the cart were also the rest of everyone else’s effects, including some clothes Kara had picked up in Marla, and Roadhouse’s pair of pets. When Ed saw her begin to burn down the cart, he began to yell out for help. Rosalind quickly shot down the talking horse, silencing him. When Teyren began to try and speak to the horrid man, he screeched in his odd language and flung the moth-man against the wall. Force pushed Teyren in all directions, clearly being manipulated by the cloaked man.

The wretched disfigured being manipulated the forces on Teyren to rip out his left arms and the moth’s cloak in twain. Teyren howled in pain unable to stop the misfortune descending upon him. With the insect’s arms off came another light from the head of the being cloaked in purple and he was flung through another strange light. After the monster’s exit, both Kara and Roadhouse entered to find Teyren in massive pain and missing half of his arms. A quick explanation sent Roadhouse into a panic about the cart out front. The werebear ran to the front of the laboratory to discover all too late that his belongings had been burned down by Rosalind. In a fit of rage he asked why she had done all of it.

Rosalind with tears in her eyes explained that Nikolai had sold medicine to her ill family only for them to become hooked on the opiates in them and that he had essentially caused their deaths. She had been seeking revenge for years and she had finally caught up with him to take it, but had then lost all purpose in her life after doing so. Roadhouse, not caring about her plight, only caring that his pets were dead and that his promise to Ed then meant nothing viciously slayed her and severed her dead body’s legs in his anger. With his anger quelled, he rejoined Teyren and Kara. With all distractions out of the way, Roadhouse went to the opposite switch from Teyren and Kara and the security system was shut off. They three then found Odessa up ahead whom lead them all back to his private quarters. Along the way the man in the cloak continued to try and give them trouble. The former councilman explained to them that the being was an experiment just like Teyren. His name was Kalbalsh and he was an amalgam of many humanoid creatures like orcs, elves, humans, and gnomes with a built in psionic ability. When Kara asked why the laboratory people would create such an abomination of a being, Rad simply replied “Because we could.”

Their final encounter occurred in Odessa’s private lab which had been destroyed completely in exception of a large machine with many scratches and burned patches leaving is open to years of overgrowth. Once the trio had annihilated the psionic creature, Odessa showed them a safe where the silver penguin statue was held, and a smoking pipe Odessa had once owned engraved with many different odd symbols. Odessa’s favor constituted having one of the three deliver the pipe to either Evan Cortex or Chan Vanda. Roadhouse accepted and the former councilman disappeared into the ether.

With the next statue in hand the three continued upstream after Roadhouse used the curse book to divine their next path. They encountered a delta which held a small shrine visibly containing the final statue. Protecting the statue however was a nymph woman whom drew a short sword from the shrine’s lower cavity. They were quick to dispatch her and gain the final statue from the shrine. As the nymph’s body lay bleeding in the delta, the water began to transform itself to blood and the trees all gained a red hue.

Along came a man in a simple black robe on the back of a celestial giant guinea pig. Tied to his rope belt was a grey statue of a snake wrapped around a stick with its head through a ring. He trudged out into the water and began to cry at the loss of his mother. Once it became apparent to Teyren that this was the man they needed to kill from the list, the moth-man fired a bolt from his crossbow. The bolt only set to anger the man. He pulled off his robe to reveal himself to be a golden winged paladin of onyx skin, crystal hair and a glorious golden glow about his body. He demanded they all surrender, to which they refused knowing he was the last thing standing between them and their freedom.

As Roadhouse attempted to fend off the paladin, he quickly realized he was unable to even scratch the flying being. The werebear threw his weapon to the ground and bowed in surrender, allowing the paladin to utilize his divine ability to freeze evil beings in golden ice. He quickly turned his attention to Teyren whom did not give up fighting until he was unconscious. Kara, having witnessed what occurred to Roadhouse and Teyren, simply gave in to the paladin’s power and was frozen as well. The Paladin gathered the statues and the book and with a swift strike destroyed them under his fist. He buried his adoptive mother just off from the delta, and escorted the three to The Impregnable Prison of Farrah.

Upon arriving Roadhouse remembered what The Shadow had told him and spoke up demanding to speak to Ichi Kohagaito. His request was granted and a tall woman with extraordinarily long black hair began to speak to him after he had waited for about an hour. She instantly knew him to be a lycanthrope by his scent. She inquired to him as to what he did with his life. He had no real response for her. She offered him the chance to leave the prison and come to work for her. Orpheous accepted and they left the prison on full pardon from Ichi herself.


End of Episode Three
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Episode Three: The Bleeding Forest or 40 Ways to Defy Nature and Ruin Lives - Gaiden A; Story
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