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Weather: Partly cloudy, cold. Winds are sporadic and carry the bite of an early winter.

Time: Early afternoon, still. Time has not advanced much since arriving at the field in question.

Ambience: A hill rose to one side of the road, near which the Mosswaters' wagon was parked. It overlooked the field across the way, which was mostly harvested and partially stamped down by the feet of laborers hoping to glean fallen grain for their winter stores. A hush of caution fell over the Halfling agriculturalists and the L'Roses. Despite the wind, a sort of stillness covered the land.


The afternoon sun cast lengthening shadows across the mostly open field in which the mystery of the missing, expired sheep was being investigated. The early concerns of some ruthless predator replaced by a caution of the unknown. Questions were raised. Among them, "where have the sheep gone - why is the soil so loose - what do these mounds and depressions mean?" The ground is open with the exception of the hill on the other side of the road, allowing for a more or less decent view of the lands all around. Not a single beast of the field nor bird of the sky was heard within all of that openness.

In the face of a direct question from Baronfjord, Barbel Mosswater collected his ability to speak and, though with moderately less noise, did respond with more than a hint of annoyance, "I grew up in this part of the region, and my farm abutts the Laurent property. This here is the outermost field of the Laurent Farmstead, and I left it as recently as this morning. This is the right field." Suffice it to say, he appeared certain of the location's legitimacy.

Cecily and Lizbeth stayed on the wagon, though the elder aunt made it a point to maneuver the vehicle so that it faced the direction from which they arrived. Getting herself and Lizbeth away from danger seemed her priority, though it could be noted that she did not leave immediately. Be it the pragmatism of not wishing to leave the people with magic and steel, or the loyalty owed to those she could trust, she remained. Lizbeth took the opportunity to twist around, looking at the unfolding situation with intense curiosity.
@rivaan@Shoe Thief@Sigil@Arty Fox

Update has been updated, as befits the may of modern times. You will notice that it is remarkably short in comparison to most of my posts. This is by design. At any point in time, this can flip from Narrative to Initiative. But yet, there is a possibility to keep that from happening. All of this depends upon the actions taken by the party's individual members.

Nevertheless, all of the signs of some coming event are in play. Now you have to ask yourselves - Is this a trap? Is this an ambush? Is the perpetually grumpy Halfling and his more genial, personal, potentially very good friend's doing in some nefarious setup?

Regardless of what is going to happen, we all can guess that something indeed is going to happen. As such, here are the Out Of Character things you need to know:

- Looking at the map, the crossed bundles of straw are approximately five feet square. Use this to estimate your positions relative to one another and your surroundings.
- The fence around the field counts as one square of difficult terrain for counting movement. It is a rail fence and not designed to keep anyone out, so much as define a boundary.
- The mounds and depressions in the ground start about midpoint in the field from the road and spread unevenly to the right, disappearing under the thicker, untamped straw of harvested grain.
- The mound that Kathryn found (and is near to) is close to dead center.
- Please make an accounting as to the location of your characters on the map and let me know in Discord. If you need to download and put a mark on the existing map in the IC header, please do so.

SO! With all of that out of the way, provided an event is triggered I will put your character locations on the Initiative Map as best I can and we're going to roll with it. In the unlikely event of a peaceful evening out in the country, this shouldn't be an issue with any lasting consequences. Of course, hit me up in our Discord for questions, comments, rolls, or readings.

I wish you all and your investigation the best of luck.

(cue more ominous noises)


Victoria Belmont
Half-Elf, Bard, Level 5
HP: 33 / 33 Armor Class: 15 Conditions: N/A
Location: Southbound Road -> Laurent Farmland
Action: Skill Check (Investigation)
Bonus Action: Morty!
Reaction: N/A


It was lightly amusing to hear her Dragonborn companion address Morty in a somewhat formal manner, petitioning him to look after the wheel stops. Victoria imagined that she rather looked like that, herself, when she spoke to her animated porcine assistant. She had to admit to herself that it wasn't entirely normal, even amongst her peers in the Grey Requiem, to use their signature ability in quite this way. Most of them opted to handle things much more subtly, as opposed to her far more utilitarian view on the ability. Not that she had a multitude of peers in this regard with which to debate said topic.

Victoria was pleased to note that the wagon was moving along in such a way that did not make her fear for her safety, which was an immediate improvement from Baronfjord's last attempt. In fact, after a bit of time and only occasional nudging or demonstration, she felt comfortable enough to fetch up her violin and ease into a bit of traveling music. Humble but hopeful notes flew with practiced talent from her instrument, courteously played at a volume that allowed for its appreciation without unduly interrupting conversation around her. Travel through more-or-less safe, uncontested land was much more enjoyable with a touch of music, at least to her (occasionally) humble opinion.

Every so often, when the cart was traveling along a straight and even part of the road, Victoria's raven flew from its perch atop the wagon. Sometimes with an attention-grabbing call, sometimes not, but always with a smile and sudden distant look from Victoria. It was a little dizzying to experience the world through the senses of a creature in flight, especially when one was sitting on the driver's bench of a moving wagon, so Victoria took leave to grasp her seat with one hand to steady herself when she took these little jaunts with her Familiar. As wonderful as it was, this was something to which she would have to become accustomed.

The sporadic music Victoria played came to a cease as the first wagon, the Mosswaters', turned off of the main road and down to the site of the sheep massacre. The time it took to get to the Laurent Farm was spent paying as good of attention to her surroundings as she might while still attempting to teach her latest pupil the wonder and majesty of overland vehicle operation. As they neared the scene, the Bard braced for sights of blood and violence, or perhaps even the guilty party returning like she read about in the mysterious tales of her younger years. Oddly, she saw none of these. It prompted her to, after the wagon came to a halt, dismount and take a closer look at the scene.

It was a general glance around; an attempt to take in as many details as she could and piece together a story, as best she could. Carefully, Victoria walked out to the edge of the field and took it all in. There were bits of blood present every now and again, but not so much as to support the story that sheep were getting ripped limb from limb. The grain left upon the ground - the gleanings - were present withing the folded, post-harvest stalks further int he field but not around the ground closest to them, in the open. And there were curious mounds and dips of earth along the ground out in the open, barely noticeable unless one *really* looked for them. And of course, no sheep carcasses. Or even parts of them. So whatever did this, in fact, did come back. And might still be in the area.

Victoria allowed a mild look of alarm to cross her features before smoothing them back over, But she did clear her throat, ready to sing a bar or two if necessary. A quiet hiss of steel accompanied the drawing of her sword. In the same motion, Victoria undid her purple-lined, charcoal colored cloak's clasp with her other hand and twirled it over the rail fence nearby. It was cold still, but she greatly preferred the ease of movement *just in case*. Her raven took to the air, circling above as if reviewing carrion. Simultaneously, the sound of shuffling in the back of the wagon could be heard as Morty came to sudden animation, a mental command passed from its master to make itself close and available. Something seemed off here, and while Victoria couldn't tell for certain what it was, she knew enough to be wary.

Weather: Partly cloudy, cold. Winds gust, off and on around you. Those with longer ears may wish to wear their hair down or pull their hoods up.

Time: The day marches on, bringing you into early afternoon.

Ambience: The lower temperature does nothing to take away from the landscape. The colors are particularly lovely around the river, which winds to and from the river as it sees fit, but the sections of bright and/or dull colors of low scrub and stubborn moor grasses dapple the lands with their own, proud colorations. The flowers, though small and low to the earth, are also rather lovely. Nearer to the river now, the trees become more and more common, even to the point of creating small wooded areas in the near distance.


A grunt of affirmation was all that Barbal Mosswater had to say to Kathryn's response to the positive, and said grunt was inflected on the go. Tarace, on the other hand, gave a quick smile and a wave. Not just to Kathryn but to Kosara and Baronfjord as well, owing to their openness of introduction.

Likewise, the conversation with the vineyard wagon was a touch toward the terse side, with Cecily answering Baronfjord's question about time and distance with a rather vague, "Oh, did I forget to mention? If we move straight onward, we should arrive before dark. Look for signs that say 'Southmoor' and we're well over halfway there." She shifted back to tend her reins and make sure Lizbeth was okay. The girl seemed a little withdrawn again.

Travel continued somewhat quieter than before, wind notwithstanding. Quite an amount of time passed as the sun took a firmer stand of direction in the sky, marking the progression of the afternoon. The temperature seemed to mellow, if only slightly, and one might be able to tell if one paid very close attention. Every so often the train of three wagons was joined by a local, who shared a word or three with Cecily or the Mosswaters but soon turned off another perpendicular path away from the main road.

When afternoon began to shift into early evening, Barbel Mosswater called for a momentary halt. After a brief and quiet exchange with Tarace, a quick snap of leather in the air could be heard and his animals turned off of the main, and onto a side road leading away from the main river.

Just past this intersection, still along the mai road, a lone sign with worn but still quite legible print carved into it read, "Southmoor," and bore an arrow pointing forward.

As Cecily read the mood of the occasion full of desire to assist in the endeavors of the local agricultural laborers, she turned her wagon to follow that of Mr. Mosswater's. This turn saw a slight change of environment, as just over the next rise the land began to sport more in the ways of stout bush and closer set tree. The ground itself bore a seemingly terraced feel with abrupt changes of elevation as opposed to the mostly gentle roll of the moors, but this did not prevent the appropriation and implementation of farmland. As the trees broke and elevation allowed, one could catch a glimpse of wide hills sporting the flat leaning stalks of once red and golden topped sorghum, barley, and wheat fields.

The Mosswater wagon soon approached a spot where the road rounded about the end of a harvested field, surrounded by a low, rail fence. The necessary grain had been removed and taken away for milling or for storage, though chaff remained, and beneath this one could witness the occasional spot of red grain here, gold grain there, suggesting even more upon the worked earth if one chose to look. These were the gleanings, which the common folk needed to collect, following the main harvest as part of their compensation for labor and a necessary staple food to see them through the winter.

Barbal parked his wagon to the side of the road and gave a searching look around while standing in his seat. "Well, I'll be... the sheep went to scatter this way - got themselves hemmed in and ripped to mutton. I saw them bodies myself. There's nary a meaty bit left! What in the Hells could've happened to them?"

Cecily looked a little nervous and whispered to her young niece, "Stay on the wagon, Lizbeth dear. I don't like this." Truly, the tone of Mosswater's voice was a bit more shrill than his previous commanding tone, which might have added to Cecily's heightened sense of preservation. Taking a more positive note, then, Cecily stated, "We'd best get this thing sorted before the grain rots on the ground and more sheep explode. Disappear. Whichever."
@rivaan@Shoe Thief@Sigil@Arty Fox

Ladies, Gents, X-folk (with or without the superpowers, I'm good wither way), we find ourselves in the throes of another Update. And to them, I say, IT HAS BEEN UPDATED! I feel that Huzzahs are in order; and I say this with no shame. Whatsoever.

This update brings with it a new map, astute observers might have already noticed. It is sparce, even without my usual grid overlay. I'm going to attempt to show the map, and things upon it, as the party searches or makes appropriate checks. Maybe it'll stick, maybe it won't. We'll see.

The trip to this spot took up a chunk of the day in reasonably uneventful overland travel. If there is any downtime stuff to handle or pressing conversation, this post is a good time for it. So long as things end up at our location a little ways off the main road out in grain and sheep country, we're all good.

Per usual, hit me up in the Discord for questions, rolls, rulings, and the like. And remember: your characters are on a vacation (of sorts). Try to have fun with it.

(cue ominous noises)

Victoria Belmont
Half-Elf, Bard, Level 5
HP: 33 / 33 Armor Class: 15 Conditions: N/A
Location: Southbound Road
Action: N/A
Bonus Action: N/A
Reaction: N/A


That never happened. Never happened. Victoria had suffered a social setback when meeting people for the first time, not even in the lead of the conversation, when they had just walked out of a place which celebrated them as heroes. This idea genuinely gave the ordinarily silver tongued Bard a moment of pause and introspection. She then narrowed her eyes at Kosara. Was it possible that these people were throwing her off of her game? Of course, it might have been the last few days she intentionally spent away from people. But could she get rusty in just a few days? It made no sense.

No. This was a fluke. Nothing more. Victoria was a charismatic beast and no slouch of a spellcaster. But maybe, just maybe, she might wish to look into a few choice, subtle incantations which could assist in getting her point of view taken more seriously in those with whom she interacted. For professional reasons, of course.

Luckily, Cecily pulled them all from the fire with an assist from Lizbeth. Which was good, as Victoria had no desire to rain Shatter spell after Shatter spell (with the occasional Vicious Mockery for flavor) atop their close-packed formation and reanimate their beasts of burden to trample over the survivors like they were roughly kneading so much whimpering, bleeding, sapient dough into Elven flatbread. Such a thing would be unthinkable. Positively and plainly unthinkable. Lucky for Victoria, no one to her knowledge had the means to detect what train of thought gave her that curious smile as she climbed up to the driver's seat of their wagon and made room for Baronfjord. "Here, reins are all yours for now," she said to their Dragonborn companion in a sweet, cheerfully optimistic voice.

She said nothing to give indication one way or another as to whether she wished for them to investigate the sheep disappearances, confident that her new group of friends had already made that decision. She fully intended to go along with it and help as best as she might. But her attention stayed with her Morty, teaching wagon operation, and her new Familiar.
@rivaan@Shoe Thief@Sigil@Arty Fox

So there's a little news with this update.

First off, I hope everyone had a warm and spiffy Mother's Day. Welcome back, and as we had a one-day hiatus, everyone gets an extra day in the rotation to post their minimum. Let the huzzahs rain about us like ...rain. Okay, I didn't think that last one through, but my point stands. Huzzah!

Secondly, as we're one PC shy of our usual number, I am ruling that, with every IC update, the one doesn't need to wait for two posts between your last one to post again. If you posted last or next to last before the update, feel free to go right ahead. Short form: IC Updates reset the two post rule.

Now back to the RP in general: The party has a choice in front of them. I've got stuff either way and your friendly neighborhood Bard isn't putting her word in unless there's a tie, so... Best of luck. Assume that the (now) caravan of three wagons are rolling along the road in the same direction you have been going so far. Mosswater has the lead, the L'Roses have the middle, and the Party's wagon brings up the rear. Baronfjord has his opportunity to drive the wagon now, with or without his teacher having to Save vs. Heart Attack at disadvantage.

Have fun!

Weather: Overcast and chilly. Winds are windy, but no so much as to lose an unsecured hat. Yet.

Time: A touch after midday. The sun is still notable through the cloud cover.

Ambience: The low and small flowers around the roadside waypoint dance back and forth in the wind, smaller gusts turning it into a back-and-forth frenzy for a second or so at a time. The colors of the landscape unfurling all around remain as captivating as ever, were one in a position to appreciate it. Nearby, one may hear the subtler sounds of the river during the times when the wind quiets.


The Halflings sitting atop and driving the farm wagon took their time listening to and digesting the words of the strangers with the surviving relatives of the elder Monsieur L'Rose of the Rose River Vineyard. Indeed, one might refer to it as a "stunned silence", owing to the fact that a few of them had confused expressions, complete with mouths agape, and none of them so much as cleared their throat for a few seconds afterward. Breeze filtering through brush dominated the landscape's auditory cues during this time, broken finally by a single, croaking caw from a very nearby black bird.

This seemed to break the spell surrounding the group, resulting in mutters amongst themselves, indecipherable on account of distance between themselves and the party. The Halfling who previously spoke decided to ignore the words of the strange Tiefling and Half-Elf who addressed him and returned his attention to Cecily. Shouting to make himself understood over the distance, he spoke, "Is everything canny, Madame L'Rose!? We can help; there's only four of them!"

Cecily's response was a weary but clearly spoken, "No, Monsieur Mosswater, everything is..." She paused to sigh and shake her head a little, "Everything is just as they said! Just not ...it's complicated! These fine people are my guests! Come along, now! I don't feel like shouting today!" Cecily looked tired in that moment as she waved them closer. She then gave appraising glances to the two, more socially oriented people of the group and wondered how they stumbled over such a first meeting. "Everyone has bad days, I suppose," she mumbled, partly in understanding, though admittedly partly with annoyance at the fact that a basic social encounter with people she knew was mishandled, and almost grievously, by adventurers she knew were plenty capable if they tried to be. If this had come to blows, Cecily was almost certain that the farmhands, people she knew and many she counted as friends, would have taken heavy losses. Even if they won the skirmish.

The Halfling-led group approached cautiously, keeping alert and eyeing the adventurers with a continued amount of suspicion. The ones with short hunting bows hung toward the back, apparently ready to provide cover if necessary. As they neared, one could better gauge tense looks upon their faces and what might have been a frazzled lack of meaningful rest. Still upon their cart, the Halfling, Mosswater, spoke up again. "What they're spitting out is true, then? Sheriff Arbalest sent them and the Constable went barmy?"

This time, Lizbeth spoke up in their defense before her aunt could get to it. "Of course, Mr. Mosswater! Not just that, they fought off an army of Goblins and got Grandpa's body back and made sure he got a good burial in the big cemetery. And, and... they saved Aunt Ceecee from Cavendish. They're big heroes, Mr. Mosswater, sir." Her finish was a touch meeker than her more excited start. Cecily could only nod in agreement.

After a short talk amongst themselves, Mosswater sent the rest of the group toward the Township to confirm, retaining only his until then silent companion upon the wagon with him, who smiled and introduced himself as "Tarace, and this my Barbal," motioning to the one who was doing the talking thusfar. The armed farmhands looked a bit hesitant to leave them alone with a gaggle of outsiders fresh from a kill, particularly the killing of someone they knew, on the word of two people who might or might not be influenced by said outsiders. In the end, they contented themselves with the idea that they were seeking out the region's authority for conformation and help.

Barbal Mosswater maneuvered his wagon around in the roadside waypoint and aimed it back in the direction from which they arrived, the same direction the party was headed, down the road. Calling back to Cecily, he said, "My people are going to find the Sheriff. If your new friends are really 'big heroes', maybe you can convince them to help out your old friends. Laurent's sheep have been picked off a few at a time and what or whoever's been doing it has been getting bolder. Bits of blood and mutton left strewn about, and if we can't get workers back in the fields before the snows come - and they're about to - some of us might starve this winter." His voice was gruff (for a Halfling) as he returned to the road and rolled off, not particularly waiting for an answer.

Cecily looked expectantly among the group and assured, "You don't have anything to prove to me, and all of you are welcome in my home regardless of what you decide. All of you have more than shown your courage and ability. And the others are going to get Gregory. If he can spare men right now I am sure this will get sorted. Let me know if you want to investigate this and I'll turn off the road near the Laurent farm. It might make us late getting back, just to say."
Victoria Belmont
Half-Elf, Bard, Level 5
HP: 33 / 33 Armor Class: 15 Conditions: N/A
Location: Southbound Road (Waypoint)
Action: Help Action (Persuasion)
Bonus Action: N/A
Reaction: N/A

Victoria knew that the other wagon was getting close. Having a literal bird's eye view of it and its occupants let her know that this wasn't a standard group of agricultural folk out for a hayride in less than spectacular weather. It was her instinct to be guarded, mostly because of what she was. Of course, it was also her instinct to be as socially visible as possible. These two concepts sometimes fought with each other. This day, discretion was the more powerful of the two.

A quick mental inquiry confirmed that Morty was still in the wagon, motionless, awaiting order from its animator. A similar one confirmed that her Familiar was in an elevated location, likewise standing by. A tiny, sarcastic part of Victoria wondered if she had enough time to ritually summon her Phantasmal Steed, just to complete her present Necromantic Conjurations set. Then again, it was a spike of morale that recent revelations had allowed her to tap into enough power to now have a set of Necromantic themed summons. The final decision went against initiating the ritual as there wasn't particularly a reason past overhauling. And her steed in its previous form might arouse more suspicion in an already questionable situation.

Nevertheless, as the other wagon aproached on the road, Victoria put on her most personable expression and loosened her sword in its scabbard. Just in case.

Victoria heard the laments of the locals and did sympathize, but opted not to speak on behalf of the L'Roses as the newcomers were addressing Cecily specifically, nor did she wish to be the mouthpiece for her group unless called upon. Then Kosara spoke. Victoria felt whatever control she had over her fate for the next few minutes begin to slip away, like the reins of an uncontrolled warhorse. Her smile and demeanor of goodwill remained, albeit now with the mildest of eyebrow twitches and the occasional worried glance in the Tiefling's direction.

Finally, she spoke. Her words aimed to be supportive as well as informative, hopefully to smooth any potential rough spots in Kosara's delivery. "It is true; the Constable has been responsible for the disappearances, and I fear bartered his soul for madness and power. When he attacked the Township..." Victoria paused for emotional effect, shaking her head slowly, "The wounds he inflicted upon Avonshire and its people will not soon mend, but be assured he shall not do so again."

It was a resolute, if short speech, and Victoria waited with unseen curiosity as to whether it was of help in explanation, or if it moved them further toward an unwanted conflict. She would rather not harm uninvolved local folk if she could help it.
@rivaan@Shoe Thief@Sigil@Arty Fox

And here we are ladies and gents, and that interesting rainbow between. Work took me away from my drafting for far too long, but here's the update, all updated and spell checked for your perusal. So, let's get to it!

If Baronfjord wishes to take the wagon over as they had discussed, this round is a good time to get involved. The teacher in this scenario will attempt to get BB involved in several aspects of using a lannd vehicle, which involves hitching up animals, hobbling/unhobbling, getting started, etc., as opposed to just forking over the reins when it's time to go. Intelligence check without Proficiency bonus. DC is 12, and you have advantage as V is helping to begin with. Actually driving it, DC is also 12, but Dexterity instead of Intelligence.

There is time to finish a meal and get ready to leave before the other wagon overtakes the party's position. So long as no one suddenly finds other stuff they'd rather be doing that's a longer task, it's all good. Unless you can lure someone else into taking care of your stuff for you. So long as, at the end of your next post, the characters acknowledge the presence of the other wagon and the people surrounding it, you're good to go.

Per usual: questions, concerns, calls for die rolls, or if you think I missed something, please let me know in Discord. Huzzah!
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