Wait. What? It’s not Chickens’ fault, you say?
We begin with the group preparing to spend the night in the abandoned Tinker’s home before setting out the next day. Smoke, frightened after Chickens’ last magical surge, has run off. After taking a group vote, they decide to try the old mage’s place first, though he’s had a reputation for being unfriendly. Though he is not guaranteed to have any answers or hospitality, the travel time is roughly a week and is the only possible lead that has a known destination. Russellbob votes to follow the path of least danger, but mostly listens. In Russellbob’s pack is a stick and a stone with Continual Light cast on one, and Continual Darkness cast upon the other. Together, they cancel each other out. As the conversation continues, Russellbob removes them from his bag, and wraps the stone of Continual Darkness completely up in twine. He then replaces them within his bag. The grass covered Froderick takes Chickens’ unending waterskin and drinks…and drinks…and drinks…
During this discussion, Cues is closely watching Chickens. Cues says, “I think I have an idea about Chickens’ curse”, and maneuvers to isolate Chickens from the rest of the party. He then begins to chant strange words. They sound like normal words that have been uttered backwards, turned inside out, and beaten with a stick. He raises his hands up towards Chickens, and an intensely, brightly colored rainbow of colors expands from his hands and envelopes Chickens. The colors clash with each other enough to make the entire party squint. Glaring reds, azure blues, fluorescent greens and oranges, blazing yellows all vie for dominance. The glaring eye assault lasts for about three seconds, and when it fades Chickens drops to the ground. Cues rushes forward, and rolls him over. Froderick roughly confronts Cues about his actions, and Cues hastily convinces the party that the spell is ultimately harmless.
After a couple of tense minutes, Chickens coughs, groans, and raises his head. “What…what was that?”….
Cues says to the group, “It was almost an hour. Now we wait to see if he throws a magical surge right away, or waits another hour.”
“WHY DIDN”T YOU WARN ME!!!" Chickens implores as he holds his head, shaking off the effects of the spell.
Cues simply replies, “If I warned you, you’d have expected it…out on the trail, we may not have that opportunity.”
After a bit more time goes by, no magical surge comes from Chickens.
After this bit of experimentation, the group takes what rest they can. Cynd sleeps outside, waiting anxiously for Smoke to return. The rest of the group passes the night in the house. Chicken snores, and his wheezing exhalations from his exposed nasal cavity where his nose used to be makes a few of the party members wish he would stay dead when he died. Night passes with most of the party members regretting the loss of Tomas’ interdimensional mansion. Morning comes, and Froderick awakens to slightly wilted grass/hair and an incredible thirst. He steps over a sleeping Chickens, who he notices is drooling from his nasal chasm. Froderick is frozen with disgust for a moment before reaching for Chickens’ endless waterskin and taking a very, very long drink. Sated, Froderick looks around to make sure everyone else is still asleep, and sprinkles some of the water over his head, sighing with pleasure. Cynd awakens and is relieved to find that Smoke is back. Brimming with a mixture of anticipation and incompetence, our unlikely heroes prepare for the journey ahead. The day is cool and brisk, the sun is bright and shining, the breeze is fresh and biting, and the nipples are stiff and pointy.
Moving through the village to the road heading south, the group sets out. They make it to the edge of the village when the first magical surge of the day is released. The air around the entire party suddenly becomes alive with muted, subtle colors that twist about rhythmically. Cynd, Turqeel, Cues suddenly all just stop walking, and stare into the colors, utterly entranced. Smoke looks at them curiously, then to Cynd to see why he stopped walking. The rest of the party can see the nearly holographic display, but all it does is give them minor eye strain. The affected party members are oblivious to the world around them, jaws slack with wonder as they watch the display.
Chickens cries, “NOT AGAIN!!!”
Everyone stands looking at the display, and those not affected by it wonder what to do. After a couple of minutes, the colors slowly fade away to nothing. The three affected adventurers shake their heads and become aware of what’s going on around them as if waking up from a deep sleep. Chickens looks so relieved that he looks as if he could cry. Froderick, after a look at Chickens, then at Cues, suggest they start back off. The pace he sets is brisk for those who have shorter legs.
As the group works their way down the road, the world opens up before them. The road is fairly level, and what inclines they find are steep and downward angled. They party mostly travels without speaking, each lost to his own thoughts. Smoke can be found generally following the group, sometimes ahead, at times off to the side in the distance. The grass is tall, and the ground rocky. Trees are scattered in small clumps. After a time, oh say, about an hour, Chickens stiffens and gasps, and the ground under Froderick becomes white with frost, and frozen solid. The frozen ground spreads out from him in a circle, passing under everyone’s feet. Vegetation stiffens, and becomes white with frost. This spreads out in a circle from Froderick for about 60 yards and stops. The ground is cold and very hard, all grass and ground vegetation is covered with frost. The party looks at this in grim wonder, then continues on.
As travel continues, the day thankfully begins to warm. The ground becomes rockier and slopes down in a more or less continuous gentle decline. Sometimes they travel among patches of trees, sometimes the land is more open. After another hour passes, Chickens’ head snaps up, and he glares at Froderick…the regains himself, and looks around to see if anyone noticed. Froderick continues walking, seemingly unchanged. Cues is eyeing Chickens closely, but Chickens has gone back to walking.
The day gets yet warmer, Smoke can be seen periodically off to the sides of the road slinking through the countryside. Conversation is flat, as the group tries to forget the enormity of the path before them and just focuses on putting one foot in front of the other.
After a time, Rorek suddenly starts sniffing the air, and squinting about suspiciously. He points to the west, and says, mystified, “There be a lot of water several miles that way…”
He continues looking around, after sniffing the air…“There’s more water to the east a few miles away, but I’m thinkin’ it’s tainted.” Then he turns to Chickens, eyes widening, he points to Chickens’ waterskin….“There are oceans of water in that!!!” Then he shakes his head a second, sniffs the air suspiciously, and shakes a fist in Chickens’ face, “What’d ye do to me now!!!!” he roars, “All that fills me nose is the scent of durned water!”
Cynd notes that of all curses, that one is actually useful.
Rorek mulls that over for a second before giving Chickens a glare from beneath shaggy eyebrows. “I’m startin to think that there’s no gold worth his company!!” He then turns and continues tramping south.
Suddenly realizing how close he is to Chickens and his curses, Cynd casts a doubtful look a Chickens and begins to range ahead. Jarlath accompanies him.
Up ahead, out of sight, Cynd gets a sense of excitement from Smoke. Cynd increases his pace, and when he spies Smoke several yards off the sides of the path, she is crouching over large piece of dead deer. The rear half of a deer lies twisted and shredded on the ground. The teeth marks in the meat are quite large. Cynd finds no other tracks around the piece of the carcass. The group catches up, and on further investigation they determine that gravity delivered the deer to its resting place. It appears to have dropped from a great height.
Cynd mentally sends the cat a message, asking if she smells anything.
The message that comes back is more a concept than words, but can be summarized as “grassandearthanddeerandrocksandsquirrelandyouandlizard” Smoke seems happy at the prospect of such a free meal, until she sniffs closer as she gets ready to wolf down a bite. Her ears flatten, and Cynd receives the mental concept of tainted meat.
To be continued…