Author Topic: Chapter 1: Smoke on the Horizon  (Read 79991 times)

Offline bhu

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Chapter 1: Smoke on the Horizon
« on: November 08, 2011, 02:50:27 AM »
September 28 1776

"It is a terrible time.  Philadelphia is for all intents and purposes undefended with the British surrounding the area.  Fears of their imminent invasion are common, and flight from the city has already begun.  News has reached Philadelphia that a great fire has consumed much of New York, and the British now control it.  It has been several days since then and there is no further news of New York, and there has been no traffic from that direction (which given the fighting isn't too surprising).  However boat traffic has dwindled, and the British ships lurking nearby have sailed alway, presumably being called elsewhere.  Supplies of some articles are dwindling, and fear and paranoia are everywhere."

Bozwevial

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Arcangel

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Pip
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Flay

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Offline bhu

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Re: Chapter 1: Smoke on the Horizon
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2011, 02:52:38 AM »
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Offline bhu

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Re: Chapter 1: Smoke on the Horizon
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2011, 02:54:58 AM »
My Replies

Flay


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Offline bhu

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Re: Chapter 1: Smoke on the Horizon
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2011, 02:57:54 AM »
Flay
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Offline bhu

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Re: Chapter 1: Smoke on the Horizon
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2011, 03:01:34 AM »
Boz
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Pip
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Arc
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Me t o Arc
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Offline bhu

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Re: Chapter 1: Smoke on the Horizon
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2011, 03:06:55 AM »
Me to Pip
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Arc to me
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Me to Boz
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Pip to me
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Pip to me
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Pip OOC:
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Offline bhu

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Re: Chapter 1: Smoke on the Horizon
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2011, 03:12:32 AM »
Me to Pip
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Me to everyone but Arc
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Arc to me
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Pip to me
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Me to Pip
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Me to everyone but Arc
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Me to Arc
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Boz to me
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Pip to me
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Me to Arc
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Arc to me
From the sounds of it I'm better off taking my chances with this meeting than those men.
Thomas will proceed through the doorway and down the stairs.


Offline bhu

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Re: Chapter 1: Smoke on the Horizon
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2011, 03:15:16 AM »
Me:
You all see someone come down the stairs and your host glances up "Come in and have some dinner Mr. Martin.  You are the last of our little group save for Constable John.  He will remain upstairs to ensure we are uninterrupted."


"Allow me to introduce everyone.  Sitting to my left on the table are Timothy Matlack, whom you may know as a Colonel in the 5th Rifle Battalion.  I believe he is a frequent customer and correspondent of several of you.  To his right is Dr. Thomas Young who is still not sufficiently recovered from being nearly beaten to death by the British at the Boston Tea Party, and on his right is a George Bryan, a well known businessman, and Professor James Cannon.  Being as I am a local congressman I am assured virtually none of you know me (there are a few laughs at this point), my name is Robert Whitehill.  I believe one of you met Mr. Benjamin Franklin above.  He is sadly unable to attend, and I am afraid that due to pressing political matters those of us I have mentioned will need to leave soon."

"Those of you who have passed the gauntlet, largely consisting of Constable Jones, are Constable Harry Dresden, militia man and battle survivor Will McQuillen, sculptor Thomas Martin, and gun makers Robert Jenkins and Robert Colonel Peebles.  All of you were selected based on research on your personal beliefs.  As I'm sure you realize until formal declaration of the war, the concept of revolution has not been as popular in Pennsylvania as it could be.  Given the burning of New York that will have changed, but there will still be many arrayed against us.  Tonight we five along with Mr. Franklin will sign the State Constitution for Pennsylvania.  Despite independence from Britain having been declared it is still a provocative step."

"But I'm sure you are all quite curious about what you were called here for.  Much of New York burned 7 days ago at the hands of the British.  At least this is what is widely known."

"We are here to tell you that the fire was a side effect of an operation by General Washington to wrest control from the British.  We have had no contact with him or our forces in some time, nor have we heard from the British, and there are no more refugees.  We have also had no contact with towns between us and New York for two days.  We'd like to send a group of people who can pose as merchants, which quite frankly should be easy for most of you as you are merchants or tradesmen of some kind.  Constable Dresden fits in as a hired guard, and Mr. McQuillen as a cartographer or navigator.  None of you are known for acts of rebellion against the crown except Mr. McQuillen, and he is one of the few known survivors of that battle.  Even if you encounter the British, you should be able to escape arrest with claims of needing to see whether or not potential business interests have survived in New York.  Perhaps supplies or payments for services rendered haven't arrived.  Whatever excuse we can come up with.  Primarily this will be a fact finding mission, and we need you to return with information.  Whatever you see along the way is something you should not become involved in so long as it does not pertain to you finding out what is happening and reporting back to us.  This will seem hard, but these are hard times."

"So what do you say Gentlemen?  Do you have any questions?"

Flay:
Harry wanted to ask what had qualified him as a bodyguard at all. He was no great shot, and his physique was only passable. He had a lovely rifle he'd accidentally acquired, and it was his one saving grace, firing twice as fast, but that would be no reason against a good pistoleer. He decided not to pursue it; there must be some other reason he was chosen against Jones or any of the other constables, much less this McQuillen. He nodded his head to the group when his name was called, but kept his mouth uncharacteristically shut, waiting to judge his compatriots questions and characters.

Arc:
Sir I have little more than the clothes on my back, I doubt I could suitably pass for a merchant. Should I go, I would ask you see my boarder paid as she is a kind woman who really does need the money. Also does this have anything to do with the strange men that were apparently looking for me earlier today?

Boz:
Robert listens to the speech, what's left of his food forgotten. After it ends, he leans forward slightly. "If I may, the circumstances surrounding this meeting seem a bit unusual. What makes this so unusual?"

Me to Arc:
"We can provide you with clothes to pass as a more successful worker of stone.  You...were not chosen because you were a craftsman entirely.  You were chosen by Franklin because you are pursued, and you are hunted for good reason though you know it not.  We need you hidden out of the way to deal with your enemies.  We can assume your rent for the term of your service.  You would all be paid a stipend as employees of the government as well."

Me to Boz:
"We have many enemies.  There are still a great many loyalists to the British crown within Pennsylvania, and many more willing to take advantage of uncertainty due to our current situation.  In addition if you are to be successful we cannot be seen with you, nor can you seem to be part of the government with the exception of Constable Dresden who must deal with us due to his position.  He can be used as a go between, and since he already knows several of you, being seen in public with him will not compromise you."

Pip:
"If it's a navigator you need, I'm your man! However, if it's a low profile mission, I may be a nuisance. Yes, I sit here in astounashing physical shape for one that was sent into a meat grinder. But as you know, there are those scars that do not show on the surface. It was during my time in the infirmary that I met Constable Dresden and I believe he agrees with me that I may bring some... complications."

Me to Pip:
"That you have survived what you did with as few complications as you currently have is testament to your will.  It will be needed where you are going."

Pip:
"Very well, though I hope we still have some time to prepare. Officially, I am running an errand right now and without proper tools, I doubt this journey will be more successful than my previous one."


Offline bhu

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Re: Chapter 1: Smoke on the Horizon
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2011, 03:22:45 AM »
Me:
"You will have all the tools you need sir.  In fact you have brought some of them yourself.  The maps we have asked from your father detail the lands between Philadelphia and New York, and note the locations of all the towns or villages therein. We would like you to travel through these villages and gather information without drawing attention to yourselves.  Play the parts of businessmen worried about their futures due to the war.  Make your questions those of a man worried about his money and you will succeed.  It takes two days to reach New York by coach.  We would like to see you back within a week if possible.  If the towns between here and New York are taken or seem inhospitable, or you encounter anything odd, turn back.  We would rather have you alive to communicate what has happened than dead and us still fumbling in the dark.

For now though my friends and I must adjourn for further business unless you have other questions.  Constable Jones will be the man you report for acceptance or refusal.  He will have your money and any supplies you request.  At least one of you is already under watch, so there may be someone coming for the rest of you if you were known to speak with him before now.  Be careful."

Arc:
Constable I will need a decent set of clothing and tools to pass as a true sculptor on our trip. I will gather my other belongings quickly so no one will need to wait on me.

Boz:
"That's a wonderful point. If you happen to have a firearm of some sort available to support my story, it would serve two purposes."

Me:
"Those of you who agree can meet with Constable Jones to work something out today.  Do not leave at the same time or in one anothers company.  Since you are being hunted sir, it may well be better for you to spend the night here while we get word to those who need it.  The rest of you take today to get your affairs in order, and let us know if you need more time.  Jones will be the go between so we are not seen together before you leave.  Further questions can be answered by him as we must begin making our way to a more public meeting.  Farewell, and good luck."


What does everyone intend to do first?


Arc:
Leaving. Going home to get my stuff. I wouldn't be upset if someone came with me, but won't be terribly afraid to go on my own either.

Pip:
I'm going home as well, quietly taking the backdoor to avoid bumping into anyone.

Boz:
I'll be leaving as well, heading back home to pack for a longer journey and getting the rest of my things.

Me to Pip:
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Me to Boz:
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Pip to me:
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Boz to me:
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Me to Pip:
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Me to Boz:
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Boz to me:

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Pip to me:
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Hide check for going to the library unnoticed:
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Me to Arc:
Constable Jones accompanies you.  If anyone gets too close he kind of hints that he's escorting you for a reason and they need to sod off. Once you have your affairs in order he asks if you'd mind coming to the court house where they can keep an eye out for anyone looking for you.

Me to Pip:
In returning to the library you stumble in a rut in the road, and fall face first into the bosom of a passer by.  She screams, and the entire street stares at you.  You get slapped a lot by a young woman and dressed down a bit for not watching your step, but you're such the focus of attention if anyone is following you they don't take the opportunity to confront you now Wink

FLay to me:
After checking with the library and settling his affairs, Dresden would join with Jones, trying to assist with protecting the others and getting the trip in order.

Pip to me
Will tries to apologize to the woman, but through the shame and absurdness of the situation, nothing but stutter comes out. As soon as the woman stops slapping him, he gives her a shy nod and continues his way to the library.

Back in the library, he checks to see anyone familiar and if not, settles down in a corner with a view to the entrance. He takes the cartography manual out of his pack and starts reading, keeping half an eye on the door.

Offline bhu

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Re: Chapter 1: Smoke on the Horizon
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2011, 03:27:58 AM »
Me to FLay
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Pip and Boz arrive at library

Arc
I will follow him to the court house. While waiting there he will take some time to feel out his crossbow so he doesn't screw up if he needs to use it.

Boz
Robert heads in through the back door to avoid curious eyes and sets the requisitions down in the back room. As surreptitiously as he can, he nods at Will from the doorway before sitting down to keep an eye on the luggage.

Flay to me
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Pip to me
After noticing Robert in the doorway, Will slowly moves towards the back room, zig-zagging along the bookcases with his eyes on the shelves as if he's searching for a book. When he's near the room, he takes a look around whether someone's looking and when he's sure it's safe, he enters.
1d20+3=16

Me to Pip
You believe yourself to be safe as no one is about.

Me to FLay
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Boz
"Hullo, Will. If you wanted anything, it's all here. There's at least one person looking for us--looks like a native, dresses like a colonist, chills your bones at the sight of him, can't miss him."

Pip
"Just like old times, eh? I haven't seen anything out of the ordinary, except..." Will starts to blush like a tomato, "Err... no, haven't seen any bonechilling natives."

Boz
Robert peers at Will curiously. "Well, it would hardly be an expedition if we didn't have you traipsing abreast--I say, are you alright? You look a bit flushed."

Flay to me:
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Me to FLay:
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Pip

At Robert's comment, Will suddenly seems to choke. After a cough or two, he recovers. "Yeah, I'm okay. I think I make a better chance surviving out there than here in Philadelphia. I just can't help but feel there's more to this mission than we're told."

Flay to me:
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Offline bhu

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Re: Chapter 1: Smoke on the Horizon
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2011, 03:29:56 AM »
Flay to me:
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Arc to me
I have never trained in the use of guns. I really only carry this as my family feels a gentleman should know how to hunt. With people having thinner skin than animals that would be hunted it happens to work against them just as well. Though I really do hope to not have to kill anyone while on this journey.

Me to Arc
"That is quite likely a vain hope.  Wait here in the courthouse, and one of our members will attend to you.  I need to collect supplies and find Constable Dresden."

Flay to me
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Me
The days events at the library have been fairly calm, and everyone but Arc is now there (Arc: wil get u caught up tomorow)

The rest of you may chat now if u wish.

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Re: Chapter 1: Smoke on the Horizon
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2011, 03:40:46 AM »
Pip to Boz
"You can say that again, you don't think I actually need a map that big, right?" Will points toward a huge mapcilinder strapped to his pack, with a strange shape wrapped in paper on one end. He shrugs: "Surviving doomed missions are my specialty I suppose. I just hope I can get you guys back in one piece. I didn't even retrieve a single piece of the rest of my squad. Well uhh... so much for demoralizing. We're both experts of some sort, so that shows that they must've thought something through."

Boz
"Reassuring. I suppose given enough time and chemicals, I could make any problem disappear. Hopefully that's not the only reason they wanted me to come along." Robert nods at Harry as he enters.

Me to Arc
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Flay
As soon as he was noticed, Harry put on his best smile and asked of the group at large, "So, who else is excited for the camping road trip?"

Arc to me
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Me to Arc
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Me those at the library

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Arc to me
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Pip
Will immediately grabs the oversized mapcilinder and takes the halberd out. He turns towards Harry: "Well Constable, if we're to do this mission as a team, we'd better start acting like one right away. If you think this upheaval is worth our time, you have my halberd to back you up."

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Arc to me
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Boz
"Will, is walking out in the street carrying a polearm to investigate a murder really the best way for us to avoid attention? Harry can carry a gun; he's a constable. I brought one along for him in case he needed it." Robert nods toward the collection of equipment.

Flay
Harry started to move, then checked himself. "Hold on, though enthusiasm is appreciated..."

Harry moved over to the young boy. "What happened, son? Explain it slowly." It's good someone was notified, but on such a day... ere on the side of caution, for once in your damned life, Harry thought to himself. He was cautious, of such an odd coincidence occurring at just this time.

Me to FLay
"Well sir there was this Indian wearing regular clothes walking down the street asking people if they'd seen someone he was looking for when these two others dressed like normal Indians ran into the street and cut him down before taking back off.  He's dead sir.  His heads split open like a squash gone bad."  He seems on the verge of passing out or throwing up you aren't sure which.  This could be bad.  Philadelphia hasn't has relationships go as sour as the rest of the colonies with Indians, but never have they murdered someone in broad daylight in the street.  It's unheard of, and could cause panic or mobs to form if cooler heads don't prevail.

Pip
Will lowers his halberd and nods. "Perhaps you're right, especially since discression is advised. Say, could it be that Indian fellow you were talking about earlier?", he says to Robert in a lowered voice to avoid disturbing Harry's interview with the boy.

Boz
"It seems likely. There can't be many Indians walking around dressed like that."

Pip
"You said he was looking for us, any idea why?"

Flay
"..... aw, well crap....." Harry stands straight, shifting his rifle. "It's alright, tell me where on the street, then you go on home. If you see another Constable on your way, make sure you notify them to join me."

After hearing the boy out, he turns to the group, "Alright, I've got to go. You know to stay here, I'll be back soon, inform our mutual friend of my whereabouts. I'd rather another constable deal with this, but.... time is of the essence...." With that, Harry turns and hustles out the door. I really don't have the time for this...

Me to FLay
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Arc to me
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Pip
"I hope the constable knows what he's doing, running off like that. Let's stick to the plan and wait for Martin to return, but if we haven't heard from Dresden before the next hour, I'm going after him."

Boz
Robert nods. "Let's hope we don't have to go look."

Me to FLay
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Flay
Harry stands quickly, trying to appear unflustered, though he was never any good at lying. Roaring into the crowd, he asked, "WHO HERE BORE WITNESS TO THIS CRIME?"
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Me to FLay
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Me to Flay and Arc
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Flay to me and Arc
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Arc
What? I truly don't understand why everyone has a sudden interest in me and my visions. Thomas will quickly follow trying to not stand out if possible.

Offline bhu

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Re: Chapter 1: Smoke on the Horizon
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2011, 03:52:18 AM »
Me
You aren't followed by the crowd.  They seem intent on hunting down Indians, and since a Constable is leading Thomas they've forgotten him for the moment.  You reach the Library without incident much to the relief of your fellow party members, and may now chat whilst you await the coach.

Flay
Even as soon as they get in, Harry pulls Thomas aside.
Whispering
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Arc to FLay

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Me
It takes almost two hours before Jones returns, and a light supper is served to you.

"We need to leave.  If anyone needs anything they haven't brought with them, or something done, now is the time to ask.  If not we load all of you into the coach with Constable Dresden and myself as drivers.  The city is out hunting, and we can use the opportunity to slip away with so many out scouring the countryside.  He hands Dresden a pistol and sabre "Let's hope we have to travel a ways before you need to use these."  It's almost night.  Destinations or where you will be spending the night aren't mentioned, leaving the Constables to chat amongst themselves, and the rest of you to talk inside the coach.

The night is fairly hot and humid, and as you are moving through the forest you are making scant headway.  Constable Jones mentions heading for Valley Forge, a small town between Philadelphia and New York.  He believes Washington had a few friends there as he was scouting for locations for use in the war in the coming year.

When you arrive late in the night at an inn, it is to an ill tempered old man and his wife who agree to give you lodging as a storm is moving in.  The coach was quite uncomfortable and you are all glad to be in warm beds.  You all sleep quite soundly through the night but for Mr. Martin, who awakens from nightmares he cannot recall.

Me to Arc
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Arc
Thomas will rush to the Jones' room to wake him. Constable. Constable. There is something wrong. I fear we are not safe.

Me to arc
"Tell me what's happening."  He begins dressing immediately, but seems exhausted.  He's moving far slower and more jerkily than normal.

Flay
In the small, but warm room, Dresden stopped after removing his boots. His hand ran along the handle of the saber, with such a fascination. This whole mission was a fascinating and maddening mess. Never before did he feel a need to hang a pistol from the bedpost for easy access in the night. His rifle was ready, leaned against the wall, and his clothes were laid out for speed. After a full hour of lying in bed, he finally managed to fall asleep, when he heard some ass running down the hallway, and found himself awake again. He needed books.

Arc to me
I awoke and saw several figures walking out of town the direction we were to ride in the morning. It was so many that I think the rest of the town has abandoned their homes. It is as if they know some danger here and will not stay until morning even if it means walking in the rain at night. Even if their sudden exodus tonight isn't a sign of immediate danger they will be on our path and some may wait in ambush.

Me to arc
"If they were abandoning the town due to danger why not awaken us?  Let us awaken the others quickly.  The rains will make traveling by coach difficult at best.  Quickly now."

The rest of you except Constable Dresden are fairly difficult to awaken.  Once you're up Jones informs you all to get dressed and get your knives and guns.  "We need to split momentarily.  Constable Dresden and I need to go make sure the coach and horses are safe.  The rest of you find the old man and woman.  See if they're still abed."  We meet back in the main room in a few moments."

Other than the Constables, what is everyone doing?
The Inn is a two story house with most of the top bedrooms, and the bottom the owners room, kitchen, main room, storage, and outside root cellar.

Boz
Robert dresses quickly, taking the rifle from the foot of his bed. "Check their bedroom. If they're not there, we may have bigger problems yet."

Me to Boz, and those going wif him
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Me to Constables
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Pip
"Wait, this is not right, the old man couldn't walk ten yards without his cane. We'd better report this to the constables." Will runs outside to meet Harry and Jones.

Flay to me
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Pip to FLay
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Me to Flay
"I suspect when we check the town we will have found everyone but ourselves will have abandoned it.  I'd like to check a few other things here if at all possible too.  What worries me is this doesn't make sense.  If they wanted us dead they could just kill us, there's no reason for games.  But if they are up to something, why do something as obvious as abandoning the town while we're here?

at this point Pip's character pops out

Me
Constable Jones: "I need everyone back in the house.  One man to watch it's front, the other to watch the rear while the rest of us search it.  Once we go through the house we'll make a quick tour of the town.  After that we decide to stay or run..."

Boz
Robert peers at the cane with a frown as Will dashes outside. "It's a stretch, but I don't suppose they're in the cellar? It would be hard for the old man to get far without this." He follows Will outside to check.

Me
You meet Will and the Constables as they're coming back in.

Jones: "I need two people to watch, one in front, one in back, preferably good shots.  Constable Dresden and I will be making a quick search of the house before we check the rest of the city and decide on our next move.  Any volunteers?" 

Boz
"I'll take the front door. What if someone heads this way?" Robert checks the rifle, standing a few feet from the door.

Me
"Bar the door now as best you're able.  If they seem in any way odd...shoot them.  I know how that sounds but there is a reason for this."

Pip
Will nods. "I'll cover the back door."

Flay
Dresden didn't make a comment about Jones' preference of action; at that point, nothing made sense, and he was too bleary to argue. He started at the bottom level, checking each room and closet, every nook and cranny, making sure nothing out of the ordinary was about.

Flay to me
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Me to FLay
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Pip to me
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Me
Things seem to pass quietly.  The wind and rain are getting ever higher in intensity, and you feel should it get much worse you'll be seeking the cellar under the house.

Me to Pip
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FLay to me
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Boz to me

Me to FLay
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Me to Boz
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Flay to me
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Offline bhu

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Re: Chapter 1: Smoke on the Horizon
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2011, 04:01:57 AM »
Me to FLay
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Flay to me
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Pip
Your will save, sir:
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As Will watches the bizarre scene, his grip on his halberd tightens. What the...? Is this some kind of sick joke? Jones' instruction not to hesitate to shoot suddenly made sense to him.

Me
The Constables return from their search with a lantern.

"Dresden and I must take a quick look in the cellar.   I do not wish to be surprised from behind, nor do I wish to be locked in.  The three of you are to stand guard outside until we call for assistance, or we leave.  Shoot anyone who comes near if you have to. How are the townsfolk outside behaving?  Are they still leaving for the woods?"

Boz
"They all stopped and looked this way at once before moving on." Robert frowns uneasily.

Me
"And you Will, did you notice anything?"

Pip
"Did I? These madmen tore a living goat to pieces before my eyes. It was a sudden burst of violence as I imagine the the murder of the native would have been like. I don;t know their intentions and maybe I do not want to know. What  I do know is that if we continue our trip as planned, by carriage over that road, we will definitely not be safe. As soon as you and Constable Dresden have finished your search of the house, we should take some time to discuss and find a new route."

Me
"Everyone load your guns and stow your powder before we go out into the rain.  If anyone doesn't have a knife or handaxe, or something they can use close up, find something in the house before we step outside."  He lights the lantern, and loads his pistol before standing at the door for several moments looking out.

"Alright lets go.  Constable Dresden, have your gun at the ready as I open the cellar doors.  I'll go in first with the lantern.  The rest of you stand guard unless we call for help.  Even if we call I do not want everyone to abandon the door.  We need someone to watch.  If something happens and Dresden and I do not make it, get in the coach and make for Philadelphia as fast as you can.  Any questions before we step into the wind and rain?"

I'll take that as a no."

Jones steps into the wind and rain.  Stepping to the cellars he awaits Constable Dresden to get into position before opening the doors to...a dark storm cellar.  He holds up the lamp and when nothing immediately scrambles up to meet him, beckoning Constable Dresden to follow. 

Me to Flay
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Flay to me
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search roll plz

Flay
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Me to FLay
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Me

After a few moments the Constables emerge empty handed.  Jones is fairly sour faced.

"Alright lets hit the other dwellings nearby on the main road, quickly."

Listen, SPot, Search rolls from everyone.

Pips roll

Boz roll
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Flay Roll
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Arc Roll
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Me
For most of  the houses the search turns up nothing remarkable.  No one has packed an food or weapons, or survival gear they would need for camping.  Medicines, personal effects, etc are also left behind.  Jones tells you all not to eat or drink anything.  Constable Jones and Mr. Martin both find odd drawings in chalk that Constable Jones insists on erasing.  Usually hidden under beds or other places.  Mr. Martin even finds a fake bible in the church containing a different book.  A crumbly old one written in a language he doesn't know. 

Outside you see nothing.   No people, no animals.  That's to be expected a little, but it appears the townsfolk have finally made it into the forest.  Upon returning to the inn you find your horses and coach still fine.

Is Martin keeping the book?

"We need to decide on staying here the night to weather out the storm or not.  I don't think the townsfolk will be waiting for us in ambush, nor do I think they'll be coming back.  If we stay, I'd rather it not be in this Inn.  I want something more defensible.  I also imagine you've all got questions as well."

Boz
"Would the church be a suitable place to wait for morning?" Robert glances around, obviously on edge.

Me
'Church has too many windows and doors and not enough of us to defend them.  I doubt it's being used as a Christian Church anymore anyway.  We need something 5 men can hold.  Do we stay is the question?  The storm is only getting worse."

Flay
"If the storm's worsening, we might consider staying here instead of trying our luck at finding a different position than the one we have. I think five men might be able to hold an inn, if it comes to a fight, don't you Jones? I'd prefer a place without a cellar, but beggars can't be choosers."

Me
"The inn is ...contaminated for lack of a better word."

Flay
Thinking he understands the claim, though not the reason, Dresden unwittingly spits back, "Well is there a damn place in this town that isn't?"

Pip
Will - listening, but not really taking part in the conversation - frowns as he looks up at the sky. He licks his finger and sticks it in the air.
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Me to FLay

"There were a few, but we'd have no place for the coach and horses...well the inn it is then.  We'll need to establish a few things then.  We don't eat their food.  We use the food and water we brought with us.  We need a watch during the night, preferably one who can keep an eye on the horses and coach.  We sleep in a communal room unlike last night."

Me
"So, who would be up for watch?  Who among us is a decent shot?"



Offline bhu

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Re: Chapter 1: Smoke on the Horizon
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2011, 04:09:17 AM »
Flay
"I'm a decent shot, but not amazing. And my rifle tends to be a bit faster than others. I'll take a shift of watch."

Me
"We've hours left till sundown.  Let's study the maps and do our best to get anything done that needs doing before dark.  If you're taking first watch go ahead and rest."

Pip
"I could take a longer watch if needed. I barely sleep anyway, eventhough last night was an unusual exception."
Will then opens his backpack, takes out the maps and spreads them across the table.
"So let's take a look at our journey to come."

http://www.sonofthesouth.net/revolutionary-war/maps/valley-forge-map.jpg
http://www.iment.com/maida/familytree/gibson/map3.jpg

Me
You have several hours till nightfall if you wish to ask the Constable questions or chat mongst yourselves.   If no one is curious i can time warp.

Pip
Before calling it a day, Will is going to determine the route the party is going to take. I assume Jones is assisting. Anyone else?
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After this, Will will try to get some sleep before taking both second and third watch.

Flay to me
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Me to FLay
You find several things that look odd given your occult knowledge.  SOrt of like either the person putting them up made up their own system, or was taught differently than you, or maybe you've just been taught wrong.  You arent sure.  It kind of bugs you.  For example the chalk inscriptions fall into several schools of thought, but it doesn't match any of them.  It looks more like mathematical equations than pseudo magickal gibberish.

Boz
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me to Boz
You find a hidden compartment in a wooden chest used to keep clothing in.  There is a bag of gold coins of a design unknown to you, and a pamphlet with various designs on each page.  They look like mathematics but are alien to any system you know.  No explanation is given for them in the pamphlet.  It's actually quite hard to find.  There's a till or compartment on one side, but if you life the board forming the tills side there's a compartment underneath.

Flay to me
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Me to FLay
He looks less happy than before, and now insists on thoroughly searching the common room you'll all be sleeping in for more.  Unless you press he doesn't really say more.  He doesn't ask the others saying he'd prefer to keep it between the two of you, and they might not know what to look for anyway.

Me
Anyone doing anything else before night time?

Pip
Apart from informing everyone on our route for tomorrow, no.

Boz
With nothing else presenting itself, Robert settles down to try and get some sleep.

Flay to me
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Me to FLay
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Me to Arc
You doing anything with the book you kept?

Arc to me
When we are hunkering down in the Inn I will inform Jones about it and show him if he wishes to see it.

Me
Jones pales considerably on looking through it.

"Does anyone here read any languages other than English?  I'm assuming this script is German or something similar to it."

Flay
Harry's head popped up. "German, you say? What the hell have they got written in German?...." The constable moved fluidly over, seeming to pay more attention to the book than the people holding it. However, he never took it out of someone's hands, reading over their shoulder, at least until it was offered to him.

Offline bhu

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Re: Chapter 1: Smoke on the Horizon
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2011, 02:47:55 AM »
Me to FLay
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Flay
"Well, it;s not German.... germanic, yes, but it looks more like Dutch. Now, Dutch is somewhere between German and English grammatically. I could work on learning it, but I'd have to study the thing for a long while before I could even attempt a clumsy transliteration. Looks interesting though..." Harry seemed to be looking over the words very slowly, as if trying to sound them out in his head and piece them together with similar, German words. "I might be able to work on it little by little during travels and at night, if I might be allowed. Unless someone speaks Dutch? hold on, what the hell is a book written in Dutch doing here? This isn't something the general commoner might have...."
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Boz to me
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Me to Boz
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Boz
Robert peers over Harry's shoulder curiously. "Definitely Dutch. I know a little bit about Germanic languages, let's see..."

Flay
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With Robert's aid, Harry was muttering under his breath, making half-syllable exclamations, working in his head. He still felt as though he was rushing it. "So far, this is all I can make out, though if I sat down for a while, we might be able to make out more of it..."

Me
You're having a little trouble making sense of it.

Jones: "We have time in the future.  No matter what that book gets back to Philadelphia.  Also, tomorrow we look for names carved on either the trees or the houses.  Somewhere obvious.  We wont have to look hard.  It's about an hour till sundown.   If there are questions now is the time.  Otherwise we need to load our guns, and make ready."

Night comes.  The storm only gets worse, rattling the windows of the Inn.  The only reason you haven't drawn teh shutters in the main room is the need to be able to keep watch, though you can't imagine anyone willingly traveling in what's outside.  But then you didn't think you'd watch an entire town abandon the only life they've ever known to march to their death in the woods in a storm that's unseasonably bad.

Who gets first watch?

Boz to me
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Me to Boz
Correct. 

Me
Everyone can make Knowledge history checks before bedtime.  Assuming Hary is taking first watch he should make listen spot checks as well.

Flay
Knowledge (History): 9
Listen: 23
Spot: 18

Harry kept his eyes and ears open, his rifle in his hands, and his pistol and saber on his belt and ready.

Pip
As Will was making his bed for a short night's rest, he pondered upon the situation. He was sure he'd sleep well tonight, for somehow, being out here with these new companions, he felt much more at easy than he had felt in the city the last month. Was it that he was away from the sea? Away from the ever blowing salty winds of Philadelphia?
Anyway, something about this situation seemed eerily familiar to him. It reminded him of something he could have read in a book, even though he wasn't much of a reader.

Arc
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Boz
Knowledge (history): 1d20+7=13
Robert's memory on the subject is a bit hazy. He thinks he's heard of something like this before, but the lack of sleep is messing with his head.

Me to Pip and Arc
u can remind the others if u wish

Arc
I just had the most disturbing thought. The events of this village remind me of the Roanoke Colony incident from the war with Spain. A completely deserted town with no sign of any reason why.

Me
Jones: "It reminds you for a reason.  Get some sleep.  You'll need it."

Me to Flay
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Whoever gets second watch it is now your turn for Listen/Spot rolls.

Pip
Listen; Spot (1d20+1=9, 1d20+3=23)
I take 3rd watch as well.

Me to pip
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Pip
Quietly, Will walks over to the bed Robert is sleeping in and gently shakes his shoulder. "Robert, wake up," he whispers. "Someone's out there. I'm thinking about taking a look, but I need you to keep watch until I return."

Boz
Robert blearily opens his eyes, peering up at Will. It takes a bit for the words to sink in. "Someone's outside? Where are you going?"

Pip
"The house across the street, someone was walking... or I should say limping, inside. I want to check it out for our safety. Maybe this person can tell us more on what has been going on in this town."

Boz
Robert nods slowly, taking his rifle from the foot of the bed. "As you like. Will five minutes be enough time?"

Pip to me
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Me to Pip
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Pip
Will lights the bullseye lantern. "Remember our own morse code? Two short, one long, one short if everything's okay. One long, three short for help. If I'm not back in fifteen minutes, wake the others." He puts on his raincoat, carefully opens the door and leaves the inn.
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Offline bhu

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Re: Chapter 1: Smoke on the Horizon
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2011, 02:52:26 AM »
Arc
So you want us to believe there is some kind of sea monster that is cutting us off from Europe!? People said I was crazy.

Me
"I wish it were that simple.  You will need to keep more of an open mind Mr. Martin if you are to live through this.  You especially.  Of all the people here you were chosen for reasons other than knowledge or skills you may possess.  I expect tomorrow the storm will be gone as it will no longer be necessary.  We will search the area then to see if anyone has left any evidence the way they did in Roanoke.  Is anyone here knowledgeable about the local tribes?  I'm assuming someone is."

Flay to me
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Me to FLay
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Flay
Dresden hasn't moved from his spot, but is now straining to be more interested in guarding the door than being a part of the conversation. "I know a bit about the tribes. I know of a handful of them, none of them happy. They wont be any happier to see us than they would be to see each other. Why, are you saying the storm, the abandonement, they did all this?" The look he gives Jones and the tone of his voice betrays a lack of skepticism with Harry.

Me
"No.  At least I would hope not.  My guess would be the people fleeing will be going to take shelter with one of the tribes.  The storm is meant to keep something from following, though in all honesty that might not be us.  We may be getting left behind as a distraction.  It's too hard to guess.  I do think the moment this storm abates we do a quick search to see if they've left a clue such as a name placed prominently somewhere, and then we run like hell.  It will be slow going in the coach, so we'll need to travel hard.  The only problem would be in what direction.  Franklin and the others will need to know of this, but we also desperately need to know where Washington is and what's happened."

Jones relieves you on watch after your encounter swearing to explain more in the morning.  When you awake he already has bacon and coffee cooking along with some biscuits.  The storm appears to be abating.

"Good morning all.  It'll be time to leave soon, so I need to discuss a few things.  Information is what we were sent to retrieve.  Information that some believe is more important to the nation than we are.  Let that sink in for a moment.  And sadly they may be right.  No matter what happens in the next few days, getting that information back to Philadelphia must be done.  If I die, turn back immediately.  What you know may prevent more deaths.  Don't go anywhere on your own like Mr. McQuillen did last night.  None of us can afford to be lost for no good reason.  If you have to die make it count for something.  If anything unusual occurs on watch, wake me and Mr. Dresden immediately.  Do not confront it on your own.  If you see something or someone claiming to be a friend or a relative, do not be fooled.  Smoke and mirrors are a common tool used by our enemy."

"I know you're eager to know more, but it's too soon.  You wouldn't believe me yet without seeing what I have seen.  If you have questions you can ask while we're eating and I'll answer as best I can.  After that we check on the horses, do a quick sweep of the town, and run like hell."

While you all eat Jones sets quietly at the window watching outside, not moving or saying a word.  As the winds settle down and come to a halt he seems to be listening for long moments.

"Mr. Dresden would you step out into the street with me for a moment."

You both step outside.  The smell of fresh rain is strong, and you can see the winds have done some minor damage here and there.  Jones looks at you for a moment and you could swear he looks terrified.

"Mr. Dresden, I  need you to listen for a moment and tell me what you hear."

Listen rolls from anyone going outside.

Flay
Harry's eyes narrow for a second, wondering but not asking. He closes them, turns away from the house, and tries to pay attention only to the sounds around him for a moment.
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Me to FLay
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Me
Jones opes the door without taking his eyes off the street. "I need everyone packed and ready to go now.  We need to be checking on the horses as a group, and out of this town within the next few moments."


Once you're all packed he leads the way to the stables, gun drawn, and motions for silence before listening at the door.  He motions for you to cover him as he opens it, and you see the horses acting perfectly normally.  Jones sighs in relief until a few moments later when there is a sound like a thousand cannons firing at once, and the ground rears up beneath you.

Balance checks to avoid falling as well as Fortitude saves.

Offline bhu

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Re: Chapter 1: Smoke on the Horizon
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2011, 03:02:55 AM »
Flay
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Arc
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Boz
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Pip
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Me
Everyone but Pip is knocked flat to the ground taking a point of damage.

Everyone but Boz is deafened for 3 minutes.  You are all quite confused and disoriented.  Constable Jones doesnt seem much better off. 

Me to Boz
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Boz
Robert staggers to his feet, wincing. "What the hell was that?" he asks before realizing that no one can hear him. Seeing that the horses are panicking, he dashes over to them, trying to settle them down and soothe them.
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Flay
Harry gets himself up slowly enough, shakes his head and realizes it only worsened the ringing. Though he can't hear a damned thing, he takes stock of himself, reorients his body, and looks around wildly at what could have made that hideous noise. He doesn't see much, distracted as he is by the horses, and seeing Robert take charge of them, he goes to assist.
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Me
You manage to calm the horses while everyone else shakes it off.  Jones may have gotten the worst of it he looks pale and shaking.  He begins muttering something to himself and trying to climb the stables.  He may have lost it.

Flay
Harry gives a gruff, rough commanding gesture towards the wagon, then turns from his comrades. Still unable to hear properly, he runs over, trying to lead Jones back to the horses. Though the world remains an audible-blur, his mouth should have said something like, "Jones, we need to go, what are you doing?"

Me
He cannot hear you apparently as his back is towards you.

FLay
Thinking profanities as opposed to bothering to speak them out loud, Harry motions angrily towards his comrades to get moving, meanwhile trying to get to Jones and physically bring him back. Instead of approaching him from behind, he comes from the side, trying to calm the obviously traumatized man as you would a scared animal or child.

Pip
The buzz in his ears leave Will confused for a moment until he sees Harry gesture to him. As he sees Dresden's futile attempt to get Jones' attention, he steps forward, shakes his head at Harry and picks up Jones, throwing him over his shoulder. As well as he can with his impaired hearing, he yells "Time to move!" and nods at Harry.

Me
You attempting to Grapple Jones then?
Listen rolls to cut through the ringing to understand jones

Flay
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Me to FLay
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Flay to me
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Offline bhu

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Re: Chapter 1: Smoke on the Horizon
« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2011, 03:09:55 AM »
Me to FLay
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Flay
Even as he gets a grip, it slips, and Jones continues onward. Harry yells up at him, "We've got to go! We'll find it after, but we have to go now! God damnit, Jones!" Not knowing what else to say, he yells up something he hoped might snap the constable back into reality; "Form up!" He had no way of knowing if Jones had any involvement with the war.... in fact, by his personality alone, he doubted it. But it was a decent bet, and that would snap any ex-soldier out of his thoughts fast enough.
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Me
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Jones looks at you for a moment with a stare you find terrifying.  It's more like he's looking far past you at something no one but him can see.  You've seen it in people in the war.  It's a sign they've seen truly bad times.  His eyes snap into focus, and he smiles thinly.

"But we need to know which way to go."

Flay
"We'll figure that out when we're not in town, able to get blasted on our ass again. Besides, we need to watch over those maps. Come on, we need you at the wagons!" He was speaking strongly, but calmly, hoping to ease him back down. "Unless you have some reason to need to look, in which case it would be best you share it with us all. Now, come down!"

Me
As the ringing in your ears abates he looks at you strangely calmly.  "If such an explosion as that were near town do you believe we would still be alive Harry?  Look around.  There's no damage anywhere.  We need to make sure we don't head into whatever's just happened."

Flay
Harry's mouth opened to respond, then failed on him. He looked up, still uncertain of Jones, but says, "Alright, but let's do it fast. Whatever the hell that was should have left a simple sign, like a massive cloud of smoke." Harry looks up into the sky. He looks over at the others. "Hey! We're going to figure out what the hell happened, you guys make sure it's ready to go in an instant's notice!"

Harry rushes into the house, trying to go up to a higher floor, hoping for windows of some sort to survey the damage.
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Boz
"What do you think I've been trying to do?" grumbles Robert, leading the horses over and helping Jones up onto the constable's mount.

Me
anyone wish to make spot checks besides FLay?  Now is da time?

Boz
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Pip
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Me
Those of you making spot checks do not see smoke
Those of you making survival checks note the wind is coming (pretty forcefully) from the northeast.  There is no smell of gunpowder.

Me to Flay
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Flay
Coming back out the door, and hoping Jones was sane enough not to jump off the damn roof, Harry heads straight for the wagon. "There was some sort of flashing light, blinking, but it disappeared behind a cloud. I have no idea if it was a lighthouse or something else, but I'd really rather be gone from here. Where's Jones?"

Boz
"Right here on a horse, and I suggest everyone else follow his example." Robert cranes his neck to look around out of the nagging suspicion that something will soon go very wrong.

Me
Jones: "We're going back.  New York is dead, and if Washington is lucky he's dead with it.  They'll likely have been able to see that even in Philadelphia if they were up and about, but we can't take that chance.  Philadelphia needs to know about this before it reaches this far.  We'll only have a few days to prepare or leave."

He looks beaten down.

Flay
Harry starts to move to comply, then stops, turning slowly. "The hell do you mean, New York is dead? I thought you said the war was over! How can the city be dead?!"

Me
Jones looks at you for long moments.  You can see the emotions warring on his face before he regains control. 
"Harry...I said the war with Britain was over."
It hasn't occurred to you till now he's never really called you Harry much until you came to this place.

FLay
Harry stood stalk still. He'd never trusted the man, though he had been growing to respect him, oddly, over the last few days. But the lies were constant, the superiority seemingly unfounded. He thought for a moment before speaking, and when he did, rifle hanging loosely but present from his hand, he spoke with force. "We need to go. While we move, you have to tell us everything. You've kept us in the dark. Kept me, someone you supposedly want to help protect the group, in the dark. How can I do that when we don't know anything? We'll go back, warn who we must, but so help me Jones, you will tell us now what you haven't before, your judgement of our readiness be damned." He doesn't move, instead remaining still as a stone. It isn't hard to tell that he's seething, but it's hidden behind a calm, albeit stone cold, face. He'd learned it, being a good constable, and hoped it would work for him now before it came to blows.

Me
He smiles briefly.  In a manner that does not calm your nerves.

"We need to be away from here quickly, you are right enough about that.  It was most of a day to be here, and we've dawdled long enough.  I can chat with you while we are on the way back.  We'll stop well away from Philadelphia and things you wish to know will be discussed.  If I die between now and then, make sure you tell the others what you have seen.  Do not speak of this to anyone else or it could place your life in danger.  Above all, be careful of that book.  There are people who would kill you for it, even on our own side.  Now let us be away on the coach.  The enemy will be coming this way slowly, but it is coming."
ooc: ANy questions en route Flay?

Flay to me
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Me to FLay
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Me
The ride is incredibly hard after all the rain, and you do not make nearly as much time.  Jones has you make camp for the night at an old travelers lodge used by the military as a stopping point and shelter between towns.  Eventually the evening meal is cooked and eaten, and you have all settled down.

"Well I suppose you'll all be looking for answers.  Before we begin I'd like to ask each of you a question: Why do you lot believe you were specifically chosen for this mission?"

Offline bhu

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Re: Chapter 1: Smoke on the Horizon
« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2011, 03:13:43 AM »
Boz
Robert is the first to break the silence after Jones' question. "If you had asked me that a few days ago, I would have said that my presence provided our cover story with plausibility. Now I'm not so sure. I've read accounts of men who raved about things like this--quite a few of them--but my talents lie with machinery and chemicals. I can't help but wonder why you did choose to invite me and not someone else." He stares at Jones over the fire.

Me
"We did need cover.  Any merchant could have provided that, but not every merchant has shed their loyalty to the British.  We needed men who were loyal from all walks of life, particularly the sciences.  But you are here Mr. Jenkins because you are a maker of weapons, and the weapons we now have will soon be sadly inadequate.  We needed a man who can think quickly on his feet, observe the enemy, and come up with ways to stop them.  You came suggested for this task.  Mr. McQuillen, do you know why you are here?"   

Pip
Will, who has been mostly quiet since last night, looks up as if he had been dreaming. "Hmm? Well, your official answer when I asked you that very question was that I was chosen for both being the sole known survivor of the battle in New York and an expert navigator. However, since last night, I assume there's more to this 'surviving the battle for New York' than I initially thought." He bows his head again, as if he's not expecting anyone to respond.


Me
"Indeed there is, and last night showed that.  You met the enemy Will, though your mind has blanked it out to save you the burden.  Your fellows are not so lucky, though I wouldn't call what you have gone through luck.  Nor would I call what you are about to go through luck either.  We must talk about your encounter, and soon.  You were chosen largely for the reason that we believed you could shed light on somethings if we could overcome your loss of memory.  And..."

for a moment you can see his hesitation.  As though he is at war with himself over what he is about to say.

"...and we needed a man who could kill under harsh circumstances.  You have seen some of the very worst the war had to offer.  You know that sometimes things need to be done that you do not wish to do.  That sometimes a man must be callous and put personal feelings aside.  At least this is what my colleagues believe.  For my part I did not agree with this.  I personally believe you have seen more than enough."

"Harry, would you care to guess why you were chosen?"

FLay
Harry, who had been quiet in thought, finally looked up. "Well, our premise was that I was to help protect the group. That makes sense, after my services during the war and after. But now, I'm not sure. My only other point of interest would be in my fascination with the old world superstitions, though I can't see how that would be helpful, even with the odd happenings from the last few days..."

Me
"It was important that most of the constables were on board, and you were the only one I had not 'brought over', so to speak.  I had misgivings about involving you because quite frankly you seemed to honest.  What we do is about survival, which makes it a very dirty business sometimes.  I didn't think you'd want involved, or worse you might say something to the wrong persons and end up dead.  Your knowledge of old world superstition is a double edged sword at best though it will come in handy perhaps."

"And that brings us to you Mr. Martin.  I expect you know why you were involved.Have you felt or seen anything since we left Philadelphia?"

Arc
Aside from what I saw during the night when I woke you up, no I haven't. The most accurate way to say it is that the whole town felt wrong, but I can't say specifically why.

As far as being your ghost detector, I'm not doing so well at that job at the moment. I'm not even sure I want the job, but I don't really thing getting back to the city will change anything. Even if I were to go back to making head stones and pretending this never happened I would still be just as much a target for those strange men now.


Me
"You aren't seeing ghosts Mr. Martin and anyone telling you otherwise is lying.  Your talents will improve over time, probably out of necessity.  And you are right, you can't go back now.  There will always be someone hunting you because they want the use of your abilities.  You are a marked man Mr. Martin.  Marked because you can be a weapon in the right hands."

"So...I suppose I should get to it.  I truly wish you had had the opportunity to see more, in that it would confirm what I am about to tell you.  I should also tell you that once I tell you the truth you should be careful about telling anyone.  And by careful I mean you may be shot for treason, even if someone else did believe you.  We'll start by my asking a simple question: What do you believe reality is?  Do you believe God created the world?"

Flay
Harry thinks about this for a moment, before responding. "Can't say that I know. It's possible, I suppose. But I've never been a devout man, so I would hesitate to say for certain."

Me
"That will make this easier then.  And the rest of you?"

Arc
I was raised a good Christian man, but I've seen enough to doubt my faith. I know enough to not know what to believe at this point.

Me
"Mr. Jenkins and Mr. McQuillen?"

Boz
"I can't be certain of that one way or the other." Robert shrugs faintly. "I believe there are certain natural forces that govern the world. If I drop a pebble, it must fall, no matter its size or where I stand. Whether that is a law of Providence or otherwise is for other men to decide."

Pip
"Before the war started, I didn't give such questions much thought. My late grandfather used to say God doesn't have influence beyond the ocean. Strange as it may sound, I now believe he had a point. If you'd ask me whether there's a god, I couldn't tell you. But did he create the world? Definitely a no."