Seventh - Houndsend

Houndsend First Session

This is as far as we got in the adventure during the first session. The actual playing of the game works like writing a story so reading up on what has happened is like reading a story. Therefore there is no need to leave out anything of what we wrote in the game and anyone who is interested in following the story just has to read the following, which is the adventure itself:

“At last you have arrived at the famous town of Houndsend and are standing in the middle of, what appears to be, the market district. Men and women in long and light robes walk from merchant to merchant to fetch the best price and odd pairs are discussing the latest gossip and politics. The sound volume is quite loud which makes it a bit diffifcult to distinguish what people are saying and there is a dominating smell of sweetness in the air. The sun is warming and you feel the sweat is starting to shape droplets which are about to force down your face. Maybe that is why most of the people around you are wearing elaborate garment head wear. The ground you stand on appears to be made of sand and it stretches around the city for as far as you can see. In an exotic and busy place like this, adventures are bound happen…”

Please roll a Sensory Check (1d10)

I rolled a 5.)

Standing in the middle of the crowd of people you try to inhale all the atmosphere. The sweet smells seems to come from a merchant behind his stand selling exotic spices and herbs. A couple of meters to your left you can hear two people talking excitedly about some Dead or Undead but you cannot distinguish exactly what they are saying. On top of a wooden box is a man standing in ragged cloth, shouting from the top of his lungs that Cascadian Profecies are about to come true. “The giants are coming! The Giants are coming! Run, I tell you! Run!”. Even though the man seems enthusiastic about it noone seems to pay any attention to him.

What do you do?

I shift the weight from my peg-leg to the other leg, and walk a little closer to the couple mentioning the undead without getting too close. I try to eaves drop on the conversation.

While you get closer you are able to hear more clearly what they are talking about. The conversation goes something like this:

“Man 1 – I am baffeled in the matter. A man being dead but yet alive. Man 2 – Yes I heard that he has not eaten for over a month and the he does not even respond when you talk to him or even hit him. He just lies there in his bed. His mother says he breathes which is putting the twist to the matter. Man 1 – perculiar indeed. I understand his mother, but on the other hand I don’t think it is worth the pain of his family to see him lying there all…dead. Someone should take the guts to ends his miserable life. Man 2 – I hear you, I hear you good man.”

I move up the two men, bow slightly and say: “My good men, so sorry to interrupt you, but you don’t happen to know any good clergy men around here, do you?”

“Ahem.” One of the men produces. He continues, “No need to appologize. Now, what is this about clergy men you inquire about?” The second man interupts and attempts to fill in the blanks “You must be new in town. Don’t mind Darwin here, it is not often we get inquires about religious matters. So, I will have to disappoint you my good man, there has not been any religion of any kind here in Houndsend for many generations now. May I ask why clergy men are in your interest on this fine day, I might be able to guide you to other towns?”

“Oh!”, I sigh dramatically and kick a small stone with my peg-leg, “it’s really silly, I’m almost ashamed of speaking of it. It’s my nephew, you see. He believes he’s a…it’s so silly really…he believes he’s a living dead! Yes I know, silly is what it is. He says he was cursed and he’s forced to live like an undead, so he asked me to find him a clergy man around these parts for some reason. Can you believe it – un-dead? I bet it’s the silliest thing you two gentlemen have heard of. I mean, I find it hard to believe that anyone like you two know anything about undead and their like in this town?”

“Oh my Oh my” The first man gestures. “We haven’t heard of the undead in ages. In fact I don’t think I have never heard of them, other than from the stories that is. So, I am afraid that we will have to disappoint you again. We know next to nothing about undead.” The second man interupts again “That is news out of the ordinary, relly. Are you sure your…nephew was it? is really undead?”

I bow slightly again, smile and say, “Of course not, my good gentlemen. It’s all in his head. Farewell.”

Disappointed at my attempt to lure out some details about the mother and her undead son from the two men, I continue to the man on the wooden box to listen for a while.

While you turn around you feel a hand is put on your shoulder and you hear that one of the men is trying to talk to you “Good man, I mean no disrespect but may we ask you a question of great moral weight” He says with a serious but concerned voice. “Noone in town knows how to deal with this serious question but maybe an outsider can spread some light on it”

I turn around and say: “Yes, go on?”

Both men shrug backwards very unexpectedly almost simultaniously. “Excuse us sir, we mean no prejudice. But what happend to your leg”

“I lost it, plain and simple…to an ogre!” I wait a few seconds to see if they laugh, and then fill in, “Just kidding, my good men. Peg-leg aside, what was it you wanted an outsider to shed some light on?”

“Most fascinating! But indeed, the question at hand” He says with his body still tipped backwards but then straightens up and puts a serious expression on his face “I am not sure if you are aware of the latest news in town but no matter I will go straight to the point none the less. Outside of town there is a family living called the Underens. A little more than a month ago the father of the family passed away, however, noone has been able to determine the cause of his death.” He takes a deep breath and continues “That is a problem on its own but the really serious problem is regarding his son. You see, after the father was buried the son appeared to die as well. One morning his mother could not wake him up and so she made all attempts that came to her mind in order to wake him up. But no, the son would not wake up. She called on help and soon there after it was established that the son was still breathing. But why did he not respond? Everything was tried to wake him, they even tried to cut him with a knife but the boy still did not repond. It is now about a month ago since the boy fell into these deep slumber and noone as come near to wake him up. Discussions goes back and forth and it seems like most of us thinks that he is brain dead and that the mother would do best in end the boys life swiftly, this because it seems inhuman that the boy just lies there “dead”.” He takes another deep breath while the other man patiently stands silent. “Now to the question. As un unbiased mind, would you regard the son dead or alive?” he ends with an utmost serious epression on his face glaring you straight in the eyes.

“Hard to say”, I respond and scratch myself with the peg-leg, “I’m not a doctor. Maybe he’s been cursed too?”

“It is indeed hard to say” one of the men responds and then falls silent for some seconds. “As you say, he may be cursed, but they have found no signs of such things and on the other hand cursing is whitch craft and we have not seen that in a long time. Never say never, though, as my mother always tried to imprint in me.” The other man gestures with his hand towards you and says “Thank you for your thughts, I can hear you are able of extended thinking and it makes me believe that you might be interested in visiting the Undrens. They are desperate and would accept any help they can get. If you like I can show you on a map on how to get there, their house is just outside town. You have a map right?”

I fumble with my pockets and suddenly pull out a clean handkerchief. I hand it to the man with a smile and say, “Of course!”

“A blank map, how…inventive of you” the man seems baffled. “Oh well, let me draw you the outlines of the city and I’ll sketch you the route to the undrens.” He draws the oulines of the city on your handkerchief in a green ink with a type of pen you have not seen before. He then makes a dot to indicate where your present location is and then marks with an X where the Undrens house is. He also points out North and south. The X is located to the East. “There you go, that should be easy enough to follow. Once you get there please tell Ms Undren that Darwin and Deck sent you.”

Do you want to travel to the Undrens now?

(Yes.)

You walk out from the market district and follow one of the roads to the east. You walk past lots of old people sitting outside their houses enjoying the sun and the company. Children, and some older, play games on the streets and it all adds up in a quite heart warming atmosphere. After a while you reach the eastern city gates, made of dry bright wood and does not seem to be there for protection but rather just set a border to the city.

You follow the sandy road out of town and soon you arrive at a simple house just some meters to the side of the road. In front of the house you can see many people, each of them discussing with another. You are quite sure that this is the Undren’s house.

I walk slowly towards the house. If anyone take notice of my presence, I nod and smile to them. I pull out my old pipe and knocks it a couple of times against the peg-leg, stuff it with some questionable tobacco and put the unlit pipe in my mouth. I keep myself circling around the people, trying to gather information.

Most of the people does not seem to take notice of you. A couple of them smiles at you as you walk around, maybe an attempt to invite you. What you can discern from the chatter souds a lot like what you heard Darwin and Deck talk about in town. “Is he dead or is he alive?” is the most frequent question amongst the crowd. The entrance door to the house is wide open and it seems to be free for anyone to walk out and in. From the inside you can hear pottery clanking.

What do you do?

I walk through the open door and take a look around.

Inside the house, you immediately spot a man lying on a bed in far right corner of the house. To your left you can see a woman making food. Vegetables, meats, drinks, oils and more are spread all over the kitchen. It seems like the woman is makeing all kinds of food at once. To your immediate right is a dining table. Other than that the house seems to be adorned with only what one would expect in a house, carpets, paintings, candles cupboards.

“Good day, my fair lady”, I shout and bow. “Sorry for intruding into your beautiful home, but you wouldn’t have something to light my pipe would you?”

The woman turns around and gapes at you. She looks uneasy and her face is dry, filled with wrinkles that appears to come from a lack of sleep. She opens her mouth and produces the words “I’m sorry, mister. I did not listen there. May I ask: Who are you?”

“My name is Torulf Weakleg, of the Weaklegged…if you’ve happened to heard of us…no? Anyway, I’m here on behalf of Deck and Darwin.”

“Oooh, I am being rude. You are probably here to help me and here I go being rude. You must excuse my manners, and..and this mess. Darwin and Deck must have explained it all to you. Can you understand me Mr. Weakleg, the pain I am in? I do not want to burden you but I am about to collapse on the inside beacuse of what has happened to my son. I simply do not know what to do any longer. Each day starts with hope, the hope that tells me that my son will wake up, but also each day ends in despair and the despair just gets worse and worse. Are you here to help me? Can you help? Please, say you can help?” Tears are streaming down her face and you now understand where all these wrinkles in her face comes from.

%{color:blue}”Here”, I say and quickly slide her a chair, “sit down and rest for a while, and let old peg-legged Torulf help ye.” I help myself over to food and put a finger in every pot to taste. I manage to light my pipe using a stick from the oven. “Tellf mef, deafr lafdy”, I say with my mouth full of carrot, “whatf are froubling youf?”%

she accepts the chair, and with a apparent effort she produces a smile “Thank you”. She seems to be watching you with a positive relief when she sees you tasting everything in the kitchen. She takes a deep breath and says “It warms my heart to see someone for the first time in a very long time being appreciative of life, I hope you enjoy my cooking, it is all fresh from mother nature. As I am sure Darwin and Deck explained, I do not know what is wrong with my son. He has been lying there on his bed unresponsive to anything for a month now. The whole town has shown their concern for us, even the mages from the university, but none has been able to shed light on this. And now I am beginning to question myself. Is my son really alive, or is he dead? Is it more noble to end is life swiftly or are we unworthy of making such a decision? It all hurts my head but I cannot escape the fact the I cannot take it much longer seeing my son lying there dead, but alive” She stretches her hand towards you and nervously grabs your hand. “What would you do, if you were me?

%{color:blue}I swallow down the rest of the carrot, the potatoes, the mushrooms, the boiled eggs, and a mug of water before I answer, “I have no idea, my dear lady.” I put the pipe in my mouth and puff on it for a moment. With my eyes focused on the horizon outside, I ask: “When did all this started?”%

“It all started when my husband died. He and my son has always been very close, like best friends they did everything together. My son, Hugo, cried for days after his fathers passing away. So did I and we comforted each other. He acted as any normal boy would have acted at that time but then after the funeral it all changed. We buried him deep underground and we held a ceremony in the name of mother nature and my husband. Right when he was lowered down I could see my son collapsing. We all thought that he fainted, because that would be expected, but he never woke up. We had to carry him home to his bed. The next morning I thought that he would wake up but he didn’t. Since then he has lied there on his bed unresponsive.” She continues “I don’t know what else I can tell you except that when my husband was alive it was not unusual that my husband and son slept for a full day and night. I never bothered to bother them about it but that is the only thing I can think of. That my son is now sleeping for 100 days and nights instead of 1 day and night.”

“Sounds strange enough”, I say and puff some more on my pipe. “What’s your relation to Darwin and Deck, if you don’t mind me asking?”

Please roll a Sensory Check

(I rolled a 10.)

For a split second you become unconcious but that split second feels like an eternity when you regain your conciousness. A couple of seconds later it happens again but this time you are able to sense a wisper but then you gain back your conciousness. What just happened?

Please make a Wisdom Check

(I rolled 8.)

You regain control over yourself and after some pondering you understand that someone is trying to get into your mind. Maybe if you would be able to concentrate real hard you could get some sense out of this.

Please make a Concentration Check

(I rolled 6.)

You close your eyes and concentrate inwards. After some seconds you here the wisper again, this time more clear than before: “You need to help me. I know you can help but you need to let me get into your mind. Don’t be afraid I will not harm you. All you have to do is will me into your mind, let go of the control you might say”

Will you let whoever it is to enter your mind? All you need to do is wanting it.

(I let whoever it is enter my mind.)

All is silent, dark, numb, tasteless and smelless but you are aware. You have entered a space which feels both big and empty and you feel like whoever entered your mind is now leading you navigating you through a myriad of dillusions. It feels like you are on drugs and you might ask yourself if that might not be the case. But someone speaks to you “I have shut down all your senses except one. My mother will think that you have suffered the same fate as I have, but have faith Torulf for I will guide you. Know that you are now under my complete control and know that you are not able to get out from here until I release you. I need your help because I sense that you are the only one who can help me, don’t ask me why beacuase I don’t know why you are the only one.”

It is then quiet.

Please make an intuition Check.

(I rolled 4.)

You attempt to communicate with him but you don’t know how to.

I try to break free from this state.

No matter who hard you try you fail in every attempt. It is like wherever you turn a void is there. A void you feel unfamiliar with. Now all kinds of different creatures, colors and light and darknesses is appearing inside your mind. A horse with wings but without legs, a frog the size of a house, a princess dressed in black, a burning house, a man petting himself on the shoulder, a father putting his child to bed just to see the child fall through into the void. It all passes you quickly but you cannot resist being scared of what is happening. The voice starts communicating with you again “I am Hugo, the boy you saw lying dead on the bed. I need your help and I need you to be able to communicate back to me, if we do this together all will be fine. Now listen carefully. First Concentrate as hard as you can, then leave all attempts of control and just let everything that comes at you be free.

Please make the following Checks in order: Concentration Check, Intuition Check

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anteolsson

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