EverythingIsUnthinkable

That Sinking Feeling
Prisoners, new pals, pilgrims and a pit.

Late Afteroon, Day 17
Having barely finished restraining the five remaining Japanese commandos with their own tent rope, Rydell and Roland were troubled to see Shiva vanish in an increasingly familiar rush of displaced wind. Only a moment later two new Survivors appeared. One was a mousy, scarred woman with bleached bone feathers in her mask’s headdress – like Roland – and the other was a slight, handsome man with aquamarine feathers – like Brittomart.
Mirabella_Edit.jpgCalidore_Edit.jpgThey introduced themselves as Mirabella and Calidore, respectively. They had nothing but their masks and black jumpsuits. After a degree of comfort amongst the four, currently present, Survivors was reached – and Gregory’s jaw was picked up off the floor – this problem was addressed. Fortunately for Mirabella and Calidore the group had just secured the greatest bounty ever achieved in all their travelling south from The Lighthouse. Commandos are not known for a lack of equipment with which to do their work!

Soon enough all of the Survivors had precious, precious boots along with gloves, compasses, a few rations, sleeping bags, pistols, rifles, shoulder holsters, bandoleers, a new first aid kit, grenades and more. Securing the prisoners, the group laid down for a night’s rest in sweet, sweet sleeping bags.

On the first watch, Roland peered eastward, towards the great desert whose fringe they were camped on, and despite the late hour he swore he saw the kind of haze on the horizon normally brought about by great heat. Grabbing a new pair of binoculars, he looked again and saw nothing. The others took their turns at watch with no further event.

Day 18
Deciding to travel back towards The Pilgrim Village to deposit the prisoners and acquire much needed food, the group tied the commandos into a line – taken by Mirabella – before heading off. The weight of their new treasure of equipment and the slowly healing inury of Roland’s foot kept them from making much more than half the distance in a single day’s travel.

Luckily, it was an uneventful day.

Day 19
Further travel brought the group to the village a few hours past dinner, when Roland showed nobility in giving his last rations to the other Survivors. Gregory kept his food to himself. The Japanese prisoner’s stomachs rumbled.

Met with the Governor, his guards and a few villagers, the group were quickly led to the Church/Town Hall structure they knew from their first visit. The Priest was happy to see them, quicly serving a simple carrot-based soup. There were some mutterings between Gregory and the Governor before the prisoners were led away by two of the latter’s guards.

After a failed attempt at Bible instruction and an attempted introduction to Mirabella & Calidore, the priest led the Survivors back to the bunk beds adjacent to his own chambers. As ever, these were a welcome sight after travelling among the ashen wastes.

Day 20
A second Bible instruction was attempted over a simple breakfast. Further stymied by the Survivor’s lack of comprehension, he had an idea and left the Church just as the Governor, his guard and Gregory returned. The Governor gestured to Roland for his map, which Roland provided. The Governor pulled out two large sheaves of well-folded paper. One showed the village and a large surrounding area, most of which had been scrubbed black with charcoal. The other was blank and it was on this that The Governor quickly began to copy to from The Survivor’s map.

As he did this the Priest brought back a red-haired woman who had been seen during the previous visit. After being presented to the Survivors, she attempted some rudimentary language instruction. They hadn’t much time and it took a moment to establish what was even being attempted. However, by the time The Governor had had his fill of copying, they had at least established a mutual desire for the Survivors to learn the language of the pilgrims.

But that would have to wait for later. Very quickly, Gregory (seemingly) followed The Governor’s order and brought the Survivors out of the church. At it’s doors they were greeted with a hearty amount of simple rations – apples, bread, cheeses – and a clear imperative to finish their investigation of the fates of the pilgrim scouts. Some quick gesturing established Roland’s need for a crutch, which one guard literally hacked together from a loose beam he quickly grabbed nearby.

Off they went south, having calculated approximately a five day journey ahead. Several miles south of the village, they set down for the night. Mirabella successfully removed sand from two of the pistols but failed to unjam the single malfunctioning rifle. Again, Roland was humble. He took the jammed rifle and made sure the others, including Gregory, all had working firearms.

As they fell asleep, the Survivors couldn’t help but wonder what had happened to the Japanese commandos.

Day 21, 22 & 23
One cloud one day, two clouds the next and then bleach rain on the third. Eating. Sleeping.

Day 24
Light bleach rain continued to fall as, around noon, the group approached the point on the map where the southern heading pilgrim scout had been sent towards. From afar it appeared to be a lumber yard, which would make some sense as the areas border of chain link fence extended from the edges of the dead wood.

As the sneakiest survivor present, Rydell volunteered to scout ahead. Roland agreed to this. Leaving his new commando backpack with the others, he did just that.

His feet fell softly and, even with the steady sound of the rain falling, his ears were keen. Standing near the gate, Rydell could have sworn he heard the sound of large animals digging…somewhere nearby. Having seen what looked like evidence of dogs trying to work their way beneath several points in the fence, he fancied that perhaps hungry dogs were scavenging in the small graveyard he’d spotted at the back of the camp.

Working his way just past the gates, Rydell was understandably taken aback when the earth collapsed around him in a roughly six yard circle. Falling five yards to land flat on his chest, the wind was knocked out of his sails as a large quantity of dust swirled around his prone form.

Standing in the ashen grass a ways north of the camp, Roland looked through binoculars to see Rydell enter the camp only to be obscured by one of the several shoddy looking bunkhouse structures they saw. As far as he was concerned, everything was cool and the others felt the same way.

Sitting up, Rydell further disturbed his new floor so that it too collapsed. Plummeting another ten yards, the spry, athletic Survivor would have died if not for the protection of his jump suit. As it was, almost every rib was bruised by the time he once again landed flat on his chest. A high pain threshold is all that kept him from crying out and laying stunned for some time. A soft drizzle of bleach rain continued to fall down upon him, slicking the sides of the brand new pit and muddying the earth around his outline.
Bottom_of_Ghoul_Pit.jpgAfter very carefully running his hands over the walls and floor of his new environment, Rydell deduced that they had been packed and shaped carefully. With little confidence and much hope, he managed to crawl forward a few feet down the tunnel he had dropped into. Seeing nothing but darkness ahead, Rydell had a clever idea. Taking out his Swiss Army Knife, he went back to the dimly lit opening and carved a ‘1’ into the wall. Taking out his new zippo lighter, more Commando treasure, he flicked it on and forged ahead.

Meanwhile, the others waited. Calidore began to tap his toe.

Forced to crawl along at the relative height of a dog, Rydell began to wonder just what he was going to encounter as he went down one corner and then another – marking junctions with ‘2’, ‘3’, ‘4’ and so on. He eventually came to one slightly larger, squarish chamber with casually placed human skulls all along the edges of the walls as a kind of macabre trim.

The others, deciding they should see what was taking so long, began to head south towards the yard.

His zippo flickering, Rydell wished he had any faith in the odds of his crawling back up the hole he’d created earlier. But the combination of height, his injury and the slickness created by the rain combined to make him decide to take his chances by pressing onward. Facing a choice of left or right from the chamber, he chose left.

This path very quickly narrowed until he was almost convinced he would become stuck in it’s increasingly winding walls. Eventually they opened up dramatically, exposing a room in which one could actually stand. Peering in, Rydell tried his best to make out what he could by the dim light of the tiny flame he held in one hand.

He seemed to have stumbled across some kind of grotesque parody of the welcoming church he’d left only a few days ago. There were several crude pews with over twenty people in humble, patch-worn uniforms sitting at them – all facing ahead. Way back at the end of the room was a large painting of some stern looking man with a thick, well groomed mustache. He seemed to be looking ahead to some unimagined future.
Lumberyard_-_Stalin_Painting.jpgThe man standing beside the painting, wearing what seemed to be a kind of priest’s robes, was staring right back at Rydell. It was hard to say, but something seemed to be not quite right about the man’s flesh, eyes and teeth. Too grey. Too large. Too exposed. In fact, the same could be said about the entire congregation when they all turned to look at Rydell as well. Forty-two eyes with irises like a cat stared at the dirt covered Survivor in unison as

the zippo

went

out.

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Supported by the Ridkross
A big man, boar meat and bullets.

Day 14
Walking back down the winding trail, away from the two pilgrims literally praying their lives away in front of the bizarre figure embedded in stone, the Survivors had barely made their way from mountain to rolling hill before they were given another shock.

In a manner identical to that of Bradamante, who had been absent now since The Tower (two days ago), Brittomart vanished with a loud pop and a swirl of air filling a fresh vacuum with exactly her shape & volume. She didn’t even have time to give a panicked look of realization, though the others more than made up for this. Gregory the scout had seen something of Bradamante’s occasional intangibility at The House, but was the least prepared for this. After the remaining Survivors (Roland, Rydell & Shiva) adjusted to this new reality, they needed to spend the rest of the walk south back into the ashen plains north of the pilgrim village’s surrounding grasslands calming him down.

As they finished exciting the hills they were greeting by still another bizarre sight, albeit one far less alarming. Standing not far ahead of them was a seven foot tall bear of a man wearing a thick black jumpsuit like Shiva, though it had a thick red band across the chest and another going from neck to groin, and a much more distinguished gasmask than any of them. His mask was both adorned and armoured by a layer of burnished silver. His feathered mane was made of both red and silver feathers, all much longer than the feathers on the other Survivor’s masks. Beside him was a large, dead boar that must have weighed in excess of two hundred pounds.

Walking towards this potential ally, Gregory and the others saw the man reach deep into the boar’s mouth to retrieve a butcher’s paring knife. Holding this gingerly, he spotted the group and hailed them in a friendly manner. They approached him somewhat warily, the Survivors given slight comfort by the feeling of familiarity for this man they’d never met – something else Bradamante had prepared them for, in her own first appearance. This newcomer introduced himself as Ridkross.

Like Bradamante, Ridkross knew himself to be of the same people as the other Survivors and felt a familiar comfort with them. Unlike Bradamante, he looked the part. Judging by the coloring of his feathers and his obvious martial prowess, the group felt their theory of the feathers representing some kind of class or profession assignment was reinforced by the newcomer – both he and Shiva being physically imposing, adorned with red feathers, wearing the thickest armour and skilled in hand-to-hand combat. Perhaps Ridkross was a captain or duke back in wherever they came from?

He didn’t have the answer.

But he did know that it was worth using his butcher knife to pare down the boar for both it’s meat and whatever other objects might be kept in its carcass. After the group worked away at it for an hour they came away with nearly fifty pounds of edible meat, salted so it would keep and given extra flavor with some garlic Rydell had found. This was some very fine food indeed, which is why the others immediately began bargaining with Ridkross for as much of it as he’d part with. Unimpressed, he decided that he would hold onto all of the boar meat and would ration it out to the others as they days went by. He also decided that Rydell should just give him the fresh apple he’d been trying to bargain with.

Rydell agreed.

Within the boar’s great corpse there was also a pouch of the salt they used, a medium sized satchel made of oiled cloth – used to hold the meat – and a small, crystal whiskey flask filled right to it’s cap. Oh yes, there was also a bloody big, bejeweled Greatsword that was quickly slung along Ridkross’ back.

Despite the almost-standoff over the boar meat, the group quickly acclimatized to the new arrival. This was helped in part by his accepting Roland’s authority as leader. Said leader then decided that they should get moving on, heading roughly south-west towards the next destination in their “What happened to the pilgrim scouts?” tour around the far perimeter of the village.

Day 16
After over two weeks of prodding at the damn thing, Rydell finalyl figured out what his mask’s special feature was – optical magnification for fine detail work. This put a spring in his step right until nightfall..

Otherwise this was an uneventful day of travel and boar meat rationing.

Day 17
Coming near the point marked on their map by Gregory, the Survivors spotted a steeply sloping hill that dropped off suddenly on one side. Atop it was a man laid flat on his stomach, surveying the land with a pair of binoculars. Despite their best attempts at stealthily sneaking behind a smaller, adjacent hill…they were eventually spotted. The man, clearly of the same kind of people as the wretches with bombs in their heads, rappelled down the steep side of the hill and out of sight.

It was quickly agreed that Roland and Rydell would sneak up to that same hilltop to provide cover while Ridkross and Shiva would go around the side of the hill to confront the man and any of his contemporaries head on. Knowing how important he was for staying in the good graces of the pilgrims, it was decided that Gregory would hang back.

As the two groups moved ahead, Ridkross had an idea of his own. Next thing you knew, Shiva was sitting on his considerable shoulders and the two formed a truly bizzare sight. Stranger still was when, hiding just around the corner, Shiva stuck her head around for a look around the same time Rydell & Roland peered over the steep ledge and down at where the man had gone.

All three of them spotted the same thing: a campsite where a half dozen WWII Japanese commandos, not that the Survivors or Gregory knew that’s what they were, had been set up for several days. Warned by their peer, the other five men had joined him in a defensive position with three men standing and three men crouching in front of them as all six paid close attention to the corner where Shiva & Ridkross were hiding. Unfortunately for the Survivors, one commando spotted Rydell & Roland while another had the truly strange experience of seeing a feathered gasmask poking around a corner at an elevation of roughly thirteen feet.

Soon, shots were being fired. Dumping Shiva off his shoulders, Ridkross charged into combat wielding his Greatsword. Shiva followed suit with her leg torn from the robot that had been guarding the sheared mountain. Roland and Rydell let fly with bullets and billiard balls, respectively. The commandos rifles began to blare.

Shiva and Ridkross experienced some very good luck, resisting every bullet that impacted upon their armor while taking nary a hit to any of their more vulnerable parts. The pair inspired great fear in the soldiers front line as they carved and bashed away at them. This was not the scariest thing those soldiers would see, however.

After shrugging off a bullet to his arm, Roland felt a round tear through his left foot. The worn, dirty cloth he’d wrapped it in did him little good as flesh and bone were pulped, understandably sending him off balance. Thus began a streak of bad luck that culminated in the most amazing good fortune yet seen by the Survivors.

Slipping forward from the ledge, Roland saw his time since The Lighthouse flash before his eyes as he began a forty foot drop. Rydell tried to grab his friend but wasn’t quick enough. Reflexively, Roland tumbled and turned in an attempt to land on a part of his body that might not kill him. Despite having no formal acrobatics training, unlike Rydell, he did succeed in making sure he wouldn’t land on his head.

But what really saved his life was a mixture of his jumpsuit – the qualities of which the Survivors appreciated a great deal more after this day – and the exceptional misfortune of a Japanese commando in the front row of the unit. Busy fending off Shiva’s terrifying fists, while his knife failed to pierce her own impressive jumpsuit, the commando unwittingly became Roland’s landing pad.

In a strange tumble, Roland’s left thigh connected with the man’s chest with such force as to kill him instantly. Roland was hurt as well, but merely acquired the king of all bruises along the outside of his leg. Seeing the horror in the eyes of the soldiers at their friend’s chest cavity imploding, Ridkress seized the opportunity. Raising his sword high and bellowing with all his might, he managed to intimidate the remaining soldiers – all but one of whom had suffered injury by bullet & blade – into surrendering.

Kamikaze was something for pilots, this group reckoned.

But then, just as the Survivors finished tying up the soldiers with their own rope, Ridkross vanished in just the same manner as Bradamante and Brittomart. This not only cost the group a mighty warrior, he’d taken all the boar meat with him! His foot crippled and body aching, Roland surveyed the scene. These strange men with their excellent guns were clearly more important, skilled individuals of the same people as the wretched explorers they’d encountered thus far. But what was the connection?

Powerful rifles and pistols. Travel rations. Sunglasses. Proper shooting gloves. Sleeping bags. Canteens. Compasses. Cigarette lighters. Mess kits with actual PLATES and CUTLERY. Tents. Water purification tablets. Shovels. Even a few hand grenades. Though the patrol of Japanese soldiers had been run ragged by their travels and used up many of their supplies, their equipment was a bounty the likes of which the Survivors had never encountered in all the days since they awoke in The Lighthouse.

They’d need it all for what lay ahead at the final site in their investigation of what happened to the Pilgrim’s scouts. The five new prisoners also brought a handful of problems and moral quandaries into their lives. They would have been difficult to feed even with Ridkross’ boar meat, but now…

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Worship
Pilgrims, church meetings and an idol embedded in quartz

Day 12
Waking up in the basement shelter of The Tower, the Survivors quickly gathered their things and headed off towards the village their map told them was only a day’s travel north-east. A terrible breakfast composed entirely of biscuits and hard tack provided ample motivation, along with the fact there they were running low on even that tasteless crap, to find somewhere new with something different to add to their travel larder.

Around midday a curious phenomenon was encountered. The ashen, dead grey grass which had become very familiar since first coming down from The Sheared Mountain into the dead forest surrounding The House very suddenly. As if encountering a border on a map made real, the dead grey grass gave way to what must have been very lush, very green grass after having been exposed to a couple of days of bleachy rain. This border seemed to extend left and right to the horizon, forming a loose circular area around the village, which they could now just barely see in the far distance.

Eventually they stopped to eat another dull dinner as dusk came, sitting down on the grass maybe a couple of hundred feet from the edge of the town. It was a small town suited to late 1600’s colonial New England with pilgrims in black clothes and belt buckle hats to boot – not that the Survivors had any of the cultural or historical reference to understand all that. They just saw a bunch of modest buildings with stone bases, very tiny windows and most every other part built from soggy wood. Eating their biscuits, they could even spot the occasional inhabitant scuttling from one building to another – that they wore all black with little decoration seemed perfectly normal to the Survivors.
The_Pilgrim_Village.jpg
Soon after, they approached the town and were swiftly greeted by a dozen gawping villagers. A few moments more and the Governor with his six Personal Guard. Wisely, all of the Survivors except Brittomart removed their masks. Fearing great discomfort, she chose to pull her cloak up and wear it as a hood so that her headdress wouldn’t make her too intimidating.

Unfortunately the Pilgrim’s late 1600’s English is very much not the language of the Survivors. Thus it was purely from body language, tone and rhythm of voice that they had to infer a lot of what came next. The Governor seemed skeptical and might have told the Survivors to piss off, if not for the good deed they had done back at The House. A man who they’d later work out was called “”/characters/gregory-stanfield-the-pilgrim-scout" class=“wiki-content-link”>Gregory" spoke up for them, leading the Governor to cautiously allow entry – provided they surrendered all their weapons and be escorted.

The Survivors went along with this and were quickly brought to the center of the town where a handful of the more important looking structures stood. They were brought inside what they wouldn’t recognize as a relatively humble church, the only structure in town which could hold the entire population of approximately fifty people. Seated at the very front of the pews, they were introduced to the priest. He quickly won them over by bringing a chicken and vegetable soup, easily the most nutritious and flavorful thing The Survivors had seen in all the days they could remember.

Just destroying two servings of this, the Survivors didn’t fully appreciate that the entire town was slowly filling up the church while leaving a single line of pews between them and these strange newcomers. What followed were some spirited discussions between the priest, the governor and Gregory the one legged pilgrim. As night fell, a conclusion was reached and the townspeople were dismissed to their homes while four of the six personal guard were also sent off.

It took a lot of miming, but eventually it was conveyed that Gregory had managed to convince the Governor to take a chance on The Survivors. They, along with Gregory, were to explore areas near the village to the North, East and South where – presumably – others like Gregory had been sent to explore and never heard from again. Upon their return they would be given further food, a place to sleep and possibly language lessons from the beautiful red headed lady pilgrim who seemed to live in the adjacent school house.

With that agreed upon, the priest fetched water from the well for the town’s new guests and they all soon put to bed in the priest’s living area at the back of the church. He’d set up humble cots which, like the chicken vegetable soup, were quite humble but were the finest sleeping arrangements The Survivors could remember ever having come across.

Day 13
Waking up in the back area of the pilgrim’s church, the priest snoring away in a corner, was a bit strange for everyone. After breakfast they were escorted to the Northern edge of town, Gregory making it clear that he wanted them to first go north, then to the east distance from town and then south of the village. It took some further debating in their strange language, but Gregory convinced the Governor to provide them all with some supplies. Again, some humble bread, cheeses and apples wrapped in cloth blew away The Survivors. What luxurious lives these “pilgrims” seemed to live!

Slowed by Gregory and his missing leg, the group were only able to travel half the distance they usually did and eventually set up camp not far north of where they encountered that same grass/dead grass border where it wrapped around this side of the village outskirts.

Night 13
Somewhere in the dead of night, Rydell was taking his turn on watch and spotted the silhouette of someone heading north and then turning west towards the mountain range where The Sheared Mountain could be found. The figure quickly vanished on the horizon and Rydell, understandably excited by this, woke up Roland to see if his keen eyes could find the figure again. They did, if only for a moment.

But that moment was what Roland needed to be able to begin tracking the figure. Charging off with minimal equipment, the two male survivors successfully found the figure’s original, arcing trail. Frustratingly they were only able to follow it a short distance before finding evidence of the trail being intentionally wiped out. Whomever it was had spotted them and possessed significant tracking abilities of their own, enough to disguise their tracks well enough to stump Roland.

Deciding not to tell Gregory about this, the two R’s found their way back to camp.

Day 14
Waking up in the middle of the open, grey plain was something of a deja vu experience for the Survivors, especially as they didn’t have far to go before encountering different yet very familiar round hilltops sloping up to become mountains. With Rydell marching a reasonable distance ahead of the main group, they quickly found a worn trail with increasingly high sides to it and decided to go that way.

Around noon Rydell stumbled across possibly the strangest sight he’d encountered since waking up in the Lighthouse. There was a depression in the group that carved out the high sides of the trail as if a large, perfect circle of nothingness had opened up and obliterated everything contained within it’s volume. On the right side of the trail this revealed only more granite-looking stone.

On the left side were two pilgrims kneeling and praying before something for which The Survivors had little or no context. Embedded deeply within a semi-transparent light purple rockface was an eight foot tall giant of a man wearing what Shiva recognized as powered armor, albeit no model of power armor she remembered. Attached to this armor were many religious looking icons and even scriptures, with a golden eagle dominating the broad breastplate.

Rydell came back to the others and they decided to see what would happen if Gregory witnessed this, so they all came up to it together. Visibly shaken from the first second, Gregory clutched at a small piece of wood he wore around his neck on a cord. He then stamped in front of the two praying pilgrims and hysterically yelled at them for a while, but they took no notice. Shiva then hefted the leg of the living metal statue they encountered at The Sheared Mountain and took a whack at the purple rockface with all her considerable might.

A paper thin slice with diameter of a quarter slowly came off. Obviously this wasn’t the way to do it, but with enough time, manpower and the correct tools…it could be done. Whether this strange figure was dead or alive (or even a man or a woman, this was hard to tell due to the armor and the strange wires & tubes connected to the person’s skull), they could possibly unlock an incredible defensive tool – something you might want if you were being hunted.

But the effect it had on the pilgrims had to be considered as well. After a long discussion while Gregory just tried not to look at the damn thing, The Survivors agreed that they needed to complete the survey circuit if only to earn the trust of the pilgrim village and be given the food they so badly needed.

Minds ticking over with all the variables in play, they turned around and began the south-eastern trek to the second spot Gregory had pointed to on the map.

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The Campfire
So Oliver missed a few adventure entries...

Sitting around a campfire built at the base of the old tower, where only hours before they had been fighting for their lives with bizarre dog beasts, were Rydell, Roland, Shiva and Brittomart. As they’d been assembling dry wood from the edge of the dead forest they’d left to come here, Bradamante has phased out of existence again. She might return in a minute, she might return in a year for all they knew.
The_Campfire__Adventure_Log_Pic_.jpg
Rydell lay on his back, looking back and forth between the three maps they had at their disposal. One was a paper map they’d taken from the poor wretch whose head exploded, another was a leather map they’d found in the house in the woods and the third was some master map the cannibals had been updating with whatever information they gleaned from their kills. “So okay” Rydell spoke “I don’t know about you guys, but I’m having trouble keeping track of everything new…let alone remembering anything from before we woke up in the lighthouse

“Well” Roland answered “That’s where it started, of course. We woke up with nothing on us but these durable, lightweight black clothes and our masks with their different colored headdresses. Exploring the lighthouse and the larger building it sprouted from, we found a few simple objects that each of us was specifically drawn to – mine being this pistol, of course.”

“We also killed that small, hairy creature.” Shiva chimed in.

“Right” said Roland “Soon after that we had to try to get to land over that gap, which luckily was temporarily plugged by a passing boatman’s ship. We couldn’t understand him and vice versa, but managed to negotiate a trade where we helped him get his ship unstuck in exchange for some rations, some footwear and a few sacks to carry things in, things like all that old cereal we scavenged from a shipping container.”

“We still have some of that left.” Brittomart complained.

“Barely on the mainland, still with the frigid coast at our back, we met some starving wretch with machinery crudely put in his head. He’d just lost a map to some strong wind and seemed miserable about it. We tried to talk with him but he spoke yet another language, different from us or the boatman.”

“Yes” Brittomart spoke up “And soon after I tried to speak to his mind, his head exploded! The best I could gather was that he’d traveled a very long way and he was scared of disappointing some master or owner or some such. Luckily we were able to grab his other map, one he’d clearly only just begun after running out of space on the map which was blown into the sea.”

“Then we headed south through those grey, ashen hills.” Rydell continued “And oh boy was I glad we got into that first cave before the grey snow began. That acid stuff was terrifying, it was like listening to bacon spit on a pan as it came down.”

“I’m not sure” Roland interrupted “But I swear I saw a lone figure out in the distance.”

“You mean the little guy who had the same machinery in his head as the first one?” Shiva spoke up “The one who made it VERY clear the snow was deadly, what with his melting and all?”

“No” Roland answered “There was him, but I definitely spotted someone in the far distance who seemed to be unaffected by the snow.”

“Do you think it was that Talus guy?” Rydell asked. Brittomart blushed and looked away.

“No.” Roland replied “He was on his own, no dog beasts, and while he plainly has better equipment then us I don’t see how he’d have anything that could protect him from such horrible stuff.”

“Okay.” Rydell continued, still shuffling the maps “So that first cave was nice as it had a small geothermal vent in the back that warmed the place up. We left in the morning and eventually found a similar cave with a small sign by the door that had some blue symbol on it. It seems like these caves were part of a known series used by travelers when they have to go through that hellscape.”

“Yeah” Shiva agreed “That one was pretty unremarkable but the day after we went much further south and found that cave with the green symbol sign by the door. That one was much more eventful.”

The others all nodded their heads in agreement. Brittomart played with the pale blue feathers in her gas masks headdress, happy not to have to wear the thing to be comfortable.

“That was where Bradamante showed up for the first time.” Shiva continued “I still don’t know how she feels and speaks like one of us, but looks like some stone age hunter-gatherer. She even has the same instinctual feeling of being hunted that’s been nagging at the back of everybody’s minds.”

“That is weird.” Roland agreed, chewing on one of the seaman’s biscuits they’d gotten from the boat captain “After we agreed we all trusted each other, we set off the next morning and passed through some more rolling hills before eventually getting to the base of that huge mountain with the top sheared off. It and the other mountains in that range seemed to form a wall against which the terrifying weather of that region buffeted against and was stopped.”

“You would focus on the weather, not the three legged living metal statue thing that shot red streaks of deadly light at us.” Rydell quipped “Remember how I finished it off by dumping that rock on it from up high?”

“I suppose my bullets didn’t contribute?” Roland retorted.

“Never mind my wrestling the damn thing and tossing it down the mountain.” Shiva added.

“Yes, well, you were all very brave.” Brittomart offered, trying to be conciliatory “Then we got to the top and came to that gated cave, spending the night just outside before exploring the following morning. Inside we found what seemed like the beginning of a massive installation build into the body of the mountain.”

“Right.” Rydell remembered, “I certainly enjoyed that automated machine gun, that would have killed me, if it hadn’t run out of ammunition blowing away some other poor souls. One looked like another machine head wretch. He had the map that showed us where…where that house in woods was located.”

“There was also that cave in we could probably get through with the right tools and either a lot of time or a lot of help.” Shiva offered “Roland spotted that first aid kit, then we all agreed to leave but that we should come back later when we decide we really want to explore further down into what that painted diagram on the wall suggested.”

Brittomart looked at Roland with admiration. “As we left, everyone agreed that we needed a clear leader and that Roland was the right choice”. Roland grunted.

“Yes” he said, “and my first wise decision was that we head south to that house in the woods.”

They all sat quiet for a while, nobody being in any particular hurry to recount what had gone on there. The fight with the cannibals had been a victory, but Shiva nearly died and the manner in which they had to gang up on the leader didn’t feel terribly noble even if he was guilty of such horrors as what they found in the basement. Finding an elder one of their own might have felt more encouraging if he hadn’t died of being partially eaten, but at least he’d handed off an old vinyl record that Brittomart now kept close on her person at all times.

After leaving that house they’d headed east through the dead woods, eventually coming across the tower where they currently camped. Sensing that they’d all replayed the events in the woods through their minds, Brittomart took the reins of their communal storytelling.

“So alright, that happened. Then we came here and had our encounter with someone else like us.”

“He’s not like us.” Roland muttered.
Talus__Helmet.jpg
“Well, he is.” Brittomart argued, “He is very much one of us, but I got a strong feeling that he had been forcibly recruited for the purpose of hunting us. Maybe those dog beasts weren’t so much his pets as his keepers, never mind who held the leashes.”

“I dunno.” Shiva answered, “But he had some great gear on him. If we could get that rifle into Roland’s hands I know I’d feel a lot safer traveling this wasteland.”

“I’ll feel a lot better if we find somewhere with beds and other comforts, somewhere without a bunch of corpses in the basement.” Roland added, rubbing his feet and loosening the wrappings, which provided little comfort.

“Well, that’s at least part of why we’re heading to the village the maps say is not too far east of this tower.” Rydell said, “Maybe that one legged guy we set free from the house was from there?”

They all sat quietly, hoping but not really knowing the answer to that.

“Well, I’ll tell you this much.” Roland said, “After we get to know this land a little more, I really want to sort out some kind of home base where we can sustain ourselves while we figure out just who the hell we are, where we’re from, who’s after us and what we can do about all that. This nomad’s life has a certain appeal to me, I admit, but it’s not really what we need per se.”

The others nodded in agreement. This adventure might feel more like one, if they weren’t worried about being hunted, eaten, killed by horrifying weather or just plain starving to death. Hopefully the village would provide a turning point in their struggles.

Continuing on like this forever was just…unthinkable.

GM NOTES

I did find some more notes for The Tower section, here they are almost verbatim.

Day Eight
Wake up still in the Dead Woods, far east section. Traveled to the edges of the woods.

Day Nine
Woke up, spent a day resting to heal from wounds incurred in the backyard battle with the cannibals.

Some chatter, Rydell scouts ahead in the evening and then you all approached The Tower.

A soft rain begins. It’s not as horrible as the snow, but basically acts like a soft bleach.

Two large wooden doors were taken off their hinges, one door used for fire fuel and the other as a cover from the stairs heading down into the tower basement.

Day Ten
Another day of rest to recover from cannibal-inflicted injury.

Day Eleven
Early morning, Rydell and Roland head to the top of the tower where they spot Talus & the hounds off in the distance. Talus releases the hounds, who race towards the tower. Those at the top run down to ground level, grab the others and hide downstairs.

Talus perched himself at the top of the stairs with his rifle, sending the dogs down. Bradamante spooked them by vanishing, causing them all to engage their strength enhancements.

Two charged Roland & Rydell while the third, the alpha, engaged Shiva at the bottom of the stairs. It relatively quickly grappled her to the ground and bound her hands with a length of rope.

Roland’s eyes saw true and he gunned down both dog warriors (with a little help from Rydell’s sling). Brittomart cleverly used mimicry and ventriloquism to distract the Alpha with the sound of Talus saying “Heel!”, before Roland gunned it down as well.

Bradamante reappeared to help Shiva to her feet. When the pair of them verbally confronted Talus, he fired at Bradamante…who went insubstantial at just the right time. The bullet slammed into Shiva’s chest, knocking her onto her back – winded but unharmed. Roland, Shiva and Bradamante shot threats and vitriol at Talus but Brittomart did something else. She offered herself as a hostage so he’d feel safe leaving.

Talus took her up on this and the two went north-east to the top of the same ridge overlooking the tower that Roland & Rydell first spotted him on. They shared a brief exchange that Brittomart has largely kept to herself, before he turned and left. Every time Brittomart tried to peer into his mind she was rebuffed by a strange mental technique he used which put a chant in her head each time.

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Bradamante Appears
The final survivor appears...then disappears and reappears a few times more.

Bradamante__Smaller_.jpgDAY FOUR
Travelling further south the Survivors came across another traveller’s cave, this time marked with a metal sign painted green. Sensing more terrifying weather, they wisely chose to stay the night here.

Investigation of the cave revealed it was somewhat heated by a geothermal vent, no doubt the reason past travellers had marked it with a sign. The cave’s walls were made up of volcanic rock which, when scraped away in one part, revealed the back end of an unfamiliar four-wheeled vehicle.

DAY FIVE
In the morning the Survivors were greeted by what at first seemed to be more perverse weather. Air pressure fluctuated wildly and everyone felt the need to hold their ears until a loud pop happened. But the pop wasn’t their ears, it was the appearance of Bradamante. After some initial confusion, the group were able to figure out that though Bradamante didn’t look (black skin) or dress like them (stone age hunter/gatherer)…that somehow Bradamante was one of them. She spoke their language, felt hunted as they did and they all instinctively felt comfortable with each other.

After this there was some tense travel across rolling hills which eventually brought them to the base of the Sheared Mountain, part of a range of tall mountains which seemed to shield whatever lay south of them from the horrible weather systems the Survivors had seen between there and the Lighthouse. Along the way Bradamante had a disconcerting habit of periodically flickering in and out of existence, always returning with no memory of where she had been.

Cautiously going up a winding path which lead to the mountain’s decapitated peak – which seemed to have an opening that could lead to valuable shelter – the survivors encounter the first non-survivor they’ve seen since The Boatman. It was a very rusty, seemingly decades or even centuries old robot. The robot had a trilingual head resting atop a spherical body which was supported by three long, spindly legs that brought it to a height of about seven feet.

Unfortunately for them it was some kind of guard robot with a still functioning laser protruding from it’s torso. After Roland was able to blow one of it’s legs in two, Shiva tipped the creature and wrestled it into submission before dragging the thing to the top of the mountain and casting it down a steep slope. During the fight it landed a hit on Rydell’s shoulder which showed how surprisingly durable the black suits they’d all woken up in were.Caged_Cave.jpgAs night fell, the survivors found their way up the rest of the path to set up camp just inside the gated cave. They all agreed it was best to be properly recovered from the day’s travels and encounters before exploring deeper into the mountain.

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Travelling South
An improvised interlude between the first and second adventures.

Northern_Wasteland.jpgDAY TWO – Midday Onward

Mostly clad for the cold weather as well as a little shaken both from seeing a man’s head explode and learning that Brittomart has the ability to communicate telepathically, the survivors headed south. After half a day they found shelter in a small, geothermal cave.
Wasteland_Cave_Entrance2.jpgDAY THREE

During early morning watch, Shiva heard a sound like bacon spitting on the pan. This was the snow melting and then burning the earth clean of all life. This included the poor son of a bitch she saw come over a crest and run towards their cave for shelter. At a glance he looked to be a similar wretch to the one they encountered on the northern coast by the Lighthouse.

When the acidic snow had finished, the group set off again. A half day’s travel brought them to another cave, this one marked with a small metal sign that had a blue symbol painted on it. The survivors theorized that this was part of a series of caves used, by travellers passing through the area, specifically for shelter from the hellish weather of the region.

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A Visitor Arrives
A boat comes through the mists...

DAY ONE

On a windy, heavily overcast day the four survivors awake to find themselves in the uppermost chamber of a Lighthouse. Slowly they explored the space they found themselves in and each survivor found themselves drawn to a particular object. Rydell found a small multi-tool with a white cross on it’s casing, Roland found what looked to be a homemade pistol, Shiva a military sewing kit and Brittomart was attracted to an old pocket watch.

The pistol had clearly been used by a crane operator to commit suicide.

In the main area they encountered and were, arguably, forced to fight to the death with an unfamiliar four-legged creature that had been living there for some time (as evidenced by empty food containers and piles of it’s waste). Lighthouse Dog

DAY TWO – Morning

Having slept in the large shipping crate which the four legged creature had called home, the survivors decided to explore further. A few objects were found, each of the survivors feeling a kinship with one of them, and then a boat was spotted through the mist.

Without the lighthouse doing it’s job, the boat got lodged in a narrow pass between the mainland and the island. Despite language barriers and mutual suspicion, the survivors managed to convince the small boat’s captain that they were not to be feared. They ended up helping him free his boat and then used it as a bridge to the mainland. Thankful, the captain provided them with a sack containing meager foot as well as limited clothing to help them survive the awful climate.

As he went off into the horizon, the survivors started up the long path to the top of the mainland’s cliff.

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