10
Jul
13

Seattle Side Mission 10: Recruitment – Part 3

SEATTLE SIDE MISSION 10 – RECRUITMENT – PART 3
Written by: Bear           Played on: 25 May 2013
PREVIOUS: Side Mission 10 – Recruitment – Part 2
NEXT: Side Mission 10 – Recruitment – Part 4

“Dad. Dad? Da-a-a-a-a-a-a-adddddd.”

I opened my eyes to see Keenai’s smiling face, inches in front of mine.

“Thank you,” I said without thinking and with a heavy sigh.

Through out the course of the adventure, to reflect the toll the experience was taking on him, Bear started to accumulate Stun damage. This was unhealable for the duration of the adventure until he could have a night of actual rest, not spent in one timeline or the other. Physical damage was not carried over, but should he sustain any other Stun damage, it was also carried over. Mechanically, there wasn’t a lot going on that the damage really affected, but it seemed to be a good way to communicate and reinforce his character’s growing fatigue on the player.

“You’re welcome, dad.”

I first check that Koda and Alan are okay. Their wounds were healing very nicely. As we were getting packed-up, the boys and I added our own carvings to the cave. Once we finished, we got ready to head back to the village, Nathan pulled me aside.

“Chief, might I make a suggestion. We are only a few hours from the Garden of Gods. We are close, we would be back to the village tomorrow.”

“But Alan and Koda are wounded,” June answers for me.

“I’m fine, June.”

“Yeah, ina, me too. What is this place, Nathan?”

“It is an ancient place of ritual. There is old magic there. It is a place where the Gods that watch over the many different tribes are said to meet. There is no better place to perform the ritual.”

The look of awe and excitement in the eyes of our boys is enough to convince us. The hike was easy and the scenery pristine. Nathan pointed out a specific rock formation, which shot straight out of the ground several hundred feet.

“From here, we climb. Chief I trust you can bring the kill with you?”

I nod and tighten all of my gear; by the time I have the kill floating by my side, June was leading the way and far overhead. Nathan followed behind the rest of us. June helps me get over the top. It was an amazingly clear day and we could see for miles. To the north and south the distant snow capped mountains of the Rockies, to the East our village was visible. I felt myself begin to fill with pride and I was, for the first time in what felt like a long time, beginning to feel truly happy. A feeling that was instantly crushed when I looked east; to Denver. Once we were all on the peak and rested, we prepared for the ritual.

June and Nathan prepare the kill and all of the components of the ritual. June mainly took care of the hides and preparing the meat, while Nathan set-up the magical elements. As the sun started to set, we conducted the ceremony. It was beautiful; we danced, sang, told stories, and smoked pipe herbs. Then Keenai, Koda, June, and I feasted on the hearts of the Bear and Deer, honoring their spirits. After the ceremony and night had fallen, I thought everyone else had gone to sleep. I sat on the ledge and stared out at the night-lights of Denver. I was thinking about how glad I was to finally see my boys become men, a day I thought was lost forever. But now, I’m home and I can be happy, only the nightmare of a life of crime and killing remains. That was when Koda sat down next to me.

“What is that place, father?”

“That place is called Denver.”

“Have you ever been there?”

“Yes, Koda, that is often where I go to trade. But that is also where the people we avoid are from.”

“But you protect, us don’t you?”

“Yes, son”

“And you’ll always be here to protect us, right?”

“Yes and no, Koda”

“What do you mean?”

Holding back tears and swallowing the growing lump in my throat, I explained to Koda how everyone has their place in the world and that no one can live forever. Now that he and his brother are men, one day I will be too old to protect the tribe and it will be their turn to look over the tribe. It was all very circle of life.

Twist that knife just a little bit deeper…

“Listen Koda, don’t let thoughts of death bother you. You should never fear the inevitable and remember to enjoy the good times. Now come on, go to sleep. With that, I lay down next to June. I took a moment to brush the hair off of her face, behind her ear. I felt her warmth against me and the smooth smell of smoke still lingering in her hair. I closed my eyes, hearing the steady crackling of the fire.

The next thing I heard was a soft voice. Oh good, I thought, that wasn’t a dream. Then I heard the voice more clearly. It was a sleepy Russian.

“Sham- …Shamans….”

The days were starting to catch up with me. I pulled myself up and started to search the cave. My eyes were blurry and my footing difficult. Hoping, wanting, needing to see the carving that I had made with my boys. I found the spot; there was nothing but a blank wall. I ran my hand across where the art should have been, but cold metal scratched against cool bare stone, chipping away five rough lines. What a nightmare, I thought, then woke up the rest of the group.

True to their word, the three warriors showed us to the path, which led west toward the Garden of the Gods. We thanked them for their help and were on our way. The tracks wound through the woods, we followed the tracks until they were lost over some rocks, not far from the rock formation I climbed yesterday.

Chekhov and I climbed the rock; I used the same exact handholds that I had used yesterday with my family. I looked below me and saw that Nathan was following me slowly. No. Shit, it was Chekhov and, just like Nathan, he can’t climb worth shit. From the top, the view is mostly the same. Denver to the east, to the west the still smoking village that I last saw teeming with life and laughter. I was so lost in the dream, thinking about my family, my tribe, that I didn’t hear Chekhov at first.

“Luk. Bhear. Whatz zat? Birds?”

“Huh? Where?”

Looking to the southwest, I saw them flying in tight circles. Too tight. Drones. Right below them, there were a few narrow towers and antennae’s. The sun was still high and the camp was close. Chekhov and I floated our way down, then told Marius and Dee what we saw. We all agreed that those towers must be where the attackers are and maybe, just maybe, are holding prisoners. We moved quickly and reached the camp at dusk.

Quickly and quietly, we recon the camp. There are two center buildings that have barred windows. There are several other buildings, many with mounted guns. Looking at the guards the odds were at least three to one against. Dee was already planning on hacking the central antennae.

The players had gotten into the swing of things by this point and resisted the urge to attack right away, opting to go to sleep to see what else they might learn.

We held off on the attack for two reasons. One, we were effing tired and two we were fucking tired. We hiked about a mile away, planning the attack for dawn. I was too tired to set-up a place to sleep; I just lied down, propped against a tree. I could only hope that it would happen again, that I would sleep, leave this nightmare and go home. I was so exhausted, comfort wasn’t considered, neither mine, nor my friends’. I set down my bow and quiver, which were getting heavier and heavier. I felt the jab of a rock in my back. As soon as my hair hit bark and my eyes closed, I felt the frigid warmth of the morning sun.

For a moment I just laid there, exhausted. Then an eagle flew over me, clutching a rabbit in its talons. I was the first one awake atop the cliff; June was still snuggled under my arm. I gave her a kiss on the top of her head and she started to stir. She asked me how I slept; I told her I was still having the same nightmares.

We made our way down off of the cliffs. Home is almost directly west, but something, maybe an urge to see the enemy camp directs me to the southwest.

“Chief?” Alan asked in a hushed voice, “Where are you leading us?”

“It’s ok, we will still make it home tonight,” I respond emptily.

“My chief, what is it that bothers you?” Nathan asked with a hand on my shoulder

“I’m fine Nathan. Well, I will be.”

We walked along the path that I had just walked the day before. My legs were leading my body without thought and felt like they would’ve carried me off the face of the Earth. That was until Alan put up his hand to bar my way, he then motioned to a valley below us. My eyes met upon what he saw instantly, a hulking white beast; a Barghest. June reminded us and explained to the boys that these huge beasts are always hungry and in a bad mood. They are most often hunt in large groups, it was odd to see just one, but others likely weren’t far off. As a group, we backed away from the creature and continued east away from it, toward the camp we had missed by a wide margin.

We came to the clearing, but that’s all that there was, an empty clearing.

PREVIOUS: Side Mission 10 – Recruitment – Part 2
NEXT: Side Mission 10 – Recruitment – Part 4
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