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Ronda’s Lot [quest] [Closed]

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The man, probably Gerard, rushed her again. His face was a twisted mask of fury. Anouk was still struggling to get air into her lungs, but she managed to duck his first swing. His second try was more successful, and a fist that felt the size of a cannonball send her sprawling on her back, but not before she drove the knife into his side. 

He leaned over and took her by the throat, lifting her into the air. She lashed out at his arms, trying to break his powerful grip. The knife was deep in his side, and he would pass out from blood loss soon, but she might be dead by then. 

Just as the world started to dim around her, someone shouted and Gerard suddenly jerked to the side, as though he’d been struck. Anouk fell to the ground and gasped for breath. When she looked up, she found three townsfolk, including the mother she had spoken to earlier, pummeling Gerard with makeshift weapons. The mother was hitting him with the stick-end of a broom, which might have made Anouk laugh under other circumstances. 

Anouk rose on unsteady legs. Gerard was down for the count, and probably didn’t have long to live. Anouk stopped the townsfolk and made them back up. She looked down at Gerard.

“Why are you doing this, Kline?” She asked.

“I’m not Kline, witch!”

He wasn’t Kline? Then...why? “I don’t understand…”

“Kline is but a herald. He is here to usher in Gez, the god of dominance.” Gerard could barely keep his eyes open. “They will come from the south, and bring Gez… he will be unhappy when he sees that you’ve ruined his...gift…”

Anouk checked for a pulse, but he was dead.

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Eight exhausting hours later, Anouk found herself standing before Captain Maxwell. He looked her up and down, his face stern and discerning. “Will you heal to full fighting condition?” He asked.

“Yes, sir.” She answered.

“Good. SitRep.”

“I arrived at Ronda’s Lot at twelve hundred hours yesterday. Upon arrival, as expected, I was greeted with an inordinate amount of… joviality. The smiles were too big, the handshakes too long, and so on. I questioned the town innkeeper, with little success. I did not that his answers were a bit robotic, as though they were rehearsed, and that he wore a leather bracelet that seemed out of place.” She handed him the bracelet. “The next morning, I awoke to more strange behavior. A young woman slipped up and gave me the name ‘Kline’. That triggered some anxiety with the people, and I was knocked unconscious. 

“I woke up tied to a table in a cellar. A man, identifying himself as Kline, attempted to perform a ceremony that would allow him to possess my body. When he was distracted, I escaped, and disabled one of the four combatants. The one disabled combatant, and two others were locked in the cellar by the time I left. That is where I took the bracelet, which apparently gave him the ability to dash at inhuman speeds for short distances, perhaps three to five feet. Kline did not seem to have any other abilities that he could use in a fight, and he was easily disabled without the bracelet.

“After escaping the cellar, I fought the last combatant in the street, and killed him, with the assistance of three of the townsfolk. Before he died, he said that Kline was a herald for ‘Gez, the god of dominance’”. He also said ‘they will come from the south’. The others refused to speak. I arrested all three of the others, and they are here now.

“Before leaving the town, I had the town doctor patch up my wounds, then I had him remove the hex-bags from the shoulders of two of Kline’s vessels, trapping him in the last one, the woman I brought back with me. Her name is Helena. I questioned the residents of Ronda’s Lot, but they had very little information. Kline arrived several months ago, in Helena, and apparently found three townsfolk that submitted to him willingly. The others were forced to pretend that there town was a perfect paradise, under the threat of death. I assume the charade was meant to impress ‘Gez’, who was apparently planning to live there. All but fifty-eight of the residents were murdered before I arrived. 

Kline is some sort of spiritual entity, capable of possessing hosts under certain conditions, but beyond that, I cannot say what he is. He is trapped in Helena, so hopefully the experts here in Ignatz can discover that truth.”

“One last thing. The surviving residents are trapped within the town limits. They have hex bags in their shoulders, but Kline can’t possess them. The bags will kill them instantly if they cross the town line. I did not want to risk any lives by removing the bag and testing the limits, so I advised them all to stay in the town until I could send back an expert.”

Captain Maxwell thanked her and sent her to get cleaned up, and have a proper medic look over her wounds. 

Anouk thought back on her first mission. It had been painful, full of fear, and ended with the deaths of dozens of people. Granted, they were all killed before she had arrived to help, but she wondered how much of a difference she had really made. She could not bring herself to call the mission a success.

 

////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Short summary:

Private Anouk Enouk was assigned to investigate a town that exhibited an unusual level of peace and kindness. She discovered that the residents were being controlled, and some were being possessed, by a mysterious entity calling itself “Kline”. She trapped the entity in a single host, and brought the host back to command for examination.

Consequences:

  • The truth about the town is discovered; far from idyllic, the people in it are terrorized 
  • The remaining 58 townsfolk in Ronda’s Lot are trapped within the city limits.
  • About 142 residents of Ronda’s Lot were murdered before Anouks arrival. (The massacre at Ronda’s Lot...? Perhaps...)

Opportunities: 

  • Discover the identity of “Gez”
  • Figure out who “they” are, in “They are coming from the south”.
  • Free the trapped residents of Ronda’s Lot (requires knowledge on enchantments and hexes)

Spoils:

Mysterious leather bracelet (Dodgelet): The wearer is given the ability to dodge in any direction. An unskilled, untrained wearer can move fast enough to avoid a punch throne by a trained fighter, which can be around 25-30 mph. A trained person, like Anouk, can move significantly faster, around 50-60 mph. However, the wearer can only move in short spurts of about 1-5 feet, then they come to a complete stop and must move again of their own will. The bracelet does NOT work on instinct, and must be deliberately used. It CAN be used in mid-air, and it CAN move the user up, to slow a fall but not cancel it completely - a fall greater than 30 feet can still cause damage. Nicknamed the “Dodgelet” by Anouk after it was awarded to her for her help in Ronda’s Lot.

Edited by supernal

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