The Long Journey to Hom

Tribe 8 – RPG/TRPG Session

Run by Chris (alcoholandaphorism)

Tribe Members;

Me – Lady Quinn

Jason (jymmijamz) ABSENT – Brhyannon

Will – Aulderush

CHAPTER SEVEN

Preparation and Execution

Aulderush, Brhyannon, and Lady Quinn stand there in the middle of what was once a village for the Fisher tribe.  Now there is nothing but burnt and destroyed huts, dead and mutilated bodies laying or hung about.  All of the bodies have their eyelids cut off so that the dead can stare up at the sky, and their intestines hanging out from vicious cuts in their abdomens.  Even now the vermin have arrived and begin their feast on the dead.  All that is left is the solitary intact rowing boat with the message within.

They spend the next few days, spending time trying to work out how they are going to get themselves over the great river before them, and on in to Hom.  None of them have been near, let alone in the water like this before.  None of them know how to use a boat or swim, and they are apprehensive of making the move.  They gather what supplies they can for their journey across the water, making sure they are fully ready and prepared.  Lady Quinn has been spending a lot of her time practicing her fighting techniques, going down to the water’s edge and ‘sparring’ with the water life that comes to attack her.  Unfortunately Brhyannon wound becomes infected over the next few days, and she become delirious.  This spurs them on to make the move with haste to Hom, as she may not make if they do not hurry.

As Aulderush is busy loading the boat up, Lady Quinn notices a pile of bodies moving.  She has seen many times the effect a dead body makes as it makes its final dance, but this is different.  And as she carefully goes over to the pile she can hear a gasp from beneath.  She draws her sword and pokes at the pile.  A squeal screams out and a bundle of rags and dead body matter jumps out away from her.  A young girl, well it could be a boy as it is difficult to tell, squeals something in their Squat language as she bears her teeth.  She has rough torn rags upon her sun-tanned body, covered in blood and the same guts that the adults wore on their armour.  Long matted hair covering her face as her back hunches over forwards, as she backs away from the sword she is looking at.  Lady Quinn quickly lowers her sword and puts it away, before turning around and going back to what she was doing.  However she keeps her eye on this child.

The child seeing that there is no immediate threat, goes back to the pile and drags something out and tosses it at Lady Quinn’s feet.  It appears to be some sort of moulded clay, with strange symbols etched upon it.  And as Lady Quinn looks down at this object, the child comes over and holds her hand out before her.  Lady Quinn picks up the object and turns it around, looking at it, but can’t make heads nor tails from it and tosses it over to Aulderush, asking if he can discern anything from it.  Aulderush takes a look, seeing that it is simple writing, it reads. ‘I have told the child that you will give her food.  It may take a while before she is desperate to try it.  I presumed you would not know how to use a boat, so I left her.  She should be able to get you to the other side.’  Aulderush explains this to Lady Quinn.

Brhyannon isn’t getting any better, and her delirium is only getting worse as her wound begins to fester and smell.  They load her on to the boat carefully, making sure she has a good position on board.  The child keeps getting in the way holding her hands out towards Lady Quinn.  Lady Quinn gestures towards the boat, but the child just shudders and holds out her open hands.  So Lady Quinn tries to carefully take a hold of the child’s hands, but she pulls away squealing something, and then holding her hands out once again, pointing towards her stomach and mouth, and then saying something in her own tongue.  Once they finish loading the boat, Lady Quinn turns back towards the child and offers her some food, only handing over a small piece in encouragement to entice her on the boat for more.  The child wolfs down the food, devouring it in seconds and then looks for more.  She looks at the boat taking a step back, crossing herself in a hand gesture against evil, and then walks towards the boat.

Aulderush keeps an eye on the child, who is now wrapped in some odd clothing they found to keep her from shivering, as she rows the boat.  It appears to him to be very simple tasks as he watches and learns her circular motion.  She seems to be struggling due to her current health, and Aulderush offers assistance by taking over one of the oars.  The going is difficult and slow but they make headway.  Partway they come to a sand bank and have to drag the boat across.

As they draw closer to Hom they can begin to make out structures, like a large metal wheel standing tall in the middle somewhere.  Odd small lights shinning from different location upon it.  They can also hear music and song drifting upon the air towards them when the wind is correct.  Soon the sky turns darker and the wind picks up and the water become turbulent.  Going becomes even more difficult as the child struggles and Aulderush tries to fight through it.  Brhyannon is in one corner busy throwing up, coughing and spluttering.

The rhythmic motion gradually gets to Aulderush and he lulls to a point where he is stood upon a bridge.  A hole beneath his feet and seeing the lights flicker below him.  Her can hear the children’s laughter.  And screams, but not of terror but of joy, as like those children who watch plays and the evil masked Z’bri actors come on stage.  He looks over Hom and can hear these strange clanking sounds.  And then it goes dark, everything beneath him dark.  He blinks and the screams turn real.  The voices turning animalistic, and sounds of trees being uprooted, sucked from the ground.  Something wet and soft slapping together, and a strong heat.  Aulderush doesn’t open his eyes.  He is then stood at a distance with a fire burning before him, with a single figure alone and in the distance, walking through the trees.  It settles upon the ground and etches four wards with a stick on the ground.  The first marking is that of a home.

Mean while back on the boat, Aulderush slumps over asleep.  The child is desperately trying to move the boat and failing.  Lady Quinn quickly shoves Aulderush out of the way, giving him a quick slap, and then helps to take the oars and row.  However she struggles with this new task.  The storm picks up making the going even more difficult.  The chopping water begins to toss and turn the boat around.  The child the only capable one on the boat, struggles to keep it safe.  The water begins to bubble around them, and the sun high in the sky turns a dark red, making the reflected water look like lava bubbling around the boat.

Lady Quinn suddenly feels rage bubbling within her, the line between thought and action cut to the thinnest hair.  She turns and reaches out for Aulderush, angered by his lack of staying awake and helping out.  Aulderush is smacked awake as he is suddenly aware of his jaw dislocating, and then his head is repeatedly smashed against the side of the boat.  He tastes copper at the back of his throat as he pulls himself away.  The boat still rocking and turning about.  Looking in to the water he is aware of a single eye looking back from deep below.  Now enraged, Lady Quinn jumps up and does a back flip to the rear of the boat, avoiding being tossed overboard by the growing maelstrom in the water about the little boat.  The child quickly backing away from the mad woman and abandoning the oars.  Aulderush hangs on for dear life as he is draped over the side of the boat, blood dripping from his mouth, where one of his teeth was knocked out, in to the water.  He is then aware of something like a clawed tentacle grab at the blood and takes it down to its mouth.  Behind him, as he pulls himself back onboard, he hears a splosh sound, turning to find Brhyannon gone.  The child is now screaming as she backs away urinating.

Lady Quinn seething with anger, seeing how useless both Aulderush and the girl are, grabs a hold of the scruff of Aulderush’s neck, pulling him away from the edge and tossing him back towards the girl.  However due to her rage she throws Aulderush so hard in to the child, that both the child and Aulderush go overboard in to the turbulent water, leaving her alone on the boat.  Aulderush feels something beneath him in the water.  Something caresses his leg and blood drips from the touch.  He is aware that the thing beneath seems to shudder as if in orgasm.  Aware that he is no longer aware of his or anyone else’s location.  Lady Quinn turns to see the shoreline is a lot nearer than she remembers, focusing on herself to get to the land without any more uselessness.  But the rage destroys her concentration, knocking her within the River of Dreams, buffeting her about and the moon rises in the sky with the sun.  She feels like she is drowning as the water steams.

The water around Aulderush begins to ignite as fire licks across the surface.  He tries to treat the water, getting his bearings and calm himself.  He is aware that Lady Quinn is the only person on the little boat, so that means both Brhyannon and the child are somewhere in the water.  He then goes under taking in a mouthful of water and choking.  The thing beneath him caressing and shuddering at the joy and blood.  Aulderush notices a small hand and arm reaching out towards him from the murky darkness, so he quickly reaches out.

Lady Quinn is so pissed off with the current situation she is in, that she focuses on the land before her, allowing her anger at the people who wanted her to die her, to focus her resolve and clam the River of Dreams within her.  Aulderush sees the little boat suddenly zip through the water, and he reaches out with his other hand for it, but it is too quick and all he can do is see it disappear from him.  So holding on to the child’s hand he pulls on her and tries to swim in the water.  And as he breaks the surface again of the water he pulls the child up to the air, but all that breaks free is the child’s arm attached to the hand, ending in nothing but a bloody bone stump.  The thing beneath him seems to move and descend deeper within the water, as Aulderush pushes away trying to distance himself from it.  The water begins to calm and settle as he pushes himself to the surface and gulp in a lungful of air.

Lady Quinn finds herself in the little boat, in the water’s edge next to the shoreline.  The sky is blue and bright, the rage draining quickly from her.  She is aware that the land next to her is a lot further down the coast than where Hom is situated.  Looking back in to the water she can just make out Aulderush struggling in the water.  Lady Quinn centers herself, calming her emotions and splashing some of the fresh water on her face.  She then looks clearer back to where the others are in the water, only to be able to see Aulderush who is in fear of drowning.  She becomes aware of all that had transpired between her and the boats occupants.  Once again she focuses and concerns herself with trying to reach Aulderush without wasting any time, stepping in to the River of Dreams.  Within the next moment, just as Aulderush bobs beneath the surface, Lady Quinn pulls her arms apart, creating a trough within the water, between him and the boat, shaping the world around them within the dream.  The water spray in the air creating several rainbows glistening in the sunlight.  In the next moment Aulderush collapses in to the little row-boat gasping for air but alive and wet.  The next instant reality snaps back and the boat thumps against the sand on the shoreline.

Aulderush clears his head to find Lady Quinn standing over him looking rather sheepish.  She smiles down at him and quickly steps out and away from the boat.  He looks around the boat somewhat stunned by recent events, and is suddenly aware that there is no Brhyannon.  He then remembers he is holding on to something, he turns to look at his hand.  Within his hand still is the child’s hand, attached to a severed arm and nothing more.  Where the bone stump is visible there can also be seen teeth marks.  He quickly throws it away from him, and it sploshes back in to the water.  Looking around him he can see the unstable and mad Lady Quinn, standing a ways from the boat.  Behind her and in the distance he can see the Sky Realms, with it’s buildings that reach up to the sky, and where it is whispered that ghosts and demons walk at night.  Before him and along the land that they have landed upon is a bridge that leads to Hom.  This bridge is looking intact somewhat compared to the massive one that had spanned across from the Outlands to the Vimary and is now in ruin.

The Hom Stretch

Now becoming aware of the pain, Aulderush starts to tend to his wounds and dislocated jaw.  Lady Quinn takes some time to look along the shoreline, trying to see any signs of Brhyannon.  She walks back and forth and sees nothing, however she believes that Brhyannon may have gone overboard nearer to Hom than where they are now.  Aulderush manages to deal with his injuries and then shouts over at Lady Quinn, pain running through his jaw as he shouts.  “Firstly what the fuck!  But that is not what is important right now.  Second…. Either attack me, fuck off, or… Where is Brhyannon?  What are you doing?  What are you doing you insane fuck!?”  She carefully chooses her words as she tries to explain to him that she was unaware of what had come over her.  She is unsure if there was something that was in or around the water that had affected her, but whatever it was she ended up just loosing control.  She apologizes and then changes the subject, stating that they need to hurry and try to find Brhyannon.  Aulderush thinks on what she said, and feels that he should be aware of something, but the pain racking through his skull right now is not allowing him to think straight.

“We need to go there, to see if we can see any sign of Brhyannon.”  Lady Quinn gestures towards Hom and begins to walk in that direction.  Aulderush doesn’t make a move, except for stepping out from the boat.  He then sits down and closes his eyes for a moment in meditation.  He focuses himself on Brhyannon, trying to pinpoint where she may be.

He brushes close to the veil of death, travelling along the thin line between life and death, feeling his soul dropping away as he soars higher.  He can see the attack, the anger that is bubbling from it.  Then noticing in shadows, pain, and symbology, camps.  The camps that had come before.  He can see a warrior, a Fatima that had come before, Joshua.  He tears in to them, tearing them apart.  But only seeing where he has been, not where he is, as to look upon him directly would be too wondrous.  The tribes fight with him against the creatures and fall in to rage in his very presence.  Then the dark envelopes the scene, and everything fades to a scene of flowers growing, a sign of Eva.  They spill over in to the water, and are washed down deep in to murky tubes.  Human excrement filtering through them, both fertiliser and waste carrying disease for death.  But then a hand is plunged in and pulls out the flowers, bringing them back to the fresh light air, but deep under Hom.  And deep in the shadows stands a bear and a one-eyed man.  In the darkness they smile.  And then Aulderush jerks back to reality.

Aulderush looks over at Lady Quinn with less distaste and anger, being calmed from the vision and realising somewhat that she didn’t have anything to do with what had happened.  He then informs her that it looks like Brhyannon is that way, in Hom.  And it appears that she has been saved for now, so she is in slightly less danger than we believed.

They soon come upon the bridge that will afford them access to Hom.  It does look in ill repair, with old rusty wire binding planks, and object shoved underneath to keep parts propped up.  Planks of wood are bolted to the concrete to stop it from collapsing and falling in to the water.  The bridge sways from side to side with the wind.  This looks to be the only way in to Hom.  At the head of the bridge stand two figures, a man and a woman.  The woman has a helm upon her head, with a pikestaff in her hand, razor blades broken and embedded in the end.  Across her chest is something from the world before, some sort of cloth with pieces of metal poking through, a sort of armour.  With recent additions of metal plates hanging from it.  The man wears no helm, and carries a scar across his eye.  His armour is more simple and heavy, and he wears an old shield that is bound together and buckled to make shoulder and elbow pads, with thick padding between.  Then upon it all are a variety of chains.  He holds a ball and chain at his side, a morning star.  They both wear a red cloak over their backs.  They both look with suspicion at Aulderush and Lady Quinn as they approach.  The man lifts the ball in to his other hand, tossing it up and down lightly.

The woman is first to other greetings as they near.  “State your business.”

“Outcasts heading to Hom.  Whats your business?”  Replies Aulderush none to happy with having to use his jaw some more.

“Making sure everyone stays home.  Right what have you got on you.  We are not allowing any illegal contraband in.  Empty your pockets now”  She then gestures to their weapons that Aulderush and Lady Quinn are carrying, telling them that they will not be allowed through.  Aulderush asks why, and is told that more of his kind are going in, and as there is only two of them.  She holds her hands out asking for them to be relinquished first.  Lady Quinn protests, asking why they should hand them over as they do not belong to them.  But she is quickly told that they are Fallen, this is Hom, and they haven’t killed them yet.

Aulderush and Lady Quinn begin to walk back away from the two figures guarding the bridge, not wishing to hand over their hard earned weapons.  “Well that’s a death sentence.  Your Fallen” States the woman.  “Well according to you we are already dead, so fuck off.”  Retorts Aulderush.  The woman insists on having the weapons, and then notices the food rations.  She tells them that they can keep the food but they will need the tin.  Both Aulderush and Lady Quinn keep protesting, and is told in no uncertain terms that it is a toll, and if they do not pay then they will have their legs broke, the items taken, and then shoved back in to Hom.  “It looks like you have already been in a fight, a fight with a bloody tornado from the looks.  I don’t think you could take on two of Joanites finest even before when you had good health.  So you have no chance now, so hand them over.”

“We have no chance if we give in to thugs like you.”  Aulderush answers.  Lady Quinn carries on walking backwards, and then Aulderush follows turning and walking away.

A sound of something whirling in the air can now be heard.  The woman tries to hook Aulderush’s leg, but he quickly jumps to avoid being caught.  The man tries to entangle his ball and chain around Lady Quinn’s leg, but she also manages to avoid the attack.  They both pick up their pace trying to keep away.  Aulderush facing the way he is going, running randomly about making a hard target, while Lady Quinn keeps facing them as she backs away, quietly chanting a mantra to herself.  Again they both get attacked and they both manage to avoid being entangled.

The woman changes tactic and tries to plunge her pikestaff down in to Aulderush’s leg this time as he is gaining some distance from her.  But again he manages to avoid the attack.  The man also has had enough and tries to swing his ball at Lady Quinn’s chest, but again she dodges out of reach just as it swings by.  The woman stops and turns to go help her colleague against Lady Quinn as Aulderush is getting away.  Aulderush spots this and stops to pick up a rock, throwing this at the woman, but she easily swats it out from the air.  She then closes her eyes to try to focus.  The man swings his ball and chain again at Lady Quinn, who quickly and easily dodges from the attack again, annoying the man more.  Another rock is thrown at the woman, but Aulderush over reached himself this time stepping forwards.  The woman doesn’t even have to worry about the rock as it goes wide, and she steps in and extends her pikestaff in to his leg, knocking him to the ground and blood seeping from the wound.  The man swings his weapon with more force this time and catches Lady Quinn’s arm and knocking her to the ground and entangling her.  Her arm goes numb as she hears the bone protest under the impact.

Aulderush tries to get up and scramble away, but the woman goes for his other leg, knocking him back down before he gets to his feet.  He stays down.  Lady Quinn occupies herself with her arm and hands trying to un-entangle herself.  The man mean while takes her sword and stamps on it, breaking it in half.  He then takes the ration, shoving the food back in her pocket, while pocket the tin himself.  Unfortunately she keeps managing to give her arm breathing space, but the man keeps moving and pulling on the chain that adjusts it each time.  Aulderush gives up and hands over his weapon.  “Fine you win, here’s the damn weapon.” And he tosses it away from everyone.  The woman walks over to it and kicks it in to the water.  “Very well.  Enjoy your time in Hom.  Be glad we didn’t decide to take anything worse for inconveniencing us so.”  By this time Lady Quinn has finally managed to free herself from the chain.  So with that she calmly stand up, holds her head high and walks towards Hom.  The man turns abruptly shocked by this, but then mutters ‘damn ex-Dahlians’.  The man shouts after her.  “For what its worth.  You don’t move to bad.  Pity your Fallen.  Could use you in a fight.”

“Shame you have such prejudice .”  Lady Quinn replies as she carries on walking.  Aulderush stands with a struggle and hobbles past the Joanites.

The pain gets the better of him, so Aulderush stops and tends to his new wounds.  Lady Quinn stops and helps him, she looks for something that Aulderush can use for a splint, and then something to use as a walking stick.  They both manage to deal with his injuries, stabilising his wounds.  Next they deal with her dislocated shoulder, before they carry on to Hom.  The sound of celebration emanating from within.  Lady Quinn helps Aulderush to hobble to Hom.

They finally make it to the threshold of Hom.  An archway leading in and freestanding.  It appears to have been a building a long time ago.  It is constructed of metal and brick, with rubble at it base, and wood beams to help support it.  There are numerous words etched in to the fabric of the arch, all names, some scrawled with anger, others with sorrow or pride.  All the names of the Fallen who have passed through.  There is a person wrapped in black rags, huddled against the pillars of the gateway, weeping with their arms wrapped around.  Aulderush shares this information with Lady Quinn, picking up something to use to scratch in it for himself.  He writes his name and then Lady Quinn take sit from him and does the same, but instead of her name she scrawls a symbol of herself.

While Lady Quinn is writing, Aulderush looks over the many names and comes across a very faded and old name.  The name is almost buried beneath all the others.  The name is of Sinhide Barl, and for a moment its seems familiar to him.  They discuss what they need to do and where to go first.  Feeling that it will be necessary to get medical attention first, and may even find Brhyannon there too.  While talking, Aulderush shares with Lady Quinn that he believes the Joanites are wrong, and that there is another way in to Hom that they do not know off, and he thinks it best for them not to know of it.

A friendly and slightly over enthusiastic voice interrupts their conversation.  “So are you going to stand and talk all day there?  Or are you going to step across.  We’re Fallen now, so why don’t you join in.”  Turning they see a familiar red beard and haired man walking up to them.  A smile across his face.  The last time they saw him he had blood covering his hands.  His name was Ferris.  He has a bag over his shoulder and as he steps up to them he drops it at their feet.  Indicating at the bag he tells them that it had turned up about a week or so ago, and thought they would be wanting it back.  Lady Quinn checks with him his name, informing him also that they had a bit of a problem getting there.  He states that he had heard as much.  “Anyway that has all your stuff in it, even that Brhyannon stuff.  Are you coming?  I will give you the whistle-stop tour.”  Lady Quinn asks if he knows where Brhyannon is, and he informs her that he had presumed her to be dead.

“Look you can’t stay out there all this time.  You are either out there and an Outlander and Squat.  Or in here with the other Fallen.  Trust me, we get all the good stuff this side.”  They step in and walk with him, asking him if he could give them a tour of the closest medical facilities.

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