|Scavenger Hunt (Part 4)|
|What: Kilroy and Lunair fight some evil Mammon cultists in the alps.|
Lunair adores Kilroy. She doesn't question his economic magic. She only knows enough to save her own earnings reasonably, really. She is content to stay and guard with him. But Kilroy might feel a disturbance in the Force, metaphorically speaking.
It's an odd disturbance, like a tickling or an annoyance at first. But then it builds a little, as if whomever is doing it was warming up or preparing themselves. It would make sense to work out so remotely, where law enforcement can't get to or be bothered to get to. His first clue comes one afternoon, when Lunair finds a - British pound sterling. But it's wrong. It feels funny. It is false. Lunair seems puzzled, although she will warm up some tea for him if Kilroy would like. It is still very much cold, after all. The snows and rocks are stark white and black, gleaming against a stark sun. "Who drops money out here?"
Kilroy sips the tea, curious. "Curious." He says this with curiosity. "I sense a disturbance in the economy." As he moves the pound up and down, he nods, "This is almost as good a job as I could do, and that's impressive. More importantly...it's...magic. The hell?" He looks around in the trees and rocks and mountains, "In the alps?"
He thinks a minute and shrugs, "Though honestly, you know Switzerland. There's more economic magic here than you might think. The Gnomes of Zurich. Hades. The Lost Platinum Mines of Solomon's Twin Brother...it's...a lot really. But here? We're in the middle of nowhere." Quietly, he whispers to the little note and asks it to tell him its secrets of where it came from and what has happened to it.
Lunair looks to Kilroy. She tilts her head. "Really? Out here?" Lunair looks a little baffled. She takes her own cup of tea and watches him, hazel eyes a little wide. "You can tell all that?" She seems ever impressed each time he does his thing. "Well... it kinda makes sense. Less nosy people. Probably hard to send anyone out here." Without, portals you know.
But Lunair tilts her head. "Really?" Huh. She listens now, since he is the expert. The note will whisper back, though its voice is distorted. Wavering. Wrong. The Alps have had a surprising amount of human activity. And one might note that trade - namely grazing, and exchanges between shepherds, ancient men and such took place here long ago. Ancient cultures lived in surprisingly remote parts of the mountains, pockets of commerce when coinage was very literal. When a goat was a unit of trade. The Romans even came into Alpine regions, bringing their money and trade. The Catholics and Christians tamped through lower parts of the mountains, with their tithes and exchanges. But this coin? Is not ancient. It is new, actually.
Its voice is difficult to read, garbled as it is. But it will point the way. A little northeast, at a level, sheltered cave system. Of course.
Kilroy listens to the whispers of the perverted little thing and says, "This is a weird little coin. And there's magic about it. Dark magic, some of it shielding things. But I've got a direction." He looks at Zaraquoy and rolls his eyes, "Let them make camp. It's what I'm paying them for...wanna take a side quest?" He grins.
He has just learned Goats were a unit of trade. Goats! Visions of death goats play in his head.
Lunair looks to Kilroy and tilts her head. "Really? Strange." Her eyebrows furrow. But then, almost all magic seems strange to her. She peers at him and nods. "A direction is good." Pause. Then a smile at his grin. Lunair loves his grins. "Sure!" She beams at him. She seems amused by Kilroy's reaction to Zaraquoy and nods. Zaraquoy is probably going to be crushed if he figures out Lunair fancies Kilroy, not him. Either way, she works on her tea and seems to like this idea. And why not goats? In a pastoral economy without a lot of mining or minerals... you trade what you got. What is useful.
And that, too, is an economy. One of a fierce mountain where impracticalities are frowned upon. Nevertheless, Kilroy will be able to piece together a trail. It's rather rough going, but it makes sense in a way. The magic exuded from the coin is unpleasant and sickly. Slavering greed with foaming jaws, a disdain and hatred. Why should those be rich? Rebellion and desire mingle more and more as they draw closer. There's icicles along the top of the cave, footprints and signs of habitance. The walk will take them an hour or two at least. But it's doable.
Kilroy stips at the foot of the cave and says, "You know....I don't want to signal hostile intent, but...this place and this coin don't exactly exude the smurf village. Maybe you should...you know...snork something....like...ever hear of a Looker gun?" He looks inside and forms an invisible suit of coin armor around himself.
Lunair is protective. She can't help it. There's only one Kilroy. Then a pause, "Like the one with the long tube that went around corners? I can look. Just - I imagine they have some sort of look out or alarm system," She offers quietly. "If that's the right gun, anyway," She furrows her brows. She'll give it a shot, although she's likely happy if Kilroy has armor. You never send a mage in unarmored, duh.
For now, it seems quiet. But it's a fairly narrow cave. If they strain their ears, they might hear complaining in German or something similar to it. Hard to pin it down, really. The coin is home! It's sort of a twisted, corrupted being but it does like to be home. The occupants within seem unaware of the Economy himself and Lunair. But they sound like they are having tea and lunch, discussing and arguing. No, no, Hans. You never put beans in chili. Gosh. It's a heated argument.
"Oooh." Lunair's eyes widen. "I hadn't seen that one." She looks apologetic. "I -" She's not sure she can go on by just a description. She's never tried that before. She looks a bit puzzled, trying to think it over. Lunair may in fact have a vast, untapped intellect. Weird. But it sure doesn't show sometimes. She too, will look while thinking. Lunair is sneaky but not ultra sneaky. There don't seem to be any obvious traps at first, although the area is rife with mystic energy. And one trap. It's a basket full of bbs propped up by a stick over a trip wire. It is intended to be noisy as heck. And this is a cult of greed. They all have coins on them, in various ways. Decor, carrying, wearing... Greedy, greedy, greedy.
Some sickened, fallen minor deity is pleased. Although, it's not here or active. Perhaps it is bored of its arguing followers.
Kilroy frowns. Mammon's presence is felt...well, not his present presence, but the flavor of his fever for the ferver of ....ill gotten gains. He steps over the rather amateur trip wire. These folks wanna play Satanists? Well then...." he slowly begins to summon...goats....
He holds up his lips to Lunair....and continues to pile up the herd for over seven minutes of invisible, inaudible goats....And a giant Rai stone to shield them in case the cultists are armed...not into animal abuse is Kilroy.
Cultists are nothing if fervent and devout. Though, these seem to be enjoying their afternoon tea break. Must've been hard at work all morning. Lunair looks to Kilroy and nods. She stands, still and quiet. The cultists remain oblivious - Germanic chili is serious business. And maybe it's just nice not to be counterfeiting and what have you. Everyone needs some time off. Even Satanists.
And so they wait, as tea cups clink, laughter and arguing ensues. No, no, Richard - who the heck puts curry powder in chili? Guffaws ensue.
Slowly, slowly, the invisible, inaudible goats move towards the cultists...at a thousand pounds a minute, times 50 pounds a goat, times seven minutes = Lots and lots of goats. The Rai Stone is in reserve to shield any from getting shot..."ready....ready....NOW!" He lets Lunair know when and then makes the goats visible, right around the cultists, and audible...and smellable...chaos happens.
So many goats. So many. And they are probably voracious goats who majored in Economics and Business in goat college. Goats with ambition. Goats with attitude. Goats with a TON of edibles in front of them. The cultists never saw it coming. They never really though they'd be goat'd. But here it is. And chaos does ensue. The trap is bypassed handily, but the cultists were enjoying tea and snacks. Were being the keyword. It's delicious food and beverage in front of ravenous goats. It doesn't take a magician to figure out what comes next. They are completely off-guard. Shouts, howls, spilling tea and falling dishes. Nomming. Flailing. One cultist tries to push over a goat, only to get savagely headbutted over. They have coins in their robes and headbands, marked with the signet of Baphomet. AKA: Mephisto. Or one of his minions at the least.
Lunair will rush in with a stave and smack a cultist over the head. It's a lot kinder than usual. They don't seem aware of Kilroy himself just yet.
Kilroy is pleased that they have not attacked the goats per se. This is going to offer a measure of kindness...if you call knocking three of them unconscious with a ricocheted rai stone lightly tapping them in the temple....kindness. "Surrender now...and it will be easy for you....not that I'm expecting you to take the easy way....."
They were too startled. One of the cultists will give a goat a sharp kick. "That is a sacred animal, is it not?" One argues. They are flailing about. Three go down as Kilroy taps them in the temple with a rai stone. Thunk! Clonk! But do cultists ever take the easy way out? They are partially fearsome due to their rabid fervor and willingness to throw themselves away, after all. One hesitates, gets Gibb-smacked by a companion and the two rush Kilroy. A combined Lunair-Goat effort smacks one to the floor, leaving the other charging at Kilroy.
"Look out!" The room is still in chaos, though.
Kilroy tries something new....and a tiny but growing tornado of salt appears out of his finger tip...call it Cone of Salt if you will but as the guy charges him he's coated as if by firehose...in his eyes, his mouth, throat, clothes...all of it....if he doesn't dodge.
Lunair is a bit in awe of the cone of salt. It sounds kinda tasty but horrible to be on the receiving end of. And of course he doesn't dodge! He was totes mcgotes charging Kilroy, gosh. And then he suddenly gets coated in it, choking and falling. To add insult to injury, he's now a salt lick. And the goats think this is rad. Licking time! The cultist is downed and flailing as he's licked, giggling.
Fortunately for our dynamic duo, this seems to be a small but potent cult. The leader emerges, for he has a robe of false coins and the shiniest robes to boot. "FOOL!" He comes out with a goat's head staff. Uh oh. Lunair is dealing with a minion who is flinging the teapots in rage. For now though, the head cultist is coming at Kilroy.
Kilroy creates his own staff, fully prepared to engage the lead cultist head on. Of course, he cheats while a giant invisible rai stone slowly...silently....floats right over him...hovering...Kilroy extends his staff of pennies, trying to knock the cult leader in the gut.
The cult leader is no slouch. He is leader for a reason. His magic and speed are strong, but he seems unaware of the invisible rai stone. He is pissed, after all. He gave his minions a break and looks what happens! No more tea breaks in the future. But he did not expect a stave of pennies to extend. He's winded briefly, reeling back. Might be a good opening.
Meanwhile, Lunair is helping keep the minions away. It's a goat's party.
Kilroy decides not to crush these guys since they're like...not killing mutants and selling children into slavery so instead of DROPPING it, he tries to set the super heavy rai stone gently on top of the cult leader to try and...keep him down.
They are, however, corrupting money in its own way. Fake, tainted money. And that is a sin of its own. But the leader is gently pinned and wails in rage. He is promptly investigated by the goats. Most of the cultists are out or pinned down. It seems that genuinely, they were arrogant enough to believe distance was enough. They had not counted on Kilroy, the mage-priest to be in the neighborhood. Oh, hubris.
Lunair is in awe, and pauses to pet a goat. "I had no idea you had goats."
Kilroy proceeds to 'clean up' the magic...it's a matter of speaking to it really, quietly. Most wouldn't hear it but Lunair has seen him enough to hear the faint clicks and whistles as Kilroy proceeds to 'heal' the cave...while SMASHING the accoutrements of Mammon...."I didn't know I could do that either until I examined the economic history of the area...." he immediately re conceals the goat's smell...though he leaves them visible and audible and says, "Can you tie up the idiots?"
Lunair doesn't interrupt it. she only hears it faintly. And listens. She smiles at him as he smashes. That is Kilroy! The goats are being goats, quietly shuffling and nibbling as they are wont to do. Lunair nods at his request, moving to tie up the cultists while he does his thing. Fortunately, most are subdued or out entirely at this point. "It makes sense though. Livestock are a currency you can move easily here. In the mountains, you can't afford to be lugging ore around thoughtlessly." And most people would /use/ livestock. Shiny stones are nice, but in regions where food is life or death, well. You want the goats. Get the goats.
Lunair herself is a faithful minion tier-upper, though. And while the magic here is potent, without its guardians, it will steadily be unwoven
Kilroy finishes removing the tainted magic and then (with Lunair's help) proceeds to march back down the valley with a string of zip tied cultists and a herd of goats. A quick cell phone call causes them to meet a ranger helicopter and a bunch of wildlife experts to take care of the goats.