The Night-Time Encounter

This is an in-character game thread from Changeling: In Love and War. (This page is not Creative Commons licenced.)


For Ilandra, Nyano and their fellow travellers, the afternoon passed
mostly in quietness. For a while a light drizzle descended,
overlaying the hush with a kind of understated irritation.

It cleared up before dusk, and as the light began to drain from the
clearing sky, the main group came across their scout sitting in a
clearing by the side of the track idly sharpening twigs with a knife.

"Here will do for tonight," he said, his eyes scanning the rest of the
group as if daring them to disagree. "Pitch the tents while it's
still light. I'll take one of you with me to gather firewood."


Ilandra looked across at the little raccoon then at Cain. By her
reasoning, it'd be unfair to expect the raccoon to want to be
collecting firewood with all that had happened and besides, she really
wanted to know more about the shiny eyes.

"I'll go with you, unless anyone else want to...?" she said, standing
up. She looked at Cain. "Take care of Nyano, he doesn't look like his
normal happy self..."


Being back on the road and in the familiar environment of a night time
camp, Nyano found himself slipping back into his old habits.

Without much ado, he looked up at Caine and said.

"I'll just have a quick scout around the perimiter, you never know what's out there."

Then he slinked off into the trees.


As Jebodiah and the young warrior prepared the camp, the former showing
almost sprightly enthusiasm despite his age. At one side of the
clearing Ilandra followed the other man out into the darkness, whilst
at the other Nyano scampered off into the undergrowth, leaving Cain
looking about the place and fretting that he was completely unsuited to
follow him.

They spread out, their eyes gradually adjusting to the increasing
darkness. By the time the groups were both thinking of returning
to camp for the night, it was nearly pitch black and beginning to get

Rolling Perception 4 + Alertness 3 for Nyano, difficulty 7: 1 success

Just as the raccoon was turning to head back he thought he heard a twig
snap, deep in the forest. Not that there was anything unusual
about that; animals frequently stepped on fallen twigs. But very
rarely was such a sound followed by a harsh "Ssssh!"...


At the sound of a voice, Nyano dived carefully into a nearby bush and grabbed his boomerang.

Feeling comforted by its reassuring weight in his hands, he started to creep towards the noise he heard.


Nyano rolls Dex + Stealth, difficulty 6. 2 successes!

Nyano edged slowly and quietly through the bushes, his small size
helping him pass by obstacles any larger creature would have had to
brush through.

The voices ahead continued in a harsh whisper. Clearly their
owners had a different idea of stealth from the soldiers Nyano was used

"Shut up!" hissed one of them. "Someone'll hear you, shushing like that!"

"Speak for yourself! Besides, there's no-one out there!"

"Yeah, but you can never be too sure!"


With little more than a whisper of sound Nyano climbed up a nearby tree so that he could get a better view of the interlopers.


In the distance, shadows tried unsuccessfully to stay still and
silent. It was hard to tell in the dark quite how many of them
there were, but at least three had spoken and the shadows suggested
perhaps twice that number. For the moment, while they argued and
hushed each other, it didn't look like they were going anywhere.


Having worked out roughly how many there are, it hadn't taken Nyano a
long time to realise that making a loud noise would have been a really
bad idea.

Instead, he scampered back down the tree and went in search of Caine. It didn't take him long to locate the errant prince.

He tugged on the edge of Caine's and whispered quietly.

"There's a squad of about 10 people out there. I don't think they're proper soldiers, they sound kinda stupid."

[Private to GM: I
couldn't mkae out from previous posts whether or not Caine went into
the woods. I'm writing this on the assumption he didn't, since that's
the optimum result for me. Please edit it with sufficient spot checks
if he's actually sneaking about somewhere.


"Oh," said Cain. "Gosh. Er, even if they're not proper
soldiers, that's probably bad news. Do you think they were
following us?"

Just then, the foliage on the other side of the clearing parted as
Ilandra and the burly man pushed though them, each carrying armfuls of
sticks and branches.


Nyano looked up at him.

"Well whoever they are, they're clearly not going to be able to hurt you. Would you mind going and asking them what they want?"


Nyano rolls Cha + nothing much, difficulty 6. 5 successes. Raccoon SMASH!

"I, er... You're probably right. I should be... taking
charge of the situation! Yes. Right," he said, heading
toward the forest with temporary cute-induced vigour.


"What's going on? Hold on! Wait for me!!!" Ilandra raced after Cain.


Nyano just catches up with Illandra as she runs off, and tries his best cute expression.

"He's going to check on some people in the woods. You probably don't want to go after him"


"But... if he gets hurt..." she shook her head as to shake away the
sadness. "I can't let him get hurt... he's all I have. Let's at least
follow him to make sure he's ok."

She carried on after him, only this time in cat form.


Looking a little startled at the sudden cat, Nyano bounds after the pair of them.


Full of confidence and sure in his own abilities, Cain stalked out into
the forest. Bushes were struck aside and twigs trampled
underfoot, easily drowning out the noise that would've been made by the
intruders if they hadn't gone suddenly very quiet. In fact,
heading out blindly into the night, Cain was in danger of walking right
into them...


Still trailed by his two furry companions, Cain walked directly up to
where Nyano had pointed out that the interlopers had been. They
were silent now, all but invisible shadows barely visible amongst
bushes and trees, though Cain must have seen something. He
stopped just short of the nearest shadow, figuring that walking into
their midst would be a bad idea, stood up to his full height, and
glared out into the darkness.

"Who goes there?" he asked into the night, almost timidly.

There was no reply.

"No," he thought to himself. "Must take charge of the situation. Right."

"My name is Cain, Crown Prince of House Poppy!" he almost bellowed. "You will identify yourselves!"

Cain rolls Charisma (4) + Leadership (3), difficulty 8. 1 success!

Shadows stirred nervously in the darkness.

"Er... Sarge?" said one of them. "Shouldn't we..."

"No, you dolt!" came the reply. "Shut up and stay still!"


Behind Cain, a little cat-shaped mass was face-palming.
I guess I'd better help out...

She moved to just behind one of the men and morphed back to her fae form, gripping his throat in her hand.
She whispered in his ear in a very sing-song way.

"You might just want to identify yourself, you know? Cos I'd hate for anything to happen to you..."

Then she chuckled quietly.


The sergeant stiffened in Ilandra's grasp. (There must be a euphemism in there somewhere.)

"Er... lads?" he choked. "Gotta bit of a problem 'ere..."


A thought bubbled up in Ilandra's head.
I'm completely outnumbered aren't I? Damn.

"Now lads, I would just identify myself if I were you and then I'll let
go of the nice man..." she said, sweetly. "After all, it's a bit rude
not to introduce yourself when meeting new people... and he's already
introduced himself."

An afterthought wormed it's way in.

"I also wouldn't try anything stupid, I have this man's throat."


"We're... We're no-one, really," piped up one of the other men.

"Leastways, we were not so long ago," said still another. The sergeant deflated. "'Afore the war..."


Ilandra let go of their sergeant like she'd promised and melted back
into her cat form, retreating to the relative safety of a nearby tree
in order to allow Cain to do whatever he was planning.


"Right then," said Cain, avoiding looking at Ilandra. "And who are you now?"

"We're soldiers," said a young and sad voice.

"With which army?"

"Hy-" began the young voice, before the sergeant cut in.

"We ain't, anymore. We don't fight for no-one. We're deserters, right?" he said, glaring at Cain.

"We's 'ad 'nuf," another one said. "We din' soign up f' this shi'
- 'ell, we din' soign up! - an' now e'rythin's gone ta' hell, we's
goin' 'ome 'gain."


"And your home is...?" asked Cain.

"South," said one of the men. "South, 'most a'far a' ye can go 'afore it become But'cup land."

Cain allowed himself to relax a little, knowing that - at least as far
as he could trust that the soldiers were telling the truth - they
weren't heading towards the castle as well.

"Now then," said Cain, "I think we're just about done. One more
thing - you've come from the front lines, right? Where's the
fighting? Who's winning?"

The sergeant's face turned from relieved to stony.

"Why should we tell you? We've 'ad enough'a this war, and so'a
our mates. We don' need anyone like you keepin' it goin'."


"Believe me, we're just as keen as you to get away from the
fighting..." Ilandra said from her perch on a low branch. "He's just
curious. Please tell us..."


"Oi don' trust a noble when they say tha' no more," said the sergeant. "We bin' burned too many toimes by all thi'.

"We'll be on our way."


"Oh come on! What's wrong with curiosity?" she moaned, jumping down
from the branch and transforming back in mid-air. "Flowers alive! You'd
almost think he was demanding you pick up arms and fight for him... I
promise you, and I swear this by the flowers blooming on my land, that
I have no intention of joining the war. I don't like fighting anyway..."


"You, roight. An' 'im?" he said, jerking his thumb in the direction of Cain.


"Not if he wants to stay on my good side, he won't.. or at least I hope not..." she said, looking at Cain. "Will you dearest?"


Cain looked from Ilandra to the sergeant, and sighed.

"Look, it doesn't matter," he said. "It's not as if we're going
wherever the front is, anyway. We'll get going our way, you go
yours. And no more sneaking around near our camp."


Ilandra took a moment to process what Cain had just said before she did anything.

"Well, I'm curious now..." she mumbled. "Are we already going back?"

She tried her best to hide the fear and sadness that was creeping in.

he's still thinking of going off to war. and then where will that leave me? or is he?

"Just one thing," she asked Cain before she moved anywhere. "You're not planning on going off to fight are you?"


"Of course I'm not," Cain said once they had parted ways with the
soldiers. "We've lost most of our army and spent two years in
exile; our involvement with the war is pretty much over. But the
more we can find out about how it's going, well... If the tide
turned, the whites are still pretty close to Poppy land. My
mother would want as much notice as possible if we had to run again.

"No, like we told Jebodiah, we're going with him to the castle. I
trust that man about as well as... Well, I don't trust him.
But if we can use him to sort out the Hyacinth problem the easy way,
it'll save a lot of unnecessary fighting."


"OK, sorry... I just... Well..." Ilandra wasn't enjoying being lost for
words again. "I don't like war. But I will help you as much as I can...
I don't know..."

She shook her head to dispel the confusion then grabbed his hand.


As they approached the clearing, the old scout who had joined them at
Wheat Down dropped silently out of a tree behind them and followed them

"So," said Jebodiah to the nobles as they arrived back and stood before
the fire that he was coaxing into life. "What were all that
'bout, eh?"


Ilandra shrugged.

"Just some deserters going home from the battle... they seemed pretty sick of fighting..." she said, nonchalantly.


"Oi'm not suproised," said Jebodiah. "'S'all bin goin' on far too
long, if ya ask me. But then, you know 'at anyroad. Where
was they fram?"


"down south just before you hit buttercup... apparently. They were reluctant to tell us anything else..."


"Oi'm almost glad they ain' talkin' ta nobles, ta be honest. Tho'
it sounds 'bit harsh in this comp'ny. Well, we bin through this
before. Mebbe things is different where you comes from, but in
this kingdom i's 'bout time our class realise they don' 'ave ta be
ordered 'round."

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