Smuggling Hertzmer Option Aa2: Jump In

Rushing River - Smuggling Hertzmer

It’s time to see how this adventure ends, to see if you live or die, if you succeed or find yourself stuck in a fix.

If you’re just checking in, here’s a quick recap of this story: you were smuggling a halfling out of the country when three hunters came upon you. To distract the hunters from Hertzmer, the halfling, and Cam, your accomplice, you began to act crazy. You convinced the hunters you were trying to attract a brook nymph by making frost angels on the frozen grass. They insisted you take them to another meadow to try attracting the nymph again. When you arrived, the nymph offered to either wash the three hunters down stream, or to take you to safety but you have to jump into the cold water for her to help you. The vote went for jumping into the water. (If you’d like to read the first three posts, click here, here and here.)

Now, let’s jump in!

Smuggling Hertzmer Option Aa2. Jump In

Water Droplet“You should jump in,” the nymph whispers in your ear. Her voice has gone from excited and slightly teasing, to subdued.

When you glance at the water droplet on your shoulder, it no longer shows the distorted reflection of your ear, but reflects the three hunters who are throwing rocks into the rushing brook and hollering for the nymph to show herself.

“Jump in, human,” she says again, “let’s be away from these scoundrels.”

Somehow, her change in tone is comforting. Instead of possibly tossing you around like a rag doll, she might focus on simply getting you away.

The water hits you like a slap in the face. It’s entirely fed by the spring runoff from the mountains and, as it sucks the air from your body, you have no doubt the rushing brook carries water that was snow only days, perhaps even hours, before.

With your hands and feet bound, you quickly find there’s no way to navigate the water either. It floods over your face and swirls you around until up and down mean nothing.

Rushing RiverBreathe, human, the nymph’s voice sounds in your head.

I can’t breathe water!

Breathe, she insists.

Even if you wanted to argue, your body starts to guppy breathe despite your attempt to hold in your last breath.

Giving in, you suck in—air? Your eyes pop open. The nymph giggles. She’s created a bubble around your face. The rushing brook still swirls and throws you around but you can see the rocky bottom one moment, and the glimmering surface the next.

They hollered like stuck pigs when you washed by! The nymph chortles. But they’re not bold enough to jump in.

You hiccup a relieved giggle and the nymph takes that as a cue to laugh in glee.

Look there, human, she says, laughter still lightening her tone. That’s where the fish like to stay when the sun goes down. And over there, that tree joined my waters seasons ago. She guides you around the long branches of the fallen pine. So much debris has collected in the branches, logs, leaves, even small rocks, that it’s almost a dam. Luckily, the tree’s not tall enough to span to the far side of the water and the nymph carefully takes you through the gurgling portion where the water funnels.

LakeFinally, her brook spills out into a familiar lake that borders town on the north end. The nymph stops you just before you’re washed into the larger body of water.

I can go no further. The lake nymph is—fickle. You ignore the irony in her statement.

Thank you, you tell her as she deposits you onto the bank of the brook.

Jump in anytime, she giggles, I like a human who’s willing to trust me.

You grin even though your entire body is numb from the freezing water. You lie back on the rocky bank and soak in the sun until the tingling in your limbs subsides. You’re just about to stand when a shadow falls across your face.

Squinting, you find yourself looking at a tall, slender woman. She sways in place and her long, silvery hair shifts back and forth with her subtle motion. Dark gray eyes watch you.

“The brook put you here?” she asks.

Considering the brook’s comment about the lake nymph, you slowly nod. This woman looks like the brook nymph, except she seems more solemn. There aren’t a lot of bodies of water around for her to call home.

“She said you were escaping from some hunters, she said you trusted her with your life.”

Again, you give a nod.

“Then you should know the hunters beat you to town. They’ve started searching the far side of the lake, and they’ve gathered a large party to help them.”

With that, the lake nymph dissolves and flows back into the water.

***

You evade the hunters repeatedly with the help of the local nymphs. Although it’s a hard life, you take it as an advantage. If they’re searching for you, they can’t really search for halflings, so after a while, you take it as your personal goal to keep them distracted while Cam continues to smuggle halflings from the country.

The End

Well done! You survived and made some new nymph friends.

Thank you for joining in this adventure =)

Until next time, blessings,

Jennifer

Smuggling Hertzmer Option Aa. Nymph

River - Smuggling Hertzmer

It’s time to search out a brook nymph!

Up to this point, you were helping to smuggle a halfling out of the country when three hunters came upon you. To distract the hunters from Hertzmer, the halfling, and Cam, your accomplice, you began to act crazy. You’ve convinced the hunters you were trying to attract a brook nymph by making frost angels on the frozen grass. They’ve now insisted you take them to another meadow to try attracting the nymph again. You’re hoping the nymph will help you escape the hunters now that you have successfully distracted them from the halfling. (If you’d like to read the first two posts, click here and here.)

Let’s see what happens!

Smuggling Hertzmer Option Aa. Nymph

Globe Hunter Tracks/ Smuggling HertzmerToday’s not the day to face snow slides or rock giants, you decide, but it is a great day for acting crazy some more. You begin to skip as you lead the three hunters through the trees.

“Calm yourself, now,” Scarecrow says as he pitches a pinecone at your back.

You spin and skip backwards facing him and the other two hunters. Then you start to sing. “Up, down, right and left. Up, down, right and left. Spin around and duck and roll,” this last part has you diving under the low branches of a spruce tree, rolling, and returning to your feet on the far side.

Bear shouts. He races around the tree to catch you like he thought you were trying to escape, but as you meet him on the far side, you grab his hands and skip in a circle with him. Then you drop one hand and continue to skip forward, singing, “Up, down, right and left…”

At first he doesn’t join in, but as your start to pull, you get a low, almost grumbled, “Up, down, right and left…” as he begins to skip too.

“ENOUGH!” Scarecrow stares at the two of you with such consternation that Bear drops your hand, slumps his shoulders and mumbles, in a very Mutters like fashion, “Sorry, Boss.”

You go quiet but continue to hop, in place, from one foot to the other.

“Not right up here,” Mutters whispers in Scarecrow’s ear and circles a finger around his temple.

“Bind that one and put a gag in,” Scarecrow orders.

Bear drops a heavy hand on your shoulder, stopping your hopping.

In short order, your hands are tied behind your back and your feet are connected with a three foot rope. It’s long enough for you to shuffle along but not to skip. The gag in your mouth tastes like an old sock and you shy away from wondering what the hunters use it for regularly.

River - Smuggling HertzmerHowever, your new condition serves the purpose you hoped for. As you reach the edge of the brook that your nymph friend inhabits, you’re obviously a captive, which will warn the nymph of your predicament. The brook runs through a wide meadow that glistens damply in the afternoon sunlight.

The three hunters, upon seeing the meadow, grin at each other and, in their excitement, rush a little ahead to enter the meadow first. They seem completely unaware that the frost you were hoping to make angels in is completely missing from the grass.

You’re following them, about to leave the edge of the trees, when the pine above you drops a large droplet of water onto your shoulder.

It doesn’t absorb into the fabric of your shirt but instead stays perfectly round and glistening. When you look at it from the corner of your eye, you see the distorted shape of your ear reflected in its surface, and the swirl of motion that tells you you’re not alone.

“Well, this looks like mischief,” says a soft, lilting voice next to your ear.

“Want to help?” you mutter.

“I would love to wash someone downstream today,” the nymph offers with a giggle. “Imagine the flailing limbs and soggy cloths. Humans make for such fun.”

You pause. Is she offering to wash the hunters downstream or you downstream?

“Want to wash all three?” you ask, trying to gauge her.

“Hehe,” she giggles. “LOTS of flailing limbs! Although you’re fun too. Want to jump in?”

You glance at the brook, which really is a river with the spring runoff, beside you and shiver. It’d be a cold, and dangerous, ride but it would get you away from the hunters. On the other hand, it’d be fun to see the nymph sweep up all the hunters, but if they get far enough away from the water, she might miss one or two of them as well. Then you’d have to deal with some angry hunters.

Aa1. Hunters?

Or

Aa2. Yourself?

Thank you for participating in this adventure so far! Leave your vote for how you’d like to proceed in the comments below. We’ll return next Thursday to see how this adventure ends.

Until then, blessings,

Jennifer