Vladimir responds to Kesten's questions as best he can, rather matter of factly, "Jaestra, Sir Vorik, and Master Peregrine had been fighting the good fight before I arrived. I'm not sure how many bandits they dispatched at Oleg's before I reached the trading post other than Budgie and this Happs fellow that has been mentioned."
"At the camp a bit south of here, beyond the two gnomes and Kressle there were three or four others who did not survive the battle. This morning three others arrived looking for tribute from Kressle's band...none of them survived the morning."
The swordsman considers Kesten's last question for a moment before answering, "I would like to think that the banditry has been quelled for now, but with so many of the bandits we have encountered mentioning this Stag Lord, I doubt that we will be free of bandits for a while yet. Rest assured though, these lands will be safe from the Stag Lord and his ilk before too much longer."
|Kesten of House Garess|
You approach the northeast corner of the woods just as the sun starts to descend behind the trees. You move past with a bit more caution as suggested by Vorik.
Halfway across the plains to Oleg's the sun disappears completely, the colors turn from golden reds to dark blue .. and the warm glow of Oleg's torches and fire come into view. There is a low rumble in the distance, and wet rock smell of incoming rain on the breeze.
Survival : 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (19) + 6 = 25
This score allows me to know the weather for the next 3 days, if you would be so kind BloodGargler :)
During the trip back to Olegs, I am very quiet other than the times I am talking with Kressle. I look up and notice the colours change in the sky, "That is truly beautiful! If you do not wish to get wet we should hurry, it will rain soon." I will slow my pace a bit, hoping to catch some of the rain before we enter Olegs Trading Fort.
Vorik passes the time traveling back to Oleg's in quiet contemplation and focused on navigating the wagon along the rough path. Overhearing Kesten's comment he says, "Tis not glory we seek my good man, but honor, justice, and in the end, peace. These are the true powers that have brought us success so far."
He chuckles and looks over at Kressle, Budgie and the two gnomes and then back to Kesten, "We've a long way to go before anyone will sing our tale in the taverns. A few lost souls have been given a second chance, and maybe a dozen or so now face their god, but there's much work to be done before this land is safe for people to lead good, honest, and free lives."
Hearing the thunder in the distance and Jaestra's warning he laughs again, "Ah! The glory of soggy shirt and wet breeches. I hope Master Leveton has a warm fire and a barrel of his fine ale waiting."
He flips the reins picking up the wagon's pace as best he can to try and reach the trading post before the storm.
|Oleg R Leveton|
As you ride up, you see one large tent and two small tent set up just outside of the palisade to the east. Loomis and Oleg greet you at the door.
"You have returned safely!" Oleg helps with the wagon .. "By the gods, I'll need to put up another stables it appears. I'll get to work on that in the - " He goes pale when he sees Kressle. He continues with less exuberance .."If you will excuse me .. I should let my wife know you have returned." Loomis tells Oleg he will finish up with the wagons and horses.
Oleg starts to walk back to the main house .."Oh .. we have new guests here .. should've built an inn .. a priest of Erastil who has been joining me at the fire, and a odd little halfling."
After dismounting and seeing to his horse, Dieter enters the main house to see the new arrivals.
You see a clean-shaven man with icy white hair tightly gathered into a short ponytail. His eyes are the color of steel, with small flecks of silver near the iris. His skin is very pale and tight against his skin, with years of wind burn evident in his craggy features. He is dressed in a tight-fitting courtier's outfit - a green and yellow-trimmed three-quarter length coat, with breeches, vest, and gloves. He is tall and lanky, with a wiry frame and straight posture.
"I am Ser Stolzdorf, of House Lebeda, a charter-bearer for Brevoy. May I have your acquaintance?"
Vorik greets Oleg warmly, "Returned safe and with quite a bounty, my friend." Seeing his obvious discomfort at Kressle's appearance, he adds, "Don't worry about her and those other two. They've sworn to change their ways and wish to prove their value to our growing community."
Gesturing toward the tents he turns to Kressle and the bandits, "Why don't you three set up tents near those others. I'll see to the goods and then we'll find out what the good Svetlana has prepared for supper."
A weathered man with a comb-over and a scruffy goatee, lifts himself up from the bench across the firepit. "Good evening to you sirs and m'lady. I'm Jhod Kavken .. wandering old man .. doin my best to follow Erastil's call out here.. A pleasure to meet you all. Glad to hear you will be making these woods a little more safe for a doddering old fool like me. Please have a seat .." He gestures to the two wooden tables each with a bench on either side. Jhod peers into the pitchers on one end of his table .."Should be enough for the first round .. and if you haven't come prepared..." He grins lifting a sack of mugs carved from wood onto the table. "Just let Oleg know they are worth more than the 2 silver a piece he is offering me."
You here a muffled "bah!" come from inside the main house...
Dieter nods. "Well met, Goodman Kavken. Or should I say Brother Kavken? What sort of 'call' are you trying to follow here in the Stolen Lands?" He takes a seat and pours himself a drink.
Jhod waves off the formalities "Either is fine, Ser Stolzdorf. Well .. bit hard to explain if you've never experienced it, but it is a feeling ... and just as a babe just knows it is his mother's voice -- I know it was Erastil pulling me to the woods. A chance to .. a chance to do what I can."
"This evening .. after passing out from our first test run of my mugs.. I had a dream. It was these woods I'm sure of it. Whether it was a symbol of something else I don't know .. but I saw an ancient temple of Erastil -- just for a moment before a ferocious mad angry bear attacked me... and then you arrived.. Where did the little halfling go? .. " He looks around and shrugs .. ".. hope he didn't steal my bed.."
I ride into the Fort, confident yet a little upset that I did not get any rain on me. I am a slender girl, with long blonde hair. I have green eyes and am quite petit. I am dressed in furs, but underneath the furs, there is a Leather Jerkin. On my back there is a beautiful, well made, dark mahogany longbow, with gold inlaid tribal markings and an unusual sword, with an icy blue sheen to it. The sword looks like it should be held in 2 hands, but the handle doesn't seem to be long enough for that. I also have a backpack, which appears to be almost full. On her hip I have a quiver, containing roughly 80 arrows.
I dismount and sit down next to Jhod, "Good evening Mr Jhod, I too am a follower of the Elk Father and it is also a pleasure to meet you. My name is Jaestra of house Gelabraes. I would be honoured to locate this lost temple to the Elk Father, if my friends would allow a small detour?" I have a sort of noble tone in my voice while speaking with this man. I look over to Vorik, "Well Sir Vorik, could we try to find it?"
I look around for the halfling mentioned, upon seeing them I call out, "Greetings, I am Jaestra, who would you be?"
BloodGargler, any news on the weather for the next 3 days?
Dieter swallows and sets down his mug. "That is quite the calling, indeed. We will keep watch for a temple of Old Deadeye as we explore. You said there was a halfling here?" Dieter picks up his feet and looks under the table.
Tomorrow:cool and cloudy and rain late ... Day 2:likely rain in morning warming through day ... Day 3: Cloudy but dry morning warmer throughout day.
With Jaestra's interest Jhod adds .. "I wish I could give you more specific directions .. all I know is that in the dream I was surrounded by trees .. and I know it was these woods." gesturing south..
Dieter gives his shoulders a slight shrug. "I'm sure the halfling is probably under a wheel of cheese or behind a broom or some sort." He turns to Jhod, "Speaking of directions-", and withdraws a travel journal from his belt pouch. He opens it to the latest page to show detailed notes regarding the local flora and fauna, as well as a MAP of the northern Stolen Lands. "I have noted here the road to Restov, as well as the trading post." He turns to Vladimir, Jaestra, and Vorik. "Can you fill in details of what you have explored so far?"
You can describe it IC however you like, but please let me know in terms of cardinal directions. i.e. 1 hex SE of #1, 2 hexes SW of #1, etc.
I'm also posting a permalink to the map on my character sheet.
A weathered man with a comb-over and a scruffy goatee, lifts himself up from the bench across the firepit. "Good evening to you sirs and m'lady. I'm Jhod Kavken .. wandering old man .. doin my best to follow Erastil's call out here.. A pleasure to meet you all. Glad to hear you will be making these woods a little more safe for a doddering old fool like me. Please have a seat .." He gestures to the two wooden tables each with a bench on either side. Jhod peers into the pitchers on one end of his table .."Should be enough for the first round .. and if you haven't come prepared..." He grins lifting a sack of mugs carved from wood onto the table. "Just let Oleg know they are worth more than the 2 silver a piece he is offering me."You here a muffled "bah!" come from inside the main house...
"Well met, Brother Kavken. I am Vladimir Ducheski." the swordsman says, extending his hand in greeting to the priest. "It has been a long day, and I find myself ill prepared." he says, reaching into his belt pouch to produce a few silver coins 5 sp "I do not know about what Oleg is offering you for the mugs, but I am in dire enough need of a drink that I will more than double that price for one of them." Vladimir says, smiling and handing the Erastilian priest the silver coins.
He turns to Vladimir, Jaestra, and Vorik. "Can you fill in details of what you have explored so far?"
"Unless Jaestra and Vorik had done any exploration prior to my arrival, we have not really done much with that aspect of our charters as of yet."
Once the horses, wagons and goods are stored out of the rain, Vorik wanders over to the fire. With a smile and slight bow of the head to the priest he says, "Vorik Torgrimson, at your service."
With a smile, Vorik pulls a simple metal mug from his kit and fills it from one of the pitchers. Downing most of it in one fell swoop, he puts the mug down with a thud before squeezing into one of the benches.
"Ahhh. That's mighty welcome after a long day's ride."
He listens politely to the priests tale, and responds to Jaestra's question saying, "Certainly we can, and perhaps should, seek it out if Ole' Deadeye is calling for a little mortal help. Although it may have to wait until we clear out those mites. I don't want to leave a known problem behind us if we don't have to."
With a shake of his head to Vladimir, Vorik pours another drink, this time taking only a small sip or two before saying, "We've not explored beyond our travels over the last two days."
Turning to Dieter's map uses his finger to roughly sketch out where the bandit camp was located. "We stayed to the edge of the forest and made our way southwest to where the Thorn breaks out of the Narlmarches. It's about a half days ride, so I'd guess maybe twenty-five or thirty miles. The bandit camp was located a few miles back in the wood to the west, along a small creek that empties into the Thorn."
Dieter make a few sketches and notations in his journal. "Does this match what you have seen?"
MAP updated. Shaded hexes have been explored, but not cleared.
I glance over and look at the newly drawn map, "That looks about right, you're very good at that." I look up to Vorik, "I'm glad we can help find this lost temple, The Elk Father should be happy, I am concerned about the attacking bear though. Do we have any clues to where the Mites may be?"
I turn around and speak out to Kressle, "You said that you used to work for this Stag Lord, does that mean that you know where his base of operations is? Could you show us roughly on this map?"
Kressle having just entered with the gnomes and Mauersberger -- who had determined they needed something to eat before setting up the tents -- walks to the map and points to a spot roughly 2 hexes south of the Thorn River camp, and half a hex east .. "Should be 'bout there, I believe .. not real good with maps, but should be 'bout right."
Addressing Jaestra, Vorik, and Dieter, Vladimir asks, "Where to next? I assume that we leave at first light again."
"Since part of our charter is to explore these lands fully, if we do not have any particular direction to go I would suggest heading back southwest and eventually make a loop around the bandit camp back here." He says, as he traces a line with his finger along the proposed route on the map. "Of course I am open to suggestions."
Going SW, NW, SW, SW, SE, E, NE, NE, and NW back to Oleg's
I look at where Kressle is pointing, then look back up again, "Thank-you Kressle, this is definitely helping prove that you wish to leave that life behind you. I have just a couple more questions for you, do you know where the Mites would be or even this lost Temple?" Once she answers I speak to her again, "Thank-you again, would you like some help setting up your tent?"
The clinking of mugs and the smell of ale is enough to quickly attract the attention of a rather unusual bald little halfling, bedecked in a sturdy crimson robe with purple edging, who, despite his portly build, rolls into the chamber with remarkably dexterity for one of his size.
"Oh-ho! It looks like I am a tad late to this little shin-dig in more ways than one!"
The halfling then sweeps into an exagerated bow.
"Brewmaster Hrafen Vormenghast, at your service."
I turn to face Hrafen, "Successes? We have thinned the bandit population, several bandits have decided to live Lawful lives and we are currently trying to prevent anyone from taking advantage of Mr Oleg or Miss Svetlana again. In our journey we have already cleared out a camp where Miss Kressle had her men stay, other than that no successes."
I reach over and grab a mug of Ale and begin to sip at it, while glancing around for any food. Finally setting my gaze on Vladimir, "Vlad; that will take a while to get used to calling you that, I think your journey sounds well thought out, we will clear much of the land and not be too far from here if we need to fall back to heal. We may even come across the Lost Temple of the Elk Father or the Mite camp if we are lucky." I look to Kressle, expectant and waiting to see if she knows where either of them are roughly.
"Lost Temple? Mite camp? It sounds like you have come across more than bandits... Although thinning the bandit population a little is certainly never unwelcome; they do tend to cut into the profit margins of honest merchants, and make the commonfolk's lives a living hell..."
I look back to Hrafen and glance over at Dieter too, "I asked the following questions of each person to join our group of charter holders, so I will ask you both too. What strengths do you have and any weaknesses? My strengths include Archery and I have very keen eyes, I have a dislike for the mischievous Fey. I can fight in close quarters but not as well as at range. I am sure Sir Vorik and Vlad will fill you in on their strengths. I ask this only so we can work together better and make use of each others strengths and cover each others weaknesses."
"Fair enough. Don't let my girth fool you; whilst I may have the appetite of an Ulfen warrior, I am far lighter on my feet. I am skilled at getting my own way, I am perceptive, and know a little of the arcane arts; I try to keep attackers at a distance, however. To that end, I prefer to travel around on my faithful hound, Archibald."
He then grins.
"I am also a skilled brewer, and can make a decent stout, when I have the appropriate materials... I dare say that that particular skill will not be particularly useful on the road, though..."
Vorik gives Kressle an encouraging smile as she shows her willingness to help. Sliding her a mug of ale, he ponders Vlad's question as the others talk.
He offers a welcome nod of the head to Hrafen and a broad smile lights his face as the halfling mentions his ale crafting skills. "Well met, Master Vormenghast. Vorik Torgrimson at your service. I'll look forward to sample some of your brews in the future. It'll come as a welcome relief at the end of a hard days labor in the woods or over the forge."
Looking at Dieter and Hrafen he pats the warhammer hanging at his side and says, "To follow Jaestra's example, I'd say Astridsonior and I prefer to be in close." His blue eyes glance at the stables, "Now that we've captured a couple of strong, well-trained, horses I could be a bit more effective in the saddle as well. Get into the thick of things a little quicker."
Pointing back at Dieter's map he asks Jaestra and Vlad, "About where did we see those other tracks? I'm thinking that could also be a good point to set off on our next foray into the uncharted wilderness."
Kressle finally gets her last bite down and sees Svetlana, Olegs wife exit the main house.. Kressle swallows and responds to Jaestra "Mites? .. naw .. don't know where. Somewhere east of the Thorn River camp, and within walking distance for a mite. They've stolen from us a few times. Including your ring, Miss ... " .. cocking her head toward Svetlana.
Repeating to Hrafen and Dieter what he had told the others the previous morning, Vladimir says,"I have traveled a more than my fair share thus far in my life, and as a result have picked up various bits of knowledge throughout the years." he says, as he taking another drink.
"Beyond that, my former teacher, Astavos, always said that I had a bit of talent for the arcane arts, not that I have seen it my self. As to where I believe my greatest strength is...well that would have to be with use of this." he says, tapping the sword and scabbard at his side.
Pointing back at Dieter's map he asks Jaestra and Vlad, "About where did we see those other tracks? I'm thinking that could also be a good point to set off on our next foray into the uncharted wilderness."
"I would certainly not have a problem with that, really it would be little more than the route I had suggest earlier in reverse."
|Budgie the Bandit|
Budgie looks over at Hrafen, while swiping a roll from Kressle's blindside.. "A brewer, eh? Me dad does a bit, a bit more into makin the liquor you good folk liberated from Mr Stag's men though, sir. He also makes a pipe smoke blend with tobacco and some weird radish.." He "draws" a crescent shape in the air with his finger..
"Mr Stag lives on the stuff he does, sir ... "
Nodding at Vlad, Vorik says "Aye, so it seems."
Turning to the others he asks, "It looks like we're in agreement. We'll set out tomorrow. Follow those tracks and run Vladimir's suggested circuit over the next few days?"
Gesturing to the captured goods he offers both Dieter and Hrafen anything that might be of use to them. "Aside from the horses, I've little interest in most of the stuff. I think both Vladimir and Jaestra have picked out what they might need. All I ask is to hold on to the cold iron and adamantine stock. That was quite a find and I might be able to work up something useful over time."
As Budgie mentions the Stag Lord, the paladin turns to listen with keen interest in his eyes.
I listen intently to Budgie awaiting his answer, as well as Dieter answer on his strengths. I feel a yawn come to my lips, so I cover my mouth with my hand, as a proper lady would. "We should get to bed soon, we should try to leave early in the morning. It will be cloudy for most of the day, but there will be more rain towards the evening and I would like for us to have set up camp before it falls. If that is all right with everyone?"
Dieter turns to Jaestra. "I am what most would call a druid, though I doubt most could tell since I disagree with my brethren that feel it is necessary to go weeks without a bath or shave in order to "be at one with the world." Nor do I secrete myself away from social contact. Man is an animal, and as such deserves conservation and protection as any other animal. I am an ecologist by trade. I am well-versed in natural lore and geography. I am also a spellcaster. I draw energy from the Green and specialize in magic of the wind."
He takes a drink and continues. "My weakness is a trade-off of my strength. Years of scholarly living has done little to harden my body against the rigors of combat, or given me a chance to develop those social niceties that others find to be so damnably important."
"So you are one of the nature talkers I have heard of? If strength is your weakness, we shall have to try to keep you from situations where strength will be important. If it is strength we need, we have Sir Vorik. As for the social niceties we shall help you learn them, if that is your wish. If not we shall just leave it to someone with a silver tongue, maybe Master Hrafen?"
Hrafen nods to Vorik.
"I would be happy to let you sample some of my brews, when I have had a chance to set-up a proper brewery."
When talk to turns to what will happen on the 'morrow, Hrafen grimaces.
"As a rule, I am not fond of early starts, but if it helps to avoid the rain, I am all for it. As to the route, it sounds perfectly reasonable to me."
When he eyes the pile of goods that have been acquired, his eyes light up, however.
"Give me a moment, and I will have a rummage."
I could probably use the small-sized daggers :-)
|Budgie the Bandit|
Dieter furrows his eyebrows. "On which? The radishes, the tobacco, or the liquor?"
Budgie steals Hrafen's spot at the table ... "Which? Both, yes sir .. Every month Mr Stag wants more booze and smoke, its a blend sir... tobacco dried with shredded radish, he calls it 'Papa Grundy's Spicy Sot-weed', sir. ""...And the liquor is 'Papa Grundy's Green Hammer'. He's been makin it since before I was born, he has sir, but Mr Stag is his only customer now. That was us bluecloaks big job .. protectin me dad's operation so Mr Stag can keep soused to the gills, sir."
Dieter rubs his chin. "Then perhaps that is our way to get to the Staglord. I can find some suitable herbs in the nearby countryside to drug a keg of this 'Green Hammer' and catch him off-guard."
I don't need anything from the loot list.
I look to Dieter, "So use his weakness against him, sounds perfect, especially since we were just talking about our strengths and weaknesses. Maybe Hrafen could make a stout and you enhance it with your herbs? I would love to learn how to identify these herbs, if you are willing to teach me?"