As more enemies appear, the eagle swoops down to defend he summoner.
I do not have handle animal, so who the eagle attacks is up to you.
Pausing a moment to pick out the eagle's target as she reloads the crossbow, Eleanor aims and fires before dropping the weapon.
To Hit: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (16) + 2 = 18
Damage: 1d8 ⇒ 2
"Be a dear, and reload that for me, would you? I think we will need it again, soon," whispers Eleanor to Dassah's mind, doing her best to sound confident as three more bandits appear from no where. "I think I see the one who stole Svetlana's ring. If you end up shooting next, be sure to fire at her. They broke last time when they lost their leader, we can hope they do the same this time."
Dassah picks up and reloads the crossbow.
Yes. If Dassah shoots next round, it will also be at the woman. I am hoping the eagle follows suit, but it is animal intelligence, and I don't have Handle Animal to make it attack who I want, so I am hoping it follows some sort of blood in the water instinct...
Your bolt draws a thin line of red across the woman's leg, and, seeming to sense your hostility, the eagle plunges down, tearing at her with it's beak. This quickly ends however, as the woman's axe crumples the eagle's body with a single blow, disapparating it. Kressle's eyes lock-on to yours, Eat iron fairy b&&@#! and she rushes towards you. The other two flank and follow.
Bandits are 140ft from you. Your move.
I am afraid this is about to get ugly love, keep that tree between you and them!
Acting in Initiative order.
Peeking around the edge of the tree, Dassah fires the crossbow at the charging woman.
To Hit: 1d20 ⇒ 7
Damage: 1d8 ⇒ 5
Eleanor summons another celestial eagle 2/8 for the day, which charges the angry woman,
To Hit: 1d20 + 3 + 2 ⇒ (9) + 3 + 2 = 14
Damage: 1d4 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4 (Using Smite)
"I am not sure our feathered friend has much of a chance at surviving, but it should slow her down for us..."
As the eagle speeds towards the enemy, Dassah loads another bolt into the crossbow, muttering about her failure as an archer.
Following their attacks, both Eleanor and Dassah duck behind their trees.
Dassah, Next thing I need you to do is climb up that tree! Straight up as far as you can, then fire. Repeat as necessary!
Eleanor whistles for her pony. (Come Trick).
Kressle 14 8
Kressle's attack1d20 + 7 ⇒ (8) + 7 = 151d6 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
Eleanor's Handle Animal1d20 + 4 ⇒ (6) + 4 = 10
Dassah's bolt disappears into the forest. Your eagle proves as effective as it's predecessor, bloodying the bandit's face once again. Unfortunately, her axe proves to be equally effective, sending the spirit home with another well placed blow. Unhampered by attackers, the pair of bandits move ahead of their leader. Your pony runs to your call, agitated by the smell of blood.Kressle is now 110ft and the pair are 80ft. Pony is now adjacent to you.
Dassah 21 6
Kressle 14 8
Dassah attack 1d20 ⇒ 31d8 ⇒ 6
Eagle 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 5 = 131d4 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4
Bandit2 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 2 = 211d8 ⇒ 3
Bandit3 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (11) + 2 = 131d8 ⇒ 8
Kressle 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (3) + 7 = 101d6 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6
Eagle AoO 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (9) + 3 = 121d4 + 1 ⇒ (1) + 1 = 2
Dassah quickly slithers up the rough bark of the tree. Her shot is a bit hurried though, going wide of the mark. The eagle swoops down, but Kressle's leather clad arm foils it's attack. The eagle is able to avoid Kressle's counterattack, but misses an opening when she moves forward. Shoot her! The bandit leader calls out, and the two stop their forward sprint to fit and loose from their bows. One of which embeds itself in the tree near your position while the other pierces at leg you had thought behind cover. Kressle is 80ft and the pair are 50ft.
"Don't worry, it only hurts a little. This is getting closer than I wanted, keep on shooting, move to aiming at the guard to her left though, they dont look as trained. You might have better luck with them. I will focus on her."
Eleanor orders the pony to attack the the guard not currently occupied by Dassah.
As soon as the pony is past 30' from Eleanor, Eleanor takes the opportunity to cast Grease directly in line between herself and the bandits. (2/2 daily spells now used)
Dassah on Bandit 1:
1d20 ⇒ 3
Eagle on Kressle
1d20 + 3 ⇒ (16) + 3 = 19 1d4 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5
1d20 + 3 ⇒ (6) + 3 = 9
1d20 + 3 ⇒ (16) + 3 = 191d4 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5
Pony charging Bandit 2:
1d20 ⇒ 13 1d3 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3
Eleanor 17 6
Kressle 14 3
Since Kressle moved after the eagle attacked, it must move to attack her, so no full attack.
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (19) + 7 = 261d6 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6
1d20 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 81d3 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3
Dassah bolt buries itself in the wet ground. The eagle swoops down on Kressle, and this time it's beak finds a mark. Cursing the woman ends the summon with her ax once again, but falls back and takes cover behind a tree rather than continuing forward. The pony's hooves catch one of the bandits in the side, but the pair simply run past, avoiding the greasy spot of snow, and split around the tree to flank you. Call 'em off and we don't gut you. One of the two, a man, says.
How hurt is she hun? The leader I mean... We can keep this up, or surrender. I am loathe to stop at the moment, I fear surrender is equivilent to death at this point."
Dassah slithers down, coming down the tree 5 feet so she can attack the bandit (can climb speed take a 5' step down?).
To Hit, Bite: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (18) + 5 = 23 Damage: 1d3 - 1 ⇒ (3) - 1 = 2
To Hit, Tail Slap: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (7) + 1 = 8 Damage: 1d4 - 1 ⇒ (4) - 1 = 3
"Well, I guess that answers that... I am sorry, love, but I dont want to let you see me die."
The pony continues its attack, charging back after the bandit.
To Hit: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 4 = 16 Damage: 1d3 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3
A tear runs down Eleanor's cheek as she summons an eagle behind one of the bandits, where her beloved companion once stood, causing Dassah to fade from existence, "I am so sorry....
To Hit: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (14) + 5 = 19 Damage (with Smite): 1d4 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5
To Hit: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (12) + 5 = 17 Damage (with Smite): 1d4 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5
To Hit: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (7) + 5 = 12 Damage (with Smite): 1d4 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5
Eleanor is deliberately going last, just in case they have only one attack of opportunity
Retcon, my bad. didn''t notice that the summons had died. Dassah isn't dismissed when I summon. Please disregard "A tear runs down Eleanor's cheek as she summons an eagle behind one of the bandits, where her beloved companion once stood, causing Dassah to fade from existence, "I am so sorry.... "" .
Eleanor/pony 17 6
Kressle 14 3
Bandit2 13 7
Bandit3 9 3
Exultantly, Dassah's voice comes to you as she sinks her teeth into the bandits arm. The birds have ruined her face! She's running away! These are mine! The pony's hoof connects solidly, leaving the man grimacing and gasping for breath. He drops his weapon, raises his arms, and moves away from the pony. Alright! Enough! We surrender! the female bandit near Dassah shrieks as she is bitten, but likewise drops her weapon and move back. Yeah, we done! Call 'em off! Dassah hisses in response Rip her throat out! Nobody threatens to kill you! Bandits have withdrawn 30ft and are now unarmed, but not flat-footed.
"We will accept your surrender, but you will be brought to the trading post where your crimes were committed to face judgment."
"Here, take this rope, and bind those two, thoroughly as possible."
If the bandits resist, we will press the attack, otherwise we will bind them to the tree, and use subdual damage to knock them out with the butt of the crossbow. We will persue the female with the Svetlana's ring. Once they are all rounded up, we will keep them unconscious as we loot the camp of anything we can return to Oleg's. We will repeat the process as best we can all the way back to Oleg's with the captives.
"You know, taking bandits alive will be dangerous at best. It is a full day's ride back to Olegs, and tonight you need to sleep. What if they wake up, break free of the bonds, at attack you?" Dassah's voice rings inside Eleanor's head.
"Well, we cant just kill them like animals in the woods after they have surrendered. They are unarmed."
"I know they are, but what of the bandits the woman is likely calling as we speak, are they unarmed?"
"As soon as these two are tied to that tree, we will get the woman. Perhaps she will surrender. She is wounded, I doubt she can make it too far. You keep an eye out for her though. She might be doubling back."
"Either way, I don't think we should camp near here for the night. It is likely to get us killed if we remain in their territory."
"Agreed, but what do you want us to do? We haven't slept, the horses haven't slept, and we are all exhausted. On top of that I am wounded. What should we do?"
"First thing, neutralize these two. Second thing, catch that woman. Make sure to pick up all their weapons too, don't want them escaping, and just picking up their swords where we left them."
"Right then. As soon as these two are tied up, you fetch the horse. It is a hell of a lot faster than that woman."
We tie the bandits to the tree (Dassah and Eleanor both have CMB -1 so Escape DC is 19 I think. It appears you can aid another in combat, if so Dassah will aid Eleanor making the escape DC 21. I think he Bandit's Dex is 0 while tied up, so at a -5 to escape artist etc.) Eleanor will also gag them, so they can not yell for help while Dassah fetches the horse and pony.
On Dassah's return with the horses, Eleanor butt strokes the bandits with the crossbow, trying to knock them out.
We will ride after the woman with all haste. As soon as we see her, we will order surrender, and if she does not, we will attack, summoning an eagle to finish her if necessary. As soon as she drops, we will add her to the bandit collection.
The bandits don't resist as you tie them to the tree. On closer inspection, the two seem to share a family resemblance, though Varisians always look related. Once you raise the crossbow though, they both protest, Hey! We surrendered and won't cause any trouble. Don't have to beat us.
While busy with the bandits, you hear the sound of a horse at full gallop. The woman has taken a horse and is fleeing along the other side of the river. Summoning another eagle, it quickly pursues. Diving several times before a strike sends the woman tumbling onto the cold mud.
Crossing the ford near the watchtower, you see the rest of the rude camp. A second watch platform with wagon parked underneath and two erect tents along side to take advantage of the wagon's protection. A small circle of tree stumps surround a fire pit.
Reaching the woman's body you realize she is dead. Blood seeps from vicious wounds, and her is partially sunk into the mud. It's difficult to tell with wound, fall, or suffocation was the final blow.
Looking in the wagon, you find several coin pouches, containing a total of 357 cp, 621 sp, and 42 gp, a pair of silver earrings, a small music box, four crates of furs and hides, and a polished wooden case of potent greenish herbal liquor. There are eight bottles with liquor left.
Eleanor hoists the body of the woman over the saddle with Dassah's aid, and together they walk back to the camp to make a thorough search. "I hope they have horses, I am not sure how well the animals will like carrying back two corpses and two guards."
"Well there is a wagon, maybe we could hitch the horse and pony to that and just pull us all back to Oleg's?"
"Couldn't hurt to tr.." Eleanor abruptly stops talking aloud mid sentence. "Sometimes it is nice to talk outloud, but probably shouldn't in the middle of bandit country.. Anyhow, couldn't hurt to try the wagon. If we can find horses we can make them carry the loads, and give ours a break. We will have to move the pack gear though, I don't want your pony carrying corpses. Just makes me shudder a little is all."
"You two doing alright?" Eleanor whispers to the bandits as she passes them.
"Not very graceful, but I think we will have to drop that one up there off the platform to the ground in order to get him back to civilization. . . Lets see if we can't find rope, to lower him down with."
Eleanor and Dassah will set about getting the bandit off the platform. As soon as he is down to the ground, they check him over to see if there is any life at all left in him.
Eleanor's attempt to Aid: 1d20 ⇒ 4 (failing to Aid.)
Dassah's attempt to check the first bandit we shot at: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (11) + 4 = 15
"What the! You are still bleeding! you said it was nothing.." glaring at Eleanor, Dassah stops checking over the bandit, and focuses her attention on Eleanor. "You should have said something sooner. What if an infection set in?"
Heal Check, Dassah to fix Eleanor's leg: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (13) + 4 = 17
[i"]See, now you are talking out loud! We need to be silent, what if other bandits are coming back?"[/i]
"Well, maybe you should ask our prisoners about potential other bandits?"
"Good idea! I will do that, you finish combing through all this... Stuff."
Dassah slithers off into the dark to search the camp, meanwhile Eleanor will question the guards.
"We will either be heading out tonight, or at first light. But for now, I have a couple questions. First, how many bandits share this lovely camp? When are others due to arrive? Most importantly, where are your horses, unless you want to walk all the way back?"
If the wagon is usable, and we have the horse power to use it: We will wrap the two dead bandits, the woman an the one who was on the platform, and place them in the wagon. We will untie one bandit at a time, and resecure them to the inside of the wagon as well. Anything of even modest value from the camp will also get packed in. We will then head north to Oleg's. When we arrive, we will turn in the two live bandits, and turn over the two dead bandits. We will leave the searching of the female bandit and the piles of stuff to Svetlana, I don't know what the ring looks like and Svetlana will. Besides, her and Oleg will need to inventory it if they buy it anyhow. Since it looks like the stuff is just piled up, I want to be thorough in loading, but I really don't care to examine. We want to get headed out of bandit country..
Dassah quickly climbs to the watch-platform and brings the body back down. He's dead.
Dassah is able to remove the arrow and bandage the wound, but nothing more. It will take several days or healing magic before you will be able to fully use it. I'm sorry, but the stitches just won't take. Please be careful until we get back to Oleg's.
Aside from the horse Kressle rode, which escaped, there are four other horses in the bandit camp, tied to some trees near the wagon and tents. 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (16) + 15 = 31
The wagon is in decent condition, quite functional for your purposes.
Dassah's search of the camp doesn't reveal anything else of particular value, but she does find something in the wagon, Look at this, something has been chewing one things. The bags have holes and some of the rope looks like what we found near the dead man in the stream. What chews leather and rope?
The camp has the following usable items:
Two large tents
One Medium tent
A dozen bed rolls
30 dozen blankets
two dozen winter blankets
300 feet of rope
Several wood axes
Various food stuffs, mostly fresh meat and dried goods, equaling perhaps 170 days worth of rations.
The bandits answer your questions readily, trying to be cooperative.There were a dozen of us here originally, but when Happs and his crew didn't come back, Kressle took us to the trading post, figured couple might attacked them or something. Anyway, we ride up and get ambushed by some guards. The rest of us rode back here, and you came, so we're all that's left here. Kressle mentioned some boss in a fort further south, but we've never been there. The green bottles in the wagon are for him. Since we're the newest, no idea when people might be coming here, but we were supposed to go with Kressle and the wagon to meet the boss soon.
After a pause, the male bandit adds. Could we get some blankets and do something about Alika wound? I don't know what your friend is, but bite marks can turn bad quick.
Feel free to respond to these events as you like.
11th Pharast 4070
The next day dawns grey and wet. A slight drizzle and light fog making the world bleak and unpleasant. You secure the bandits and set off. The going is slow, you guess hardly more than a mile each hour, as you have to carefully guide the wagon around rocks, muck, and trees. After only a few hours Dassah suddenly stiffens1d20 + 15 ⇒ (15) + 15 = 301d20 + 8 ⇒ (17) + 8 = 25 To the right! Love, it's big, green, and hungry looking. Is that a troll?
A few hundred feet away, you see a tall creature with rough, gray-green hide. Its hands end in claws, and its bestial face has a hideous, tusked underbite. Just as you spot it, the creature freezes then utters a bestial roar that causes the horses to skittishly start trotting. Oh Mother's t&*&! The male bandit yells Run girl! Cut us loose and run. There's a small herd of horse and a couple dead bodies to distracted it, so let's hope that's enough.
Dassah and Eleanor will treat the wounds of the injured the best they can
Eleanor Assist, Bandit 1: 1d20 ⇒ 13; Dassah Heal: 1d20 + 2 + 4 ⇒ (16) + 2 + 4 = 22
Eleanor Assist, Bandit 1: 1d20 ⇒ 1; Dassah Heal: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 4 = 13
Were we able to load the wagon/hitch the horses? If yes, we run like hell with the wagon and the wounded, dropping the corpses out before we do so.
If not, cut the legs of the bandits loose, and quickly help them mount two of the horses, then the four of us run like hell.
"I don't approve of what the two of you do particularly, but I am not about to let you become troll chow." explains Eleanor as she quickly cuts the tethers holding the bandits legs together. "Here, get up quickly. We are making a run for it!"
"Dassah, please forgive me," whispers Eleanor to her companion as the group is galloping away.
To Hit: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (17) + 2 = 19
Damage: 1d8 ⇒ 1
"It may be cruel for the horse, but I hope it saves the rest of us."
We are taking 3 of the four horses, plus our pony and horse. We will leave one horse (The oldest/sickest) tied up, and Eleanor will shoot it as we flee. Perhaps the scent of blood will draw the Troll's attention away from the fleeing group. A free meal is easier than chasing down lunch... As we gallop off, Zerika will jettison the fresh meat if the Troll is following the wagon.
With a little work, the female bandit's wounds are mostly taken care off. The man has deep bruises from the pony's hooves, there isn't much Dassah can do for him.
Yes, the wagon is full and you are driving it. Two horses from the bandit camp are currently hitched to it, they seemed to be in the best shape, with the other two tethered to the side. If I get anything wrong interpreting your post, please let me know.
Dassah scrambles back and pushes the two corpses out as you try to keep the animals under control. Using a length of rope, Dassah is able to tangle the horse's legs enough to immobilize it. Her voice rings bitterly I don't see why we could leave these two behind instead. They tried to kill you and the horses didn't do anything. Your bolt cuts the thin line along the horse's flank, which bleeds freely. The horse's cries and the smell of blood make the other animals almost frantic, barely giving Dassah enough time to scamble back inside before they take off. The increased pace causes the wagon to lurch and jostle alarmingly. Whether it breaks before you do is an open question. The male bandit speaks again, If you want to keep this thing and us in one piece, let me take over. I know wagons and it's plain you don't. Please. I want to live!
In a few moments the troll comes to the horse and corpses. Pausing to glare after the fleeing feast, the giant lowers it's maw to the beast's throat. Blood spurts steaming into the morning air and soon the only sounds are the cracking of bone and tearing of flesh.
Dassah and Eleanor let the bandit drive, making sure that he is still lashed to the side of the wagon.
"I know they tried to kill us hun, but someone was going to be eaten by trolls, and I would rather it be a horse than a sentient person. We can pray to Arshea for it tonight when we reach Oleg's." Eleanor pulls the blankets tight around herself, and Dassah, keeping her loaded crossbow pointed at the bandit driving. After an hour or so, Eleanor hands the crossbow over to Dassah, and covers the injured woman with a couple blankets, and wraps one around the shoulders of the male bandit driver, double checking the captives ropes as she does.
"I do not know what your fate will be when we get to where we are going, but restoring these goods to Oleg may go a long way towards recompense. I would assume that no matter the fate at the outpost, it is better than your fate at the hands of that troll..."
"Oh, I should have remembered before we shoved her off as troll food... Your leader there, she stole a ring from a woman who means a great deal to us. Is there any chance you know where it went? I don't relish the idea of coming back here to sift troll dung looking for it. When you were all loading this up, did you perchance spot anything that could have been a wedding ring?"
Snuggled in the nest of blankets, Dassah and Eleanor make the rest of the journey in silence, trying to get a handle on what all is in the wagon, unless the captives have questions or seem talkative.
"Part of me is mad at them for trying to kill us, so I dont want to talk to them. Part of me is afraid if I talk to them I will like them and it will make it harder if Oleg hangs them, so I don't want to talk to them... At the same time, if this is their last night on earth, I don't want to ignore them either."
1d20 + 5 ⇒ (10) + 5 = 151d20 + 5 ⇒ (18) + 5 = 231d20 + 5 ⇒ (16) + 5 = 211d20 + 5 ⇒ (15) + 5 = 201d20 + 5 ⇒ (14) + 5 = 191d20 + 5 ⇒ (12) + 5 = 17
Could you please point the bow somewhere else. The man says through gritted teeth. Every time we hit a bump, I'm worried about a bolt going through me, and I don't need the distraction.
After the initial burst, the man slows the horses' pace from reckless to uncomfortable. His skill evidence as he maintains the pace for the rest of the day. The woman answers you question, No idea. If it wasn't with Kressle, then it was in one of the coin pouches or stolen by the fairies. I haven't seen it since she took it. By evening you have left the forest behind. Although the trading post isn't in sight, you recognize the plains as those surrounding it. Even at the normal pace, it should only be a few hours tomorrow.
The normal pace of a wagon through trackless hills is 8miles a day. The drive was able to push the horses, doubling the speed, but risking damage to the wagon. He succeeded on all his check though, so no problem. Do you wish to spend a night or attempt to press on to the fort through the night. It will fatigue the horses and yourselves, be slow, and risk harm to wagon and animal. However, you won't have to spend another night with the bandits.
"Oooh! Faeries! I wonder if they are anything like they are in books. When we get to the fort, we will have to talk to Oleg and Svetlana!"
"What can you tell us about the faeries and where the ring might be if the faeries took it? Are they as pretty and fluttery as in the stories?"
After listening to the driver and the captive woman for the day, Dassah and Eleanor agree that it is time to make camp. No sense wrecking a perfectly good wagon, or killing another horse.
We will keep the woman's arms tied, but let her have her legs so she can wander around for a while and stretch out. The same for the man. After they have had some time, we will re-tie the legs, and tether them with about 20 feet of rope to the wagon, and let them stretch their arms a while and take some time to eat.
"We can't really cook, but we have rations you are more than welcome to share in them. I really am sorry to have to keep you both tied up all the time, but we both get paranoid, especially at night. On the bright side, this should be the last night before we reach the outpost."
Eleanor hands each bandit a days rations.
"The way I figure it, we should be back to Oleg's mid day tomorrow. Since you haven't tried to kill us in the last day and a half, if you like, I can talk to them about returning the favor. I am not sure what skills you two have, aside from poking holes in me. Nonetheless in the middle of nowhere good people are hard to find. Do you think you could be good people?"
As the night wears to a close, Eleanor again apologises before tying both bandits securely, and coving them with warm blankets. "Comfortable? No sense freezing..."
With the bandits secure, Dassah and Eleanor will settle in as well.
I don't think anything is like the books.
The pair look at you incredulously, Fluttery? The woman says, The only fey we've seen was in the heart of winter, and it was terrible. Her voice takes on a different tone, rising and falling with the story. Worse than stories of the ogres' skull jigs. It was the first full moon of the year. A night when the air was crystal. Nothing moved and the only sound came from our crackling fire. Grigori had watch and I was to relieve him. First it was a sound, a howl. Cold it was, and empty. A wolf's howl is alive, full of hunting and mating. The red-blooded things of life. This howl was night terrors and cold lonely death. We huddled together like children and readied our bows, even Kressle burrowed into her blankets and hid, if only in her sleep.
Then, a lone rider. Slowly climbing the glen's rocky knoll. His steed was an elk, long dead with ice instead of hide and hoar-frost for fur. Antlers glistening with winter's tears. A mockery to Old-Deadeye. The rider was more terrible still. Tall as a giant with armor the blue-white of deep snow. In his hand a long glaive. Antlers, like his steed's, rose and curled above his head, glistening blue-black ice like nothing from this world.
On the crown he stilled. And once again the only sound was our dreadful fire, and it's shadows the only movement. Then, though it had not moved and no face was seen, we felt it's gaze. Cruel it was, crueler than death. As though a fell beast's rotten heart had been frozen by witch's spells. A word it spoke, Rhewi, and our fire died. Frost raced over the logs, and our lips were frozen shut. And then, it continued into the trees, as though it had only stopped to end some passing nuisance. And thank the Starsong it paid us no more heed.
As you settle in for the night, the man, Grigori, answers your question. Of course we would appreciate it. Living is nice after all. What skills do we have? You've seen how I drive, and you've what Alinka can do. Aside from that, we are Varisians. With a smile and twinkle, Judge for yourself! We can be good people to people who are good to us. Fair pay or a cut of the loot and we will be good people for you.
12th Pharast 4070, the morning dawns with bandits and organs in their proper places. No throat slitting knave or slavering troll in the night it seems. A few slow hours sees Oleg's coming into view. Seeing the yellow and white banner atop one of the watchtowers, Grigori asks, Not to ruin the surprise or anything, but what are you planning for us? Law and me never being the best of friends, I'd rather not trouble the Dragonthrone if it's all the same.
"Honestly, my plan is to turn you over to Oleg. I will tell him of your driving skill, and that you claim to be Varisian, and that I imagine you would do well as employees for him. I will explain that I don't altogether trust you, but I think I will leave out the fact that you tried to kill me. The rest will be up to you and him. I warn you, there are far more guards there now than before, so I would not advise betraying the man. He is a friend of mine, as is his wife, and Dassah and I would take it very personally if you betrayed us or Oleg and Svetlana. Someday I may need a driver, and if you prove an honest hard working sort, I may be looking to hire you in the future."
Obviously not reassured by your answer, he falls silent as the outpost's open gate draws near.
Inside, you see Oleg and Svetlana waving at you. With them, a seriously looking man of around thirty clad in breastplate. Good to see you again. Oleg says as the wagon pulls in. Did you get the woman and who are these two?
"I found the woman. She is dead. Unfortunately we also found a troll, and I believe it has by now, eaten her corpse. One other bandit lies dead with her as well, for what it is worth. This is Grigori, I found him in the woods, and brought him back. This is Alika and she has been telling me about the fey in the woods south of here. I am not near foolish enough to let strangers have my throat at night, so I have them bound. I believe they are river folk. I thought perhaps you would have use of some workers at the outpost."
Pulling the blankets off the wagon, Eleanor points out the crates of furs. "Although we did not find the ring, we recoved these for you. Alika thinks the fey have your wife's ring, and I will try to get it back when I head back south. I am not sure what else here is yours, but we are returning anything that belongs to you, and if you can, I would like to put the rest on consignment for credit at your store. Oh, and here, can I put this on my account as well?" asks Eleanor as she hands the bags of coin to Oleg.
"I am famished, could we talk indoors and eat?"
Once safely inside, and out of earshot of any the new guard, Eleanor will formally introduce Oleg and the two former bandits. "I think they will do well for you, if you pay and treat them fairly, but I will not lie to you about their past. They were in the bandit camp. I never asked if they had raided this far north, because I honestly didn't want the burden of knowing. So I will leave their fate in your hands. They have treated me well, and helped where they could on the long trip back here. They are also the ones who gave me the lead on recovering your ring. I don't feel inclined to turn them over to the guards, because you know as well as I what will happen if I do. Perhaps they could work their debts with you off, and help make you independent enough that you no longer need those guards milling about. I am sure that having imperials around is not necessarily the best for your business. Perhaps they could be of help locating and eliminating the bandit leader? Just don't sell their value short.."
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Svetlana's face tightens when you mention the troll, and she isn't alone. The others also seem concerned. That's the first confirmed troll of the season. Hunters are going to start drifting in over the next few days for Planting Week, so we should be able to get an idea of how many there are this year. Oleg informs you grimly.
You notice Kresten studying you and your captives intently, but his face provides no hint as to why and he says nothing more than, Once you have finished eating, please come and see me. I would like more information on the local bandits. Your associates also. The Levetons also look at you a bit curiously when you mention them.
Svetlana almost squeals and even Oleg smiles broadly when the crates are unveiled. Of course! Of course! Svetlana exclaims, We'll take care of it all. With the furs back and the rest you've brought in, we'll do well this year. Take that you Synir tíkur! gesturing rudely towards heads mounted on the gate. Tell us what happened. As she leads you into the main building.
As you explain the bandits' situation, Oleg looks at them thoughtfully. It's something to consider, and not too rashly either. You know the Freedoms? The two nod in assent, Then here it is. Your oath, by Rat and by Hag with no clause, to follow my rules and work for me three months or face Brevoy justice for banditry. Though the pair seem troubled by the terms, they agree. Finishing the bargain with, I swear it by the Rat and the Hag.
Done. Oleg remove their bonds and gestures for them to sit So, my new employees, what's this about a bandit leader. I thought the woman was your boss?
It's true. Grigori answers. Kressle ran the band we joined up with, but she had a boss too. The others called him the Stag Lord, and had plenty of stories to tell, but we never met him. Hadn't been with the group long enough, you see, so all we have is stories. To hear them tell it he's a giant of a man, eight feet tall at least with a skeletal stag's head in place of his own. A curse for defiling one of Deadeye's shrines. He never misses with his bow, killing trolls with a single shot. And when someone angers him, he crushes their skulls in one hand. Holding out his hand like a claw, peering at everyone with a scowl on his face. But that's stories bored men tell the new guys. Best guess, he does seem to wear a stag helmet of some kind and he is a good shot. Other than that, he is fond of drink, the stronger the better, and has a nasty temper if he goes without one. From what Kressle said there a number of gangs that report to him spread around the Stolen Lands. Hers was just the furthest north and most aggressive. They are report to him monthly at this fort of theirs by the lake to the south. Tuskwater I think. The fort is where the store things before heading south to sell. The gang that hangs at the fort is the toughest and meanest of the bunch. Three guys there run things when the Stag Lord is drunk or break skulls when one of the gangs doesn't pay-up. Akiros is the number two. Word is he isn't friendly. Spends his time sharping his sword, reading, and writing. Piss him off though and he goes really cold and starts killing. The other two are Dovan and Ox. Dovan is a creapy, thin and has weird tatoos. It was fit since he from Nisroch apparently. Some weren't sure how tough he actually was, but weren't going to challenge him with Ox around. Ox is just what he sounds like, big and dumb. Though from stories about his temper, maybe bull or boar would be a better name. Likes hitting people who annoy him or whoever Dovan says to hit. Popular rumor is he's part ogre. That's about all I know.
"Well, that's that then. You help Oleg and Svetlana, I will go talk to the guard captain. Hope he isn't too much of a ... Anyway. I think I have more questions about this bandit lord, but for now, I should go."
Eleanor grabs her cloak and bundles up before heading back out into the winter air. After searching around for a while, Eleanor approaches the guard captain. "You wanted to see me?"
Sorry for another long gap. To help catch things up, I will post the general points that he wanted to hit before the conversation started. Once he hears from Eleanor, there will doubtless be additional things he asks about. This cool with you?
You find Kresten relieving the guard on lookout. Come with me. Leading you up the tower. You fought the bandits of this region twice now. What can you tell me about them? Numbers. Locations. Weapons. After hearing your responce, The two bandits you captured, why did you not turn them over to me? You were rather careful about that. Looking out over the plains to the hills and forest beyond, And the other threats of the region? What have you seen?
You seem quite close to the Levetons, how did you come know each other?If answered earlier please ignore.
Although attentive to all your answers, his gaze once again turns unscrupable and intense. You have no blood or business in this place, so why here?
"Yes, with Oleg's help, we were able to eliminate two of the raiding party that was harassing him, including that bands leader. I was able to eliminate another four in the woods day before yesterday. I am not much of a hunter, tracker, tactician, or fighter though, so my answers to questions dealing with issues like you seem to be interested in are probably not what you expect. All I know is that there were a dozen bandits or so in that camp at one time. Several seem to have died before I even arrived in the Greenbelt. Even if they simply moved on, the group should be at about half strength. I am told there is another large encampment much further south. As soon as I keep my promise to Svetlana and Oleg to return her ring, I will do my best to take care of the larger camp."
"I am told the bandit leader is a dead eye shot and can kill a man with one hand. I also hear that his keep is guarded by three very fierce lieutenants. I know he is a drunk and a tyrant. I should be talking to the two I captured and see if I can find a way to sneak in to the group rather than here, but politeness dictates that I meet you, so here I am."
"As for other threats, there are some kind of giant boars in the south. No idea what they are, but they can kill a dog in the blink of an eye. As I mentioned when I came in, there are also trolls.
"The bandits are for Oleg. They caused him harm, not me and not you. So it is to him to deal with them as he sees fit."
"I met the Levetons about a month ago when I arrived. They gave me a warm place to sleep, and they fed me which is more than most will do for my kind. In climates like this, I would have been dead if they hadn't helped. I am repaying a debt to some of the best people I have ever met."
"I have business here. I was told if I could carve out a place in the wilderness here I could keep it. That is all the motivation I need." pulling back her cloak, and letting her tail slip through the slit in the back of her skirt, Eleanor reveals herself in full tiefling glory to the captain. "My kind are not generally welcome in the world of polite society, so I aim to make my own place."
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The first thing like an expression briefly touches his face, You are not a tracker or a fighter, but you follow bandits through the wilderness to their camp and defeat four single-handedly. And now intend to face the Stag Lord. You sound more Kellid than Cheliaxian. Remember though, you are not in Cheliax or Numeria. This is Brevoy and it is our law here. The judgement is mine to make. I will see them once we are finished.
They hold you in regard as well. Oleg was clear that no insult to you would be tolerated. Svetlana also. As for your place here, without title, you own nothing. In truth, if you wish to live here, then it is yours. Know, demon worship is forbidden, as are the old cults. Penalty is death. That, and the other laws of Brevoy, are my only concern with 'your' kind.
That is all I wanted to ask. However, this might help you find your place. He retrieves a leather bag, heavy and clinking with coin. Your bandit friends stole furs destined for Aldori ladies. This is their thanks. When both your hand and his grasp the bag, Take care. I am Garess, and take offense like stone. An Aldori might have demanded satisfaction for what you said to me. A Surtova would have had you knifed. The bag itself weights several pounds. Inside are several hundred gold thrones.[/ooc] Bag contains 400gp
"I have always admired the barbarians of the north, so thank you for the compliment, and I thank you for the coin. I will make good use of it. Dassah keeps a journal of anything we find, you may want to ask her to see it if the area is truly of grave concern to you." Eleanor slips the coin bag into her belt pouch. "Anything you can tell me about this Stag Lord would help immensely. Perhaps we could trade the information I have about the lands south for what you know about him?"
"For what it is worth, I do not worship my kin, I rather dislike them." Eleanor smiles, "I think I rather like you. You are much like Oleg. Blunt, to the point, and honest . . . almost everything I like in a person."
Eleanor manages a polite coutsey before wrapping herself back up in her cloak and heading to Oleg. "Can you put this on credit for me as well?" she asks, tossing the bag of coin to Oleg. "I might have to come up with a shopping list before I head south. Most importantly I would like to make that wagon into a home, and buy a guard dog to wake me if anything wanders close in the night."
If there is no pressing time constraint after talking to the guard, Oleg, and Svetlana, I would like to spend some time learning to drive the wagon and meeting guards. If time is of the essence, that will have to wait.
I know little about him, just a bandit who can intimidate others. This, showing you a silver amulet like one you found, is the only unusual thing. Most don't spend good silver making badges.
I thank you. Oleg is a fine man. Steinn, stone, we would say. A high compliment. As you leave, I will question the Varisians now, have them meet me here.
Dassah's voice comes to you, [i]He makes Oleg seem warm and cuddly. It's the weather's fault. If
As he looks in the pouch, Oleg's eyes go a bit wide. [b]That's a fair bit of money girl. We'll be happy to hold it for you, but why? You have plenty of credit, just tell me what you want and we'll buy it on our trip after Planting Week. Unless you are looking for magic or fancy armor, doubt we'll need the gold. It's from Captain Garess, I take it. Money like that probably made him uncomfortable. When Aldori pay before a job is done, it's like having a drawn blade. Not threatening, but almost spoiling to fight.
Pursing lips in thought, Aren't any dogs here right now. But there will probably be some for sale during the celebration, so will a lot of other things. As for the wagon, we can rig a covering of some kind, but if you want a real Varisian... Grigori. Turning to the Varisian, What do you think?
Grigori nods, We can certainly do something, but it won't be the best quality. A real Varisian wagon really is a home that moves and making them is a skill I lack. Probably have to visit Lake Encarthan or Ustalav to get one, at least further into the River Kingdoms. Daggermark maybe?
There is nothing pressing, so you can do what you like. Oleg or Grigori, assuming Kesten doesn't do something final, could help you with the wagon. As could Svetlana for that matter. Some narration? Is Dassah accompanying you. I assume she is.
As Grigori and Alinka head towards Kresten, you visit with the guards. The first you encounter is the Kellid who was on watch. His grey eyes are unfriendly. Jumala-soittajan. Minulla ei ole tekemisissä Sarkoris hölmöt! Jätä! As he turns away.
The other two guards are in the guesthouse playing dice with Jhod. The game stops as you enter. After a few awkward seconds, Jhod and one of the guards being speaking at once.
What brings yo..
Carry to jo...
They fall silent again and then guards begins again, Care to join us?
"I cannot right now, but perhaps later you can teach me the game?" Eleanor smiles and leaves the room quietly before returning to the Leveton home.
I have been leaving Dassah with Svetlana and Oleg. She likes the fire, and it lets me relay information to the Levertons easier if something should arise.
"I think we can wait for the celebration then, don't you Dassah? Sitting by the fire for a while might be hard on you..." Eleanor bursts out laughing. "I think you have worked hard enought for both of us if you would like a break."
"How far would we have to go to get one of those wagons? I don't know many towns around here." Eleanor asks in earnest.
"I figure we can either wait here and send them to get us a wagon and some guard dogs, or we can wait here with them. Winters are not much concern for me, but for you they are not at all enjoyable for you, so what do you think?"
Eleanor will help with making dinner, and the clean-up while Dassah ponders the question of what to do. Before Eleanor has an answer, "Could we go with them to get a wagon and some dogs? I would like to see some more of the world, and Oleg and Svetlana probably need to make a trip to get supplies anyhow with all these military types being around."
"I will ask them, dear."
"Oleg and Svetlana, could we accompany you on one of your trips to town, if you will be making one any time soon, so we pick out a wagon and some dogs? I think Dassah has earned a break from the wilderness."
You are wise.
The closest town I can think of would be Daggermark, and that's a long journey. Either across to the Hooktongue and down the river or through the Kames along the forest until Mivon, and take a boat there. Either way, a journey of weeks, likely months. Or, possibly, New Stetven, though it's unlikely. Few Varisians come to Brevoy, and I can't think of any caravans. Let's see we can do here.
As you help Svetlana clean, We won't be leaving until after Planting, which begins eight days from now, but you are welcome to join us. Be careful though. People might not take kindly to either of you, and whatever else happens, the merchants will skin you. They can sense when someone is new. By her sniff, she thinks little of them. Despite, or perhaps because she is one herself. The Planting is wonderful though, she continues People bring in the last of their winter hides and buy new things for spring. Everyone will catch up on news and do their best to avoid looking at whoever they stay with. After winter you can grow to despise your own family. It and it's opposite in fall are our busiest times of the year. That's why Oleg went to get supplies, so there would be enough when people come. After everything is finished, we'll load our wagon, probably yours too if you bring it, with everything from winter and sell it all in Restov. Makes you feel rich. It takes about a week for a wagon from here to Restov, if the weather cooperates. Three weeks before we are in civilization. I'm afraid your Jumala will have to wait. She says smiling at Dassah. Just wait until you see them. Great hairy stinking men who can't stand other people, those too strange or wanted to be in cities, even some families for one reason or another. Most haven't had a bath all winter. Probably since they were last here.
Oleg chimes in, I'll be leaving soon to harvest some wood. We'll need quite a bit. Jhod and Dorn agreed to come. You and your wagon would be a great help. Between the six of us, we'll be able to finish quickly and bring plenty back.
"Well then! Lets work on the wagon as best we can, and get some wood in for the planting. I would like to meet some of the others foolish enough to try and making a living out here," smiles Eleanor.
"If we can't get to civilization, maybe we should just build our own out here somewhere."
"What do you think of the stories about the Stag Lord? Is he really all that powerful? I think as soon as we are done with the planting, I will have to set out to find him. I will get directions to the Fey as well, if you have any information to share."
Dassah finishes up the dishes, then sets about fetching water for the bath. "A whole year without a bath... No wonder they are grouchy... And not wonder people take offense at their presence.."
We will spend the eight days, helping gather firewood with the wagon, and fixing it up into the closest semblance of a Varisian Fortune Tellers wagon we can manage. Depending on how well we are welcomed by the people arriving with the planting will determine whether or not we head south in eight days or whether we stay for the fair. We should buy 20 Cold Iron bolts for both me and Dassah if anyone knows enough about the fey to point us in that direction.
Diplomacy (Gather information about the fey) 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (18) + 4 = 22
Knowledge (Nature) (to put together an idea of what is real and what is just stories) 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (15) + 7 = 22
Just to confirm, we're going to quickly go through the next several days. Correct?
We'll start tomorrow. Says Oleg. As for the Stag Lord, we've heard rumors about him for a few years, but no accurate idea of his strength. Best we've heard agrees with Grigori that he's a deadly shot with the bow. The fey are a different matter. Usually it's a matter of keeping them from finding you. They can be anywhere, but our experience and the stories agree that the deeper in the forest you go, the more there are, and the wilder they get. South too. The northern rim of the forest is pretty safe, but center of the forest by Tuskwater lake, never heard of anyone coming out. Svetlana takes over, Cold iron weapon against them, but the stories also say the hate and fear it. There are all kinds of fey, but here's what I know...
13th-20th Pharast 4070
The next week passing quickly as preparations are made for the celebration/gathering that is Planting Week. The first couple days are spent near Narlmarch, harvesting dead trees and loading the wagons to capacity. Dassah's sharp eyes spot a small herd of elk, but otherwise the wilderness is empty, though watches are kept and weapons stay close.
The plain surrounding the trading post is cleared and leveled. Waste pits dug and readied. Even a bath of sorts is constructed at the nearby stream. A great wooden tube with copper bottom. Large enough to fit half a dozen people or more. Jhod proves particularly useful here. His magic closing cracks and smoothing dents.
The weather, which had been sunny and above freezing, even at night, turns. The days become windy, grey, and chill, as people begin drifting in to set up tents along the wall of the post. Most are, as Svetlana said, lone men, more at home alone among the beasts than with their own kind. Indeed, when a around a fire, laughing and drinking, they seem almost beasts themselves. Shaggy bears and lean wolves growling at each other and howling to the moon. They are not the only ones however, lone women, couples, friendships, and even a few families drift in. Their gear and goods are much the same. Furs and leathers, home-done with varying degrees of quality. Bows, spears, axes, and knives. Animal goods of all kinds are in abundance.
Svetlana and Oleg are in their element here. Svetlana moving between groups, serving and laughing. While Oleg carefully records goods received and credit owed. The is much haggling and grumbling on the worth of goods. To hear the bartering, all merchants are thieves seeking to skin honest men, leaving only the barest to live on. While trappers are sluggards whose goods a man would take only out of charity. Only occasionally does Svetlana step in as words turn bitter in truth.
Alinka and Grigori are soon kept almost as busy as their employers. Another barrel to opened, another bundle stowed, more firewood to fetch. Even Dassah finds herself pressed into service. As her sedentary nature near the fire ideal for stirring great cauldrons of stew and checking coal-baked loaves.
Kresten and his guards however, are most definitely out of sorts. It is one thing to guard a lone trading post with a law-abiding couple who trade goods with occasional lone hunter. It is quite another to police a tent village of a hundred hunters, criminals, and misanthropes. Fortunately, most of the chaos is confined to outside the fort, both by arms and unspoken protocol. Inside is for deals and eating. Oleg claims to be grateful for their presence, as it helps to keep things civil.
Your presence is remarked on, often to your face, and reactions seem to vary, though few are overtly hostile or, with the exception of lustful advances, overly friendly. This seems to be due to the Leveton's influence, as all respect them, and by extension those with them. More than anything, the suspicions seem to stem from your outsider status rather than outsider heritage. Even the amorous proposals are welcoming in a way, as they seem to be extended to all unclaimed, and sometimes even the claimed, women. Regardless of race. And though humans are the majority, they are not alone. A few dwarfs and elves are present, though of the half-orcs and halflings make up most of the non-humans. There is even another tiefling, and perhaps more, as some individuals are difficult to give a race to.
20th Pharast 4070
The day dawns snowy and cold. The storm that had threatened all week finally swept in last night, leaving four inches of fresh snow on the ground. It doesn't seem to have dampened spirits however, as the tent village continued to grow overnight. Today Planting Week truly begins.
From what Svetlana said, today will be fairly mellow. A time for people to re-acquaint themselves with each other, threats to be discussed, and the beginning of plans for the coming year. Tonight; however, will be different. A great bonfire made of logs will be lit and it will, depending on your own opinion, become a time to banish the cares of winter and welcome the joy of spring, or it is time to get outrageously drunk and try to mate with anything available.
If you wish more details on anything in particular, please feel free to ask.
People respond well to your questions about the fey, eager to fill the ears of anyone willing to listen. I think their words built up while they were alone, will these people never stop talking?
Your previous knowledge helps you winnow through the chaff of fancy to what, hopefully, is the truth. Overall you learn the following things. Fey are creatures, mortal usually, with supernatural abilities that are tied to nature in some way. Often resistant to normal weapons, they are vulnerable to cold iron and tend to die quickly when struck by such weapons. Because of this however, bearing them is universally considered to be antagonistic. The fey equipment of saying you intend to murder someone. Fairly standard.
However, there are hints in the stories of something else. Of a type of fey that are not bound to nature and exist in world outside of ours. If the hints of this place are to be believed, all of the wondrous, terrifying, and unbelievable stories of the fey are true, and more than true. The connection between the fey of that world and the fey of this world is unclear. As in some stories they are the same, you are simply seeing them in their home rather than ours, and in other completely different. Separate creatures from separate realms that have only the most tenuous connection.
The further into the Narlmarches the more frequent, powerful, and well, fey, the fey become. No one is sure why. Best theories are a gate to the fey realm, or simply because it is an ancient forest that no one has successfully disturbed. It would also be a bit of both.
The fey active during the winter are generally considered to be more malicious than those active during the summer. Though malicious can be very relative, as there appear to be some fey that will slit your throat if you step on their flowers. It's may only to avenge the flower and provide a place for new ones to grow, instead of spiteful cruelty at seeing you suffer, but you are dead all the same.
In contrast to all the stories of warning and woe, there are also many that portray the fey positively. One man telling you of the time he became ill in the forest and falling asleep expecting to die. Upon waking, he found himself under a tall oak tree, with a beautiful dryad comforting him. Another tells of being chased by a troll and a woman made of flowers and grass pulling him into the ground, only to shove him out again right outside is shelter several days journey away.
more details on request.
Forum goblins ate my post! Repost
Eleanor seems to love her work with the growing throngs of people coming and going for the Planting. She spends hours on end late at night listening to the stories of the creatures found in the dark woods, often relaying them to Dassah to be recorded in their journal. Having far more money than she knows what to do with, she frequently buys bottles and casks of ale for those who she finds most informative or entertaining just to keep the cheer flowing.
Dassah too seems to be enjoying the festivities. Although the snow keeps falling, the many people trampling the ground seems to make it easier on her, as do the myriad of campfires. Although she is generally either cooking at the fire or by Eleanor's side, even she gets caught up in the events, and often disappears into the crowd for hours on end.
Proud of her wagon in progress, Eleanor shows it off to the locals on each trip in and out for firewood, asking often for advice on how to improve the vehicle. On several of the trips, she stops to look at the wares of the different traders flooding in for the celebration, trying to find bright happy colors for the inside of her new home, and muted natural tones for the outside.
"I don't think we should bring cold iron with us if the nice fey will be offended by it. I have always wanted to meet real faeries! I don't want to scare them away before I even have a chance to talk to them. Maybe there is some form of alchemical agent we could apply to the weapons to make them act like cold iron, but not be cold iron... It would save us the hassle of explaining it all to the nice faeries why we have the items they hate."
I will spend up to 50g making friends and learning all I can about the wilderness. I won't be bribing anyone, just playing a good hostess and providing for the needs of the people I find the most entertaining and helpful.
Once the festival is over:
"Alinka and Grigori, can I speak to you two for a while? I am headed south again tomorrow, and I may be visiting this Stag Lord soon. Could you take some time to think about anything else that might be helpful if I need to fight the man? Does he have any bad habits? Do you know of any pass codes if the bandit use when coming or going from the camps? They have all probably expired, but couldn't hurt to know them anyhow. Were there any scheduled drop offs of his share of your loot?"
Once the Alinka and Grigori have filled Eleanor in, she and Dassah will record all the notes in their journal.
The following morning, Dassah coils up in front of the fire while Eleanor finishes loading the gear for the next venture south. Suddenly a thought flashes through her mind. "You know, we never checked to see if any of those things in the chest were magical or asked Alinka and Grigori about them!" Eleanor quickly heads back inside, and casts Detect Magic, and studies the items inside her mysterious items chest (bottles of green liquor, music box, silver stag medallion, and earrings) and then speaks to the bandits about these items. As she about to close the lid, Eleanor grabs out the amulet, and puts it in her belt pouch. "They said that the bandits wear these to identify themselves as part of the Stag Lords group. Might be a simple disguise if we ever need it."
I too have done battle with the forum goblins. Just to clarify, all that has happened so far is the days leading up to the celebration. The 20th was the first day of Planting week, which will go until the 26th. I'll narrate the week until/unless something happens. If you see something interesting that I post, just correct me on what really happened.
Your money and time are well spent. By the end of two weeks, your book is nearly filled with notes on the region know as the Greenbelt.
The various trappers and hunters you've spoken to have given you plenty of information on the lay of the land, weather, and local hazards. +2 to all survival and knowledge:nature checks made within the Kamelands.(North of the Shrike and Little Sellen rivers, west of the Tors, east of the Narlmarches, and south of the trade road. Also hexes w, q, j, r, s, y, ag, am, and au.
Fangberry thicket in AN.
Rickety Bridge in AH. Be careful. It might collapse if you put too much weight on it. Should get around to fixing it one of these days.
River crossing in AO.
Tuskgutter's lair in AG. He ate my leg! Bring me his head and I'll give you a prize, and some of the head cheese.
Nettle's crossing in AJ. The Stag Lord and his men killed Nettle. Now his spirit haunts to waters. Best cross somewhere else.
Sootscale Cavern in AP. There's another lair of the scaly critters there. Not sure how many, but I'm think it's less than the other one. Might be fighting going on.
The Kobold ruin in AI. One of the bigger kame ruins is full of Kobolds. Not sure how many, but I don't want to find out. Girl here says they took her whole family, and is looking for help.
These descriptions don't mean you've explored the hex, or know everything there is to find, but does mean you can travel directly to these locations, or at least their general area.
Sprite: They glow and seem kind of silly by themselves. Then you realize there twenty, their light blinds you, and you feel little needles and razors cutting you to pieces. Don't usually see other fey around them, or animals for that matter.
Grig: Little women with cricket bodies. Play nice music, but sometimes make you dance at inconvenient times. Like when you're trying to set a trap. Can vanish without a trace. See them and Atomies together alot, so be careful.
Pixie: Most dangerous of the little people. They have all kinds of magic. Even their arrows are magical. Cross them and you'll sleep for a year or not remember your own name. Maybe both.
Mite: Only little one that can't fly. Only ugly one too. Nobody likes them except spiders and other bugs. Just plain vicious. No magic though.
Atomie: These attack just about anything, so treat them with respect, even if they don't deserve it. They'll shrink you, vanish, then stab for the special parts, if you take my meaning. See one and there's probably a grig around. See a few and you're getting close to one of the more powerful fey. Dryads, nymphs, and the like. They act as guards.
Nixie: Little people that live in the lakes and rivers. They'll charm and carry off handsome men. If they like you, they let you breathe water. Don't like you and well, that's the end of it.
Wolves: They're wolves honey.
Worgs: Evil, smart, mean wolves. Red eyes give 'um away.
Bear: If they want your food, give it to them. Don't startle them, unless you are hunting one. Don't touch the cubs.
Spiders: They're poisonous, and some get as big as ponies.
Owlbear: Bear with a beak, big claws, and a terminally bad temper. Run away, distract it, or kill it. Last one only if you have to, 'cause they'll probably get you first.
Shambling Mound: you see them moving around the swampy areas. Just stay away. Hard to kill, deadly, and nothing worth getting from them. You can outrun them.
Trolls: It's trolls girl. You met one. Fire and acid are what you need. Once they get a scent they don't stop unless something better get's between you and them. Oh. You gave them a horse. That'll do.
Will-o'-wisp: See a dancing light at night? Could be a fey or could be a wisp. Either way, stay away from it. They trick you into killing your self, then hover just out of reach as you're dying. Also can disappear and fry you like lightning.
Werewolves: Be wary on the full moons. You need silver to kill them and if you're bit, you become one. Some of the trappers here have the moon in them. I'm pretty sure X is one of them, but you can't tell unless the moon is out.
Breeg, onry cuss, has been missing for a while. Bet he joined the bandits. Oh. Found him dead did ya. Probably one of the fairies.
I hear there's an old gold mine the Taldans found, and that's why they came here in the first place, but it's cursed fairy gold, so terrible things happen to whoever finds it.
Yeah. The Stag Lord controls everything that goes on south of Oleg's. He'll own that too soon. He's getting a whole army of bandits to burn this place down.
The Stag Lord sold his soul to a demon, on a alter to Erastil no less. Old Deadeye took his face for the blasphemy, but the demon gave him it's instead. Now he sees with demon eyes, and has fiends that obey him.
There's an old tower in the middle of Candlemere. The wisps gather round it like moths to flame and most that go there don't come back. The ones that do though, are worse. Something evil and unnatural gets inside them.
There's a dragon that lives in the Narlmarches. No! There's a whole family of dragons! The fey give 'um gold and in exchange they eat anyone who offends them.
There's a hag that lives on the west side of the tuskwater. She loves the flesh of newborn children and is behind the Stag Lord and that tower on candlemere.
No she isn't! Beldame's just an old woman that likes her privacy, like any of us. Some people are suspicious because she's got magic and lives in some swampy woods. I've been there twice and it's quite a nice place she has there. For us down by the water she's the best place to get healing and such. More reliable than Boken too. She's crotchety, not crazy.
Neither sibling can think of anything useful to add. The only pass phrase we heard was "By the Bloody Bones of Saint Gilmorg who wants to know?" While there was a drop off time. Only Kressle, and maybe Happs, knew what it was.
You cast your spell, but none of the items appear to be magical. The bottles were actually purchased from a man from Restov. A special gift for the Stag Lord, by order of Devon. The music box and earrings were taken from a lady traveling on the trade road. Apparently she didn't believe the bandits when they said "hand it over". There was a nice dress, but it had too many arrow holes and blood stains to be worth keeping. The woman was traveling with two guards, one choose to join the bandits by stabbing his partner in the neck. He was one of the bandits who fled, not to be seen again.
The day is mellow, just as Svetlana said. You find that while there are a wide variety of things to be had, it can be difficult to find anything specific, as everyone seems to have a little of this and a odd leftover of that. Perhaps the most unusual person with things to sell is a wild-eyed man of middle-age that you are told is called Bokken, though apparently this is just what everyone has always called him and people aren't sure what he calls himself. He has an array of potions and alchemical substances. Often in unusual contains such as gourds, horns, and animal bladders. Any mundane item with a value of less than 400gp is available, be sure to check the various equipment lists on 20pfsrd Though if it isn't one that would find some use in the wilderness, make a diplomacy check to find it. Level 1 and 2 potions are available from Bokken. Since you have a week, any potion and any number is available. Just tell me what you buy and subtract the gold.
Cure Light Wounds
Touch of the Sea
The evening is a wild celebration of feasting, drinking, and fertility. With the bonfire of tree trunks acting as centerpiece. Oleg and Svetlana officiate as host by starting the fire, but return to their home before things become too raucous. Svetlana explaining, It's not really part of our traditions, and staying means you're accepting offers. Besides, She says with a wink, we can celebrate just fine on our own. Oleg blushes, but you can see a smile on his bearded face.
Jhod seems to find the celebration unnerving. Returning to the trading post once it becomes clear what celebrating spring means to the people here. I heard him mutter something about the mother of monsters and perversions. What's bothering him?
Kresten gives the guards permission to join in, though he probably didn't understand what that would entail. They take part with great enthusiasm. Garess himself stoically keeps watch. Pacing back and forth or hunkering under a few blankets. His weapons always ready.
Do you take part in the celebration?
Pharast 21-26 4070
That next day dawns grey and blustery, but considerably warmer than the day before. The snow already melting into slush. The log fire still burns steadly, it will be kept alive for the entire week, though not at its original size.
While most retired to various tents at some point. A few dozen lay around the great fire, a combination of exhaustion, drink, company, and heat being to much to resist. You see Kresten checking bodies for life and rousing his men, which they seem to feel demonstrates a truly hellish sense of cruelty.
A few days into the celebration, a halfing girl approaches you. Her expression a mix of hope and hopelessness. Bandages extend from hands to beneath simple clothing, as though she suffers from a terrible disease or injury. If she were human, you'd put her between eleven and thirteen. Carefully she begins to speak. Her accent a mix of your native Cheliaxian and Riverfolk. Surată. Please help. My family was attacked and captured. I can't face the kobolds alone, but no one will help. Dominus Oleg sent me to you. I'm not trying to use his name. I swear. He said to tell you he sent me. Her expression anxious as she waits for your answer.
As the week progresses, you are able to enlist the aid of several persons in upgrading your wagon. Ribs are added. Fabric and leather are used to make a covering that while heavy, proves quite weatherproof. Muddy greens and browns give the exterior a truly hideous appearance, but are certainly less visible than a regular light covering. While bright fabric isn't available in great quantities, you are able to acquire some swatches to spruce up the interior. All of this comes at a cost though. 100gp in credit, but substantial bonuses to stealth, for the wagon, and survival, for you. Also, it's homey.
Eleanor and Dassah spend the first couple nights staying out far too late, dancing around (and occasionally in) the fires around the camps, laughing, drinking, frolicking, and turning down advances.
At various stages, she does her absolute best to spot the guards stationed at the post, and keep the captain informed, spending as much time speaking with the stoic man as he will tolerate.
When the young halfling approaches, Eleanor immediately calls for her companion, and the two head to wagon to speak in silence with the young creature. "It is ok, we can help, but we need to know who, and where. We can leave within the hour, if you can help guide us there in the dark."
Listening intently to the girls story, the eidolon and summoner exchanging notes trying to compare the notes from the trappers and hunters earlier with what the girl is saying.
"Lets stop by and get some things we will need. Do you know if your family is injured? Do they need anything special? What do you need? I can't take you out into the wilds and let you get in harms way with nothing on you at all!"
Eleanor and Dassah bring the halfling back to Oleg, " we need to help this little one. So I need to buy everything that you have that will keep her safe that even reasonably fits her, and what can you tell me about Kobolds while she is getting ready?"
On the way back out of camp, Eleanor and Dassah stop by the potion makers stand, and purchase three potions of three potions of Expeditious Retreat, and three more potions of Cure Light Wounds, [b]"If you will accept credit from Oleg, please tell him these were for me, and he will make us square, I promise."
I am still out of town, but I have to be back tomorrow, so I am leaving really early in the morning.
Dassah joins in the revel, though not the rowdier aspects. She's never expressed interest in such things, and few of the participants are overly friendly, owing to her inhuman appearance. Most simply avoid her, with a wary eye keeping track of where the 'snake' is. It even becomes a bit of a game, if Dassah startles you into spilling your drink, you lose, and everyone else laughs. The people of these Stolen Lands seem to care little about appearance and race, beyond personal preferences. More important are the laughs shared and the gifts given. There is a grim foundation for this levity though. Life is short for those here. Throughout the celebration you hear the names of people not present. And most don't seem surprised, when informed a former companion has, Filled one of the Lady's plots
Kellids are the exception to the general ambivalence towards her, and you. Some interact with her freely, and with a certain respect. Treating her like an honored guest. With others, the hostility is open. Occasionally leading to scuffles between the two groups. All the conversations take place in the rough Hallit tongue, but whatever the cause of the disagreement, it is obviously bitter, deep, and old.
As Dassah pranks, you join Kresten on watch. He agrees to handle the earrings and music box, a few coins for posters are that's required. After a while the conversation stalls. Though never a loquacious man, the man seems have something on his mind, and no desire to share it. Any inquires or invitations are met with the same silence, and you leave him with his thoughts.
More later. Lab now!
21-24th Pharast 4070
By the next day Kresten seems back to his usual self. Though attempts to engage him in idle conversation don't progress very far, you have better luck when asking questions about practical things such as weather, weapons, or laws. You hear one of the guards mentioning to someone, Even for a stone the captain is dour. I swear, he'd have the same expression if the Conqueror returned.
Face glowing with hope, Truly?! Oh thank you Surată. I don't have any money, or anything. But I promise to serve you until the debt's repaid. I have some magic. Not much, but I can heal and a few other things.
The girl grows nervous once Dassah arrives. Wings and a tail are one thing. A snake person larger than yourself is something else entirely. It was a few days before planting started. Maybe six days ago now. She begins trembling, as though only now has the time sunk in. Oh, That's so long and we still have to get there.[b] The questions is unasked, but obvious. Will anyone still be alive to rescue?
She continues her story. Telling how the kobolds tunneled into the burrow at night. Most didn't have a chance to escape or fight. Ashberry tried to give the other children a chance to escape, but the jar of alchemist's fire was shattered in her hand by one of the attackers. Thinking the girl dead, they left her behind.
When asked about ask about her family and herself, [b]I... I don't know. I used to practice with a crossbow, hunting rabbits. But, Holding up her bandaged hands, I don't think I can anymore.
Dassah begins hastily readying things for the journey as you approach Oleg. You see him smile a little at your purposeful stride, Aye. There isn't much that will fit her, but give me a moment. He returns with a chain shirt sized for a young human and a pair of small crossbows. Thought your jumala might have a use for these.
The shirt is still too large on Ashberry's slight frame, but it will do. Oleg informs you, I don't know much about kobolds. Some people here put them with the fey. Allies that mind the underground. What I do know is that they are deadly with traps. Any place they live is liable to be filled to all kinds of stuff meant to kill you. They're cowards though.
Chain shirt is 100gp, crossbows 35gp each. 50gp per potion. Subtract the cost and let's roll out. Dungeon time!
"Thank you so much for your help, friends, I will come back as soon as I can, and I will not stop searching for the ring, but the girls family probably has far less time. I haven't forgotten my promise, I assure you." Eleanor explains to Oleg as she helps the halfling cinch her chain shirt in place.
"For now, I think we should let Dassah hold on to this crossbow, she can teach you how to use it once your hands are better."
"Do you mind sitting with her inside the wagon while I drive, at least until she is asleep?"
Turning her attention to the halfling again, Eleanor explains, "Dassah is one of the kindest people you are ever likely to meet. She just looks a little different is all. How are your hands doing? We will need to re-bandage them, and put some salve on them, just to be careful."
Smiling at Svetlana, "Do you have a healing kit? I think we might need one to help take care of the girl's burns. I will send word or be back as soon as I can. Thank you both again for helping me so much with the wagon and all of the festivities. It is so nice to have somewhere that I feels like home."
Once the wagon is loaded, Eleanor and Dassah begin the long trundle down the road, stopping by to pick up some potions. "We will need three of those potions of Expeditious Retreat, and three of those Cure LIght Wounds ones as well, and can you make sure to clearly label them for us? A large heart shape on the healing ones and a running man on the others should be sufficient."
Taking the potions, Eleanor steps into the back of the wagon. "This one, with the heart on the label, will make you better if you are hit in combat, or injured on the trip, Make sure to use it if needed, but be careful, we don't have many. This one, with the running man on the side, will make you very fast. If we get into trouble, and you have to, run. You know the way back to Oleg's. Leave us, and run as fast as you can as far as you can to get safe. Then, when you are safe, take your time and make your way back again, ok?"
"Dassah, please work on fixing the bandages on her arms while we make our way to her home. I want her as healthy as possible for whatever lies ahead."
"I will do my best. The good news is I don't smell anything like cheese. That is a good thing, I promise. Do you want us to talk like this though? Shouldn't we talk out loud in front of her?"
"I think we should work on that in general, but not about scary things in front of her, it looks like she has been through enough already. You stay inside with her, take care of her arms and anything else she needs while I drive. When I am too tired to go on, I will come back there and sleep as well."
"Ok, I am going to back out, and start the drive. I see really good in the dark, so there won't be any lamps or anything, so it might look a little scary. Dassah can talk in my head, it is a special trick we share. See?" asks Eleanor, pulling her hood back so Ashberry can see the glowing rune on her head, matching the rune on Dassah's own head. "[b]So, if you need us to stop, or have any questions, just ask her and I will answer or do what you ask."
Healing Check: Dassah: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 4 = 13 to re-bandage the girls arms.
Handle Animal: Eleanor: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (13) + 8 = 21to drive the wagon.
Do you want me to do a full statblock for the halfling, or do you want to provide the statblock? Also, I believe the following is correct:
- 300 Gold for Potions
- 100 Gold: Fix up Wagon
- 100 Gold Chain Shirt
- 50 Gold Providing food and drink in information gathering and making friends
- 50 Gold for Healer's Kit
- 35 Gold for Small Sized Crossbow
Leaving me with 200 Gold, 8 Silver, 6 Copper
The proposed statblock should be fine, just a few modifications. Be careful. Neither you, Dassah, or Ashberry are much of a fighter. Also, apologies about the erros in the last few posts.
24th Pharast 4070
Oleg nods in acknowledgement. Wasn't worried. We trust you. Looking at the child. There are probably some who'd go, if payed, and she doesn't have the option. Handling the bandits with only a single wound to show for it, figured you were the girl's best chance. Svetlana hands you the healing kit. Be careful. Anything you want us to buy in Restov? We may be gone before you return, but we'll pick up what you need.
After handling Ashberry the potions, you take the wagon's reigns and journey once more across the wild plains. From within the wagon, Something is strange about these burns. The skin is charred, like meat dropped onto coals, but still alive! She should be able to feel anything, but flinches when I touch. It doesn't make any sense. Are you sure about her? The girl is quite during the journey. Despite your reassurances, Dassah still seems to make her nervous.
Day's end finds you near the Narlmarches south of Oleg's post. Though perhaps night's end would be a better description. Dark, broken clouds and a mostly full moon provide enough light for you and the horses to travel by. The moon begins to set however, and horses can't travel without light.
From the girl's description and Dassah's notes, you estimate almost twenty miles of trackless kames lie between you and the kobold's lair. Too far for a single day's journey. If you push them a little tomorrow and the day after, it should be enough. Though what you'll do once there is something else.
As you are readying the horses for the night, Ashberry quietly volunteers to take first watch. I can't see in the dark like you, Patrona, but I can watch. Unless a reasonable objection can be raised, she insists on taking watch. It seems important to her. You recognize the title as one of servant to master, only used in Cheliax and satellite states.
Assuming there are no objections...
25th Pharast, 4070
Arising late next day, you are surprised to find the horses hitched and ready to travel. Tiny and injured your companion may be, but not incompetent. Irksome though it is, uninterrupted sleep in necessary to focus your energies. Clouded thoughts when opening the planes can prove disastrous. Everything was quite last night. Ashberry's voice greets you. I've laid out some cold breakfast and readied the horses Patrona. Where is Dassah? She stands outside the wagon, waiting.
The summoning ritual is obviously surprises her, and if anything, she is even more nervous around Dassah. She's like a mouse. Quivering and waiting for me to pounce. Even talking to her isn't doing much. Just 'yes' 'no' 'thank you' 'no thank you'. Maybe I should startle her, to see if she squeaks?
The journey continues uneventfully. The horses handling the extra distance with little complaint or injury. Evening is much like the last, except you are able to get to sleep much sooner.
26th Pharast, 4070
You are now thoroughly in the Kamelands, and as it was said, the further you go the more frequent the overcrown ruins and piles of worked stone become.
In the late afternoon light, you see something that matches the description you've been given. A large tumble of stones crown the hill, though a gap has been cleared through the rubble. It leads to a opening that yawns black. Easily wide enough for three or more to walk abreast.
Eleanor smiles at Oleg and Svetlana and thanks them both, "Lets see.. I think she will also need a small pack, and a small pack for Dassah if you have two. A belt pouch, and a spell component pouch, I bet she will need those.... I think we could use a riding dog and tack for Ashberry. Other than that, I can not think of anything at the moment."
"Dassah, can you send Ashberry up? I think we have found it."
Once the girl has made her way out of the wagon, and taken a seat with Eleanor, the summoner gestures to the gap through the rubble, "Is this it?"
Assuming the answer is Yes.
Survival, Dassah Day 1: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 4 = 8
Survival, Dassah Day 2: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7
Survival, Dassah Day 3: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 4 = 13
Well, saves me two days rations..
Dassah and Eleanor pack up some of their gear, rope, rations, waterskins, torches, weapons, and flint and steel. Once they are all packed and secure, the group heads out on foot for the last stage of the journey. The one hundred feet of help rope is stretched between two rocks, and tied off at each end with the animals tethered to the rope to maximize the room they have for grazing.
Dassah is carrying: 50' Silk Rope, a small sized light crossbow, 13 bolts, a backpack, two torches, a flint and steel, one potion of Cure Light Wounds, and one vial of Alchemist's Fire, and one potion of Expeditious Retreat.
Eleanor is carrying a spell component pouch, belt pouch, backpack, light crossbow, 20 bolts, , Studded Leather Armor, three potions of Cure Light Wounds, and one vial of Alchemist's Fire, and one potion of Expeditious Retreat.
Ashberry is carrying 2 pieces of chalk, a small sized light crossbow, 20 bolts, a chain shirt, one potion of Cure Light Wounds, one potion of Expeditious Retreat, a spell component pouch, and a small backpack.
Unfortunately, you have to move half speed to get along in the wild, so no ration saves for you! Since you took both small crossbows, remove another 35gp from inventory.
Her brow furrows intently as she thinks. I believe so Patrona. We live along the Shrike, a day's walk from here. They put everyone in wagon and brought them here. I tried to go in, but... but the bodies frightened me.