"As much as I feel safe with Gilgar, this seems like a place for he druids. I say we split the druids. I will go with one and Gilgar withtye other. "
Sorry for delay. I wqant to keep going. Been crazy starting my new store.
Great! I knew you were busy. I'll wait for some more votes before we embark on the crossing...
"Well I get along with both, but if I must pick, I would prefer to be with the wolf. I know more dogs than cats that like water. However there was this once that I was cleaning myself in a water fall, when a random house cat jumped in.
I was immedialty concered for my future children and let out a scream. To my surprise, the cat just looked at me, and I swear it starting laughing."
Thinking on the story some more, "Yea. I will go with the wolf. I have yet to have children."
Sensing that a decision has been made, Eluf wades into the water and pushes the first raft against the bank where he holds it steady. He lets Nox, Laucian, and Perrin step onto the raft before moving it aside and allowing the male lizardfolk to follow suit. Eluf speaks to Nox:
There is very little motion to the water of the lake thanks to the trees shielding it from even a strong breeze. Gilgar, Sylvanus, and Winter easily step down onto the raft. The female lizardfolk, seeing that her raft is not needed, tucks it back under the overhanging tree and waits patiently.
Once everyone is situated on the rafts, Eluf drags his around to precede him across the lake and he begins to use his legs and tail to propel it. Considering the weight on the raft, he makes good time. The second raft follows about 15' behind while the unencumbered lizardfolk female swims alongside, obviously alert for something as she scans both the surface of the water and the trees overhead.
After what seems like hours of a steady but slight rocking motion, you see that you are getting close to another short bank on the far side of the Droskmere. Eluf stops pushing and lets the raft drift up to the bank.
Once everyone is off the first raft, the second moves up and unloads similarly. As Gilgar is stepping off (last), the party hears a sharp bark. Looking up, they see the female lizardfolk is pointing toward a trio of logs floating toward the rafts. It only takes a moment to realize that these are pretty good-sized alligators. Eluf ducks his head once by way of good-bye and the three lizardfolk make for the far side of the lake, rafts in tow. They appear to be more than fast enough to outdistance the 'gators, even with the rafts. The female raises her tail above the water to splash once or twice, drawing the alligators to follow.
You are safely on the south side of the lake and barely got your feet wet. What do you wish to do?
Eluf says that there are game trails to the west and south which will take us to town. He does warn that there are wolves which we will need to keep an eye out for.
Nox will move to the west, in the direction that Eluf directed, in an attempt to locate the trail indicated.
1d20 + 9 ⇒ (14) + 9 = 23 perception
Correction: I mis-spoke, south and east are the directions you wish to go. East will put the lake at your back and strike out directly into the woods, south would be walking along the river draining the lake. (Eluf's motion was kind of a vague "in case you don't know which direction I mean when I say this" kind of gesture rather than a specific indication of which way to travel, just to be clear.)
With the party striking out into the woods, I'll need three survival checks from anyone taking participating in guiding the party. I will consider the highest roll to be the base check and any other rolls will be considered 'aid another' checks. Also, three perception checks from everyone and the animal companions, please. Nox, we'll keep the one you already rolled.
Rolls for Sylvanis:
Perception 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (17) + 8 = 25
Survival 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (2) + 13 = 15
Perception 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (10) + 8 = 18
Survival 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (16) + 13 = 29
Perception 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (17) + 8 = 25
Survival 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (2) + 13 = 15
Rolls for Winter:
Perception 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 2 = 22
Survival 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 2 = 10
Perception 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (17) + 2 = 19
Survival 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 2 = 7
Perception 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5
Survival 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 2 = 10
OK, I will combine the checks and see what, I mean, IF something surprises you. :D Back soon!
Assuming we are maintaining a marching order with Nox and Perrin in the lead, Sylvanis and Winter in the rear, and Laucian and Gilgar in the middle.
As the party travels through the woods, they hear distant crashing trees, the work of the loggers of the Consortium. Various small animals and birds are active in the trees, some fleeing the party, others showing more curiosity than fear.
After a hour on the trail, Nox and Sylvanis both spot an unusually large falcon in a clearing. To your surprise, it flies into the canopy toward the party and lands in a tree alongside the trail about 20 feet up, obviously studying you.
As you continue along the trail, the bird of prey flies along, finding perches along the trail ahead of you and watching until you catch up to him, only to fly further down the trail. Every once in a while, it screeches, echoed by another similar call up ahead.
Sylvanis begins looking around as though she's somewhere familiar and expects to see something she knows any minute. Suddenly, she cries out, "Laumel! It was you!"
A petite red-haired young woman peers around an oak at the elven woman and silently smiles. When she steps around the tree, you see that she is wearing a very simple blouse over leggings. She replies,
Switching to Taldane (Common), Sylvanis says, "Yes. We've found what we seek and are trying to get back to the Hollow. Is Tablic here? Can you lead us where we need to go?"
The woman replies, "Oh, good! Tablic and Ingrid had business elsewhere, so he asked me to watch for you. You are on the right trail, but there is a fork up ahead. You will want the choice on the right. The left leads through an area where several have died lately - some say haunts, some say werewolves - but the town needs what you carry more than it needs someone to clear that area out. The righthand choice will take you to the road along the bank of the River Foam. Follow it downstream and it will take you directly to the town."
Not wanting to shove you all the way into Falcon's Hollow - is there anything you want to know or do before I describe the final part of the trip into town?
"Oh! Of course!" She names each member of the party as she points to them, "Nox, Laucian, Perrin, Gilgar, and you already know Winter. Gentlemen, this is Laumel, a druid of the Greenfire Circle. They, well, we try to find a balance between the woods and those that harvest here."
She looks at Laumel, "Nox is the son of La'Athvanna. Technically, I'm not needed in the Vale anymore, but it only felt right to see this through."
Laumel favors each of you with a shy smile and a nod as you are introduced to her. She blushes when Sylvanis talks about her and she busies herself with scratching Winter's left ear, causing him to purr loudly.
"Oh! You mean into town? No, no, I don't go into town. I'm much better here, in the woods, where I belong." There's a tiny note of panic in her voice as she replies. She turns to Sylvanis, "Will you stay here with me? At least for a little while?"
There you go - the last post I see from Sylvanis was more than two months ago. This gives us a graceful way to move her off-stage and bring her back later. What say you?
Looking over to Sylvanis, "If you stay within the area, of the town, we could may call upon you again. It sounds as if trouble is to be found on another path around here. The locals may be in need of clearing that out, or we may need to get something more to help cure this illness."
Sylvanis looks back and forth between Laumel and Laucian and the others.
Slowly, she responds, "Until Tablic releases me from my duties, I am responsible to assist in the protection of this forest. I will be nearby. If you need find me, I suspect La'Athvanna can do so."
She bows and turns to walk down the trail in the opposite direction with her friend, who is already excitedly chattering about something in Druidic. Winter follows like an oversized feline shadow, protectively watching over both women.
I will work on the description of your triumphant return to town next!
1d4 ⇒ 1
1d4 ⇒ 3
2d4 ⇒ (2, 1) = 3
3d4 ⇒ (3, 1, 2) = 6
4d4 ⇒ (3, 2, 1, 4) = 10
4d10 ⇒ (1, 9, 7, 4) = 21
As Laumel predicted, the trail is clear enough and righthand trail brings you to the River Foam quickly. The 'road' along the river deserves the name only because it would not be difficult to take a horse on it, but it has little else to recommend it. As you walk along the river, the sound of the rushing water obscures most other noise, so it's a bit of a surprise when you come over a small rise and find yourself immediately above a lumber camp. In the distance - a few hours' walk, most likely - you see smoke that likely arises from the chimneys at your destination, the town of Falcon's Hollow. A buckboard wagon pulled by a pair of horses kicks up dust as it arrives in camp.
A gruff-looking man comes out of the camp's main building to greet the wagon-driver, but seeing the party, walks past the wagon and points an accusing finger. "This be Consortium property 'nd we got ar papers in order, s' ye treehuggers just move yerselves on down the river, now!"
The wagon driver throws the brake on the wagon and jumps down, saying something to the other man. The first man squints at the party, "Be ye Rhoddam's medicine-folk?" Milon Rhoddam is the Lumber Consortium trapper-guide that the party met at another lumber camp up-valley. His nephew is afflicted by the Taint and he provided your map so you could get the cure back to the boy.
At an affirmative response from Nox (the only remaining party member from that part of the trip), the man grunts and looks down the road toward town for a moment. He turns to the driver and yells, "Well, what're ye waitin' fer? Git these folks t' Laurel. 'n don't ye dawdle gettin' back 'ere! I've got work fer ye!"
The driver runs back to his rig and jumps up into the seat. Popping the reins lightly, he coaxes the horses into a wide turn, pointing them back toward town and right next to the party's path.
He offers each a hand as they climb in, but is not offended if they don't take it. He does look a little nervous about bringing the wolf on board, but says nothing. There's just enough room for two on the seat alongside him and one in the back with Perrin. As the wagon starts rolling, he offers, "Name's Willem. I sure hope what you got makes Miz Laurel's medicine better. We lost a lot of people in town already - most everyone has lost someone already 'n there are plenty more sicker by the day. Road's too rough 'n the nags 'r tired, but we'll git ye there faster than walkin', hey?"
True to his word, the wagon ride, rough as it is, is mercifully short and he drops you off as close to "Roots and Remedies" as the crowd of people pushing in the door allows. A tall half-elf with piercing gray eyes and a woodsman's axe over his shoulder is using his free hand to keep the peace and assuring those waiting that Laurel will see each of them and she will do what she can for their respective loved ones.
Squinting at the group climbing down from the wagon, he comes over. "You Nox? Deldrin Baleson. The little witch Glenna said you were traveling with a magician." He looks at the dwarf. "She didn't mention him. Must be more folk wandering those woods than I thought. I hope you have what she needs." Turning toward the crowd, he shouts, "Folks, Laurel's gonna need a little time to start brewin'. She'll see each of you, but you need to give her a little time. Find yourself a little shade and get ready for a little wait or come back later."
He pushes through the throng to get you to the door, but has to remain outside to deal with a couple of belligerent folks. It's obvious that these folks are exhausted and scared. Some seem to be resigned, standing here because it's all they can do, others are nervous, still others angry. But none of them prevent you from entering the shop. Inside, a man and two half-grown children plead with Laurel, but she keeps shaking her head. From the looks of her, she hasn't slept since you saw her last. The customer, thinking someone is trying to cut in line, looks at the door angrily as you enter and he starts protesting, "Now see here! I was here before dawn waiting in line and waited my turn, you will have to do the same..."
The tiny shop has just enough room for each of you on this side of the counter with Perrin pressed up against Nox' legs.
Laurel looks at Nox, hope in her eyes, "Did you find it? Do you have it?" She looks back at her customer, "Elgin, shut up. Now I can help Meritha. Be still while I work." Her tone brooks no dissent and his protests are cut short as his mouth falls open in surprise before it snaps shut and he looks back and forth from each member of the party to the herbalist. Hope begins to dawn.
She waves you forward to the counter and reaches out for your prizes.
Laucian looking at Laurel, "You are the Laurel? The one trying to help this whole town? Seeing the state of the group outside, it looks as if the stress alone could be making this thing worse."
Turning to the group, "If you guys don't mind, I am going to see what I can do to help easy those outside and calm this crowd. If you guys need me, I will right outside."
If no one stops him, Laucian will make his way out side. Starting his performance as soon as he steps out the door, he says to the crowd as he walks through, "Laurel needs time to brew up the fix. Time will tell if what we brought will be what was needed. Until then, sit down over here," Laucian points to a place that could handle a crowd, "as rest always helps one's soul. And while waiting let me tell you a story to help rest your worries."
With that Laucian casts dancing lights around his feet, and moves them spinning up around him, in a performance to catch the eye.
Perform (Acting): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25
"Yes, I'm Laurel. The stress is not helping, not at all, but those you see outside are not the sick ones. They're nearly all abed, enduring this malady until they wake up cured, or dead. Those outside have seen and heard of too many that woke up the latter and not the former. If you can do something to ease their minds and let me work, may Erastil bless your family."
She sets to grinding up the rat's tail. "Nox, your father had you prepare poultices as part of your training, yes? Come behind the counter to the stove. Heat this mixture and add this powder until you have a paste about the thickness of a poultice. Elgin, pull up a chair or go back and look in on Meritha. Your boy can hold your place in line. It will take a little while to cook this down."
With that, she ignores the man and his children while she works, giving Nox instructions as he completes his tasks. Elgin and his children seem a little unnerved about being alone with the wolf and they eventually step outside the shop to wait.
Those outside the shop largely ignore Laucian's invitation to sit and relax, but once his performance begins, the children in the crowd all filter away from their parents and sit around the entertainer, providing him with the oohs and aahs that have an intoxicating effect for a devoted stage worker.
Soon, all are aware that there is real reason for hope and the magician's efforts alleviate some of the stress. One poor fellow collapses, his stress being the only thing keeping him on his feet, and Baleson helps him over into the shade where a fitful sleep takes hold. For the rest of the crowd, even those that remain in line, Laucian has their full attention. Only Gilgar seems to show no interest.
Speaking of delays. *ahem* Sorry about that folks.
It becomes very obvious to Nox that Laurel has been thinking about this process for a while. There is no wasted motion, no hesitation, as she goes through the motions of preparing the remedy.
Within the hour, she has him lining up small vials on the counter to receive the mixture once it has cooled enough.
She moves over to the door and opens it a bit. Seeing the dwarf standing there against the wall pretending not to see anything, she asks, "Are you Nox' friend Gilgar? Would you do me a favor and find Sheriff Baleson? I need to speak to him if you could bring him here."
Absentmindedly, she scratches Perrin behind the ears as she moves past.
"Nox, I was really beginning to worry. We've lost so many people. Sure, a few were strong enough to throw off the illness, but most just get weaker and weaker..." She sighs, "I really don't have anyone close anymore, but to lose so many people you know, and so slowly, knowing you can do something, if but you had the right ingredients." She brightens, "And now I can and I shall!"
She hands Nox a funnel to hold while she pours the still-warm liquid into the vials. It's the color of a strong tea, but has a pungent scent that makes the druid pull back for a moment. As you study one of the vials, you see something odd swirling around in the water - small specks of different colors. When asked, Laurel shrugs, "The old witch's recipe said it would do that, but she didn't say why. Or perhaps she didn't know, either. As long as it works."
While Laurel and Nox are cooking medicine and Laucian is entertaining the crowd, Gilgar remains leaning against the wall of the shop, looking surly and disinterested even as he takes stock of where he finds himself.
His intimidating appearance is enough that most of the folks that are waiting in line for Laurel to complete her task drift away him a step or two. Folks walking down the street seem to cross the street to use the opposite boardwalk more often than not.
One man, however, walks down the street like someone used to walking wherever he pleases. Like he expects people to move out of his way rather than force him to change his path. As he approaches, Gilgar takes his measure as a possible threat. For a human, he's short and broad. Not like a proper dwarf, but unusual for a human. He looks and moves like someone with some muscle. When he's close enough, it's easy to see that he's been in his share of fights - a nose that's been broken at least once, cauliflower ear, scars covering his face and knuckles.
He walks directly up to the dwarf, stops, and crosses his arms. "Would you be one of Laurel's adventurers, then? You look like someone that sees something through if he puts his mind to it..."
Laurel's question to you occurs later, Gilgar. I want to handle this conversation first. Sorry for the drifting timeline.
Laucian's performance is truly inspired. The children sit close, hanging on every word, every joke, every flash of light provided by his magic. 'ooh' and 'aah' is heard from the crowd and laughter follows his jokes. Even the parents standing on the fringes are relieved from their worries for a bit and smile at some of the jokes.
Multiple children jump to their feet, hands high in the air, when he calls for volunteers.
The performer in Laucian is absolutely giddy. Though he will probably never admit it to the others, he's not sure he has ever had a crowd so tightly in his grasp.
Unfortunately, this is not a wealthy community. On a street corner in Magnimar or Korvosa, he would earn a year's wages for such a performance. In tiny Falcon's Hollow, he is not sure he will get more than smiles and laughter. Somehow, that's enough, but still...
From his position in front of everyone, he actually has a pretty view of what is going on. He sees the one that introduces himself as Deldrin Baleson has moved to lean on a building across from Laurel's.
After he's been going for a while, wondering how long he needs to continue, he sees a man, looks like a pugilist or a bouncer, maybe, stalking down the street and stop in front of the dwarf Gilgar by Laurel's door. He also notices that Baleson tenses when he sees the man, bringing his axe up and gripping the handle just below the head and he watches the bouncer-man and the dwarf speaking.
If anyone tries to pay Laucian no matter how small, he will make a show out of the gesture and be grateful for the gift. He will then give the payment back explaining the the crowd that he is her to help heal those sick, and help keep healthy those who are not during this difficult time. Laughter is his medicine for the crowd.
Seeing the bouncer approach Gilgar, and seeing Gilger's body language go on the defensive, Laucian keeps an eye on the two between tricks, watching for any signs of aggression in which he would need to defuse or worse join in on.
In case another is needing due to length of time and the distraction with Gilgar and the bouncer. And Laucian is still using his cantrips to mix in with his performance.
Performance (Acting): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (6) + 5 = 11
"I belong tuh meself." Gilgar says gruffly, no more (or less) tense than he was before the human stalked up to him. "Howe'er. If'n yer meanin' the human lass in there," He motions to the door with his head, never taking his eyes off the human standing in front of him. "We brung her some... stuff."
Gilgar looks the man up and down briefly, searching his body language and expression for signs of intention, summarily ignoring everyone else in the area.
Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (5) + 6 = 11
The man nods, accepting the dwarf's response, "Yeah, that's what I meant. You're just the one I'm looking for. This 'illness'," he waves his hand at all of the people listening to Laucian, "is killing my productivity. I'm not going to make my quota this quarter."
He looks around before adding, "Someone did this on purpose. To me. If you are willing, I'd like to retain your services to find out who."
The man laughs, a sharp, loud bark of a laugh. "No, I'm healthy as a draft horse, I'm not as weak as most of these folk." His brow furrows and he points his finger at the dwarf as his face darkens, "But the lumberjacks and teamsters, even the office staff, they aren't working if they're home caring for sick kids and wives or if they got sick themselves. I can't fire them all." He straightens up and crosses his arms. "Somebody got my crew sick. They want to see me fail." His eyes get hard as he scowls, "But they will be disappointed. I will miss my quota, but I'll take every penny I lose out of their worthless hide. The idiots working for me can't find them, they've tried. So I need some new talent. That's where you come in - you and your friends."
A smile comes across his face. "Anyone that can brave the woods and the wolves and come out alive is the man, er, dwarf, I'm looking for. I'll pay well."
"Yer words are them of a man what thinks he owns them that work fer 'im. I seen yer kind a'fore, an' I won't be doin' yer biddin'." Gilgar says matter of factly, the tone of finality in his voice making it quite clear that the conversation is over, though Gilgar keeps his eyes on the man before him.
Anger clouds the man's expression for a moment, then a sly smile comes back.
"Fine. I'm offering to pay you to find whoever did this. If you want to do it for free out of the goodness of your heart, so be it. If you change your mind about getting paid, let me know - anyone in town can tell you where to find me."
The man nods to Gilgar, turns on his heel and heads back up the street.
Gilgar watches the man leave, remaining silent until Laurel asks him to find the sheriff. A request at which he grunts, then pushes away from the wall. Looking around the crowded area, if Gilgar sees no one who looks like an authority figure or a lawman, he approaches the nearest of the townsfolk (either group or loner). "Hey. Where be yer sheriff? Baleson."
"Deldrin? 's 'im leanin' on th' wall yonder. Th' one wit' the axe.
Across the street, leaning on the side of the building facing Laucian's performance, is the fellow that greeted the group when the wagon driver brought you into down. Now that the man pointed him out, you remember the tall half-elf did give his name as Baleson.
The half-elf that greeted the party when they arrived in the wagon comes into the shop and leans his ax against the wall near the door.
Laurel says, "Don't get comfortable, you'll need to be leaving directly."
She hands him half a dozen of the vials and a scrap of parchment. "I need you to see that one of these goes to each of these houses as soon as possible. The folks that I know have been ill the longest and not succumbed yet can't wait until rumors reach their loved ones' ears of a cure. They need to pour the vial into a cup of tea, warm it up, and drink it as quickly as they can stomach it." The stern sheriff, unable to get a word in edgewise, gives her a small smile, nods to Nox, and turns to go, having said not a word.
Laucian and Gilgar see the man exit the shop, a piece of paper in hand. Two of the men in the crowd come over to speak to him. He tears the paper in two pieces, handing a piece to each man, and presses something else into their hands. Giving them some instructions, he sends them on their way and returns to the shop.
Entering in, he says, "Now, milady, your medicine is on its way. Shall I have the folks outside form up their line again?"
She looks at Nox, nearly finished with his task, and says, "Well... yes, I suppose so."
Laucian watched as the sheriff worked his way through the crowd and told them as it was their turn to go the the shop. As their turns came, they hustled off and the crowd dispersed.
Soon, the three (Nox, Gilgar, and Laucian) find themselves in the shop with Sheriff Daleson and Laurel, all of the customers having returned to their respective homes, precious medicine and instructions in hand.
Laurel goes behind her counter and picks up four small bags that she places on the counter with audible clinks. "Proceeds from the cures sold, as promised, though I expected them to go to Nox and three others." She shrugs her shoulders, "I suppose the money should go to those that delivered the goods, so it's yours. If you wish to share it with Glenna and the other dwarf, so be it."
Each of the small bags contains 45 gp worth of gold and silver.
And maybe more importantly, everyone is third level now!
The adventure arc continues, if you are interested. Let me know. Also, should I bring an NPC in if we do continue to round us out to four characters?