That's right Logan.
The tall warrior approaches the old stump to find Tynn stooped over its flat top, wearing a troubled expression over a handful of runestones that lay scattered over the wood. "That can't be right..." he mutters as a weathered old hand gathers up the runes.
He starts to shake the runestones, to cast them again when he notices Logan approach. The old dwarf stops and adjusts his bifocals, making his eyes look comically huge to the Borderguard Lieutenant.
"I see that you are ready, Stonebit. Very good. Let us pass the time until the others get here. Do you enjoy riddles?"
Logan listens attentively and ponders the words. Quietly repeating the words with furrowed brow, he looks at the old dwarf and smiles "This is a good one..." he pauses. Roots that are unseen, is taller than a tree, it goes up, but doesn't get any bigger... The going up could be flight, but it also has unseen roots that would, in theory, bind it to earth... Unseen but not nonexistent, so maybe something small line thread or string... a few moments pass then his eyes light up "Is it a kite?"
Tynn lifts an eyebrow. "The kite does not grow yet can go up, up higher than trees, but the kite-flyer can see the spool of 'roots' in his hand, yes?"
"Two more guesses," he says gently. "Then it will be time for a new riddle, from either you or me."
Don't google the answer! Also: in case any of you wondered, roleplay like this will get you experience points!
I didn't Google it, though? "Not a kite, ok... Hmm..." Logan frowns. It's something that is taller than trees, does not grow, yet has roots... "It wouldn't be a castle or a building, those grow as they are built, plus the foundations are seen as they are built..." he mumbles to himself. It's taller than a tree but does not grow ,yet it has roots... Never mind the roots, let's just start with what's taller than a tree, but does not grow... He looks at the ground and sighs. I suppose some boulders can be larger than a small tree... But those are not rooted to anything... A hill or a mountain, maybe... He furrows his brow and looks up. "A mountain?"
Not an accusation, friendo. Just a reminder :)
"Ah!" Tynn clasps his hands once. "He's done it! The answer is indeed a mountain." He turns to quiet Tolsbaer. "It appears that you are ready as well, Stormcall. While we wait for the two Hamonrelders, shall I offer another riddle?"
"Thirty white horses on a red hill,
First they champ,
Then they stamp,
Then they stand still."
|Aladdin of the Azlanti|
"Ah," the ancient dwarf nods in satisfaction to Tolsbaer's correct answer. But his pleasure is cut short by surprise at Aladdin, who seems to appear from nowhere. "AH!"
Regaining his composure, he adjusts his seat on the old stump with a harrumph. "Thank you for joining us, Azlanti. How long shall we wait for our Faithful companion?" He looks up at the sun's position in the sky and frowns.
"One more riddle, to pass the time. Then I am afraid we must go on and Bolgrith will have to follow after. Our time is ever shorter..." he trails off cryptically.
He pauses until the three are listening.
"A box without hinges, key, or lid,
Yet golden treasure inside is hid."
The noble dwarf recalls from his studies of ancient dwarves a smith with legendary spellsteel who forged an unbreakable, impenetrable, and highly complex puzzle box of twelve sides. Ozomund's Ball, it was called according to legend.
Kn: Local or History for more info on that legend. Kn: Arcana could work too, but the DC will be higher.
Logan quietly thinks to himself A chest without any means of repeated opening is either not meant to be opened or only meant to be opened once... Kno engineering: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (9) + 2 = 11
The wizened dwarf raises his eyebrows at Tolsbaer's guess. "The legendary artifact... interesting answer, no hinges or key... but if the legends are true, it contained something decidedly more precious than gold. Try again. The answer is not as esoteric. And here I worried that this riddle was going to be over-easy." He offers a good-natured smile.
Logan wonders if he is focusing on the wrong part of the riddle. The "box" might be a metaphor for a container of any shape (without hinges, key, or lid). The "gold treasure" might also be a metaphor, for something yellow in color, and implies that the "box" protects the "treasure" in some way.
Your Wisdom check was so close, feel free to try it again!
"Ha! It is." Tynn nods to the young warrior.
Slowly, achingly, he pushes himself off the stump and shakes his knees in anticipation of continuing the journey. "Well, I wonder what could be stalling Bolgrith? We cannot make any progress without the staff he carries..."
He gives a look to Logan, unsure if he should be worried or if the Irori priest was known to be especially ponderous for a dwarf.
Checking in on Bolgrith, bump bump buddy!
At the sound of his name, the priestly dwarf speaks up, walking around the corner of a nearby building. "Sorry, sorry!" He calls "I didn't mean to allow the time to get away from me like that." Pulling up to where the party waits he continues. "You see, well, somebody was wrong at the pub! And well, I couldn't just leave them be like that! I had to set them straight on the facts!"
The normally good-natured dwarf huffs in consternation his cheeks rosy with exertion. "Anyway, as you were saying master Hiloxiet?"
Tynn gives Bolgrith a sympathetic look and nods understandingly. "I admire your tenacity for truth, Bolgrith the Faithful. The mind is a tricky thing, and persuading it from lazy thinking is even trickier."
He stamps his feet to warm up his legs and says a bit louder for everyone else to hear, "Well, if we are all ready, let us not waste another moment. This road will take us most of the way to the Oldkeep, after which we will have to use an overgrown footpath for the rest of the way. This road circuits through a dozen small towns, but the nearest one to Saltstack is on the other side of that mountain." He gestures up at the single mount. A carpet of evergreen trees wrap around its base, thinning out to grey rock face capped with white snow and mist. The mountaintop nearly blends in with the overcast clouds above the island.
"And our footpath diverges in that wooded slope. While in the open as we stand now, I expect little trouble. But keep your ears and eyes sharp once the road enters the trees."
With his stooped halting pace, the smelly old dwarf starts on the southerly road. The packed earth makes a narrow brown ribbon over the grassy fields leading to the green forest.
A few hours later, the group stops for a midday break for water and food. Tynn lowers himself onto a low stone. "My feet," he winces self-consciously, seeing his younger traveling companions seem no worse for wear. Before long, the travelers are back on the road. The forest draws nearer, but it is looking doubtful that they will enter it today -not at the pace they go.
The sun is beginning to set when the two men and three dwarves catch sight of three travelers on the road, exiting the wood. All three strangers are short and stout, presumably dwarves, and while they are still too far to discern too many features, they might pass the adventurers in about twenty minutes. Tynn appears unconcerned with them.
"Shall we make camp soon, and leave the forest for tomorrow?" he asks without masking the hope of getting off his feet for the day.
Tolsbaer strips off his shirt at their midday break and washes it in clean water. He dons a fresh one and affixes the wet one to his pack to dry as he walks.
As the strangers materialize at the horizon, Tolsbaer squints for a better chance to make out any detail. Perception: 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (10) + 12 = 22
"I will yield to the needs of your feet, elder, if that is agreeable to our companions. If I can help ease your aches, do not hesitate to ask. I would welcome more information concerning what we will face at this keep of yours."
Logan shrugs at the suggestion of making camp. "I have no qualms with resting for the night, it may prove useful to avoid a greater chance of injury or ambush." he looks at the approaching figures perception: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (11) + 5 = 16
Looking back to Tynn, "Do you happen to know of any of the more common creatures in these woods?"
Both Logan and Tolsbaer that two of the three bear light leather armor under traveling cloaks. Those two appear to be male, and the third has no beard and long blonde braids trailing down her sides. The unarmored dwarf trails behind, and her pack appears much bigger and heavier than her two dwarf companions. The foremost dwarf has a heavy crossbow on a sling. He holds the weapon as he walks but he does not appear to be on alert. The other armored dwarf keeps pace with a walking stick.
A chance glint of metal from the top of the walking stick has the Stormcall suspect it to be a spear. The swinging cloaks do not fully obscure the short swords sheathed at their sides. The dwarf armed with a crossbow seems to have noticed Tolsbaer and his companions, and briefly turns to say something to the lady among them. Pace unchanged, they continue closer, watchful but not aggressive.
Tynn sighs gratefully as he sits on the ground just off the road, relieving his shoulders of his small pack. He kicks off his threadbare shoes, and flexes his toes. "Well since you offered," he says to Tolsbaer, "a foot massage would be nice." With an eager smile he wiggles his crusty, stinky old toes at the young dwarf.
If Tolsbaer wants, pass a Heal check DC 10 to soothe the terrible condition of Sore Feet, along with a Fortitude save DC 11 to resist being sickened for 1d4 minutes by the smell.
"A specific question! Very good, Stonebit. Yes, in fact, I have a fair familiarity with the creatures of the forest. Not as familiar as a woodsman perhaps, but well enough."
"Let's see, there is the usual forest critters: squirrels, rabbits, birds, maybe a hardy tree frog. But I think you are asking over the more dangerous creatures? Of those there are wild boars, wolves, and bears. Predatory mammals aside, some of the flora can be rather aggressive -but they are rarely near the road. There is a myth that the trees here can walk and move like us, but I have not seen one or evidence of one. Another rumor says that the forest is infested with brigands. but I do not think that necessarily is true. I only encountered highwaymen once in my frequent travels of that road, and they did not bother me much after discovering my destitution." He grins good-naturedly again.
He lifts a look to Tolsbaer, his bifocals enlarging his eyes. "What do you not remember from my lecture on the boat ride? I am not sure what kind of information about the Oldkeep you would like."