Simon nods and thanks Bolgrith. “I might use this right away, if you don’t mind. My father should know about this Gartok warlord.”
He holds up the feather and it suddenly multiplies into a small explosion of black feathers. The brief confusion produces an adult raven standing in Simon’s hand and a blank strip of parchment and a cord at its feet.
It squawks and flaps as Simon moves the bird to his shoulder, and he quickly jots a note. He rolls and ties the parchment to raven’s foot and says to it, “Take this to the Steward of the Commonwealth, Jeremiah Wyldote, in the castle of Siloguard.”
The raven wastes no time, and is soon a shrinking black speck on the mountainous southern horizon. Simon turns to Bolgrith, “Speaking of Gartok, you mentioned something about Stabi being here?”
Appraise 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (20) + 6 = 26
Appraise 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (19) + 6 = 25
Appraise 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24
Appraise 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (6) + 6 = 12
Appraise 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24
Appraise 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 9
Appraise 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 9
Simon is careful not to get in the way of Bolgrith’s inspection, but he studies the rings, the obsidian, and the fanged necklace in turn. Afterwards, he looks over the weapons. He holds up the gold and jade rings. “These two will fetch a pretty penny for sure, three hundred gold bits and three hundred seventy-five, respectively. This copper ring is worth a fair sum too, some one hundred fifty bits by my reckoning. I don’t know the animal this necklace of teeth came from, so that might change the price, but ivory of this weight might sell for eight hundred gold bits for all. But these,” Simon motions to the five chunks of obsidian, “These could be worth a lot, perhaps five hundred gold bits each.”
The lordling looks to Bolgrith and Aladdin for input.
“Smart move, Bolgrith.” Simon commends, as he approaches the body of the giant. He angles his head in curiosity as he uncovers a furry satchel, and he begins to pull out many odds and ends.
Found in the giant's satchel: a rotting hand adorned with three rings: a gold ring with a polished moonstone, a jade ring with a chunk of onyx, and an copper ring with a single polished lapis lazuli. The satchel also contains five fist sized chunks of obsidian, a leather necklace of eight large fangs, a cold iron masterwork shortsword, a mithral dagger, a raven feather, a single small antler, two squirrel tails, spoiled meat, and a large crudely drawn map on a tanned skin, bearing a few marks in the Giant tongue (Linguistics DC 10 to decipher).
Simon blinks. "I meant no offense, Rolg. The hobgoblins have always been fair traders with the folk of the Commonwealth. I've even heard a few express annoyance toward their wild kinsfolk in these northern lands, begrudging the raids on the borders of my father's land. Except for Stabi, every goblin I've seen did not stall in making mischief." Simon shrugs. "I only thought it was a matter of time. I hope you are right, and he is still helping us."
Simon does not seem bothered by the missing goblin. “Good riddance, I say. He might’ve helped us avoid some more trouble, but I didn’t trust him. Let’s keep going.”
He shoulders his pack, adjusts his quiver of arrows, and grabs his bow. He turns a ponderous gaze to the volcano looming ahead.
Simon waits for everyone else to be ready to go.
Simon addresses everyone else, “It sounds like we will be heading in the same direction as Balion for now. Let’s hope he comes to his senses soon, and finds us. If anyone could pick up our trail in the wild, it would be him. Let’s maintain our first objective.”
The noble casts another worried look northward, and his last sentence sounded forced. Without another word, he starts to walk toward the distant smoky peak.
“BALI- dammit…” the lordling’s shout to the ranger fades into grumbling.
The shot soars and lands about ten feet ahead of Balion. The ranger finds a note wrapped around the shaft, in nearly illegibly scrawled handwriting.
Balion. wat u doin. come bak.
Let me know if you ignore Simon’s note or not, I'll post more depending on what you do.
The ranger able to easily spot the tracks of the dogs and goblins alike, and under the bright sky, Balion is able to follow them for quite a distance. It is not midday yet, and the party is just less than two hundred feet south of you.
Simon frowns at Rolg and doesn’t move, nor does he say anything. At Rolg’s words to the goblin, he seems to relax a bit. A distant scream from the north catches his attention. Perhaps one hundred feet away, the rest of the party can see Balion giving chase to the goblins on foot.
Rolg detects traces of pollen from the occasional thistle or wildflower that sprouts amid the overgrown grass of the hills, a reminder of spring’s caress over the island despite the dismal forest. Here, he listens to more chirps and skitters of small wildlife than those of the wood behind the hill. Simon rustles through his pack as he seems to reviewing a map.
Simon looks up after a moment. “Balion, correct me if I am wrong, but should we just cross the hills now? We can see Mount Fireblood from here, so we don’t have to worry about getting lost. One thing that Balion pointed out, we’ll need to watch out for any roving bands of goblins. When we get closer to the volcano, we can start looking for the Wolftooth Cave.”
He stuffs his map back into his pocket. “Well, let’s go.”
Simon listens to the dwarf, and then looks up at the trees. “It would definitely be safe up there, but I don’t see any branches lower than twenty-five or thirty feet. If anyone falls, it won’t be pretty,” he shrugs, “Should we go check out the hills? We might find a safe spot out there.”
He pulls a torch from his pack and begins to light it.
Something to be aware of: Bolgrith is now the only one with darkvision.
“If no one wants this…” Simon stoops and picks up the scimitar. He rolls a swift arc with his wrist, and the blade gives a low whistle.
“Still sharp,” he nods, sheathing and adding it to his belt, “We should keep moving before those slower zombies find us. Rolg, would you rather we head back to Stonebit to find a healer, or continue north for this key?”
If someone in town can cast it, a Remove Blindness spell will cost 300 gold bits (150gp).
Simon bites back an angry retort, and then studies the ranger, choosing his words. He cracks a light-hearted grin and his posture eases.
An unconvincing smile is forced over Simon’s face.
Simon nods absently, scratching his chin. “I don’t know. I agree with putting a stop to evil, but I am not a great knight like that man was,” he nods to the burning pyre, “Whatever killed him and his men, and necromanced their bodies is still out there.”
“Not to mention, we are this far north for a different purpose, to find that mysterious key. I doubt it will go anywhere if we took a detour, but the Barrowood is enormous. Ridding it of all the undead will take a long time.”
The lordling looks to Aladdin and Rolg, shifting his weight indecisively.
Bolgrith, Balion: roll Knowledge Religion.
Simon’s face looks wrought with worry. “Jamie! Rolg! Get Aladdin out of there!”
The lordling rushes to the dwarf’s side, stabbing at the zombie.
The blade drives into the undead mouth, and the wretched creature falls.
Simon seems taken aback by the mighty blow, but quickly turns to aid Bolgrith.
“Rolg, I’m on your left!” he slaps one of the hobgoblin’s outstretched hands as he plants his feet and swings a sword at the blinding zombie.
In one clean stroke, he lops off its head.
Attack 1d20 + 5 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 5 + 1 = 10 for 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (8) + 1 = 9
Balion: Not sure if gmail is still giving you trouble, but if you take a five-foot step, you will flank with Simon and gain a +2 to your attack bonus. The flanking bonus does not apply to damage.
Reposition 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (17) + 4 = 21
The blinded condition doesn’t give any penalties to CMD, which seems like a mistake. What sounds fair? Subtract DEX and STR from CMD? Subtract DEX only? Autosuccess?
Perception 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21
The young noble gestures vaguely. “But my father spares me the details. He is instructing Josephine, my oldest sibling, the responsibilities of the Steward, for when he passes. She is just like him. My older twin brothers serve in other fields. Montague was knighted two years ago, and is climbing ranks very quickly. My father thinks he will surpass Sir Moss, in time. My other brother, Sherwin, organizes the Commonwealth fleet –war and trade vessels alike. I’m not sure where my father will assign me, but I know he is meticulous in his influence of the Sunderlands.”
Simon’s gaze wanders for a moment, lost in thought. He quickly smirks.
“Heh, so in short, Balion, the possibility is doubtful,” says Simon, smiling, “But an astute observation nonetheless.”
Knowledge: Nobility might give you more details on any of the above mentioned characters/governments.
The lordling nods as he takes the rope and plunges into the water.
Simon disappears below the river surface, and the rope follows him. After a few worrisome moments, Bolgrith feels three solid tugs on the rope in his hands.
Simon moves quickly to the boat, double checks the line, and pushes it back into the river. “Jamie, take the rope. I don’t want to wait around for whatever that is to reach us.”
Jamie nods and takes up the rope as Simon pushes off into the water.
STR 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 1 = 6
STR 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (7) + 1 = 8
STR 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (17) + 1 = 18
STR 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (12) + 1 = 13
It takes him a moment to adjust to the current and the small bobbing raft, but the lordling eventually lands at the other side. He ties the rope to the raft and waves to Jamie.
Make STR checks DC 10 to paddle half your land speed across the river. If you roll a 1, add a Swim check.
Jamie is able to pull the empty raft back to the south bank of the river.
Simon likewise gapes at the muscular head and shoulders protruding from the river.
In a hushed whisper, he speaks to the others. “This is the biggest, scaliest man I’ve ever seen. Can anyone understand it?”
The young noble stands stock still, watching the creature warily.
Simon ties one end of the rope to the raft. He judges the distance of the river, borrows Balion’s coiled rope to span the distance.
“Now, if we tie to this tree,” the young noble gestures to the one beside him, “and whoever reaches to the other side, ties to that tree,” he points to a tree across the river, somewhat downstream (in H1), “That ought to serve as a line to cross with. Now, who wants to go first?”
Simon looks to the rest of the party.
Simon puts on his armor, and munches down hardbread, jerky, and a bite of cheese. Rolling up his pack, he pulls out his map. He surveys the river and the mountain range, before pointing to the worn parchment.
“This is probably the Barrowsweep. Which means…” he digs through his pack and retrieves the note found at the Lord’s Landing in Hagglesport. He rereads it, checks the map, and squints to the foggy wooded northern horizon.
“The map does not mark it, but Wolftooth Cave should be near the Fireblood Mountain, so the cave should be,” the young noble points north, “two or three days north? I remember hearing that Fireblood Mountain is an active volcano. We might want to skirt the edge of the Barrowood, the goblins live in the mountains and in the eastern plains. And I‘d like to avoid any tribes or southbound raiding parties if we can.”
Simon looks to the others before nodding and putting away the papers.