Dolgrin continues to smoke his pipe on the front porch, while Zask and Vhaezil complete their delivery. Idly feeding Penelope a carrot, he ask Rhys and Lichen.
"Where to next? Seems like the last town has better things to do than take our coin or services. Say speaking about the other town, weren't you supposed to be looking for something or someone here?"
Rhys watches the delivery from the doorway, then turns at Dolgrin's question, nodding, "Indeed." he says to the dwarf.
Leaning in, he calls out to the alchemist, "Pardon me, uh...Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan Ibn Al Abbas Ibn Rashid Ibn Hamad....Sir, " he says all in a rush, hoping he got it right, "There's a love-struck boy back in Milborne who's convinced your apprentice has gone missing. Have you seen her?"
@BD: Sorry chief. Random brain fart. I guess my subconscious really wants a vampire in this game.
"Ahmed will do, or Sayyid Ahmed, if you respect your elders. Jelenneth is missing, is she? That would be unfortunate, if true. The girl was beginning to show promise. To answer you question, I have not see her for two weeks or thereabouts and I was not expecting her to return for another week or so. Puzzling..."
|Lichen the Wanderer|
Lichen steps up, audibly wiping his feet well before entering. It seemed only the boy was worried about her. Others, even her family, assumed for some reason that she was traveling to see you or you had sent her on some assignment sir. Lichen adds, a look of worry growing on his face. They would not let us look into her room so we do not know if there were clues there.
Speaking from his spot against the rail on the porch.
"Perhaps Daryl took up her cause after we parted ways with him... Sayyid Ahmed, do you know where the lass headed last you saw her. If these erm crusaders.. he pauses with sidelong glances at Zask and Lichen, should choose to follow her trail, it will be well and truly cold if we trek back to Milborne, frost rims her tracks now as it is. Speaking of the lass, do you gents know what she looks like?"
"She was heading to visit her family in Milborne. I assume she reached her destination. If she had been missing for more than 2 weeks, I'm sure this wouldn't be the first time I would be hearing about it."
"Jelenneth is 20 years old with long black hair and green eyes. She's a slim girl about yea high (5’4”) and usually wears a rich blue cloak with silver clasps at the neck."
He gives you all a squinted, suspicious look,
"So why are couriers so interested in a girl that may or may not be missing?"
Vhaezil shrugs his shoulders nonchalantly as he rolls up the signed missive.
My companions here have a perchance for rescuing the lost and the missing. Their heroic aptitudes hold no bounds..."
With a shrug,
"I have no interest in chasing this lost girl, her charge does not seem bothered by her absence so why should we?"
Zask makes his way out of the Alchemist's domicile, stretches, and re muddies his feet.
Looking to his travel companions Zask adds,
"It seems we no longer have a reason to be in each others company. Do any of you have purpose beyond this delivery that requires aid? If not I may strike out into the wilds once again in search of worthy opponents. The role of courier is not one i wish to be lasting. "
"Halls of stone, reverberate, with hammer and anvil
even as Water's gate rushes, and sun burns red
Stone and iron, jewel and gold,
Born of the ground, bring life to the cold
Mountain's heart, burning breathing,
Adalault's jewel, brightly shining"
Master Zask, I joined this group not to deliver alchemical supplies but to hopefully learn more so that I might find this place lost to the legends. "
Taking a puff on his pipe he continues,
" If you wish to strike into the wilds in search of worthy opponents, why not have a destination in mind? "
"I have spent many my adult years in seclusion and study Master Dwarf. I know not where the challenge lay in these lands. If you have a direction in which we should strike out. I shall follow and lend my aid."
|Lichen the Wanderer|
Right, right. I wander too, and will accompany you both gladly. But if we are going to wander, why not keep an eye out for the lost girl. Surely even Vhaezil would not turn down a chance to be lauded and appreciated and perhaps even rewarded in the case that we do find this girl and she is in need of help?
"I'll not deny saving someone from themselves or a bad decision they've made would be good. We know what the girl looks like.... perhaps we should retire to the tavern to discuss our direction from here. Doubtless the good alchemist here would prefer peace and quiet, unless we have supplies to purchase from him. Thank you sir for your time."
Dolgrin makes sure the straps on Penelope's harness are secured once more before they leave.
As a parting shot at Zask and Vhaezil as they leave, Ahmed says, "Oh I am interested in the girl's disappearance, halfling, but one does not get to be my age by so quickly accepting the offers of strangers. Especially those that bend the knee to infernal masters or would champion the Fallen Queen herself."
The old man inclines his head towards Dolgrin, "Thank you for your courtesy Master Dwarf, it is a rare thing to find these days."
Moving discussion on where to next, to the aptly named discussion thread.
Vahezil eyes the druid curiously, before addressing him in a matter-of-fact fashion;
"You think I wish fame, or even infamy, Wanderer? Perhaps when we next camp I will explain the part I have been given to play in this mummery we call life."
As the alchemist decries the allegiances of both monk and warlock, the scrivener shoots him a withering stare;
"We are all strangers at some point old man... Perhaps the girl runs to escape you Eben. Was I in her place I could suffer the pungent odors and acrid fumes, but your pompous prattling would be too much..."
The diabolist mockingly bows as he exits;
"I would say Good Day to you alchemist but from one such as I "who bends the knee to infernal masters" it would seem somewhat of an oxymoron no?"
Zask dismisses the the Alchemists comment with a wave of his hand,
"Ahh, how it must be frustrating that time has such a grip on you. I will long be wandering the world once your ego has been laid to rest."
Zask looks at the tattoos on his forearms,
"As for who I champion, good and evil is just a matter of perspective, something you may have forgotten in this pristine home you've secluded yourself to. It may be good to be reminded that there is dirt in the world."
Not sure if were waiting on GM to write us back in after time jump or is you're wanting us to post some narrative for the week?
At the tavern Dolgrin settles in with a mug, thoughtful look in his eye.
"Master monk, before I can take off, I think I need to return to Milford. Shouldn't take more than a week or so, but those two in the smithy have the basics of a good smith but lack the precision needed to deal with the delicate work. That was evident with the broken scale I found.
Nothing, about the crazy old man, makes me want to return. But the young men there need some instruction and I would be remiss to leave without teaching them at least a little bit to improve their trade skill."
@all: sorry folks. Got busy last week and then sick over the weekend. Just RP it up a bit and then we'll reconvene. Vhaezil should have some information regarding a possible destination when the party gets back together. Depending on where you spend your time, I may PM you an event or something that occurs.
Zask nods in acknowledgement to Dolgrin,
"See to what you deem necessary Iron Arm. I shall seek the solitude of mind and spirit and push my body beyond it's physical limitations. The World's God calls to me and I mean to find what boons she has waiting her champion."
Zask heads into the wild for his week to find a place of relative peace and quiet. He will spend as many days and nights in meditation as possible without rest, food, or water in hopes of finding some sort of form of Nirvana or to receive a message and spiritual training.
Dolgrin raises a toast to the small monk. "Until we meet again sir monk, may the wind be at your back and the sun upon your face. To find ones center and push beyond your known limits is a noble desire. In a week, shall we call it a fortnight I'll leave Milford searching once more for Adalault's jewel. I believe it to be east of Ashwick in the mountains but that leaves a wide area to search. Granted the mountains have ever held challenges, many greater than those who seek to best them. Lichen, Rhys, master scribe Fællanbóc, shall we meet once more in a fortnight's time outside Milford?"
Vhaezil nods in agreement;
"In a fortnight then. Perhaps I will have some answers for you Master Shieldarm... Perhaps not... Til then I will remain in Thurmaster should any of you seek me."
|Lichen the Wanderer|
"Answers will be greatly appreciated, perhaps even enlightening. Take care. I'll leave in the morning, for tonight a comfortable bed shall be my destination. Penelope prefers a stall to the open road."
GM, works been crazy lately, will get a post put together for the week."
Dolgrin arises the next morning, saddling Penelope, he walks out the main gate singing a tune in dwarven that while joyful sounded like rocks being crushed together to those who didn't understand the dwarven tongue. Should Lichen and Zask be heading the same direction Dolgrin will join them until their paths should part.
Arriving in Milford, Dolgrin reports to the smithy searching for Walright and Semeran To see if anything of note has been brought into the smithy to work on, aware that it was late in the day to start anything new
Dolgrin intends to work for a week 5gp/day=25gp + 2 helpers (training, proficient with tools) 2.5gp/day=25gp = total of 50gp worth item for 1 week.
Dolgrin works hard day in and day out both to create the rings he'd planned for himself as well as those he'd planned for the other two to make. Teaching them the skill to make the individual rings wasn't too bad but way too much time was spent reworking the rings as they were woven together 1d2 ⇒ 2 "Semeran, once again you have to alternate the direction of the rings unless you are creating a circle, the time will come for the but right now you are working one the breast plate, take your time and make it right."
As the week passes on he learns while Walright may be more consistent at weaving the rings together, Semeran was better and had the touch needed to draw out the fine wire needed to make the rings, they would come to make an excellent pair with more practice. I doubt Milford gives them much need of armor or weaponry, more likely plowshares and rakes.
With the week drawing to a close, Dolgrin puts the finishing touches on the chain mail adding the padding where needed and and recreating a coat of arms he noted withing the mansion, hoping he has chosen the correct one, he leaves to visit the Mansion.
As Dolgrin and the other make ready to leave the town, Rhys joins them, stating, "I've some business across the ferry in Jameson's Crossing, I'll travel with you as far as Milborne, then continue on my way. See you back here in a week."
He's true to his word, bidding farewell to Lichen and Zask as they leave the trail into the wilderness, and again at Milborne, as he grasps Dolgrin's hand in farewell...
A couple of nights into your retreat, you find yourself staring across your small fire into the reflective shine of two sets of yellow eyes. A pair of large wolves slinks out of the shadows and sit at the edge of the fire light staring at you intently. Shortly thereafter a woman steps out to crouch beside them. Somewhere under the dirt there’s a remarkably pretty young woman, but it’s hard to tell, as her hair is long and unkempt and her clothing little more than rags. She is 5’ 5”, lightly built, with dark eyes and auburn hair.
She speaks in halting common, ”They say you are a wolf brother, but are you? You stink of the city, of soft men who fear the dark. Do you fear, or do you hunt? Tonight the pack hunts. Will you?”
As you watch, the form of the woman becomes blurred. The shape of a wolf begins to superimpose itself over hers and then only the wolf remains. Three wolves now sit across from you, waiting.
The leaves rustle above you and the strong musk of the wolves fills your nostrils. The night seems more alive than any night your experience before. Inside you, at the heart of your being is a wild place where the constraints of civilization have locked away your primal urges. Tonight in this place, you discover the means of freeing them and releasing the beast within. A warmth grows inside to fill every inch of your being. It is ecstasy. A great howl rises from the pack, as another brother steps forward to join the hunt.
In time you learn that the woman is Oleanne and her brothers are Belshar and Arlii. She spends most of her time as a wolf and is happy to have you on the hunt and to show you around the area.
Squeezing your way through the ever present crowds, you make your way to Astavan’s smithy. The outside appears to have acquired another layer of grime since the last time you were here. Inside, the walls and roof are thick with soot. A couple of young apprentices are working on some minor bits of metalwork and one of them lets out a whistle when you step in. Astavan, belly preceding him, steps out of a backroom. A gap-toothed smile splits his singed black beard, ”Well look what the cat dragged in. You dropping off, picking up, or just looking for the good word?”
You sink deep within yourself and find the comforting stillness, but something is different. You are not alone. A burning man resides within your secret heart, watching you, waiting. Disappointed. You see visions of yourself wielding the mithral shield, astride a mighty destrier, leading soldiers to war. You also see a vision of you passing the shield to Semheis, the vicious priest from Millborne, and watch as the priest marches a trail of fire and glory across the lands. Lastly, you see a vision of yourself, shield still packed away in your backpack, dead on the ground, hand clutching your chest. As the visions fade, for the briefest of moments, you feel a squeezing pressure around your heart.
|Lichen the Wanderer|
Lichen allows the feral urges to take him, but cautions himself that he will not allow these wolves to hunt man. As he shifts he wonders if he has what it takes to take this pack as an alpha and lead it. Unless the hunt is indeed for men he does not contest leadership this night, or those that follow and is content to follow and learn.
After the visions Zask rises from his meditative state and unwraps the shield he has burdened since the clearing of the tomb. The visions thoughts pass through his mind as he places a hand over the sigil emblazoned on the shield. Zask quietly contemplates the shield and the value is could have in his hands. After a moment he covers the shield once more, tests and stretches his limbs, and re-shoulders the burden.
As Zask begins to make the journey back to town his physical needs scream out in protest. He sets off to find food, water, and shelter.
The first few moments as the sounds, sights and smell of the city blasted into Rhys' senses was like a balm to the young man. The stresses of life on the road and the uncomfortable journeys through the wilderness faded.
A tight smile on his lips and a tighter grip on his belt pouch, Rhys threaded his way through the throngs of people, catching out of the corner of his eye a deft pickpocket working his trade, then in front: a very un-deft thief getting his brains beaten out.
Moving on, Rhys made his way to the smithy, grinning at Astavan's gibe and question, "A bit of all three, I suppose." he answered, then his own question, "What's with all of the imperials and mercenaries? A war happening I haven't heard of? "
"With such a large prize for the taking, you can imagine that everyone has their knives out, hence all the protection. Smart move really, the number of assassins and poisoners in the city right now is appalling. Most are making a fortune being paid to not take contracts against individuals.
"There's good money to be made in the city, if you're looking for work."
Ok folks. Let's get things up and running again.
Dolgrin's respite in Millborne is mostly incident free. Semheis wanders by on a couple of occasions to fire a disapproving glare at the rival cleric. He does try to set up some street preaching outside the shop, but Garyld puts an end to it quickly. Afterwards, Darius Carmen pays a visit to the church and no further incidents occur. The only other thing of note is that Jelenneth is still missing. The general consensus is that she ran afoul of some nastiness is the woods while gathering herbs and the village has a small memorial service for her.
Players can trickle back into town however they choose. Vhaezil has the hook for the next adventure.
Out of respect to the tavern owners and the girl's family, Dolgrin attends the memorial, yet remains at a distance. Not willing to give Samheis any room to cause an uproar. Otherwise by day he is found from early in the morning til late evening within the forge, both teaching and singing in dwarven to the rhythm of the pounding hammer.
His life for the moment content as he buries himself in the task at hand but as the time draws near for the others to return, the familiar itch for the road and his task to restore cold forges to use once more returns.
The night finds him in the tavern, with ale and conversing with the waitress. "Now lass, you know Penelope likes her carrots, surely you can find one or two to spare the poor girl."
Zask makes his way back to town, the images of the Flame remain fresh in his memory as the weight of the shield bears down on him. Looking to replenish his energy he makes way for the tavern and orders a modest meal and drink and finds a seat next to Dolgrin and acknowledges him as he sits.
"Evenin' Master of the Forge. I hope the flames and steel brought you what you sought. I am glad to see you in good health."
Pocketing the two carrots with a wink to the waitress
"Aye Master Quickhand it has, it has. To work with the metals of the earth to create that which is beautiful yet sturdy and fit for a lifetime of duty; it has it's own rewards. Yet it is time to move on and continue my quest. Speaking of that which is sought, did you find the challenge you set forth to find or are we still searching?"
** spoiler omitted **
** spoiler omitted **
Rhys nods , remembering now the killing of the Duke and family and the chaos that obviously has ensued, "Right, everyone's maneovering, looking for advantage." he says thougtfully.
"I've some time, so yes, some work would be appreciated. But first, here's my notebook....I ran across some interesting people and places." Rhys says, holding out his worn travel journal.
Dipping the stale bread into the broth Zask eyes the shield before lifting his gaze toward Dolgrin,
"I found what I looked for within myself yet purpose eludes me still. Perhaps your task will provide some..."
Zask pauses to take a bite,
Zask eyes the wrapped shield resting against the table once more,
"After all, the fire is lit..."
Are we meeting in Thurmaster or Milborne gents? Vhaezil planned to stay in the smaller of the two rural hovels, but he'll venture forth if needs must...
|Lichen the Wanderer|
Feeling revived in a way he would have trouble explaining .Lichen says his goodbys to Oleanne, his new druid friend (perhaps more than a friend) and the other wolves that ran with them. He has enjoyed this wild time and feels he has made friends for life with that pack but knows he is called to do more than hunt the wilds. He knows there is some great evil that he is needed to combat and will go and seek it out.
Returning to the town he is saddened but not surprised to hear that Jelenneth is still missing. He is half glad that he missed the memorial service for her as he would have been tempted to have words with those who would not trust him enough to even raise an alarm for her or help in his desire to search for her.
With little else to do Lichen goes in search for the others who seemed to follow some parallel path.
@Vhaezil: I believe the plan was to regroup with Dolgrin in Millborne.
Astavan take the notebook and scans the first few pages, raising an eyebrow. "Been busy, I see. I'll give a proper read later. You can have it back on the morrow."
He puts the book aside. "Now as for some work..."
It's about 8 days round trip to Blackburn, so you've got ~6 days in the city.
Rhys spends the next several days gathering information: determining the patrons of the various mercenary companies, teasing out details of budding alliances, and trying to pin down where the Imperial preference lies, if anywhere. (Basically, the Brethren are trying to determine who's likely to become the next Duke.) Lots of information is compiled, but at this point it's really too early to even pick out the front-runners from the rest of the pack.
The succession is a plot hook that can be followed up on by the party later, if there's interest.
@GM-F: Sound - will get something posted on the morrow...
Vhaezil enters the tavern quietly conscious not to draw undue attention. The journey from Thurmaster had been a long one, and he had little energy for rural ignorance of things beyond their ken, nor the attention of their backwater zealot that ministered for them...
Spotting his companions in conversation with the waitress, he hangs back, then as she leaves walks o'er to where Dolgrin and Zask nurse their supper.
He catches the monk's final words, and a smile almost plays upon his lips;
"Lit it is indeed Master Quickhand... More than you know... Evening's greetings gentlemen."
The diabolist takes a seat beside the men, his cowl hanging low and head bowed as he speaks in a tired hushed tone:
"We have much to speak of... I have gleaned direction and lore concerning Master Shieldarm's fabled Adalault... Our path is revealed."
Rhys' time in the city re-invigorates him, energized him, the people, the politics, the multitude of plots and devious plans.
Returning to Astavan after traversing the city many times, he provides what information he was able to glean.
Leaning against the rock wall, Rhys says to Astavan, "Well, I'll be off then...back to the hinterlands. " a slight scowl on his face.
Then he brightens a bit, taking the arcane primer from his pack, "Galen said he'd leave the next book for me...I've finished this one."
Dolgrin raises a toast at the scrivener as he makes himself known. "Well met Master Fællanbóc, I trust your trip passed safely and quickly. But do not let me delay any fair words you might have for our destination. Or foul may their turn be"
Vhaezil tilts his head up and both Dolgrin and Zask can see his pupils glow with an infernal flame;
"I see the world through new eyes Master Shieldarm... For weal or woe. As for my words, they are perhaps best kept until we are all here..."
The diabolist once again lowers his head;
"I have neither the energy nor the inclination to repeat myself as our erstwhile companions arrive."
|Lichen the Wanderer|
Lichen sits quietly in the back nursing an earthy brown beer. When Vhaezil mentions new eyes the druid looks up with interest. I am here. he announces. And that story sounds worth the wait Vhaezil. New eyes sounds intriguing.
"I'll trust ye know what you're dealing with sage; but aye we'll wait for Rhys to make his return. Wanderer, something different about your eyes as well, hmm almost a glow surrounding him wouldn't you say Zask"
Dolgrin says with a wink towards the monk
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Zask looks up briefly and returns his attention to his meal. With a shrug,
"Not much different to me, but can't say I spend too much time gazin' into the eyes of humans. If ya ask me 'bout belt buckles though, I'm damn near an expert on those."
Zask laughs to himself and continues to slowly eat, not wanting to put his digestive system into shock post fast.
For the sake of progression, let's just say that Rhys is around. No sense in waiting on just one player in this case.
Copy that Red Leader. Beginning my run now...
Vhaezil remains impassive at Dolgrin's concern and the following banter between the dwarf, halfling and wild man.
"You required answers to questions Master Shieldarm... Rebuttals were obtained. How and what it cost me is of little consequence to the rest of you is it not?"
The young diabolists voice remains low and flat, at odds with his angelic features and infernal gaze...
"Your fabled Adalault has been found Master Shieldarm... Or at least mention of it. The delve eludes all topographical depiction, however it does garner allusion in a treatise on the Duvan'Ku incursion..."
Expecting little or no recognition of the nature of the text mentioned, Vhaezil continues;
"The Duvan' Ku, or The Black City as it is oft referred as, resided on our plane for a time. Its fell presence united many peoples to rise and fight against the expeditionary forces of the Duvan'Ku until such time as the fell city phased back into the outer dark from whence it came. The treatise I sourced describes one such force as the enigmatic dwarves of Adalault..."
Pausing, the warlock adds;
"I appreciate that some of the concepts I am tabling are perhaps a little... refined... for those not as learn'ed as my good self. Should you require me to expound myself or use smaller words, I will try and accommodate your request."