On the 3rd of Neth, night begins to fall on the town of Kassen on the shores of the Tourondel River. The harvest season is working its way toward a close. The air is beginning to feel the chill of winter coming on and 5 young adventurers gather their belongings and prepare themselves for the next day. The ceremony of the lighting of the Everflame will begin the next day at noon. Mayor Uptal has requested that all of the young people of the town meet him at the Seven Silvers for dinner this evening.
Mingle where you want, once everyone gets situated, we'll get started at the meeting with the mayor.
Isabella was the first one at the Seven Silvers, having been there since that morning helping Asina get things ready. Her day was full of housework, cooking, and occasionally slapping Jimes' hand away from her pockets. (Goodnaturedly, it wasn't like he ever took much.)
Once Isabella catches a glimpse of some other adventurers heading towards the inn, she winks at Asina. "Looks like it's time for me to change from 'assistant' to 'patron.'" Grinning, she tosses the towel she was holding at the younger girl and heads towards the main area.
Time to eat, relax, and make some new friends!
Trelvar lets Isabella go a little before the evening rush. In a low excited whisper, Trelvar says, "And order what ever you want for dinner, the mayor said he was paying for all of you! Tell the others, and get one of the good tables."
As he says this, Jocyn limps down the stairs carrying his lyre and flute. The lithe half-elf man makes an impression with his flamboyant colors but is quiet as we works his way over to the small open area he usually performs and tunes his lyre.
Jilhanna wanders in, eating an apple tart she just snatched from the tray of pastries in the kitchen.
This ought to hold me till dinner
"Yo, Isabella! You part of this squad? "
She winks at Asina. "You'll be next, little cousin."
She nods at Jocyn, eying his lyre as she sits down next to Isabella.
"Dirges tonight, Jocyn? Or happy marching songs to send us to our doom?"
Galin finishes his word at Braggar's smithy and cleans up to minimize the chaos in the workplace before he leaves. I'll miss this place, but I'll be back soon enough!. "Any last minute advice Braggar?"
Upon reply, Galin Thid walks toward the Seven Silvers. Upon arrival, the those inside see a short gnome with black hair awry open the door and look around. Galin puts a hand through his hair to no avail and looks for a place to sit and await the Mayor's meeting.
Trelvar spots Jilhanna snag a tart and swats her hand. ”Not now, wait till you get a table and I can charge it to the mayor!”. Asina pipes up as Julianna runs by with a, ”good luck!” and gives her father a stink eye and says, [/b]”Lighten up dad.”[/b]
Jocyn looks up from his tuning, a sorrowful look on his face and strums a few minor chords. ”Farewell my friend, I hope...” and he can’t keep a straight face any more. His mouth opens into a huge grin and starts into the beginning of her favorite tune and says, ”Enjoy the next few days with your friends.” and goes back to his music.
Braggar doesn’t even look up from his work, he just says, ”Just do your job and get back.” between the pounds of his hammer.
Leaning back in her chair, Isabella smiles at Jilhanna."Looks like it. You too? Good, I was worried I might be stuck camping with a bunch of strangers. Stern, silent strangers who took everything way too seriously. This should be fun!"
Seeing Galin walk in, she starts waving. "Hi! If you're looking for the table of adventurers, this is it. We're still waiting on the mayor and the other members of our merry band."
As the gnome approches, "greetings, Galin's the name, and who might you be?"
Upon introductions, Galin takes a seat and chuckles at the halfling's appetite.
”oh yeah, how’s that ole rascal doing, is he here today,” Galin looks around and checks his pockets. ”yeah I spend most of my time at braggar’s forge. Keeps me busy.”
"Hi Galin! I'm Isabella, and Miss Manners over there is Jilhanna. Dinner's on the mayor by the way, so feel free to order something expensive."
As Jilhanna, Isabella and Gavin get situated at their table, the tables begin to fill up with the usual customers. Grimscar, the surly male half-orc employee of the lumbermill has a table all to himself and most people give him a wide birth but you can see that Jimes has a cordial conversation as he brings him his drink. Cygar Anravis, a mysterious visitor from Tamran, the capitol if Nirmathas has his customary table for the past couple months and is into his meal by now. There are a half dozen families there getting their meal after their weekly shopping, kids getting stir crazy as they wait for Jimes to come around to them. You wait for a few minutes and then Jimes comes up and says jovially, ”Ok, looks like the others haven’t gotten here yet, want to start of with some drinks or would you like to wait a little longer? Tell you what, I’ll bring you out some bread and cheese. It’s not your fault they are late!”
Galin laughs, "no offense taken at all, good to meet you both." Galin also nods in acceptance to Jimes, "feeling a bit parched, maybe some water?"
Galin then turns to the other 2 at the table, "I'm a bit more of a homegnome myself, do you two have any experience on adventures? I've been studying the healing arts under the 'noble' Rantal." I hope at least someone is an outdoorsy type.
"I'll take a glass of wine, please. And yes, some bread and cheese would be fantastic. I'm starving!
In response to Galin's question, she shakes her head. "Unfortunately no, I don't have any prior experience adventuring. I'm a bit of a homebody myself. Or, well, a townbody. I actually spend a lot of time here." Better than sitting at home by myself.
Changing the subject, she asks "What's Father Prasst like when he's not on duty? I've never been able to get him to talk much about anything other than religion."
"I'm not sure he's ever off duty really..." Galin looks around and says, "to tell you the truth, he doesn't really seem to have a sense of humor either. He knows quite a bit and you can sure learn from him, but he hasn't got a humorous bone."
Jilhanna looks up from the menu, frowning in confusion.
"Wait, what? You just said you were apprenticed to that smith Braggar. And I see you there all the time. When are you sneaking off to study with Father Rantal?"
"Gotta make a living, I've been learning the trade from the smith, my evenings are usually pretty busy at the temple." Galin muses, wow... not until I get out meet people, I realize I really do have no life. "It's not so bad, I don't get much free time, but when I go back home, and I think I'll be able to do good. Enough about me, what about you! Surely you do more interesting things than me."
"When I came here to live, I promised Uncle Jimes that I wouldn't make his life any more interesting than it already was."
Jilhanna looks sideways at Jimes with a crooked smile.
"But he's taught me a lot of stuff I didn't know before," she says as her face brightens.
Isabella grins. "Depends on your definition of 'interesting.' The closest I've come to adventure was sneaking into old Holgast's tower. Which was less 'sneaking' and more 'batting my eyes at his apprentice until he let me in.' Mostly I just hang around here and help out Asina."
Jimes brings the bread, cheese and wine and says to Jilhanna, "Ah, so you didn't find the honey cakes or the bread pudding?" Jimes gives a hearty laught and continues, "You are in for a treat, Trelvar pulled out all the stops when he knew that Jonark (the mayor) was paying."
Jilhanna stealthily hides a few chunks of cheese and heels of bread in her pockets.
"Honey cakes! Yes, lots of those please. And what's the best thing you've got for a main dish?"
"Isabella, did you find any secret potions in Holgrath's tower?"
Isabella frowns thoughtfully. "I don't know about secret. There were all sorts of bubbling liquids I didn't recognize, but they were kind of just laying around. I was more interested in the books. Which were completely disorganized, by the way. A Beginner's Guide to Summoning Demons and Devils for Profit and Pleasure was sitting right next to a complicated math book handlabeled as Prime Constants and Their Relationship to Divine Metamagic. Apparently half the apprentices' time is spent figuring out which books are actually useful and which Holgast just found amusing."
Galin pipes up, and says, ”oh Prime Constants, fascinating, I might have to see if I can get an eye on that. Do you think he would let me read it?”
"Let? Probably not." Isabella grins mischievously. "Notice? Also probably not. I'll grab it for you the next time I 'sneak' in."
"Awesome, Isabella!" A bit defensively Galin protests, "hey now, a little learning never hurt anyone. It might help to be a wizard but a good theory book can help you understand... " Galin reflects and says, "well I suppose it may never be useful... but you never know, and if you wait, may be too late."
As the group continues to dine, the doors to the Seven Silvers open as an dwarf wearing armor comes inside. On his back is a pack stuffed with various essentials, as well as a large metal shield with a stylistic warhammer carved and embossed into it. The dwarf has one large axe, the head of which is (ironically enough) also adorned with carved hammers, as well as a few smaller axes hooked into his belt.
"Sorry e'ym late. Pa's directions were naught th' greatest once I got ta th' surface." The dwarf smiles as if that should be enough explanation as to why he is there, why he is "late", and what he wants. Sitting down at the table next to the gnome, he nods. "So... this is th' lot goin' this year, eh? And here I be thinkin' e'yd have t' be dealing with mostly 'umans for th' next few days." He smiles solomly offers the sole human at the table his hand to shake it.
"Not'hat that would be bad, mind ye, just wh't e'ys expecting is all. Name's Torian Marcath. Clan Marcath sends regards 'nd whatn't."
Torian's expression is one that seems to say, "Of course not, are you daft?" as he hears the halfling's observation, but all he says is, "Aye wee one, e'ym not. 'sides, y'ud hav' be'n more likely to hear me praise'n Torag a' yer forge in th' wee hours of't'e morn if'n I was. No mistak'n a proper sermon from ol' Basy here." The dwarf pulls his pack from his shoulders and retrieves 'Basy'... which, upon reveal, is a smithing hammer.
Isabella shakes Torian's hand with a smile. "Nice to meet you. I'm Isabella, and this is Jilhanna and Galin. The mayor's paying for dinner, so go wild and try anything you like. It's all good."
She leans forward a bit conspiratorially. "Also, a friendly warning since you're new in town. The waiter here, Jimes, has quick fingers and a tendency to, uh, 'borrow,' loose items. If something goes missing just ask and he'll give it back; it's all in good fun."
Torian nods to Isabella, Jihanna, and Galin solemnly as the young woman introduces them... then smiles wide at mention of dinner being on the town. "They fergot th' clan was sendin' a representative this year again, didn't they? O' did they ferget wha' me cousin Toki did to yer ale an' pork supplies when she came five yearn back?" At that the dwarf gives a good natured laugh, but his face goes solemn once again at the additional information Isabella provides.
"Does he now? Well, best be let'in'im know tis bad luck to steal from one of Torag's own. Th' Father o' Creation is not vengeful, mind, but that don't mean he don't have a sense o' justice."
Isabella winces slightly and shoots Jilhanna an apologetic look. "Yeah, that's why I wanted to warn you. He's not really stealing, like I said he gives whatever he takes back. It's all just a game to him. But sure, we'll let him know."
Should I not have said anything? But if I hadn't who knows how Torian might have reacted if Jimes tried something; dwarves aren't exactly known for being playful.
...Probably for the best he wasn't here when I offered to get Galin that book!
Eager to change the subject, Isabella pounces on the other part of the conversation. "Toki's your cousin? I'm pretty sure my brother Garret traveled with her. He made it sound like they had a pretty good time. Then again, Garret actually likes wandering around the forest. I think he's part druid."
At this moment, the door opens and Mayor Uptal strides through the doorway. A big barrel chested man with a rich bass voice, his presence seemed to fill the room and those who hadn’t met him understood why he had been Mayor for almost 20 years. His short hair was only just now turning grey on the sides. He looked over at table with Isabella, Jilhanna, Gavin and Torian and said, “Ah, good, your all here. Torian, I’m glad you made it safely. I know the roads are getting more dangerous. Well, I’m glad I don’t have to say this more than once. Oh, hey, Jimes. Bring us some of that soup, yeah, the lamb one you cooked up special. And some of the wonderful honey cakes. Ok, back to business. The quest itself is a relatively simple one. You four must travel to Kassen’s tomb (about 2 days’ travel outside of town), venture inside, light the lantern, and return home. Normally, myself and some of the other residents of the town make the journey but every few years the young men and women of the town...”[b] at this he pauses and gestures toward Torian, [b]”And our friends from near by, make the journey and light the lantern to usher in winter and take us through the difficult times to come.” At that, Uptal shakes his head a bit and says, ”But you probably interested in all that, you just want the details of how this will work. Well tomorrow at noon, you are to meet at the town center. We’ll have a brief sending off ceremony, give you some supplies to assist you, including a map, and await your return. As soon as you get back with the flame, we will have a feast in your honor. Any questions?”
Jimes finally brings out the food and you discuss any issues over dinner.
You’re free until tomorrow at noon, you can mingle some more, talk to your mentors, or we can just get going. Your choice.
"Who's in charge of the food? Do they know how to feed a hungry party of adventurers? Are they going to remember that it's a lot more than just lunch and dinner? You can't expect us to do this right if we're underfed and starving. Takes a person's mind off their job if you don't feed 'em right."
She looks around the table and nods.
"And those "traveling rations" aren't really food, right? They're fuel for surviving when you haven't got any other choice. But I'm sure the town wouldn't want to leave us cold and hungry when we're handling such an important task."
Torian was about to respond to Isabella's question regarding her brother and Toki, but instead respectfully listens to the Mayor as he speaks. "Aye, th' roads ain't pretty an' th' way weren't easy, but Clan Marcarth honor's its commitment to Kassen's town an' to th' man hisself, Torag grant his soul plenty tah do in th' next world."
He listens to Jilhanna's question and shrugs. "Ey'm a smith 'nd a paladin, missy... naught a cook. I brought me own rations but will gladly accept aid tah lengthen their last." He looks at Isabella and adds, "Toki say'd yer brother was a mighty fine hunter... tha' they ayete well mostly from 'is hunten. So ey'd wager Garret been haven a blast was part o' it."
Turning back to the mayor, he shakes his head. "Think 'e could be getten some holy water in our'n supplies? Me pa always says that visit'en a tomb be a good chance to ward it again' those l'ss respectful o' th' dead."
Again, the dwarf's face has a look of "Are ye daft, lass?" but again, he smiles and just says, "No, lassy... naught ghosts... naught from ah well visited tomb like this'n. No, meanin' more agais't necromorphs 'nd grave robbers 'nd the like. Renew blessens tah help make eit less likely tha' such disrepectfull laughts will pay a visit."
Jilhanna runs the sounds that Torian makes through her head slowly and carefully.
'...renew blessINGS TO help make IT less likely THAT such disrespectful LOUTS will pay a visit'.
Nodding, she replies, "Oh, right. But nobody ever goes there."
She turns to appeal to Mayor Uptal.
"Nobody has ever disturbed that tomb, have they? I mean, someone checks it every year. They've never found anything wrong there or we'd have heard about it."
Isabella shrugs. "Unfortunately hunting is Garret's specialty, not mine. Even if we brought extra food and cooking supplies, who would carry it? Sorry Jilhanna, I think we might have to rely on the rations."
Turning back towards the mayor, she asks "Speaking of supplies, exactly what will be provided and what should we be packing ourselves? Best to be prepared if we're going to be off on our own for a minimum of four days."
The mayor takes his time answering, savoring his meal and says between bites, ”Well, you certainly won’t get as good as you have here tonight, that’s for sure!”. At this, Uptal glances around the table and looks askance at Torian and Jilhanna as they stuff themselves, the slight halfling managing to keep pace with the stout dwarf and blanches a little bit. You can see him calculating how much this will set him back. He composed himself and says, ”Well, it is possible you might want to supplement with some food if your own...Anyway, the map will take you to the crypt itself. From there it is for you to find your way as those who have gone before you have done. What dangers you face on the path and in the crypt are yours to discover. We will provide rope and food and bedrolls, the basic supplies you will need for a week but anything else you might want of your own, you are responsible for. It will be up to you to divide responsibilities among yourselves however you see fit.”. Basically, bring your weapons/armor/thieves tools/whatever would not be in a standard adventuring kit or whatever your character would not trust another to bring. I’m not going to watch encumbrance to closely, but don’t go crazy.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (10) + 8 = 18
Torian raises an eyebrow at the Mayor's vagueness, but merely helps himself to another helping of soup and a second mug of ale. Just like everyone else at home who I asked about this trial. "Oh, i'dle be fine, laddy, but cannaught tell'ya more." Well, traditions are traditions.
"Woul' ah priest er cleric be around tah get some bless'd before 'e go tommorah? Bless'n thin's naught made o' metal be a wee bit tricky fer me." The dwarf pats his pack. "E'y got most else ey'd be needin already."
After this meal he would likely leave his pack in his room sans his smithing hammer and then proceed to either find the cleric/paladin, or proceed to the forge to see about just doing some random metalwork (weapons making preferred, but he would use the time to make things the town would need if they had anything they required.)
sm: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 = 5
Galin is unable to determine what the Mayor might be hiding, but isn't too worried, folks have been doing it for years, i'm sure it will be fine.
"Hey, Torian, there is a cleric at the temple, I can show you the way when we're done eating if you like."
Galin continues to enjoy the soup provided.
Sense Motive: 1d20 ⇒ 12
"Mayor Uptal, thank you for the advice...and for the dinner. I'll be sure to pack appropriately."
I'm pretty sure Garret just used the standard supplies when he went. No need to go crazy...but you can also never be too prepared.
After the dinner, Isabella says farewell to Asina and heads home. She slips a few extras into her backpack, then enjoys her last night of sleep in an actual bed.
Silken ceremonial armor
Oil (1 pint)