Noblesse Oblige

Session_24
Crackjaw!

8th Sarenith, 4710

The Belle Dame refers to the Stag lord’s keep as a monastery. We learn from her that the challenge of fang versus iron occurs every three generations. An ancient covenant sets the rules. There are ancient spirits that do not take well when their rights are forgotten. She says there was a time when the Old Margreeve stretched all the way to Lake R—. Roslee is in the gap between the forests. The gap was created by the woodcutter Mikael in his anger.

The pact was set by the White Stag to set down the law. The challengers will seek us out. We will known when it is time. We have some hope though, since the last time Sir Thierry‘s family tried to settle the area was three generations ago. And Sister Xene’s dream of the white stag could be the first of several signs show us that we are in the right place at the right time.

The Belle Dame tells us that she needs black rattle-caps. They grow on the southern shore of the Tuskwater. A rattle-cap is mature at 10-12" in height. She’ll take all that we can carry. Since we want her friendship, we agree to do this task.

We head out back through the forest into the Camelands again. We cross the little Selen river and camp on the other side. It’s a quiet night.

9th Sarenith, 4710

We awaken to a sunny but overcast day.

After breakfast and prayers, we ride out into the cames. Later that day Kaylee spots a quadrupedal silhouette. The wolves are shadowing us on either side. We continue exploring while trying to keep track of them.

As the sun sets we make a line for the water’s edge. The shoreline is fairly steep here. We gather up what dry wood we can, and start a fire. Kaylee and Sister Xene try to keep the horses calm, but the scent of wolves is in the wind.

Sir Thierry manages to hurt a wolf with bow and arrow. Tamarie Iluvatar makes herself a safe-haven and sleeps the night in peace and quiet. Sir Thierry and Sister Xene double up for the first watch.

The wolves dart in and out, trying to spook the horses and take us down. We manage to keep the upper hand, but only just. We hurt the wolves just enough to keep them full of trepidation. We catch what sleep we can and Sister Xene trades off with Kaylee while Sir Thierry insists on staying awake for the night.

10th Sarenith, 4710

We find the Gudrin river and ford it. We all get wet as the river is deep and swift. We take some time to dry off and towel-down the horses before continuing.

On the far side we see white water. The ridge is overgrown in nettles. We follow a game trail and go down to a peaceful grotto, set aside from the lake by a small ridge of stone. There are wild blueberries here. As we are gathering blueberries a giant hook-jaw turtle rises up out of the water and attacks! It’s Crackjaw.

Tamarie and Sister Xene call forth friends from the deep. Kaylee tries to shoot it and Sir Thierry grows large with Tamarie’s magic and finally is able to knock the beast unconscious, drag it out of the water and kill it.

While still large, he hauls its carcass up to the ridgeline.

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Session_23
More exploration, of wood and swamp

3rd of Sarenith, 4710

Oleg’s trading post is bursting at its seams. Humidity is high, insects are buzzing, and the plains are in bloom. Hunters, trappers, and woodsmen are coming in a lot more frequently; drawn by rumors of the Rostlandeers and the lack of bandits in the woods.

Oleg himself is warming up to … some of the bondsmen. Copper Red is no lone’s favorite, but Taylor the smith has Veckle pumping the bellows. Taylor is always busy. When he doesn’t know what to make, he makes nails.

The trading post is growing. The bondsmen are busy. They’ve built a paddock outside the wall for the horses, and a lean-to against the palisade. The next project is a new guesthouse.

Veckle is so proud of Kaylee‘s achievement that he sees to the mounting of Tuskgutter’s head himself. He puts it up on the right-side post of the trading post gate.

Over the next three days, it’s warm with only 1 day of rain. We meet most of the locals within 40 miles: some 3 dozen people in all. Most come to see Tuskgutter’s skull, but as many come to see us. Oleg is doing a brisk business. We stay in camp until the guard change on the 5th.

5th of Sarenith

It’s a warm day with a fair wind. We depart the trading post with a few huntsmen. We part ways at the edge of the Old Margreeve. We skirt its edge and enter the Camelands after lunch. As daylight fades we camp at the Thorn river ford.

It’s a nice night. Above us is a vista of stars with a waning gibbus moon. The wolves are howling in the west, but otherwise the evening passes without incident.

6th of Sarenith

The pre-dawn is filled with dew. It grows into a misty morning and another beautiful day (23 degrees H, 11 degrees L with light breezes). We enter the Old Margreeve and travel to the Thorn River ford. The spring run-off has died down and the fording is easy. Within no time we are back out on the cames.

We find the old road within a hour and by mid morning we spot the Erastilian statue. We take a break at the statue and pray, leaving behind an arrow from Tuskcutter’s hide.

We lunch in a cops of trees and ride through the afternoon to make it to the Stag lord’s keep before dark. The doors of the keep are loose on their hinges but there’s no sign of intruders. We start poking around and find a few subtle clues. Kaylee and Xene both notice old tracks and bootprints now smoothed out. A few still have a bit more definition; someone’s been here within the last week or so. The trap door is ajar, but after a few careful moments of poking around we don’t find anything.

We bring the horses in for the night.

Sister Xene and Tamarie Iluvatar stay int he tower while Kaylee and Sir Thierry Mareschal, Bt. ride out. When they ride out far enough off the trail the earth belches out undead! A desiccated body sits up, plants its hands and rises up. More hands reach out, trying to grab the illusion brought forth by Tamarie. Each undead has a single bloodied eye.

It takes time, but we destroy all 12 undead. Kaylee is injured in the fight, and receives ministrations from Sister Xene.

Later that night we rest in the keep. It is an (otherwise) uneventful night.

7th of Sarenith

We rise and pray for the souls of the no-longer restless dead.

We ride out into a beautiful day with mild winds. We explore more of the swamp in the forest, heading towards where we’ve heard a witch resides. We find a dry spot to camp and are serenaded by a murder of crows.

The night passes without incident.

8th of Sarenith

After a bit more exploring in the new day, we find a 2’ tall fense that runs for around 40’. It has no nails. Instead it uses vines to tie the pickets together. It is made of very rough wood. The fence posts are decorated with small fetishes.

The other side of the fense are large wicker works. We find a ramshackle hut int eh bow of a large, squat tree. The house is sized for a gnome, 20’ up in the tree.

Sir Thierry rings the bell at the gate.

An elderly green-skinned woman answers. She confuses Sir Thierry with his grand-sire, who died some 60 years ago. She invites us in. The ladder creaks unbelievably and bends under the weight of each of us, but somehow it holds up.

She locks the door with one key, then opens it with another and ushers us into her hut through the small main door. We sit around the table.

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Session_22
Trapesing about in the woods

31st of Desnus, 4710

In the morning, again, Sir Thierry‘s armour shows signs of rust. Sister Xene Somhnal spends time mending the various bits of metal the party carries, including the horses’ shoes.

We set out soon after the mending is done, and begin exploring the forest anew. We go back to the Mad Hermit’s tree and find a distinctive trail of destruction. The Hermit’s viscera is scattered midst the tree roots. Smaller trees have been uprooted and lie shattered beneath and around the uplifted roots of other trees. There are split-hooves left tracks racing through the remains Kaylee Stoddard is able to identify the tracks as being those of a dire boar.

At least one wolf fled the scene, another was gored and left its blood splattered over the trees. Its body lies in shadow not far away.

We follow the dire wolf tracks through the woods and up to the river. There, Aether starts to growl. In the brush we find a trail of blood. Following it to its source, we disturb a murder of crows that flee to the upper branches. There, amidst the shadows is a giant wolf. Its abdomen is open and its intestines are out. It is slowly dying. Kaylee gave it a quick death. She’s sure she heard it say “thank you.” with its last breath.

Xene insisted on saying a quick prayer over the fallen before returning to Sir Thierry and Tamarie Iluvatar.

Back on the beast’s trail, Kaylee continues to track it. We find a ruin of a bridge built with white taldane stone. The stone columns can be seen in the middle of the river. We can find no safe crossing until late in the day.

We make camp after losing the trail. Sir Thierry takes the first watch.

The camp awakes to chaos. There is only dim light as the campfire’s been scattered and the embers can find little or nothing to catch. The horses are rearing against their tethers and Aether is barking loudly.

The dire boar has returned. And he is Tuskcutter.

The battle is chaos itself. The night causes the young master difficulties in finding his target and the beast’s hide is so thick his sword as often slides off as finds home. Kaylee’s arrow, named for Tuskcutter, seems to pierce his hide, but not deeply enough to do more than anger the beast further. It comes in like a runaway cart and leaves as quickly, only to spin about in the darkness and return for another run.

Tamarie tries to burn it, as does Xene; but while their efforts confuse it, they do it little to no damage. In a last-ditch effort, Tamarie grants Kaylee the ability to grow larger, and boosts both her speed and strength. With this assistance, Kaylee is able to slay the mighty beast, but not before it guts Aether and sends Xene flying up and over its back.

Aether dies from his wounds, and the young master is severely wounded. Xene is hurt badly from her fall. As Sir Thierry and Xene heal the injured, Kaylee takes Tuskgutter’s head and eviscerates the body.

We spend the rest of the night in the remnants of our camp.

1st of Sarenith

It’s a late morning when we awake anew. We head out of the forest and go to the statue of Erastil. There we make camp to rest-up further. It is a moment of serenity.

2nd of Sarenith

We ford at the Thorn river and skirt the edge of the forest. We do some hunting along the way to Oleg’s. We arrive by dark.

Sister Xene prays to clean Tuskgutter’s head. It becomes a mass of writhing maggots but the bone is laid bare. Sir Thierry shovels the maggots into Oleg’s midden pit.

We spend the night discussing deeds and catching up with the locals.

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Session_21
Crazy Hermit, Wall maps, and the long-lost elven keep

The battle with the the mad hermit is quickly over as Tamarie, Kaylee, Aether, and Sir Tierry rush to Xene‘s defense. Even the hermit’s puma is killed in the battle, as it tries to leap down and attack its master’s targets. The hermit flees and Sir Thierry follows. He captures the mad hermit and brings him back, but attempts at conversation are stymied as the hermit is truly mad. Whistling for his cat and speaking to voices only he can hear. Sir Thierry puts the hermit out of his misery quickly.

For once, Sir Thierry offers Sister Xene his aid with her injuries. It is an interesting change of pace.

After the battle, the mad hermit is dragged further into the woods, and Kaylee sets about skinning the puma. The tree in the center of the old road is huge. And it is hollowed out to make a comfortable home, although it stinks to high heaven. Everything seems home made. Quaker table and chairs, fire pit, hammock, and glass and clay pots – most of which are cracked and broken. He has a fair collection of herbs and the like. The interior walls are carved into an abstract map it contains stick people and odd representations as well as words in badly spelled Taldane.

Tamarie discerns the hermit has a make-shift alchemy kit, but nothing in the tree has an sense of magic about it. The hermit’s sword is in very bad shape; pitted and rusted and broken, but it was once nice and might be worth something. He had a wooden ring that has an enchantment on it. She also senses that something under the tree is magical.

The map on the walls shows the forest having a series of two-legged snakes, Taslewyrms. With much consultation with her own maps, Tamarie is able to roughly discern where the beasts might reside. It also makes reference to some sort of cairn to the north and an axe.

Tamarie digs up a chest from beneath the floor. He finds some potions and coins in the chest. 164 sp, 31gp and a tarnished silver locket. There is a rough family resemblance between the hermit and the woman depicted in the locket, and Bokkan.

We pack up and return to the road, trying to find the path. We find the shores of the Candlemere and follow the Myre river, camping for the night along its banks.

That night we notice that all our metal is rusting faster than normal. Xene spends some time carefully mending every metal item in the camp. It’s been rusting over the past few days, and we’ve been tending it, but we only just noticed the amount of rust is … just not normal.

We settle down. That night both Aether and the wolves are howling.

30th Desnus


The horses are acting like colts, and as such they’re harder to handle. We travel through thicker and thicker woods.

Xene goes off, looking for a clearer path. She is attacked by a living tree with claws! A grim stalker, and runs back towards the group. They manage to chase it off, and follow it to the elven keep. There are five tumbling-down towers, one of which has collapsed. The wall is solid, but the main gain has rotted away. The wall is breached either side of the broken tower.

Kaylee and Caliber ride in. Kaylee gets thrown and pinned by the following Portcullis, and we fight a losing battle against something so fast we can’t tell what it is. It has either a poisonous bite or some kind of poisoned blade. Sir Thierry and Tamarie go in via the break in the wall to try and protect and free Kaylee. They manage both, but are attacked several times. Xene stays outside and eventually meets the group at the break in the wall.

We flee the tower in orderly fashion, intending to come back when we are better prepared.

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Session_20
A meeting with magpies

29th of Desnus, 4710

The gnomes are an equal mix of women and men, moving about on the far bank. The cart is floundering in a rising river. Th ponies are trying to swim, and failing as the cart’s traces are dragging the poor beasts back under. On the cart is an elderly woman, wrapped up against the cold.

Sir Thierry and Kaylee rush in to save the ponies and the elderly woman.

The gnomes are all dressed in the same monochrome style; like magpies. There is a ruin of a pier nearby. Kaylee is able to gather the elderly gnome up and take her back to the beach before returning to the water to help Sir Thierry with the ponies. Their horses are struggling, but still tall enough to brave the rising river.

In the attempt to unhitch the ponies, Sir Thierry falls in. He his saved only by Tamarie’s quick thinking and magical prowress. Once back on his feet, he and Kaylee get the cart unhitched and bring it back to shore. The ponies, once freed, gladly follow Caliber to the shore.

The gnomes take care of their ponies while their leader, Bronn, bemoans the state of the cart’s axle and wheels. Xene kneels down and prays over the cart, seeking Erastil’s grace to see the damage mended and the cart returned to a usable state.


One brings Sorrow
Two bring Joy
Three a Girl
And Four a Boy
Five bring Want
And Six bring Gold
Seven bring secrets never told
Eight bring wishing
Nine bring kissing
Ten, the love my own heart’s missing!

We are introduced to the gnome party:

  • Bronn – the leading gnome, a pessimist; he seems so sad.
  • Gylodar – his wife, an optimist and full of joy.
  • Kaylin – the girl.
  • B’ouakael – the boy.
  • Oyer – is in love with gold.
  • Brother Rune – suspicious/paranoid, unwilling to share secrets.
  • Myanlee – Gregarious, wishing everyone well.
  • Mother Paug – Goes around kissing everyone.
  • Babbie Leonan – Grandmother who wants to learn of our heart’s desires.

They are explorers, prospectors, pilgrams, … each one has a different definition of what the group is, what their goals are, and what their purpose is. They are from down south, around Midden, Gault…

They are certainly a trouping family. When asked, they wear the same colors because that’s the natural order. The boy and girl are referred to as “boy” and “girl” by all the gnomes, and yet they were introduced to us with their own names.

With some work, Tamarie convinces them to help us fill in some blanks on our maps. Specifically, we learn that the old elven fort is only just north of the Myrk and about 2 leagues from the edge of the forest along the Candle shore. We learn a few other tidbits of information, trading nugget for nugget.

We share a camp with them, they in the carts, us in our tents. Overnight the wolves are howling to the NNW. It is a waning crescent move, just past 1/2 full.

30th of Desnus

The day is overcast with some wind but no rain. We say our goodbyes and watch the gnomes take their leave before heading off ourselves to find the Myrk river.

On the other side of the river stands a large group of eight elk. Sir Thierry nods respectfully to the lead elk, and it nods back!

We find and follow an old road. Along the way we spot a body draped over dead fall. Sir Thierry is certain this is a trap, but Xene is adamant the bleeding man needs help. She jumps off her horse and goes to help him before Sir Thierry can stop her. When Xene rolls the fallen over, he attacks her!

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Session_19
Out and about

And so we start buying goods, organizing equipment stored with Oleg, and breeding the horses. In seemingly no time, Somanal is pregnant, but Sleipnir is not.

Xene convinces Kesten and Akiros to travel with Kaylee and Xene to travel into the Old Margreeve to bring provisions to Elder Jhod.

While planning the trip local trappers come into Oleg’s trading post; trappers are becoing more numerous. A group of prospectors come in to survey the local area for the Aldori Swordlords. Another group comes to survey the land for logging.

When the group sets out, the trees are in bud. There are a lot of new streams from the winter melt. Eventually, after fording the area, we come across the old settlement ruins, and make our way along the ancient boulevard to the temple of the elk.

There are three deer drinking at the pool and a fox sitting by Elder Jhod. We greet each other. Akiros declines Erastil’s blessing. All but Kaylee go back inside for a tour. As Kaylee tends to the horses, she sees a deer return to drink along with a wild cat.

*

Back at Oleg’s, Tamarie sees an incoming traveler with a familiar face. Saphal arrives for a visit, bringing several fowling cages with him. He was a part of the Varling host. It would seem that the fall of the Bandit lord is all the talk at Fort Serenko. The Varling host has begin surveying for a new settlement. He offers Tamarie a gift of several eggs which will hatch into carrier pigeons. Once they imprint on Restov, he’ll trade a few for those who hatch and imprint on Vanhold. They spend some time talking shop.

When Xene and Kaylee return, Sleipnir spends some time with Caliber and becomes pregnant.

23rd of Desnus, 4710

The young master returns. Xene has a quiet evening with Kesten.

24th of Desnus

The Rostlandeers ride out.

It’s a beautiful day. The ground is wet, but everything is in bloom. The old Margreeve is slowly filling out its canopy.

Come nightfall, we set up our tents, feed the horses with the wondrous box of plenty. The sky is a spray of brightly lit stars.

25th of Desnus


In the morning, after prayers, breakfast, and breaking camp — we spy a large form. It rears up on its hind legs to observe us. It seems curious. We approach slowly. It’s a sizable grizzly bear, foraging for spawning salmon in the pools and newly formed rivers. The bear follows us on the other side of the river for a mile and half.

We pass a small group of male elk and collect fish for dinner.

In the evening, after camping, we hear wolves howling in the near distance. No doubt they are gorging themselves on salmon, just like the rest of us.

26th of Desnus

It rains in the morning. Clearing and cooling throughout the day.

We ride back north to the multi-river ford. The salmon are still running so we easily collect a few for lunch.

Later, in the twilight, we make camp. The horses get nervous. Kaylee watches the horses and learns that whatever is scaring them is coming from the river. Furtive shapes move behind a came. A group of soot-scale Kobolds come up yelling for a truce.

Tamarie and the young master g out to treat with them. Two come down from the came while a further 3 stay up top. Once they’re sure that we are the humanoids that they’ve met before, they all come down to talk. They want to trade that have fish and silver.

It is otherwise an uneventful night.

27th of Desna

After prayers, we break camp early and eat quickly.

We travel to the edge of the forest by mid morning and scout a cops of trees and find bushes of blood red berries. As we move into the thicket, Xene learns they are infested with chew spiders. Calling upon Erastil’s prayers she asks for the assistance of the insects, and the infestation disappears. She is gathers 8 doses of fang berries. Boccan will be pleased.

We enter the forest (after politely praying and asking permission to enter). The trees are straight and tall, probably new growth filling a clear-cut area. Amid the trees we find an old path. A way marker is embedded in a tree pulled out of the ground. The exposed side is uncut.

We find old foundations, but cannot tell what type of building it use to be. We hear an animal and follow its noises to a clearing. A pit trap is full. Inside is a Phylozine. As Kaylee bends over to look, she falls in to the pit. The young master jumps in immediately following her, and they fight and kill the Phylozine together.

Using the horses, they haul the beast out and leave it for the wolves. We camp among the ruins. The night is cool but comfortable. On the eve, after sunset, the howling starts. It dies down around midnight.

29th of Desnus

We awake to a light drizzle that trickles down through the canopy. Near the Stag Lord’s keep we hear incomprehensible voices, similar to silvan. We approach to find a small wagon mired in the middle of the river. The ponies are floundering. There are two wagons on the far bank, along with slightly less than a dozen gnomes.

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Nettle's Crossing
And the dead is laid to rest.

Toilday, 13th of Gozrim, 4710

Light streams through the cracks and hides flutter in the wind at the Stag lord’s fort. Akiros leads us into the cellars through a hidden trap door amid the rubble. The stairs are a rough combination of earth and rock. The cellar is home to dozens of bull bats. They tend to go after livestock. The bats become agitated as we go down the stairs.

They attack us in a swarm. Xene‘s prayers to Erastil brings forth a current of air that attacks the batswarm, keeping it occupied as Kaylee and Sir Thierry move deeper into the cellar. There they encounter a barking wolverine hiding in the rafters. Xene suspects it is a druid. Its growls bring forth a giant ant that battles to protect its master. Sir Thierry and Kaylee close and their feats are epic as they slay the beast. Tamarie’s magic twists the earth and sky into a riot of colors, disorienting the ant, while storm winds buffet it, making it easier to hit. Once the giant ant falls, the wolverine dies quickly on Sir Thierry’s sword. It turns back into a wizened old man, whom Akiros later names Nugrah; the stag lord’s father.

After the fight, we bury the dead bandits, the Stag lord, and Nugrah near the lake. For once we leave the captured bandits (Topper Pentax and Jax) in their prison rather than pressing them into immediate service. Tamarie spends some time picking through the goods in the cellar, trying to find anything salvageable. She doesn’t find much.

In the fading light of day we cobble together a travois and pack up everything we can carry.

Wealday, 14th of Gozrim

We travel all day. Topper Pentax recites us poems to pass the time. Our opinions of his skills are not nearly as high as his own.

We camp in the Camelands for the night.

Oathday, 15th of Gozrim

It’s a cool and damp day, and overcast. We pack up early and make our way to Nettle’s crossing.

There, we call forth David Nettle. He rises up out of the water like a man floating up the stairs. The beast that is now David Nettle accepts the Stag Lord’s body – staking him through the heart with his pike. He then drags the body back down under the waves with him. After David Nettle disappears beneath the waves of the river, his pike floats back up to the surface, as a reminder of our good deeds.

We ride off, heading towards Oleg’s and make it to Bokkan’s before night falls.

Fireday, 16th of Gozrim

Bokkan comes with us to Oleg’s Trading Fort. We’re an hour out when we encounter horsemen on the road. They’re a wandering patrol. We trade news, but do not tarry long. Our arrival at Oleg’s is welcomed by all.

Sir Thierry tells Nettle’s tale and brandishes the Pike as proof. Most are both saddened and glad of the tale. Saddened that Nettle was reduced to such, but glad that his soul is now at rest — or as much rest as such a beast can ever find.

No one mourns the loss of the Stag Lord. Sir Thierry carefully warns the captured bandits of their situation. They, like the others, are offered their freedom in return for a year of indentured servitude. They accept.

After greeting Kesten Garess (and getting a kiss on the cheek from him), Xene begins carving arrows with the names of Topper Pentax and Jax. The night is spent in planning and preparation. Tamarie oversees the division of the spoils and consults with Sir Thierry and Kaylee to determine what we can sell, and what we should store. Oleg is brought into the discussion once a rough list has been drawn up. Sir Thierry thanks him mightly for his help. Kaylee sees to the horses and spends time with Taylor, our budding smith.

Xene learns that Svetlana is certain she’s pregnant; but Xene strongly suggests patience as anything can happen in the first 3 months.

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Staglord's Keep

12th of Gozrim

The fight against the Stag Lord’s minions is long and drawn out, but with Erastil’s guidance we are victorious. We do what we can for the young master, but he is mortally wounded beyond the scope of mere prayer and needs sleep badly. The arrow that should have killed him was miraculously stopped by his holy symbol.

After Conrad is touched by Erastil’s grace, he helps Kaylee deal with the unconscious bandits. Tamarie brings the horses in. Sleipnir has an arrow in her neck, but is otherwise well. Dovan surrendered. The Stag Lord, now dead, was a middle aged man, grizzled and covered in scars. His helm is a saber tooth and stag skull (with a rack) piled one atop the other.

Our pack horses are stolen, taken by the fleeing bandits (one of which was named Scree—a name known to us as there was a bounty on his head); but they dumped the feed to make a quick getaway. We tie up the two remaining bandits and put them in the owl-bear pen for the night. Once secured, they are searched and tended to.

We catch what sleep we can.

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On the Road Again

7th Gozron

We ride out, stopping for a cold lunch on the edge of the Old Margreeve. Caliber is captivated by the forest and the trees are in bud.

We ride along the forest’s edge and eventually enter the camlands. As we ride, we inform Elder Jhod about the rules of the Old Margreeve.

Kaylee heads in alone to scout out the old ford-river camp. She finds a fire pit that’s 2 days cold. She returns to tell us. We bed down in the cames. During the second watch of the night Conrad awakens Sir Thierry to warn him of hearing wild pigs in the area.

8th Gozron

In the morning we awaken and offer proper thanks to Erastil. Then we ask permission to enter the Old Margreeve. Kaylee finds the tracks of a sounder of pigs. Xene examines the area and gathers up some unearthed truffles that the pigs were digging for.

We travel through the forest to the temple of the Elk. Brother Jhod lays prostrate, kneels, then prostrate again; slowly working his way up the stairs into the temple. A light erupts from within the temple and he laughs with sheer joy.

He is awed by the place and wishes to be left behind. We leave him more than a weeks food and ride out by mid-afternoon. We camp under a pristine night sky.

9th Gozron

As we travel through the forest, Tamarie spots something odd. It`s a giant monument. A big honking statue is atop a 4`tall stand. It has a tree growing on its head. After a bit of examination we realize it’s a giant statue of the stag lord. The tree is actually its antlers.

As we come to this conclusion, we are attacked by an Owl Bear.

Once it is defeated, Tamarie realizes that she recognizes the statue. She last saw it when it was new. This was the first place they stopped on the way back to Rosely. She remembers the ledger item for 4500gp for an Erastilian monument. After a bit of cleaning we uncover a pack that reads `Great hunter, help us find our way.` It`s a way marker. South was toward New Stepson 150 miles, North was to Mivon, east and west are a sinister facing horse’s head. This marked the Mareshal trade route. That means that the Staglord`s fort is the same outpost built by the young master’s grandfather.

Sir Thierry and Kaylee carry the Owlbear corpse into the woods. We spend some time cleaning the statue. Xene makes it a wild flower wreath while Tamarie takes some time to try and scribe some spells. We then make camp. The campfire causes the cleaned statue to glisten in the light. It casts a comforting presence over the camp.

10th of Gozrim, Starday.

It’s raining and turned to snow by noon

Traveling early, we come across the Thorn river. It’s swollen with run-off and not fordable. We ride along its edge. The Cames funnel it into a small gorge. There is a rope bridge across the narrowest part of the gorge. The rpe pridge is moss-covered and well aged. We decide not to risk it.

We keep going south, through the snow and drizzle. We come to a fork in the river. It seems shallow but it’s 120’ feet wide. We ford slowly. And make our way to the Stag Lord’s keep. We camp between two rises, out of site of the keep.

12th of Gozrim

As Kaylee is up before dawn, she spots a hunter’s blind and a hunter. She convinces him to come back to the camp. There, we learn his name is Fergus. We share a breakfast with him. Fergus is from the south and tells us a bit about what he’s seen regarding the local comings and goings around the keep. From him we learn the lane is trapped with undead. Step off the road and they will rise and attack.

We get what sleep we can through the day, and pack up the camp before we loose the light.

13th of Gozrim

We walk through the night to the Stag Lord’s keep. Hopefully any guards are asleep.

We tie the pack horses to a nearby tree. We contine along, casting and praying.

We call forth fog and find the door. Kaylee vanishes, climbs up the wall, over the sharp, pointed bits and opens the door from the inside. We ride in. Once in, the young master marches up to the enemy (safely asleep in their beds) and wakes them. Demanding their attention, he brings forth light from the darkness then demands their surrender.

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A week at the Outpost

The waxing gibbous moon rises on the evening of the 28th while Xene and Kaylee plan to make a perfume for Keston Garess. Master Thierry intends to help building the new forge’s chimney.

Kaylee is worried about the horses. All our traveling has really ground down their shoes. Sleipnir may be developing colic and Sameril is developing a cleft in her hoof. We agree to stay at the outpost for a week to allow the horses to rest. With any luck, the horses will stop shedding after a week of rest and lots of grooming. The discussion moves on to the summer season and breeding the horses.

29th Pharast

The weather warms. The sun melts the snow, causing the snowline to quickly recede towards the woods. The men work out their problems with the mortar; through trial and error they manage to come up with something of a better consistency. Tamarie offers her assistance, providing guidance of how to vent the fire, and keep the rows of bricks even.

30th Pharast

Its the full moon. Everyone’s busy around the outpost.

31st Pharast

The caravan comes in. Over dinner we learn the business of the local fort, politics of the north, and the general gossip.

1st Gozron

The guards leave with our letters to Mr. Aldo, to our parents, and to the Swordlords.

2nd Gozron

The chimney on the new forge is completed. The men consider it a success when they light a fire in its base, and the smoke is properly drawn up the chimney. There’s a small snow storm today. A trapper comes in with a tale of having been accosted. He is from Restov, last week. Some bandits have been shaking down trappers in the old Margreeve near Thorn river ford. He escaped the press-gang on the 31st of Pharast.

3rd Gozron

Sameril is ansie.

4th Gozron

Sleipnir is now ansie.

Svetlana thinks she might be glowing. Taylor fires up the forge and starts making horse shoes for the Rostlandeers.

6th Gozron

Tonight Conrad tells us about the Stag lord`s camp. Only the inner circle of the bandits stay with him. Bandits go to the camp once a month to pay their dues. If a bandit is late, the Stag lord sends men to shake them down. We learn the ruined keep that the Stag lord calls home is on the edge of the Tuskwater. It`s one-and-a-half stories with a green-wood palisade. Only a small part of the roof is covered in pitch.

Of the men stationed there, there’s a dandy with a fancy sword, an ox of a man with less brains and the drunken stag lord of a brute. Stez has been there too. He saw the basement where an old crippled man lived. The man wasn’t chained, but he was so lame that he could barely move.

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