Noblesse Oblige

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.

View
Sootscale Sycamore War

Before leaving the caverns beneath the old Sycamore tree, we go back and kill the centipede eggs. It’s quite a struggle to crawl back out the muddy tunnels and fighting against gravity. We put the dead mites in the ravine and take the Kobolds with us.

After offering Erastil our thanks, we head back to camp with Mikmek and his three dead brethren. We camp 1 mile south to avoid any mite-raiding parties returning and possible restless kobold dead.

We take watches. During the young master’s watch, he wakes us. Aryan’s uncomfortable but not barking.. Hoarfrost has found us. With Tamarie’s aide Mikmek and Horefrost talk. Horefrost argues that Tartook is in charge of the tribe and not their proper chieftain, Sootscale. But the idol we carry is their sacred idol. If it is destroyed, then the tribe will suffer greatly. Mikmek believes their scales were turn yellow and fall out. The young master decides not to destroy the idol tonight. Instead we will go and talk to Sootscale.

27 Pharast

It dawns a cool, dry but overcast day.

We pack up and set out early. We head south towards the Kobold encampment. We travel over more cames and south-flowing streams. A few hours into the day, we come across a battle site of 5 Kobolds and three mites. The Kobolds have been lined up beside a knee-high pile of rocks. There are six black birds circling and as many more fighting over food.

We gather the dead and bring them along, ignoring the seriously complaining crows. Riding on, we eventually come to a series of oddly piled rocks. We pass the remains of funeral pyres and scorch-marks on a ground scattered with ashes.

When we arrive at the encampment, we find it nestled between two cames. At the far end of a natural valley, there’s a tumble of rocks. A scaffold-like structure stands before it. The young master sends Mikmek out with a message that we want to talk.

The young master makes himself comfortable on his folding chair and waits. It’s 15 minutes before a kobold comes back to us with an invitation. We ride to the cleft, and leave our horses in Conrad’s care. There is a caged mite hanging off the scaffold. He begs to be let out.

We are led to a bunk-room where Sootscale and Tarturk stand along with half-a dozen kobolds, including Mikmek. Negotiations between the young master and Sootscale fall apart when Tarturk somehow makes Sootscale look like he is yellowing and aging before our eyes. We are able to scare off and knock-out the kobolds and the young master and Tamarie slay Tarturk. Horefrost came in and chased after Tarturk’s crow familiar.

When Sootscale awakens, the young master tries to continue negotiations. Sootscale demands to get the idol and then destroys it. After further discussion, Svetlana’s ring is found and brought to us along with a masterwork light metal kite shield bearing the Develan family standard. The young master, as chieftain of the humans, promises a “long peace” between the human tribe and the kobold tribe. Sootscale agrees.

We take Tartuk’s body, meet back up with Conrad and ride off. We hope Horefrost is OK, but he did not come out with us.

The evening in the Rostland planes passes without incident and gives us a chance to forage for food.

28th Pharast

We break camp to another beautiful day, leaving Tartuk’s body out for the wolves.

It takes most of the day, but we make it back to Oleg’s for dinner. Veckle and a pair of trappers are in residence.

Brother Jhod and I talk at length about Paladins of Erastil, and what the young master could become. Kaylee presents the bent and broken tea pot to Veckle.

We sit down to dinner and share stories. Svetlana knew a Tartuk. The name means Beloved of the field in gnomish. Tamarie intends to study his journal further.

View
Sootscale Sycamore War

In the late afternoon, we approach the old Sycamore tree with caution and from the west. The Old sycamore is a graying hulk of an old tree with only a few leaves in bud. Most of its branches are long dead. It stands 100’ tall upon a hill that ranges up 50’. The afternoon is overcast and there is a chill wind. We clime the tree’s came. There is a bit more greenery here than elsewhere. After a bit of looking, we find a good path. It’s a fat tree. While Xene is able to spot a few nasty footfalls, it takes until dusk’s song and moonlight’s first gleaming before Kaylee finds a way into the lair beneath the tree.

We toss down two lit smudge sticks. Some smoke comes back up, then a lot more. Tamarie reminds us of our previous encounter with the mites (when they caused the doused fire to produce a lot of choking smoke), and so we back off and let the smoke dissipate.

Once it stops, we work our way through the narrow hole and into the lair beneath. It is dank and wet, and everything is covered in mud. We fall onto a raised pile of mud, and make our way through the first empty chamber and down another hole to a second chamber. This one has six mulch piles filled with giant ovoids – centipede eggs. We fight three giant centipedes and proceed down a 3’ high, 30’ incline. In the third chamber we meet the mites. They are playing instruments and welcome us to a feast.

Sir Thierry has no trust for them. He informs them that they are in the way of the road, and that they are just not good neighbor material. Despite this, they remain polite and keep offering us a feast in the next chamber. Tamarie finally steps forward and blows them away. We follow a survivor to their “king”.

In the far side of this chamber, we fight a running battle. The mites use the roots to swing over a chasm to a chamber on the other side. The mites put up a tough battle, and one of them is riding a tick that attacks Sir Thierry. Rather than try our luck swinging across on the roots, we circle around, go through a junk chamber and into a prison chamber where there are four kobolds tied to the wall.

Xene prays for the Erastil’s aid and the roots entangle the fleeing mites while Kaylee and Sir Thierry return to the other side and fight the fleeing mites. When the last of them has fallen, the last-living kobold prisoner warns us of a beast in the chasm. It’s a gargantuan whip-tailed centipede. We fell it quickly and Kaylee claims parts of it as prizes.

We find a statuette, two very familiar looking daggers, and two sacks of radishes.

View
Finding the Old Sycamore tree

20 Pharast, 4710

Before noon there’s a brisk wind that kicks up. It’s sunny with a few clouds.

The Iron wraiths leave the trading post and life returns to normal.

Supplies came in. Kesten has a letter from the Aldori Swordlords to the young master. They offer 5000 crowns for proof of death or capture of the Stag Lord. The young master informs Oleg and Kresten about Horefrost and our agreement with him. He learns that “Horefrost” is probably a clan name, and not a personal name. The clan itself was wiped out and hailed from the Ice Rind peaks far to the north. Kaylee learns about the mites and their tricks from Veckle in a long and rambling tale.

Tamarie and Xene go to the place the scarf was tied and await Horefrost that evening. They light a small fire to help keep them warm. Horefrost arrives and Tamarie and he discuss plans. He promises to leave trail markers, to show his passing, but is not interested in traveling with us.

21 Pharast, 4710 – Equinox

In the morning the young master hands out a leather thong necklace from which hangs an iron nail. He packs a small number of nails with him. We pack up for a 7-day trip. There’s a cold drizzle falling. We eat a hearty breakfast and Brother Jhod grants us a blessing.

By afternoon, it’s becoming warm.

By the end of the day we see signs of a fire in the distance and donkey tracks through the area. When we crest a hill we find a small hovel – it’s old Boken’s home. We visit and buy Kobold body butter as well as 2 acid flasks from him (he calls them Troll repellant, but admits it should work to repel most anything you hit). He has a shopping list for Xene of things to find in the region. Along with fang berries, he wants vinegar, yellow rocks (sulfur), and female urine. Upon further questioning, Xene learns that he’s making a love potion at the bequest of Kesten Garess. Xene promises to have words with the Sargent upon her return to the trading post.

22 Pharast, 4710

It’s a sunny day. Along the way we run into a patrol from Fort Serenko. We stop and chat for a time, trading information. We learn they know the men who drove off the trolls. Fortunately no one was hurt in the attack and the trolls were contented with just raiding the livestock.

23 Pharast, 4710

It’s an overcast morning and quite chilly.

We find a small farmstead and spend a brief lunch with them before heading back into the Cames. The sun sets on an overcast sky. The horizon is clearly visible. Could be a storm.

24 Pharast.

The day is uneventful.

25 Pharast

There was frost in the night. But it’s sunny this morning.

We ride near the animal den we discovered on the 18th of Pharast. And the young master decides to explore it. Inside he finds an odd-shaped cave with an overhang. He thinks a lot of different animals used the cave as a seasonal burrow. On the way out he discovered a reflective metal on the far wall. He is able to flake-off a piece and brings the sample to Tamarie. She uses her kit and agrees with his assessment.

We ride on and catch sight of the Old Sycamore tree, under which the gremlins have their lair. We ride around it carefully, and following the path of some ravines, we find dead soot scale kobolds in the field. Some have their bones picked clean, while others are in various states of decay.

That night the young master puts a circle of iron nails around the camp.

In the night we hear faint music playing.

26 Pharast

We circle the tree, finding more and more signs of the war between the soot scale kobolds and the sycamore mites.

View
The Old Stag Temple

17 Pharast, 4710

At twilight we camp upon an corrupted temple to Erastil amidst ancient Taldane ruins. The temple is carved into a cliff face. The cliff itself is 100 feet high and over 300 feet wide. A dark cave is surrounded by the outline of a stylized carved stag’s head.

Tamarie drinks from the pool and is suffused with vitality.

The cavern beyond the stag’s head has 5 alcoves. On the walls are a series of figures painted in a primitive manner in various earth tones. A crowd of people hunting, living, being chased, dying. The scenes repeat themselves in a myriad of ways. There is a sense of timelessness here. The same story is told of the wolves in another cavern; a pack of wolves hunting, living, chasing, tearing people apart. Each alcove tells the same tale, one in woodland, one in alpine settings, and one of burials and death rights.

When we enter the north west alcove, we find a pile of bones. There is a large bear skull, bleached by age. The paintings on the walls show various animals killing humanoids.

The northern-most alcove shows humans with animal traits. Here we find the depiction of a stag-headed man.

We make camp inside the larger cavern. On the ceiling there is a star-scape depicted. We bed down early as the cavern makes even a whisper echo, and its size and depictions by firelight suppress our desire to talk. As we drift off to sleep, the stick-figures haunt our dreams. In the night the stories draw us in and we see them played out before us.

Stories, passed down from civilizations past, pulling itself up to fall anew. One figure. A man with an arrow upthrust in the air is in contention with a giant wolf. They fight over a diminutive figure in between them. Thierry gains the insight that the shadows of the cavern depict the villains. One alcove in particular is reserved for those touched by Erastil. He is drawn in.

Xene is drawn to the stories of the humans with animal traits. They are the shepherds who guide and guard the flock. She is one of them and drawn in.

18 Pharast, 4710

We awaken. The day is overcast and chilly.

Xene holds a small mass to introduce Theirry to Erastil as a champion. After the introduction, she gently thumps him on the back, pushing him into one of the alcoves. He stands in awe of what is before him, reading the stories depicted in the paintings. He then uses a bit of coal-dust paint and coats his hand, leaving his hand print on a wall to mark his presence as one of Erastil’s chosen.

We spend the morning back tracking to find the Thorn ford and exit the Old Margreve into the Camelands. By late afternoon, the horses are carefully walking along a ridge top. It grants us a great view of the Cames. Along the way, Xene spots a cave opening. We leave Conrad with the horses and work our way down to the cave. Just above its opening we pick out a distinctive odor. It’s a very strong animal musk of a mammalian predator – a cougar or a Thylosine. Probably male. We decide not to engage it and leave it be.

We return to the horses and mount up. By late afternoon, the sky is clearing.

The evening we find a good place to camp in the lee of a came, and spend an uneventful night.

19 Pharast, 4710

We head back into the Old Margreve. There we discover a game trail and follow it. We come across a boar being led by a gray/black kobold with a stick. There are two others nearby, gorged on radishes. With Tamarie in the lead, we learn that Tartuk. is a soot-scale shaman, and that he’s purple. The kobolds are at war with the gremlins that live south-east of here. The kobolds tell us that to stop the war, the mites (gremlins) must die. We trade two daggers and their sheaths for 2 large radishes and one small. The kobolds claim this radish patch as their own, and use the radishes not only as food but also to assist in virility during procreation.

We make camp just after light fall. The evening is pleasantly troll-free, but there is a cold snap. In the night we are beset by wolves. They drive Parsley (our pack horse) off. Thierry mounts up and follows to protect the horse. He is attacked, but he defends himself and his horse. We engage the wolves from a distance and try to keep the others at bay through the fight. Most take flight, but we kill two.

20 Pharast, 4710

We sleep late, gather up the dead wolves, and ride back to Oleg’s. It’s chilly, but clear.

Along the way to the trading post, we find an arrow-strewn patch of ground near the “flag” we gave Horefrost. We ride in and see a 9’ tall creature made of blackened iron. It’s standing in the doorway. It lets us in after Thierry identifies himself. There are guests at the outpost: a gaunt man in black robes with a skull-face plate and a scythe. His name is Incanabulus He is accompanied by a man wrapped in tattered bandages wearing a helm with a canine face. His name is Alsket There is a human woman with a veil named Talia. Her gown has white spiral patterns. Off to the side is an iron forge. The iron man (golem) we learn is named Lord Carrion. They are the Iron Wraiths, a mercenary company from the south.

Svetlana’s certain the Iron Wraiths are here to kill us all. She’s hiding in the trading post. Oleg is outside, trying to keep his “guests” entertained. Thierry shares a glass of fine plum liqueur with Incanabulus. Xene and Brother Jhod speak with Talia. They learn the group is from the south and has been commissioned by the Swordlords to bring peace to a region south of here.

View
The Old Stag Temple

Fireday, 12th of Pharast

That evening, we hang Stick’s helmet off the wall of the outpost.

Xene carves four names into 4 arrows with the ancient copper dagger while talking to Elder Jhod about dreams and the undead: Sven, Egil, Taylor, Stez.

Egil is either a simpleton, or just not good with the common tongue. The young master’s questions regarding his background result in poor answers at best. The young master learns that Sven once worked as a shepherd at the outskirts of Nevaktas crossing. He “lost” the sheep and the owners were naturally upset.

Kaylee and Sven talk.

After dinner, we gather the captives and give them the choice: be hung, or swear an oath to follow the young master.

We bed down. The guest house is rather crowded. We are awoken during the night. People are talking. Then a lantern is lit. Garess is talking to a guardsman. The guardsman is pointing a short sword at the prisoners.

It seemed Sven tried to escape. Darin stopped him, but Sven’s been run through. He’s still alive. Xene and Elder Jhod tend to Darin and then to Sven.

The young master speaks to Oleg to try and calm him down. Oleg wants the prisoners dead and gone. All the prisoners are moved to the stockade, along with Conrad. The young master grabs a blanket and spends the night in the stockade.

13th of Pharast

The day is overcast.

The young master executes Sven at the dawn of the day. He’s named his war hammer “Bandit slayer”. He then sees Conrad freed. The bandits are set under guard to bury Sven outside the outpost.

Xene and Oleg chat about the trolls. She learns they are tall and lanky; and very hard to kill. The trolls have been raiding nearby farms and stealing their livestock. The trolls were recently driven off by the forces from Fort Serenko.

Later in that day, we ride out with the prisoners to the Old Margreve. In mid-afternoon the sun peaks out. A warm summer wind blows out from the forest. As we pass Sven’s grave, Xene plants the arrow with his name on it into the rocks and stones piled atop it.

When we reach a large tree of the Old Margreve, we dismount. Each in turn the captive touches the tree and takes the oath. Xene then drew a line of blood with the arrow head of the arrow that was labeled with their name. The young master made it clear that the prisoners now serve him for a year and a day. They will have to earn back the trust Sven stole; but it will come with time. He thanks the forest and we ride back to the outpost.

It’s a new moon and a quiet night. We feast on roast boar. The extra mouths have emptied Oleg’s pantry.

14 Pharast, 4710

The day dawns warm and springlike. A pair of trappers come in. Word is going around that the bandits are being picked off; things are changing.

We head out west, exploring. When we come to the edge of the Old Margreve, there is a swampy area that limits the forest’s hold on the land. A peat bog. It makes for rough travel.

We camp in the forest after leaving an offering of honey + bread + a small knitted scarf.

The first watch goes to the young master. He hears something and wakes us, but nothing comes. Then, we hear an animal barking. It takes Tamarie a few minutes to recognize the language as Draconic. She and it talk for a time. It comes close enough to look like a ghost on the snow. It stands about 2 1/2 feet tall and is reptilian with a whip-like tail. It’s a bone-white kobold. It has purple lines across its face and up its horns. It carries a spear backwards.

We learn through Tamarie that the kobold is seeking others of his kind. He speaks of a fiend wrapped in kobold flesh – the purple worm named the Tartuk. We work out a way to leave him a message and warn him away from the outpost.

We bed down and the rest of the night is in peace.

15 Pharast, 4710

We pack up and get the horses ready.

While sleeping, Xene dreamed that the shadows of the branches on the ground seems to resemble runic writing. It’s similar to Old Ogam – elder Erastilian. It’s also known as the tree root language. The shadows write out a prayer to the old nature gods. It’s very primal — the kind of prayer the old folk would sing to bring the rain. She realizes that this prayer can be sung.

Xene performs the prayer and Tamarie watches the magic dissipate into the forest. Xene’s prayer causes buds to form, leaves to shoot, and flowers to open around her. It’s a way of paying the forest a tithe. In return the forest no longer draws away from Xene’s other prayers.

We ride out to the Thor river. It is 200 feet wide. Rather than try to cross the river, we follow it south until we reach the old bandit camp. Kaylee scouts it out for us. There is a light in the camp, a torch.

We follow the light as best we can, but when it leads Kaylee and Caliber to cross the river in the darkness over thin ice – we stop. We realize that it is a corpse light that is leading us on.

We settle in.

The corpse light returns, but does not bother us.

Wolves howl through the night, but otherwise it is quiet.

16 Pharast, 4710

We have fiddle-heads for breakfast with our oatmeal.

After prayers we pack up. Half-a mile outside of our camp, we come back into the Camelands. Soon after, we find a cobble-stone road. It is so heavily overgrown as to be almost invisible.

We camp; brush the horses and try to stop them from rolling. We sleep well.

17 Pharast, 4710

We awake and are wrapped up in thorn bushes. The young master fell asleep on watch and not even the horses noticed being overrun by the bushes. When we awake, it is prickly business to get out from the brambles; even Aether is tied to the earth by the vines.

It would seem we were magically put to sleep. Then magic was used to make the undergrowth spread beyond its normal means.

Late in the day Xene reorganizes the area they are traveling through. There are pillars behind the growth, not dead trees. The top-most part, the drums, are on the ground. The area is taken directly from Xene’s dream. Tamarie says the place is ancient.

Following the procession, we head to an outcrop. It leads to a 300’ promontory. The bolder is carved into an elk head. The antlers wrap around the cave entrance. Beside the entrance is a large pool with scummed water.

As we approach a large grizzly bear roars and comes out. It is defeated by Thierry and Kaylee’s charge. Tamarie’s reality-warping magic and the timely appearance of a giant centipede dropped the creature quickly. As it fell, it turned into an old man, who quickly crumbled into dust. As the beast died, the scum in the nearby pond retreated. The brown moss became green, and small blooms awoke amidst the grasses between the cracked stones.

View
The Camelands

Toilday, 9th of Pharast, 4710

Evening – there’s been a brisk, cold wind blowing all day. The Camelands are a land of crags and sharp-sided hills of gravel and shale. We occasionally stop and go up atop a came to get the lay of the land. A whole army could be hidden out here and we’d never know.

Once we found the blasted tree, Thierry and Tamarie go up atop a came to follow the map while Xene and Kaylee set up camp, start the fire and take care of the horses.

Tamarie manages to climb the tree, all in looking for the treasure. Thierry breaks off a larger branch and gathers it up. He digs where Tamarie suggests with the branch, all the while muttering about getting shovels before we head out again. Without a shovel, the digging goes on for a long time.

Xene and Kaylee set up the tents.

Eventually Thierry finds an old bundle. It’s wrapped in a leather cloak containing a sodden book, a wand, dagger, and a ring. The cloak isn’t really salvageable, but we keep it anyways. Thierry is exuberant, and Tamarie is equally happy. They found buried treasure.

And thus we spent our second night out in the wilderness.

Wealday, 10th of Pharast, 4710

We awake to see the horses covered in rim frost.

Xene tries to mend the spell book, but the pages are a solid mass that cannot be recovered. We pack up, mount up and ride south.

We come across a trail heading south. Soon after we see a wooden placard. It has a wavy line with an arrow going through it. Eventually we come to the Shrike river.

There’s a ruined construction near the river. There’s a remnant of a rope bridge that spans a 70-90 foot wide river. On the other side is a burnt-down building. A sign post names this Nettle’s crossing. “5cp. Ring for service.” is also written on the sign.

Thierry rings the bell.

A horrid thing slowly rises and then crests the water. It’s a shambling dead. It demands to know who tolls the bell. He will not rest until the Stag Lord rests with him. Until then, none may pass. If we swear to bring him the Stag Lord’s body, then we may cross.

Thierry cannot make that promise. Tamarie gets angry when Thierry and Xene begin arguing over the semantics of what the shambling dead wants and as to what Thierry’s morality will allow.

We decline the offer and the shambling dead recedes back into the water.

We ride along the river, exploring further. We exit the Camelands and re-enter the Rostland planes. There we camp in a dry hollow. It finally stopped snowing sometime mid-afternoon. The Sun is just peaking out between the clouds. We settle in and take turns being on guard.

The night passes without incident.

Oathday, 11th of Pharast, 4710

We are awoken by sleet falling on the tent. We resolve explorations on the following day. We go back into the Camelands in the late afternoon. We ride back into the Camelands in the late afternoon. As we round a chasm, we hear a whistle and then are attacked by 4 bandits up on high-ground.

Thierry has us charge around an outcropping. Our combined efforts kill Stick (an orc), and capture two humans. The goblin got away.

We learn from Conrad that Kressel shook them down a few weeks ago.

We strip the orc of his hide armor, 3 javelins, and great club. We take the two long bows, two short swords, two suits of leather armor, 30gp and Stick’s helmet.

Kaylee is shaken by Stick’s death. She removed his leg in combat, and he died shortly afterward. Kaylee and Thierry take Stick’s body away to bury it in the scree.

We camp near the site of the attack. Xene tends the wounded, and we have a quiet night.

Fireday, 12th of Pharast, 4710

We head back to Oleg’s directly. We pass the troll’s tracks and find a cops of trees. Amidst it is a series of muddy pits beneath the snow. They are about 1/2 foot deep and maybe 2 feet deep over an area of 30-40 square yards.

Xene stays with the prisoners while Tamarie, Kaylee and Thierry follow the tracks. They bring back a dead sow and two live piglets.

We reach Oleg’s before the sun sets. The guards spot us first and announce that the Roslandiers are back. Talking to the locals, we learn that the trolls attacked outlying farms and stole livestock.

View
Visitors from Home

7th of Pharast, 4710

The day is drizzly, with a driving wind.

At noon, Thierry seeks out Oleg and Kesten Garess to have a meeting. The guard are waiting to rotate out, but their replacements are late. Kesten’s not worried … yet.

Oleg has an old anvil, unused for 10 years, but Talor’s willing, but there’s no forge.

A lot of visitors have come by the trading post over the past few days. They avoided the place before our arrival, believing it wasn’t safe as the bandits had robbed Oleg at least twice in the past. Our arrival, and recent activities seem to have changed that belief.

Oleg is looking forward to the new guards and everyone is hoping they bring supplies as the influx of people is hard on Oleg’s larder.

Kesten wants our two extra horses, but admits it will be some time until he can fully pay for them. The young master agrees to the sale so long as Kesten remains responsible for feeding and housing the two horses from now on.

Oleg agrees to sell the goods we’ve taken off the bandits. He promises to get us as good a price as his contacts will allow. In return we will hire locals to acquire us charcoal, wood, horse feed and the like. It’s an interesting way to start a community; as if we’ve planted a seed in a fertile field.

Xene was out picking up field stones (with the help of one of the mules), when she spots a large convoy of a dozen or so soldiers and a large cart. Xene got back to the trading post before the caravan; not only did it include the soldier’s replacements but also Baron Harris Drelov with a dozen people in a delegation. He came in riding Maelstrom, one of the Mareshal horses sold to his family.

The delegation comprises four groups of people traveling together. The Baron’s company of men (and pack horses and a cart), 2 guardsmen from the Swordlords, Militia who were escorting a card with a third man who’s bringing in supplies. The third man is Xene’s father — Brother Jhod.

Thierry visits briefly with the Baron and learns the Baron has his company is heading east to the Slough and the Sellin River. He hopes to expand their family’s holdings to the south and overcome the bogarts that are bothering the trade route. The Baron orders Thierry to move our horses out and his into the shelter while he’s there. The Baron quickly decides that they will not be staying long. Apparently the trading post is a bit too rustic for the Baron’s tastes.

Brother Jhod is on a pilgrimage. He’s been haunted by reoccurring dreams. He’s never followed his dreams before, as he’s always been bogged down by his regular duties. His dreams

Kaylee and Xene help settle the horses. Maelstrom and Caliber are in fine fighting order. The two stallions object to the other’s presence; and moving the horses around seems to have only stirred things up further. Once Arion is brought out, she helps settle the herd. When Kaylee rides Caliber out to calm him down, the rest of the herd settles and we are successful in changing out the horses.

On her way back, she and the Baron chat. The Baron and his men leave an hour or so later. The new guards and Brother Jhod are introduced around.

We spend the better part of the rest of the day in building the shrine to Erastil using the Elk’s skull from Theirry’s last hunt, and some field stones. It’s a poor structure, but it’s made with our labors.

8th of Pharast, 4710

It’s overcast and the snow is quickly melting.

In the morning we dedicate the shrine to Erastil, prepare and ride out; leaving the guards and Brother Jhod behind.

As we crest a hill, we find a clear trench of trampled snow. Something’s not quite right. The trench was made by 2-3 giant humanoids. The footprints seem humanoid, but they are massive and have claws on their toes. They must be 9-10 feet tall and at least 200 pounds. Kaylee thinks it was trolls; they passed by early this morning.

We travel on, deciding that we are ill-equipped to handle Trolls.

We come upon a low tor of rick where we find the bones of old kills. In looking for tracks, we find a dead humanoid wearing leather. Kaylee finds some tracks. Suddenly the carcass shifts and shudders and something below lifts up. It reaches out and grabs at her. It’s a large spider. It ducks underneath Caliber’s hooks and locks its mandibles around Kaylee’s ankle.

The spider is black and red and dog-sized. It takes another swipe at Kaylee as Tamarie moves away and dismounts. Kaylee kicks it off and backs away. We ride off and Xene treats Kaylee’s ankle.

Thierry leads the charge back, and using his lance, opens the trap-door to the spider’s lair. As the rest of us are readying to fire arrows into the spider, it appears up over the rock behind Thierry. Xene calls out his name as she fires at it and hits, as do Kaylee and Tamarie. It eventually works its way back into its pit; Theirry drops a torch down after it.

Thierry then explores the “dungeon”. He finds a corpse at the bottom and we haul it up. The corpse is of a male human. The body is desiccated. It wears leather armor, and carries a short sword, leather baldric, and a small pouch containing 0 gold coins. He is wearing a silver stag skull amulet. In his pocket is a scrap of paper. It has a drawing of a claw-shaped dead tree atop a barren hill, with a red X at the roots.

We head further south and go further into the Camelands. We make a late camp in the overhang.

9th of Pharast, 4710

Sunshine.

We continue exploring. After a few hours we come across the five-fingered blasted tree. It’s like a giant shadow looming out of the ground. It’s dead, blasted by lightning and is on a low barren hill.

View
Visitors from Home

6th of Ferrast, 4710

The horses need to be calmed. As Kaylee leads two horses across the stream, Aryan pushes two horses into a tree trunk to calm them down.

There’s not much left of Kressel to leave to the wolves. We strip it of what wealth we can find none the less. We gather the potion, 2 daggers, 2 axes, 85gp (some of foreign mintage). The other dead bandits were armed with short swords (x8), ash wood long bows (x8), leather armor (x8), enough food for a few days and some assorted coins (76gp), quivers of arrows (~150), 4 tents, blankets, water skins, flints and steels, lots of firewood and a cart.

Thierry tries to question the prisoners, but, if anything they are too talkative. Xene sees to Konrad’s wounds. Thierry finds the bandit’s stash: 321sp, 90gp (crowns), 3 crates of wild furs and hides, 6 bottles of some kind of Restov’s brew (mint liqueur at 20gp/bottle). A small lacquered wooden box (it plays music). Inside is a pair of silver ear rings (~140gp), and a few days of food.

Thierry learns there are other bandits and groups int he area. Kressel beat them up and took their stuff. In return, a few days ago, they were along the north road (via the camelands) and found the kobold problem to be growing. It seems the kobolds and the good folk are at war. When the bandits were distracted, a blue gremlin came up and stole a stack of their stuff. It’s possible Svetlana’s ring was in there.

Xene collects the ears of the dead.

The party walks a mile north of the bandit camp. We pitch tents, cover the horses and try to settle down. Then the wolves find the bodies.

Thierry learns there was a smaller group, led by a 1/2 orc named Stick.

Staglord’s fort is along the shores of Tusk water. Our prisoners are named Taylor and Stez. Taylor is the traveling farrier out at the crossings.

The Stag lord wears a stag’s skull with antlers. Tailor says he’s a bear of a man standing 6’4" or so and really strong. Stez says he’s a deader. Tailor says he’s just an old mean drunk.

Through the night, the wolves howl every 20 minutes or so. It seems like we’re being surrounding by the wolves — the echoing howls are haunting. Sometime past midnight, the howling fades.

7th of Pharast

The dreams of the night are cyclic once again. A stag of trees runs through the forest, turning the forest to a forest of stones – a town; the tress become stone. Their trunks become columns. Its footfalls echo along the flagstone before the forest retakes it all.

A man fights off the stag, trying to kill it and his bow breaks. The stag falls, turning to stone. Its head and antlers entrap the man and he becomes monstrous as he is buried in the soft earth. Xene struggles to help, to kill the stag, to save the man — all to no avail.

Trees cast shadows that should show a message. Can’t quite get it.

Up. Pray. Eat.

When Kaylee was putting out the fire it billows out into smoke and steam. We are blinded. Choking. Hacking.

Eventually the smoke clears and are all well. It seems like everything is hale and hole. All our goods are present, so we pack up and head out.

It’s hailing. Eventually the air warms, and the hale fades. As Kaylee tries to stop, her saddle tumbles round. She dismounts quickly and maintains her balance. Thierry and Xene are not so agile and tumble to the ground. The prisoners and Tamarie remain carefully in their saddles.

Kaylee tightens all the belts. Tamarie spots some sort of magic in the trees. Illusion magic? We travel through eh day; passing familiar sights.

As the sun sets, we ride up to the gate. It’s fixed. In our absence the soldiers have been working hard. Old Veckle is here. He’s a peg-leg. He was hunting an old boar for 6 years until it finally took his leg. He’s famous in the old Margreeve.

We set Stez to building the Stockade and Tailor to shoeing the horse. We tell Svetlana about the ring. She wants to tie some rowan bundles to keep the evils away from the trading post. Xene helps.

That night Xene dreams again that she is outside the stag head’s antler’s cave. A bear is growling nearby. Beside her an arrow is spinning. When it stops, it points towards the cave. Xene goes in and wakes up.

8th of Pharast

It’s a chore day.

Xene makes lineament for Tamarie and Veckle.

Tamarie makes a list of all the goods we want to sell in town and figures out the logistics of how to get it there.

Bokken comes in, and Veckle tells Kaylee stories. He promises to give her his bow if she can take down the boar that took his leg. Kaylee agrees.

View
The Road to Oleg's Trading Post

28th Calidstril, 4710

We leave at dawn, heading westward along the south Rostland road out of Nivikta’s crossing. The surrounding lands grow less settled as we go. The road is muddy and every so often we must stop to clean off the horses’ hooves of mod. Winter is fading fast. The 2 mules (Rosemary and Thyme) are managing better than the horses.

We pass very little traffic. Fort Serenko is the southernmost fort of Brevoy. And it is our next way point. It grows cold and wet as the day progresses.

By twilight the weather is miserable; but we make it to the fort. Thierry makes his introductions and we are granted entry. Sargent Lowen guides us in. It’s a small square wooden fort with 4 barracks buildings and an officer’s hut. While we settle into the offered bunks, Thierry goes to meet Lieutenant Duran.

Tamarie stays behind, but Thierry and Xene go to the main hall. Some men are playing cards, others mulling about. There’s about 30 men here. The eve is spent in conversation, gambling for chits and drink. We retire when the carousing outweighs the conversation.

Sleeping during the night is tricky as there’s shouting every hour and when the watch changes.

29th Calidstril, 4710

It’s still raining. We leave the fort and continue westward on the south Rostlin road. By mid afternoon the rains start to taper off. The snow is melting fast, making the shallows into quagmires. Twice the mules get stuck and have to be dug/hauled out. The sun doesn’t even make an appearance.

By evening – we’re on a lonely stretch of road. We find a copse of trees, under which dry ground can be found. We pitch camp on the relatively dry crest. Aether is set to guarding. The horses get a bit restless in the wind, but otherwise it’s a quiet night.

30th Calistril, 4710

In the morning we spot a group of five male elk moving through the valley Kaylee and Thierry go hunting. They bring back an elk. Xene and Kaylee clean and dress it for traveling The pack mule doesn’t much like it’s new cargo, but doesn’t complain too much. We see this as a sign of good fortune.

It snows from late morning to mid-afternoon as we travel on.

We spot a group of wolves that are trailing us, thanks to Aether’s warning. By eve we make it to Oleg’s trading post.

The post is a wooden fort with a 10’ wooden palisade. It has 20’ tall corner towers and an 80’ square center. The main gate is 30’ wide and only barred by a single horizontal beam/. The wood is old and gray but huge chunks have been recently replaced with fresh-cut wood.

Inside is a handful of buildings. A man is on the roof repairing the thatch as we arrive. A woman opens the fence. Svetlana is smitten, saying Thierry is like the Horselords of old.

Oleg is not happy to see us. We plot and plan, learning that on the morrow the bandits will come again. They have come thrice before: threatening Svetlana, and taking everything of value including her wedding ring.

Thierry and Kaylee come up with a plan. It’s a fitful night and an early day.

1 Pharast, 4710 Moonday

We are up before the roosters, and on the tower walls – keeping watch. Kaylee sees them coming: 4 mounted riders. It takes forever for them to come close to the fort. They are recognized by Oleg as the bandits; and so we attack them with very little warning.

A bandit rides in and Tamarie pulls color from the air and fires it at him. His horse moves forward and Theirry charges. The bandit is run through and falls off his horse. The three remaining bandits shoot at Kaylee and Tamarie, wounding Tamarie badly.

Kaylee fires at the archer and misses, but her shot causes the archer to badly aim his next arrow. He slides off his horse from the recoil of his own bow. Another bandit strikes her, almost making her fall off her horse.

From the palisade, Oleg throws a javelin and strikes a bandit in the back as he’s turning to take the situation into account.

Xene raises a hand up to heaven and shouts fury down upon the bandit leader – proclaiming him to be a thief of the worst kind — one who would steel a wife’s wedding ring. A storm bursts over the fort and strikes the bandit leader with a sudden squall of wind and water.

Tamarie takes cover. Kaylee stays in the saddle, but only just.

Aryan smacks the gate open. Thierry throws his knife at the bandit leader and misses.

The 2 remaining bandits start to move off. Oleg throws another javelin, hitting one of the bandits and causing him to fall off his horse.

Tamarie drinks a potion.

Xene races to Kaylee’s side, twisting her ankle as she jumps down from the palisade. She prays fevrently that Kaylee is alright. Amidst her prayer, Kaylee opens her eyes and sways a bit.

Kaylee gathers her senses and urges Caliber to follow Thierry out of the outpost and in pursuit of the fleeing bandits.

Oleg races around the towers to get a better shot. Tamarie finds a good vantage and causes time and space to whirl about in shiny colors. Something tears and the horses move sideways and the riders fall off.

Thierry orders all the bandits killed, but then finds he cannot kill a defenseless foe. Kaylee kills the other. The horses and the surviving 2 bandits are brought into the fort.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.