Midnight: A Lost Faith's Shadow. Book 1, The Awakening. Chapter 4, Pursuit




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    Ý Ignore Hrothgar

    Midnight: A Lost Faith's Shadow. Book 1, The Awakening. Chapter 4, Pursuit

    Arc of Zimra, Day 17 LA 99

    Just as the Heroes entered Badenís Bluff under the cover of night, they depart the Shadow-haunted city. Led through the dark alleys and sewers of Badenís Bluff by the insurgents Murdoch Baden and Ensin and the Fell-Whore Jodya, the Heroes finally find themselves on the Worm Docks once again. Two small skiffs are drawn up near the net-covered wharves, the stink of rotten fish heavy in the warm air. Murdoch crouches in the darkness, his voice low. Those of the insurgency must stay behind to see how deep the dealings of the traitor Ibor go. Brunhild and Rowan are now both reluctant to leave the Bluff, worrying too much that their own grip on their resistance cells may become corrupted. Murdoch spits. We spend to much time worrying about our own arses than fully committing to the war against Shadow.

    Ensin speaks softly in the warm night air. Word has reached us not more than a few hours ago that Ibor was spotted in Elswier, a black smudge on Erenland. Elswier is located down river of the River El and its stink from oxen and pig butchering and tanning reeks for miles around. It makes sense Ibor would head there: Very few orc patrols. Still, Iíve been to that hole. It is a den of cutthroats and Shadow spies. Tread carefully. Make for the Erelander tanner, Ellard, but do not call attention to yourselves. Or Ellard. Ellard is our contact in Elswier and may have information for you.

    Murdoch stands. You must be off swiftly before the sun rises. Follow the rocky shoreline eastward until you reach the River El. Follow the river upstream. You should reach Elswier in a few hours. The sails on the skiffs are painted black and may turn unwanted eyes. Murdoch and Ensin clasp the hands and forearms of each of the Heroes. Travel safe. May your quest be fulfilled. And return to us someday so that we may draw swords against the Shadow once again. Jodya steps forward, her face in anguish, her eyes wistfully drifting over Herger and Starhl. Aye, Northmen. Return to the Bluff and may it be a better time than it is now.

    Climbing into the skiffs, the Heroes depart. The insurgents do not wait on the Worm Docks but drift into the shadows and disappear.

    The eyes of Valurel are a boon in the night, the Snow Elf in front of the leading skiff. Skirting shallows and hidden rocks, the skiffs quickly turn out of sight of Badenís Bluff before turning south and heading upstream of the River El. The light slowly breaks through gray clouds, revealing a wide river valley that is reedy marshland near the river with low surrounding hills covered in emerald green beech and oak. Silent stone ruins stand amongst the trees, hiding like some shameful memory of a better time. Where the trees break, green swards stretch wide with long, succulent grasses. These pasturelands are dotted with stones, sheep, and goats. At times, bearded, ragged looking men walk among their livestock, eyeing the traveling Heroes with suspicion and malice.

    By midmorning, Elsweir swings into view. Dilapidated mills with blackened waterwheels slowly creek and moan. Homes are nothing more than a ramshackle collection of stone and mortar hovels, many fallen into disrepair. Greasy mud covers the streets and walkways. The small town itself emits a horrible smell; above, crows cry in anticipation for the offal disposed by the butchers outside of town. Turning the skiffs to shore, the Heroes prepare to disembarkÖ

    OOC: I will rule at this point nobody sees the Heroes in case the party wishes to land the skiffs outside of the view of town. Also, I assume everyone has any weapons hidden.

 

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    Herger nods at the words of the insurgents. He then looks at Murdoch and Ensin. "It is my duty to see Aislinn to safety among the elves. I am grateful for everything you have done and ashamed for my inability to prevent the girls abduction. Rest assured that I will not stop until Aislinn is safely in the hands of our allies. Many thanks to you both for trusting us enough to hear us and help us." He shakes hands with both of them and then turns to Jodya.

    He smiles at her words and replies. "Thank you for your kind words. I will do my best to return with good news once we complete our mission." He then boards his skiff and looks out to sea, knowing that the task ahead of them shall be harder than anything that they have done to date.

    __________________________________________________ ______________________


    Herger wrinkles his nose as they approach the town. The words of Ensin still in his mind. 'Tread carefully. Make for the Erelander tanner, Ellard, but do not call attention to yourselves.' This is very hard for him to do. So he looks at Valurel and then speaks. "Perhaps it would be best if Valurel and I stay here. If we are not to call attention to ourselves, it would be a bit difficult for at least I to not do that. What do you all think?"

    OOC:
    I vote for landing out of sight as well as having weapons hidden.
    --------------------------------
    You cannot kill what doesn't die.
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    Darik in Paths of Legend: The Sunless Citadel (crazy_monkey1956)

    Grok in Yttermayn's Saga of the Dragon Cult (Yttermayn)


    Retired Characters
    Spoiler:

    Herger in Midnight: A Lost Faith's Shadow (Hrothgar) [RETIRED for now]

    Kregor in Lakelands Campaign (Raven Crowking) [RETIRED]

    Bol in Out of the Frying Pan (shadowbloodmoon) [RETIRED]

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    Once out in the open again and at the first sign of daylight, Valurel pulls up his tattered hood, pulling it low over his brow. He has no intention of getting the attention of any locals that may start spreading news of an Erunsil in the heartland. As the group draws nearer to town, he makes sure his bow and arrows are hidden beneath his ragged cloak. His other weapons are not as easy to hide but he keeps his hands concealed inside the folds of his clothing whenever locals are within sight.

    His happiness at being out in the open again and away from the city is quickly replaced by disgust. The smells emitted by the town of Elsweir are offensive to say the least. His nose wrinkles in protest as the boats are pulled onto the shore.

    "I would be happy to wait outside of town with you, Herger, but I don't want to be far away if trouble ensues. I am not fond of the idea of us splitting up. Doing so tends to lead to difficulties," he says, waiting to see what everyone else thinks.

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    "I, too, dread a split of our band. Valurel speaks with wisdom. Divided we will fail. Our greatest strength is our commitment, both to each other and Aislinn." Her eyes are filled with emotion as she goes between each of the group, kissing each of them on the cheek. "Know that I would die before I would see any of you fall into the Shadow's clutches again. We almost lost you on those crosses," she says, looking to Herger and Stahrl, "and that is a loss I fear this company could not bear."

    Making sure her dagger is well concealed by her thick apron, she stands on the edge of the ship's deck, peering into the darkness. Her nose wrinkled, she sneezes once softly. "Well, they won't be able to track us with hounds."
    Please, Kermie, don't hurt 'em.

    Kaela, from A Lost Faith's Shadow
    Chapter 5
    OOC Thread

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    "We must stay together," says Starhl grimly. There is a blank, vengeful look in his eyes.
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    Pulling the skiffs up amongst some bushes overhanging the River El, the Heroes disembark into the oak forest north of Elswier. Getting lost in the forest is impossible; the stench arising from Elswier only grows as the Heroes approach the dingy town. The forest is not the verdant green seen further downstream, the poisons emanating from the town have stunted the forest: the leaves are dark and small, the trees twisted and split, the branches reaching toward the sky like skeletal arms begging for rains to wash away the taint of Elswier. The midmorning sky above is gray and sullen, promising more gloom than rain today. Striking a small clay path, the Heroes travel toward the source of the stench.

    Breaking through a stand of trees, the greasy mud streets of Elswier cut across the Heroes path. Dingy hovels sit on the town's outskirts, the smithies, butcher blocks, and tanneries near the center of town. Smoke rises lazily into the sky from several of these buildings as hammers ring on anvils and animals squeal in pens south of town. To the Heroes right (north), the River El breaks through the trees and passes under several wooden docks stretching out from Elswier's shore. Several shallow trenches have been cut in the clay soil, running from Elswier down to the River El, channeling a noxious mix of tanning poisons, offal, and human waste into the river.

    The men and women of Elswier trudge through the streets dully, their dark, sinister faces haggard and drawn, their clothing mud-smeared and torn. However, just as Ensin insisted, the town is surprisingly free of orc patrols. Obviously, even orcs can do without the stench of Elswier.

    Where in Elswier is the tanner Ellard? And more importantly, which of the residents in Elswier are agents of Shadow or desperate enough to call the Shadow's attention to themselves to expose the Heroes?

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    Herger nods to the others and joins them as the creep into the village. He does his best to take things slow and quiet. His best at least for an 8 foot tall Dorn. He tries to lower himself to look as though he's a bit shorter, although it would appear that most of the inhabitants have other things on their mind. He begins to scan the buildings for any sign of a tannery.
    --------------------------------
    You cannot kill what doesn't die.
    --------------------------------

    Darik in Paths of Legend: The Sunless Citadel (crazy_monkey1956)

    Grok in Yttermayn's Saga of the Dragon Cult (Yttermayn)


    Retired Characters
    Spoiler:

    Herger in Midnight: A Lost Faith's Shadow (Hrothgar) [RETIRED for now]

    Kregor in Lakelands Campaign (Raven Crowking) [RETIRED]

    Bol in Out of the Frying Pan (shadowbloodmoon) [RETIRED]

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    Lodric grabs some handfuls of mud and smears some upon his clothing. I know you do not wish to split up, especially with our history of it leading to trouble, but perhaps I can quickly scout about. If I cannot figure out which tanner is Ellard and have to ask a question or two to find out, one ordinary man might be a bit less memorable than the lot of us.
    "Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction." - Albert Einstein

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    Starhl nods to Lodric's suggestion. "Go then." The barbarian has no love for large communities, and believes that even if it seems safe, there would be someone within the town who would betray them.
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    Stretching to his full height, Herger can make out several buildings with low roofed shelters built on their sides. Under these shelters sit vats reeking with tannic acid and lime-soaked hides stretching on wooden racks. At Starhl's encouragement, Lodric slips from the trees, moving through the gloomy town. The narrow, greasy mud tracks are lined with refuse and offal. Many of the residents pay little attention to the newcomer, but several stop their activities, looking at the stranger with suspicion, some with malice.

    Passing nearest the buildings pointed out by Herger, Lodric eyes the inhabitants. One or two men, occassionally a woman, work in the shelters near the tanning sheds, their hands red and peeling from working with caustic lime and acid. Lodric stops a passerby. Ellard the tanner? The man does not even look up, but simply points down the street as he passes by. Following the simple directions, Lodric walks amongst the stretched hides in a small tanyard. Stepping out from the building is a tall Erenlander, his brown hair cut short, a long blunt scraping knife in his hand. Blast! I've work to do! What in blazes do you want?

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