This Story Hour is from a game not yet done but quite a bit longer in the works. The first parts are only the letters the party sends back home to the mom of the supposed main character because we lost all the other detailed notes. It will open up to narrative style eventually.

All the players are part of a "literate kids" project in a youth club around here. When this started, the youngest (playing Flip) was 10.

The letters have to be translated from German while keeping the style, so I am likely not quite as quick with updates for a bit. The letters were really written to the GM at the end of each game so they could not only practice their imagination and keep track of stats, but also have a motivation to put something down not dictated by school. The player for Uthas has a bad case of dyslexia and thus opted to play a semi-literate barbarian, which is really just the craze.

It helps if you know the Freeport series to understand all the letters but later it really gets easier to follow.


Cast of characters:

Orlath – young naive elf noble sent to Freeport to both help a friend of his mother and to finally grow up and get his act together. Officially, he is there to study at the Temple of Knowledge. Mage of the 7 Stars. His mother created magical scrolls allowing them to send missives to each other no matter where they are. He's quite under pressure for regular reports, which basically means daily. At least.

Nevukh – Orlath's best elven friend who thought going along would be a great adventure. Not quite as naive but somehow always gets into trouble. Mage of the 5 Rings. Orlath's mom gave him magical scrolls as well and paid for the damages he lately caused to make him send reports on their group and, of course, especially her son.

Uthas – Half-Orc barbarian bodyguard of Orlath. What no one but Orlath' mother knows is that the other half of his heritage is elven, a result of a drunken night in a whore house when Orlath's father was supposedly "doing government business." Was sent along not only to protect mama's little darling, but also to disappear lest anyone finds out about his heritage. He is somewhat literate and thus was given magical scrolls as well, although Orlath's mom doesn't expect much to come from it.

Flip – Halfling servant recently employed not only to serve Orlath, but also to send said magical missives as well. Flip thinks of it as an easy job enabling to "liberate" enough riches for himself – at least until the journey begins.

To come in later:

Lhess – Orlath's older sister. Paladin of the Golden Realm. Blunt, straightforward, undiplomatic, no people skills... she appears to be unfit to be a paladin until you see her defending the unfortunate, weak, poor, betrayed... and so on. Orlath and her do not get along that well because she goes straight over his head all the time. Whenever Orlath is in danger to mess up, mom will threaten to send his sister after him to "sort things out."


NPCs in the background:

Mom – with full name Theka, Protector of the Southern Realm, Scion of the 9 Stars, Mage of the 3-Fold Council. Overprotective of her last True Born son.

Jansen: Human majordomo to Theka. He has arranged for agents of the Realm to have an eye on the group once they arrive. This can cause more problems than help.

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Part 1 - Death in Freeport


Letters from the 1st of Dhai


Dear Mom

I am sorry for not writing back to you during the journey here. It seems to me that elves, or at least Nevukh and me – are not suited to travel the seas. I spent my time, as the crew called it, fattening up the fish. I have not had any food in days and still do not feel well. The only reprieve we had from the ups and downs of the waves was when the "Lucky Seagull" stopped at a small island. This is also why we are a bit late arriving here. See there was a woman on the island calling out to the ship, and there was a wreck. First we thought she was a survivor but then it turned out she was some sort of nature spirit wanting us to clean the shore up. She said we had made the mess. The captain said it was one of our ships stranded there but we were not able to find out the name. Uthas was very helpful in the clean up.

Nevukh made me go into the cave this spirit was inhabiting. That was not such a good idea. She got all angry and chased us out and I tore my robe at a rock and knocked my head somewhere. We left that evening when done with cleaning and we didn't tell anyone we had been in the cave.

Then when we came here, something strange happened. A group of thugs stopped us on the docks. I'm not so sure what it was all about, but according to Flip, such gangs are abducting people they think defenseless to do work on some ships. I can't imagine the authorities not doing anything about such behavior. In any case, Uthas beat them up all by himself. Didn't even have to use a spell. Mom, you should have seen him. It was amazing. He sent them running wild.

The priest you wanted us to meet was expecting us at the docks, too. But it seems our foray into the depths of the Temple of Knowledge needs to wait a bit. See, one of the man's friends is missing and we agreed to see if we could find him as his duties keep him from searching a lot. Can't be that difficult, now, can it? Nevukh already asked all kids of questions about the missing priest – the archivar of the temple I think – you know how Nevukh is, always into something or the other.

We are staying at the Scholar's Quill for now, maybe you know it from your studies here? It is manageable but I may search for better quarters later on.

I need sleep now, everyone else is already in bed and I just stayed up to finally write you.

Your loving son Orlath






Honored Lady Theka!

Apologies for not writing earlier. The wind and weather at seas are not agreeing with me so well. Additionally, we were late arriving at Freeport because we stopped at a small island. There was a shipwreck, and the nymph living there asked us to clean it all up because it was a ship from our Realm. We asked Uthas to help and it went all quickly.

Orlath went into the nymph's cave, however, and I had to follow him to get him back out before she got too mad at him. He was all upset he tore his robe in the process but he is fine. Really, if he would just learn a spell to fix his own things he would not need to be worried about such trivial matters.

When we arrived at the port, we were waylaid by a press gang. I am new to the concept, it seems Freeport is as dangerous as you have warned us about, Milady. Uthas took care of them though, it is good to have him along.

We were indeed expected by Brother Egil. However, before we can study at the temple it seems he wants us to find a friend who is missing. One Lucius, supposedly you know him? He was and now is again the librarian of the temple. A strange thing happened 5 years ago, when he suddenly behaved weird and then vanished. Only recently he came back and was let back in the temple despite being thrown out before. Careful inquiries lead me to believe that he was readmitted because he brought back a lot of books.

Orlath isn't much interested in the matter. I guess he thinks the rest of us will take care of it. In all likeliness, this Lucius has just gone up and about again, but we will try and solve the issue for Brother Egil's peace of mind.

We are staying at a modest inn, and while I find it refreshing to be away from too many servants and protocol, Orlath has some trouble adjusting and might insist to stay in more noble quarters. As you have instructed us to learn a more normal way of living, I suppose you would be opposed to this?

I will write more once I have had some rest. Everyone else is sleeping and only my sense of duty to you keeps me awake to send this letter.

In Your service

Nevukh




Most High Lady Theka


I am finally able to write after my disagreement with the seas has prevented me to do so. We arrived fine, if a bit late, and Uthas already had to beat some bullies up. Freeport looks fine to me though, and I am sure as soon as we all know how life works here we will settle in just great!

Your honored son has decided to take things easy and went to bed early while honored Nevukh went to the Temple of Knowledge to inquire about a missing friend of Brother Egil – who was, might I add, happy to hear you were well and safe. Nothing has come of it so he asked us to follow him to the missing man's house tomorrow to see what we can find. As you know, Milady, I have a keen eye for things that are off. I might make a good investigator.

Everyone else is sleeping already so I had some quiet to write this note. I will make sure to keep you informed promptly.

Your humble servant

Flip





Letters from the 2nd of Dhai



Dear Mom

No, I'm not too arrogant to stay with the more normal folk, I just do not see any point living in a substandard place. With the money you gave us we could even buy a house. Maybe I'll just do that, and hire more servants, too. Flip is a bit on the impertinent side. He had the guts to call me lazy when I got up a little late for breakfast. Seriously, I stayed up late after all.

For some reason, I had to trudge along with the others investigating the house of this Lucius. I would have rather checked out the city. Supposedly, you knew the man. How did you end up being friends with someone so... I do not even know what to call it. He's a librarian and lives in such a mess in only two rooms – and a basement that looks like a mostly empty library. And he must be a very confused individual, as his to do list for the day he vanished included such unforgettable things as sleeping. And he wasn't very tidy either. Obviously, he has no servants, not a wonder in the place he stayed in.

I kept Flip with me when I went for lunch, although he seemed to be disappointed not to be able to go to see that pirate orc ship with the others. I'm not sure why they are insisting, anyway, just because this Lucius wanted to talk to their captain, Scarabeus or something like that, doesn't mean they got him. And if so, it would probably be too late or could wait another day.

So, now I'm at lunch in a place called The Silly Goose. Very good food, a mix of spices from all part of the world. You would love it. It is also entertaining, as there are many rumors floating around. Mostly about the new lighthouse. From what I gathered, it is mostly a waste of money and may never be completed. A prestige project mainly. This Lord Drac of theirs could learn a few things from you, mom. Can you believe the thing is 10 years in the build and it basically ruined the city financially? They reduced the watch to be able to keep building it, no wonder we were waylaid on arrival! So, they call the thing "Milton's Folly" which seems to hit it. And supposedly, the Captain's Council – some poor substitute for a ruling body, it seems – would like nothing better than to get rid of this Drac.

I'll keep you updated on the news from your temporary former home, for sure. It is quite interesting.

Brother Egil is going to show us around the temple in the afternoon. I heard they have a large section on Old World spells and the history of the peoples from there.


Your loving son Orlath






Honored Lady Theka!


Today a lot of things happened. It looks like Lucius was involved with some orcs. We found a note stating he wanted to talk to a captain Scarbelly from the Bloody Vengeance. Uthas and I went to check the ship out but even with Uthas shouting at them for a while, they didn't let us see the captain.

After Orlath and I had been introduced to the temple in the afternoon – a true treasure of knowledge is in those walls indeed. We signed up Uthas for an additional language course as he is still so bad with the Realm's language. He was eager to learn, actually. Maybe we will make a scholar out of him yet.

Uthas, Flip and me went back to the docks when Orlath had gone to bed. We went to follow the captain to a tavern and there Uthas managed to get some information out of him when he was drunk. The captain, not Uthas. Uthas only had about 5 or 6 kegs. Turns out Lucius had traveled with the pirates before, and paid them well for it. He stayed a few months and then vanished. He admitted he had seen Lucius, who got him drunk as well and asked questions about things he should know. Mainly, about his time on the ship. Would Milady have any idea why this librarian would consort with pirates?

When we were on our way back to the inn, we were waylaid again. This city is really getting out of hand, they do not have enough money to pay enough watchmen, so I heard. This time, they shot at us – shot at us! – from the roofs and tried to cut us off in the street from both sides. And they even had a mage with them. Not a very good one, admittedly, but still. I was under the impression that Freeport was a place with few arcane magic users. Well, now there is one less. After Uthas interrogated the man, we made sure he would leave the city on the next ship. I do not trust the system here to deal with him accordingly. Uthas had, unfortunately, killed the others. Flip had a hand in it, somewhat, by getting 2 of them off the roofs. There is more to the little guy than I thought. We had some additional help, too. When we thought we would be wedged in between our foes, a group in night blue robes and hoods arrived and killed half of them before we could do much, then vanished when they saw Uthas handle the rest. They looked suspiciously like Realm agents to me. Do we have many Realm agents in Freeport? And if so, are they shadowing us?

And here comes the shock. This was a band of mercenaries hired by some Enzo. The mage didn't know anything else except that they were to be paid in a tavern called Black Gull. Uthas was angry, very angry, and he insisted on checking the place out right away. It is a very seedy place close to the docks, as can be expected. From the descriptions we had been given, this Enzo was easy to find.

As you can imagine, Milady, Uthas handled the situation with his usual charm. He grabbed the man and dragged him into an alley, threatening to remove his teeth all in one if he wouldn't talk. While I usually disdain such blatant display of force, it was very helpful in this case. This Enzo believes that he has been recruited by some sort of cult calling itself just "Brotherhood." I think he has been duped to run errands for someone who takes advantage of his gullible, feeble minded nature. But supposedly, we have angered the oh so powerful leader of this cult and are now a target. I have no idea why we would have angered anyone, all we did is attempting to find a missing librarian. So, either someone important has him and feels threatened, or someone has a hate for our noble line. Which would explain the presence of the agents.

I asked a few more detailed questions, and found out that the supposed temple of this cult is some old unused house in a more or less unused part of the city. Uthas and I decided it would be wise to take Enzo with us and lock him up in Uthas' room so he can lead us there tomorrow. I am hesitant to involve the officials yet.

I have loaded up on magic energy, including some globules of each color, and I have learned a new spell in the temple today, too. Something defensive, in case we get into trouble. I think out in the real world we will need more of the magics used for attack and defense. It is good I knew enough to catch this mage earlier.

Ever in Your service

Nevukh




Most High Lady Theka


Things are going awry. We – except your son - have been attacked tonight, by a gang of mercenaries called the Yellow Shields. By sheer luck and with the help of some unidentified strangers nothing happened to us at all. They had a mage, and that one's spell and one from honored Nevukh collided, knocking the stranger out. Please, Milady, if you have any contact to them, which I assume you do, could you tell Nevukh to be more careful with his magic? He meant well but as back home, he might do more harm with his thoughtless use of it than help.

Uthas ended up capturing the man who paid them, and it looks like some sort of cult member of whatever. They don't seem to have a real name. We will need to make honored Orlath go along tomorrow. He is the better caster, I know, and he knows offensive spells, which we may need. But I assure you, Milady, we will watch out for him. A bit excitement is just what he needs. This morning, I had to wake him – he slept to almost midday. He didn't like me getting him out of bed either but I just did as Milady instructed.


Your humble servant

Flip




Bosslady

I am be writing now late. Was to match to take all inn. Has had beat up some folk and tonite we capture some dumb arse thinks he is ina cult. Nev sais he is making stuff up. Well see tomorow.

I am good watch for son of you. I am even be learning better langish of you elfs. Nev sayd some about puting a colar on me but I hope sure he was been joking.

And Flip say it is my turn get young boss out from bed now. Young boss snore like a drunk hore. Flip gave me a buckit to fill with water so I get him out more fast.

~U