3.5 Billanverthorne's Memories

Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
Bill's Introduction to the Campaign

INTRODUCTION


Hiring yourself out as a caravan guard was a sensible way for an elven warrior like yourself to travel through Vulkh, so long as you choose the right merchant. Wrecked wagons and old bones on the roadsides of Vulkh are needful reminders of how dangerous the merchant trade can be. Thus you decided to travel with a larger mercantile organization, the Masoud Trading Company. This choice was also practical for another reason since you were looking to meet the little-known owner of their company, a half elf by the name of Jarahdrin.

The merchant who agreed to hire you is named Khaled. You met him in the town of Mailal in the Elven Kingdom of Siellon. Khaled is a fine-tempered, well-mannered Akhenaten man, well experienced in his work. Trade with elves has always been desirable to the merchants of Vulkh, but not all are invited and welcomed into their lands. Khaled is one of the lucky ones who acquired permission after years of effort establishing trust and goodwill. After you explained to him that you were looking to deliver news about your fathers death to Jarahdrin, a close friend of his, he was sympathetic and agreeable to your offer.

He even offered to have you travel back with him as a guest, no strings attached, but being a soldier you naturally insisted to help defend yourselves as a guard. However, even with his experience and knowledge your journey through Vulkh was not without its troubles. During your passage through the Summaran hills you were attacked by a Gnoll warparty that cost the life of two guards and one of the pack horses. After burying them you moved on through several trade stops. On the way Khaled spoke with you about any number of things you had questions about, including your destination as you draw near it just now after nightfall... the town of Cabarda that Jarahdrin dwells in.

Hundreds of torches burn along Cabarda's twelve foot outer wall surrounding strings of glowing lamps along its streets, giving bright definition to the bulk and shape of the town from a great distance in the dark. It is a much larger town than you are used to back home, with a population close to six thousand. The main trade road passes through its center with two large gates at the east and west ends. Khaled explained that Cabarda is a fairly rich stopover on the trade route west of Masaeus, even more significant than its size and population would otherwise indicate because the headquarters of the Masoud Trade Company is also located here. A town of this importance requires greater fortifications and additional guards than other towns you visited.

Khaled also discussed some of the laws of the town, such as how no caravan, not even one operated by the Masoud Trading Company, is allowed to pass through the gates after dark. As a result it is not uncommon for camps of travelers to form outside outside the gates if they do not reach them before sundown. Indeed you find yourself approaching such a camp before the western gates. There are at least a dozen tents, wagons and campfires here. Voices and laughter can be heard as are the snores and complaints of those attempting to slumber.

Khaled: (Speaks to you after his trio of wagons slows to a halt beside the camp upon the gravelly soil.) "A word of caution Bill, camps like these are not as safe as you might think. Thieves hereabouts often profit from presumptions of safety so close to the walls. I intend to sleep with one eye open!"


OOC: After making camp for the night, Bill discovers a Hobgoblin and several Dire Hounds skulking about in the darkness, and confronts them. He kills three of the hounds, but the Hobgoblin escapes. The Hobgoblin had tried to draw Bill in with deceit, by mimicking the voice of his sister, Celestia.

The Dungeon Master said:
...Cabarda lies only a few hours walk from Mt. Azoa which looms over it night and day. The terrain around the town is hilly spotted with hardy shrubbery and gravely soil. It's farms are actually placed within the walls as further security against a siege. As you are within sight of the gates it doesn't seem like there should be much danger here, yet as the night air quickly cools and a breeze picks up you think you hear something... (Fate Pool Listen Check, DC 15: = 15, Success) ...the voice of a young woman calling out just out of earshot. For a few moments it fades, but returns with the breeze and this time you are sure it is the voice of your younger sister Celestia calling out to you by name!

Her voice appears to source from somewhere out in the nearby rocky hills, perhaps a hundred yards or so away? Though it is too early for the moon to rise and very dark.
 
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Tellerian Hawke

Defender of Oerth
Bill's Introduction to Jabbar and Avar

Jabbar and Avar: Newfound Friends

The Dungeon Master said:
Hobgoblin Scout: Raises his bow again to fire another arrow but pauses, glances in the direction you came from and breaks off running into the darkness. (3x move because of terrain)

It is then you notice the sound of hoof beats and several torches held high by riders approaching from camp.

Both of your arrows miss and another round passes before the riders are close enough for shouting distance. You count five riders, one of whom is Khaled. Two of the others are Akhenaten guards, one is an another merchant (though he appears to be more of a grizzled warrior-type than Khaled holding a crossbow) and the fourth is a dwarven scout.

Khaled: -Speaks to the other Merchant- "Jabbar, this is Billanverthorne, the guard I hired in Siellon."


Jabbar: -Speaking to the dwarf- "Avar, lend your skills to this elf if you please..."
The dwarf dismounts and does a quick search for tracks with the aid of his torchlight which also lets you get a good look at him. He looks to be barely an adult by dwarven standards, which would make him less than half your age... but there’s enough confidence behind his grey eyes to give you the impression he can take care of himself. You'd also guess he’s rarely ever slept on a bed wrapped in a bearskin cloak that is deeply soiled and unkempt, matching his own hair and rather short beard that are also wild and unkempt, so black they look almost tinged with blue. Standing 4’-10" he has the height of a hill dwarf with a warriors build, but his skin is unusually pale.

His garments are made from animal skins. His leather leggings are stuffed into tall moccasins strapped around his shins. He carries a bone-handled hunting knife and horn-handled throwing axe tucked into his waistband. Over his upper body, his leather tunic is pulled open partway where it’s normally cinched tight, revealing a tattoo across his lower neck that looks like broken chain-links. You glimpse more tattoo’s of chain-links around his forearms as he leans down to get a closer look at the earth around the patch of thorns Celestia was using for cover.

Bill claps the dwarf on the shoulder, and says, smiling, "My friend, I owe you a strong ale, and a mighty favor!"

Bill slings his bow back onto his back, but keeps the greatsword in-hand. He approaches Khaled and Jabbar, and bows before them.
"I am pleased to meet any friend of my gracious employer. Your presence honors me."

Bill casually walks over to where he fell the three hounds. He sticks each one with the greatsword, and twists the blade violently, left, then right, to ensure that all beasts are dead. As he does so, he explains, "You should be very proud of your scout, his senses and instincts are as keen as they come. I too, suspected a trick, since I knew my sister to be far from here. What concerns me is how they were able to mimic her voice, as well as this..."

Bill shows Khaled and Jabbar the torn piece of shawl that he found earlier. "This was no random ambush; these cretins were hired specifically to ambush ME. It seems I may have inherited my father's enemies."

Bill looks down to the spot where the hound's fangs found his side. "Oh wow," he says. "That's my blood. Don't see that too often."

Jabbar and Khaled share a look that seems to say... ~he's an odd one isn't he? Even as elves go...~

Jabbar: -Speaks to Billanverthorne- "Hobgoblins never need a reason to ambush anyone, but if they made a plan for you specifically and you survived, you can bet they will try again." He says in a warning tone that clearly speaks from experience.

Jabbar's guards soon return and report that they didn't find the hobgoblin.

Avar: Fingers the haft of his throwing axe as he stares warily into the dark. "I suggest we go back while we still can..."

Khaled: Nods "Yes indeed, let us return to camp with haste!"

The memory of Celestia's voice lingers in your mind as you make way back to camp. Whatever evil was at work in this ambush boggled the imagination. The shawl was almost convincing enough by itself, but her voice was certainly too real to disbelieve and cramps your stomach with questions. How did they come by the shawl and how could they mimic her voice so well? These were not typical hobgoblin tricks by any means, which begged another question. Why were Jabbar, and Avar in particular, so familiar with these uncanny tactics?
 

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