Karianna's Tales of a Mercenary Company - Updated 21/3, 29/3, 5/04, 14/04, 07/05

karianna

First Post
The hamlet of Perma

Right, it took awhile to try and weave the various role-playing encounters into a comprehensible SH post, but hopefully this comes across right :). I've got the notes written up for the 2nd part of the session after this and there's certainly plenty intrigue, horror and action.

------

Max and Gwaeryn were actually not far away, strolling towards them with their heads bent together in an animated discussion over something that Max held in his hand.

Max held out the small red ribbon, “Klaxo managed to grab this before it blew away.”
“Yeah, the little sneak grabbed it before I’d even seen him!” Gwaeryn looked suspiciously at the Badger.
“Well of course, he’s at one with nature, you could learn a great deal from him you know.” replied Max.

Sol interrupted with a loud cough “Nice of you boys to help out.”
“Ah yeah sorry about that, but we needed to make sure that no more of those things were crawling out.” replied Gwaeryn.
“Besides,” added Max “it looked like you guys were handling it OK.”
Thoven gave a huge grin “Not sure what the Sarge was talking about with that bashing nonsense, swords work just fine against those sacks of bones! I guess I should look for the morning star though, Sarge would not be happy if I lost that.”
“Well it’s nice that you ladies have bought us back a pretty red ribbon, but was there anything else actually useful?” asked Sol, a slight sneer was evident in his expression.
“Not on the surface,” Max replied “I guess we could dig a little and see.”

The other three scouts promptly looked over at Klaxo who stared evenly back at them.
“You know Max? I think we’ve finally found a use for your Badger.” Thoven grinned at Max and added a resounding thump of his mailed fist on the back of the druid.
“Shall we?”

-----

The group stood around the area where the skeletons had crawled up from, keeping a careful eye on their surroundings while Klaxo used his powerful claws to dig into the earth. After a short time the badger had clearly had enough, wrinkling its nose in distaste at the putrid smell of death. Max moved through the areas that Klaxo had dug out and peered into sections of churned up earth.

“Well there are a couple of bones and some rags and it definitely smells pretty awful, but I don’t see anything else useful.”

A moment later Gwaeryn hissed “We’ve got company, one humanoid.”
“Yeah and he’s not moving very straight either, looks like Sol dancing when he had that one ale to many last week.” Thoven flashed a smile in Sol’s direction and received a dark scowl in response.
“We’ll go out and meet it.” Sol decided.

----

The group quickly discovered that the wobbling figure appeared to be that of a rather drunk elderly farmer. Stepping forward Sol called out “We mean you no harm old timer, are you from Perma by any chance?” The old man stopped, swayed a little and peered bleary eyed back at Sol “Wha! Who are yoush, Can’t a man drink in shome peesh en quiet round ere?”

A thoroughly frustrating and yet amusing interrogation followed with Thoven desperately trying to hold in his laughter whenever ‘Pappy’ referred to Sol as “Thwat young wolf cub” or “My new beshtt fwend”. Eventually the group managed to extract out of the farmer that the village of Perma was unscathed, the red ribbon belonged to a little girl named Polly and that a farmer called Galron was the default head of the Perma community. A further line of subtle questioning about the pit and its ancient skeleton guardians only drew shrugs and looks of disbelieve from the old man.

“I can taksh ya to da village if ye loike.” the old man took another swig from his flagon.
“Oh yes please, Sol would love to hear more of your stories Pappy!” Thoven cried out with fake sincerity, beaming happily at Sol.

The old man started to weave off back towards the village dragging Sol by the arm with him. Sol delivered a venomous look back at Thoven as Pappy started up yet another drinking story.

----

Hindered somewhat by the slow pace of the stumbling old timer it took several hours to reach the outlying fields of the hamlet of Perma. The four scouts took in the sight of ordinary farmers working in the fields and started to relax slightly, everything indeed seemed to be normal. As the scouts approached the hamlet proper they could quickly see that it composed of only a large water mill and several small dwellings scattered randomly around a communal hall of some sort. There did not seem to be many people moving amongst the buildings until with a large bang a group of three men quickly came out of the communal hall and headed directly towards them.

The leader of the three men was a middle aged man built like an ox with the ruddy features of someone who’d lived his whole life outdoors. He was flanked by two fairly sizeable fellows who were a coupler of steps behind him, the expressions on their faces clearly nervous at the idea of having to approach the group. All three wore rough farmers garb and had simple cudgels and tools hooked into their belts.

Without any preamble the lead man spoke “I’m Galron, I see that you’ve found Pappy.” he levelled a long steady stare at the elderly man.
“Heh, besh be going now.” and with a loud belch, the old timer quickly sidled off towards one of the small dwellings.
“I’m Gwaeryn and these are fellow scouts of our company, Sol, Max and Thoven” Gwaeryn responded politely.

“Well state your business then.” Galron’s flat tone indicated that honeyed words would not impress him overly much.
“We received an Empire report that this village was under some sort of attack or at the least that the storm a few days back has caused some trouble for your village.” replied Gwaeryn.
“As you can see there’s no trouble here and any damage from the storm is long since repaired, it happens every year.” Galron shrugged, but Gwaeryn had noticed a slight hesitation in the farmer’s response.

“Everything is peaceful and quiet, just the way we like it.” he added, looking pointedly at the heavily armed Thoven
“Ah well, you’ll have no trouble from us.” replied Gwaeryn smoothly. “Is there a place we can stay overnight? We’ll take our leave first thing in the morning.”
Galron jerked a thumb over his shoulder “You’ll find lodging in the community hall, speak to Thayla.”

Before the farmers could turn and leave, Max stepped forward holding the red ribbon in his hand “Sorry to interrupt, but we found this child’s ribbon on the way in, I hope she’s not missing?”
The man to the right of Galron sighed “That’s my daughter Polly’s favourite ribbon, she’s always running off here and there, it serves her right if she’s lost it, might teach the fool girl a lesson.”

Max leaned further forward “Ah, and where are all of the children?...” At this Thoven internally winced, he hadn’t even noticed that there were no children about, which was certainly unusual. His hand slowly crept down towards his sword hilt.
“They’re in the mill getting their schooling of course.” growled Galron. “Now if you don’t mind we’ve got work to be attending to, good day.” With that the dour man led the other two away.

“Oh well that all seems OK then.” Thoven once more stood at ease.
“They don’t have schools for farmers kids Thov.” Sol gave him a withering glance.
“That’s generally true,” added Max “they’re usually helping their parents work as it’s a hard life out here.”
“Well, I’m keen to go and check out those lodgings and see if any of the locals are any friendlier.” Gwaeryn headed towards the large structure where the farmers had come from.
 
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karianna

First Post
This part of the session was full of frantic fun :), I won't spoil it by saying anymore, I hope you all enjoy! Next session is tonight and I still have the 3rd part of last session to write up, so plenty more material coming.

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The four scouts pushed their way through the swing doors and entered into a large common room. Crudely built tables and benches were scattered over a straw covered floor and in the far corner a tethered goat bleated plaintively at them. [As an aside Max's player blurted out, 'Wicked I have speak with animals memorised!' cue much laughter] Opposite the group a stick thin middle aged woman stood behind a large plank of wood supported by two barrels. Stairs headed up to the next floor and they could see the mill in the distance through a narrow corridor that exited the building behind the woman.

The land lady beamed at them “Why hello there, I’ve been expecting you, my name be Thayla, now what can I get yea?”

Thoven strode forward with a smile and quickly introduced the group and arranged the hire of the two rooms upstairs and some basic meals. After exchanging further pleasantries with Thayla, the four scouts headed up the stairs to inspect their lodgings.

Gwaeryn immediately began a pain staking search of the room he was sharing with Thoven and after a few minutes made a grisly discovery. He quickly summoned everyone into his room and flipped over the mattress of one of the crude cots. The underside of the mattress was almost completely covered by a large dark stain.

“I don’t know about you guys but I’m not sleeping here tonight.”
Thoven leaned over and took a look at the mattress "That's OK, I have a sneaking suspicion something might happen before we get to sleep."
Sol raised an eyebrow “Charming….”
“Yeah it’s amazing how people can spontaneously erupt into a shower of blood while sleeping.” Gwaeryn replied caustically.

At that moment a call came out from below, “Food is ready m’dears!”

Sol looked at the others and quietly added “We’ll discuss this in private later.”
“I’m not touching their food.” hissed Gwaeryn
“It’ll look suspicious if we don’t Gwaer.” replied Sol
“Tell her I’m not feeling well, I’m going to sneak out and take a look at the mill.”
“Very well,” Sol turned to the druid “Max, let us know if that food is off will ya?”
Max stared grimly at the mattress “Oh I think I’ll be checking very carefully.”
Gwaeryn leaned over to Thoven and with a wink whispered "We could always try the food on Klaxo first."
Thoven looked back at Gwaeryn in disgust but couldn't help letting a small smile slip out.

Gwaeryn waited upstairs while the other three scouts headed back down the stairs and joined Thayla at one of the tables for their meal. Thayla was full of chatter, asking the three scouts about their travels and paying particular attention to Thoven who apparently ‘reminded her of her own son’.

----

While Sol was carefully asking Thayla about Polly and the children’s school in the mill, Gwaeryn snuck down the stairs and tip toed his way down the corridor behind the bar. Quickly spying that there was no one visible around, he broke cover and ghosted across a couple of fields before reaching the mill. Over the next couple of minutes he carefully crawled his way around the building, taking into account all of its features.

The mill stood some 30-40 feet high with a large set of barn doors at the northern end and a set of wide doors embedded up high on the south wall. Attached to the east side of the mill was a large water wheel that was slowly being rotated by the flowing waters of the river. Satisfied that all was well, Gwaeryn slid his way along the western wall and around the corner until he reached the main doors. Kneeling quietly by the doors he carefully listened out for any activity inside the barn. Hearing nothing he took a deep breath and gently eased one of the doors open just wide enough so he could sidle in.

He took his first step inside, peering into the gloom when something smashed heavily into his chest knocking him back outside of the building. Eyes watering from the blow Gwaeryn struggled to his feet his jaw dropping as a putrid figure lumbered out of the barn.

----

Back at the common room several burly farmers had arrived from the fields giving the group open stares as they headed off to another table. During the meal, Thoven was starting to extract some information from the talkative Thayla, apparently the wayward child Polly was a half elven orphan that the village had found wandering in the fields several years ago. Sol was about to continue this line of questioning when Max gave out a large yawn and swayed slightly in his seat.

“Oh the poor dear must be tired from his day’s walk,” announced Thayla patting him gently on the shoulder “why don’t you go and take him on upstairs.”
Sol looked over at Max, as a nagging suspicion started to enter his thoughts. He quickly got to his feet and lifted the rapidly fading Max out of his chair.
“It’ll be alright, I’ll just take him outside for some fresh air.” Sol’s intense gaze spoke volumes to Thoven who also rose to his feet.

The two men half carried and half dragged the now unconscious Max out the back corridor while fending off the growls and pawing of the extremely agitated badger.
“Quit it Klaxo we’re trying to help!” Sol growled, he glanced over to the burly solider “Thov, it must be some sort of sleeping draught, check Max’s herb kit.”

“Um I think we’ve got another problem, Gwaer’s in deep %^&$.” replied Thoven pointing over to the mill. Sol peered into the distance and spied Gwaeryn with his back to the river trying to fend off what looked to be an unarmed farmer.

“What do you mean? The peasant isn’t even armed!” Sol cried dismissively.
“Exactly Sol, Gwaeryn has just cut off its left arm and it’s still coming at him.”
Sol looked up again to see the distant figure of Gwaeryn battling what was evidently not an ordinary farmer “You’re…. not kidding, go help him out I’ll throw Max under this water trough and make sure nothing gets to him.”

Thoven set off on a dead run towards the mill while Sol turned around and eyed up the wild looking badger sitting astride the comatose form of Max. “Ah c’mon Klax, let me move him will ya!” The badger made a strange growling noise in response. Sol sighed, “One of these days Klax, you and I are going to have a serious talk about your place in this squad.”

----

Despite having hacked off the creature’s left arm and removing what should have been a vital organ or two, the battle was not going well for Gwaeryn. The monstrous thing just continued to advance, seemingly without care for its injuries. It had also managed to land one heavy blow cracking several of his ribs.

He was forced to roll backwards to avoid the powerful swings of the zombie and now found himself hard up against the river. He looked to the swift running water for escape but quickly realised that he would be turned into pulp by the turning water wheel. Gritting his teeth he stepped forward and drove his scimitar deep into the zombie’s belly, but his cry of triumph was short lived as a mottled grey fist crashed into his temple sending him deep into blackness.

Thoven saw Gwaeryn drop to the ground and with a cry of anguish sprinted across the remaining distance. Moments later he reached the zombie and with a scream of rage split its skull in two dropping the zombie to the ground. Thoven frantically scrambled to the inert form of Gwaeryn, mumbling “no no no no no” under his breath.

----

Sol had finally managed to convince Klaxo to move Max under the water trough, he was now fighting his second battle with the badger as he tried to wake Max up.

“Look it’ll be a gentle tap to the face, I mean be reasonable” Sol gave the badger a stern look. Klaxo, already wild with concern for the druid simply lashed out at Sol with his razor sharp claws.

“Water from the trough it is” Sol replied and proceeded to douse the sleeping druid and the furious badger with water from the trough. Max rose to a kneeling position and promptly threw up all over the ground in front of him. Sol hauled him roughly to his feet.

“Klaxo’s trying to rip my leg off and Gwaeryn has probably been smashed to pieces, we’re going this way NOW.” Sol ran towards the mill dragging the still groggy druid with him.

----

Thoven was frantically trying to wrap bandages around the head of Gwaeryn, tears of frustration welling up as he realised there was nothing that his meagre skills cold do. Twin trails of blood continued to flow from the nose and mouth of the unconscious skirmisher as Sol shoved a very pale looking Max down next to them.

“Please Max, fix him, he’s dying!” Thoven pleaded with the druid.
Max felt like death warmed up but steadied himself and grabbed two handfuls of earth casting it all over the form of the dying scout. He followed this up with a quick prayer and watched the still form of his companion carefully.

To the profound astonishment of both Thoven and Sol the bleeding stopped and visible pops could be heard as bones knitted themselves back into shape. Gwaeryn quickly leapt to his feet feeling full of energy, spying the others around him he cried out “Beware there are zombies around!”

Thoven reached out and patted him on the back a smile of relief on his face, “Yeah Gwaeryn we know, we know.”
Sol gently lifted Max to his feet “Your little prayer was nothing short of miraculous, remind me to be nice to Klaxo for the next week”
“The healing power of nature in the spring is indeed miraculous.” replied Max modestly “I think I’ll change my poison detecting technique though.”
Sol grinned back at him “Oh I don’t know Max, your warning was pretty clear, now, lets kick open those doors and see what else is inside that mill.”

The four scouts prepared themselves briefly and headed towards the double doors but as they got close they could clearly hear the voice of a little girl singing from inside the mill.

“Pretty little knights coming out to play, pretty little knights, they all run away!”

“OK, this is getting a little creepy,” Thoven looked over at the others nervously. “do we have to go in?"
 
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karianna

First Post
Son_of_Thunder said:
OOOOOOooooh! Me likey! Thanks for sharing.

Thanks for reading!! It's been a lot of fun writing this adventure up and having people pop in and read it is a great motivator :)
 




karianna

First Post
Sorry!

Son_of_Thunder said:
Patiently awaiting update :)
Sorry had to work late yesterday (new job, yay for me, not so good for the SH). Our next session is tonight so it'll probably be tomorrow night :(
 

karianna

First Post
The party vs an 8 year old girl

Finally managed to get this part written up, needless to say, my players were not happy by the end of this session :]

----

The four scouts stood indecisively outside the large set of doors leading into the mill.

Sol turned to face the others “Soooooo, who’s good with kids? “
“Don’t look at me,” snorted Gwaeryn, “Thov? You’re good with people right?”
Thoven gave Gwaeryn an incredulous look, “Um, noooooo, I just hit people, remember?”
Sol looked at Max who simply shook his head.
“Fine then, I’ll talk to the little brat.”

Sol stepped forward towards the closed doors. “Polly, are you there?”
“Yes stupid face, why are old people so stupid anyway?”
“What happened to you Polly?”
“They kept telling me what to do, I hate them!" Her voice suddenly took on a sly tone, "but they do what I tell them to now...”
Sol looked over at the others, who shrugged helpless back at him, Sol continued in his most placating tone. “Well parents can be tough, but we’re just here to help, everyone’s very worried about you.”
“You’re just like them and you hurt my friend!”

Sol thought back to the zombie that had nearly ended Gwaeryn’s life, his face darkened. “Have you got the rest of the children there with you?”
“Not telling, you’re a stupid dunderhead!”
“Now come on Polly, if you expect me to talk to you like an adult, you have to give me some answers.”

There was a pause followed by some giggling, then her voice floated back out “I think you need to play with my other friend.”
Gwaeryn leant over to Sol and whispered fiercely “I’d rather fight those things out here than in there with her.”
Sol nodded tersely in response and called out “Sure Polly, we’ll play with your friend, send them on out.”

----

The party took several steps back and readied themselves. Thoven stood at the front of the doors, with his shield raised high in preparation for a physical assault while the others arranged themselves in a loose semi circle behind him. It wasn’t long before one of the doors swung open slightly to reveal the living corpse of another unfortunate farmer.

Thoven reacted swiftly, stepping forward with a powerful strike to the creature’s torso, hacking out a large chunk of its rotting flesh. A split second later an arrow buzzed in from where Gwaeryn stood and buried itself into the zombies arm. Sol and Max then stepped forward in tandem and flanked the zombie, scoring with minor blows to its body.

A living opponent would have had reason to panic at this stage but the zombie simply swung a powerful fist at Thoven, who met the blow with a hastily raised shield. The three scouts then pressed home their numerical advantage and quickly hacked the zombie into pieces.

“That wasn’t so bad, what’s she playing at?”
“Not sure Sol, not sure,” Thoven eyed up the slightly ajar door, “only one way to find out though, I vote we go in there and get her.”
Sol flashed a grin back at him. “Fair enough, you’re going first though.”

----

Thoven swung the slightly ajar door open and strode into the mill with the others rapidly deploying behind him. Gwaeryn immediately shot off to the left and dove behind some hay bales while Max and Sol stood behind the big fighter and calmly assessed the layout of the mill.

Shafts of sunlight illuminated the thousands of dust particles in the air, giving the interior a surreal glow. The floor was covered in straw and several hay bales were scattered around the sides of each wall. At the far end of the mill a wooden ladder extended up to a narrow catwalk which housed a small corner room. The door to the room was shut and nothing else stirred in the place, but Sol grimly realised that there were plenty of places for a little girl to hide.

Gwaeryn began to move forwards stepping slowly from hay bale to hay bale while simultaneously Klaxo scurried across the floor, snuffling at the straw as he passed. Sol turned and raised an eyebrow at Max who only gave an enigmatic smile in return, which turned into a look of horror as the ground beneath the exploring badger’s feet suddenly gave way. Klaxo disappeared from view, although it was clear that the badger still lived judging from its extremely loud screeches of pain and anger.

----

“Klax” screamed Max as he started to head straight for the pit that the badger had fallen into. Sol quickly grabbed the druid by the back of his robes and yanked him back, “he can dig his way out remember! Besides, we’ve got other things to worry about”. True to his words, the door of the small room on the catwalk exploded open and a dark armoured figure leaned around the door frame and fired off a crossbow bolt at Gwaeryn, who yelped in surprise and promptly ducked behind the nearest hay bale.

Sol and Thoven were about to advance on the catwalk when their worlds became enshrouded in pure darkness. Thoven immediately dropped to the ground and started to crawl forwards, while Sol cursed under his breath, “that annoying little $%$%”. Sol rapidly incanted and the magical darkness was lifted revealing the slightly comical sight of the fully armoured fighter trying to crawl his way across the floor. Sol rolled his eyes, “oh do get up ya big lummox, you look ridiculous.”

In the meantime Max and Gwaeryn were being pinned down by the rapid and accurate fire of the crossbowman. Gwaeryn was able to hurriedly fire off an arrow or two from his small hunting bow, but he knew he needed a one in a million shot to strike their well hidden opponent. To Max’s relief a shower of dirt flew up underneath the catwalk to reveal a bloody and thoroughly enraged badger who promptly started to claw and bite into the ladder in a mindless frenzy.

Back in the middle of the mill, Thoven had managed to get to his feet and raised his shield high to ward off any incoming crossbow bolts. He once more continued his advance with Sol cautiously following behind him. The pair made steady progress up to the pit when Polly’s voice rang out from the room above. “You’re scared of me you big fat dummy, go away!” For some reason the words had a strange power over Thoven, who simply turned and ran at full speed straight back out of the mill. Sol seeing that his cover was gone, dashed towards a hay bale just managing to avoid a bolt that skipped across the floor behind him.

Gwaeryn and his opponent once more traded shots with scout’s howl of pain indicating that he was losing the shooting war. From his new position Sol conjured a small ball of fire in his hand and threw it towards the doorway above. However, in his haste he’d gotten his aim horribly wrong and the ball of fire splashed against the ladder, which immediately began to burn.

Max yelled out “Sol, Gwaeryn’s a pincushion, we’ve got to get out!”
“That’s right you poop heads, go away!” Polly’s voice called out once more from the room above.
“Shut up you little #$%$#!” Sol yelled back, but he motioned for the others to beat a hasty retreat.

Racing from hay bale to hay bale, the three remaining scouts managed to exit the mill without being shot. Max then let out a loud whistle and moments later a smoking, bleeding and somewhat peeved looking badger charged out through the gap and snarled at the world in general.

Gwaeryn clutched at a crossbow bolt lodged into his side and gasped “We can’t get up there, he’s too good!”
“She’s also been given some sort of divine power,” responded Max “not a good thing in one so young.”
“Really?!” snarled Gwaeryn, “I hadn’t noticed.”
“Enough!” barked Sol as he frantically looked around for the big fighter. “Ah there he is by the river, let’s grab him and regroup at the inn.”
Gwaeryn picked up the head of the zombie they’d hacked of earlier, “Yeah and this time they’re going to provide some answers.”
 


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