"Out of the Frying Pan" - Book II: Catching the Spark (Part One)

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Session #19 (Part III)

“So we were walking through the forest and the snow was nearly waist deep,” said one of Guisel’s companions to the captive audience of inn patrons.

“Was it this forest near the town, Kennedy?” someone in the crowd asked the tale-teller.

“Yes, but very deep in it, near its southwestern edge,” the one called Kennedy said. “And there we saw the dragon, among the trees.”

“What? The dragon was walking?” called one of the patrons.

“It had just settled down from the sky and kind of crawled under the trees to grab a young fawn that was nibbling on a piece of grass peeking through the snow,” Guisel answered, and survey the crowd. His broad smile turned into a frown as his eyes met those of the party looking over at him in wonder and with some amusement, and he sat down and did not speak while his companion finished the story.

“We crept up on it, and it lifted its head, shooting a long thin jet of flame at Brio here,” Kennedy rumpled the curly locks of chubby young man, who smiled, his cheeks growing red and hot with the attention, as the crowd gasped.

“But Brio ducked under it and rolled towards it and stuck his sword under its head!”

There was a smattering of cheers.

“And then were all upon it,” Kennedy described. “Hitting it with a flurry of blows. It took off into the air, and broke all the branches of the trees around it, and dropped snow on top it. Guisel here shot a bolt from his crossbow right through the falling snow and right into the dragon’s belly and hot green blood splattered on him, that why he has the scar on his neck and shoulder.”

“So the dragon got away?” someone asked.

Another of Guisel’s companions stood, “Yes, but it is now week, and we came to resupply. We find it and slay it!”

The party could now see more clearly that this was another of Crumb’s Boys. It was John, and Guisel was tugging on his shirt sleeve. He saw the party and blanched, waved weakly and sat back down.

The crowd cheered and clapped.

After hearing the tale, the party went upstairs to find their rooms and clean up and get their baths before going back to the Alderman’s house. Ratchis, however, walked over to Guisel’s table, who was leaning over to Kennedy and saying something while cocking his head at the party.

“You’ve been busy since you left the castle, Guisel,” Ratchis said, with a big grin, his yellowed teeth pointing in different directions, his gums black. “How’d you meet up with this band of killers?”

“We’re not killers,” said Kennedy with a smile. “We’re just people doing our best to help other people.”

“I’m sure you are,” Ratchis said with a scowl. “So you fought the dragon and lived to speak of it. Have you seen anything else out there? Anything dangerous that is?”

“There was some kind of living tree,” said Guisel shakily. “Yeah, uh… a living tree, that’s it.”

“So, the two of you,” Ratchis looked at John. “Must be getting to be pretty good fighters, huh?”

“Well, you know there’s a lot of talk about dragons, but it’s mostly just talk,” said John, finishing his ale and standing. “I think we’d better get some sleep fellows, if we plan to head out nice and early and track down the dragon.”

Ratchis watched them go upstairs to their own room.

While most everyone had wanted a bath (Ratchis just dunked his head into a basin of cold water, rubbed behind his neck and ears with a rag and called it a wash), the inn only had one copper tub that could be used at a time, and Jeremy got first chance.

However, he was still splashing around happily in the water when the others realized it was time to head to the Alderman’s and left without telling him.

---

Jeremy hummed a Neergaardian song to himself as he got out of the water that had grown cold, and toweled himself off.

Suddenly, there was a knock at the door.

“I’ll be ready in a minute!” he called.

The knocking came again, and more hurried than before. Jeremy slipped on his shirt and trousers and went to the door and opened it. At the door was a slight figure in a silvery gray cloak.

“I am sorry to disturb you,” said a girl’s voice from within the raised hood.

“Well, I was bathing,” Jeremy said, rolling his eyes.

“Oh, I shouldn’t have come here!” the voice cried with dismay.

“No, come in. Please stay,” said Jeremy, holding the door open for her. “How can I help you?”
The girl walked into the room, and close the door.

“Again, I am so sorry to bother you,” the girl pulled back her hood, and her wisps of blonde hair fell in a lovely cascade of gold. It was the girl they had seen at the alderman’s house. “I am Jasmine Silvestri, daughter of the alderman, and I have no one else to turn to.”

A tear slid down her cheek.

“It’s just that she’s been missing for days now, and father won’t send anyone to save her,” the girl said, dabbing at her eyes with a kerchief.

“Who?”

“Rahasia,” the girl said.

“Who’s Rahasia?” Jeremy asked, putting out his hand awkwardly to pat her shoulder and comfort her, but then pulling it back.

“She’s my handmaiden,” said the girl. She looked up at Jeremy with her big blue saucer –like eyes, moist with her tears. “She disappeared over a week ago and I don’t know where she I, no one knows.”

“No one has seen her?” Jeremy asked. “Maybe she went to visit family or something.”

“She was a half-elf and an orphan, she had no family,” said Jasmine. “And anyway, she would have told me if she went anywhere. Something bad must have happened to her, maybe she was kidnapped!”

“Who would kidnap her, and why?” asked Jeremy, he slipped on his socks.

“I don’t know.”

“What does your father say?”

“He thinks she ran off to be with one of those elves that live in that place in the woods south west of the house,” she explained. “He never liked her.”

“Why does he think that?” Jeremy asked. He tied his boots on.

“Well, um…” Jasmine paused. “Because someone claimed to have seen her there six days ago, but it wasn’t her, or it was a mistake. She did not run off with an elf man!”

“How do you know?”

“I just know,” Jasmine said, her tears now a steady stream down her face. “Will you help me please? You are supposed to help the people of Gothanius.”

Jeremy sighed. “Where was she last seen?”

“She went out to the garden to clear some snow and never returned,” Jasmine explained. “She took none of her stuff with her.”

Jeremy contemplated in silence the hangnail he had on his right index finger.

“I have to go or my father will note my absence. Will you help me? Please? I don’t have a lot of money,” Jasmine pleaded.
“I will have to talk to my friends about it,” Jeremy assured her.

“I do have a tiara. It belong to my mother. It’s got jewels on it. I’ll give it to you if you help me,” she said pulling up the hood of her cloak and making for the door.”

“We’ll be in contact,” Jeremy said, opening the door for her.

“Talk to Hassafein the Cook if you have to contact me, and he’ll tell me. Jasmine said, poking her head out into the hall to make sure no one saw her, and turned back to Jeremy. “My father will be suspicious if he see anyone talking to me, and he doesn’t want me looking for her.”

“Okay, the cook, right,” Jeremy began to close the door.

“Thank you,” Jasmine said, but the door was already shut and she ran off home.

“I wonder what taking everyone so long,” Jeremy thought to himself. “They’d better hurry or we’ll miss our meeting with the alderman.”

-------

Meanwhile, back at the Alderman’s Manor, the rest of the party was being served brandy in the parlor. He had noticed Jana for the first time, as she was cleaned up and the hood of her fur cloak was down.

“I wasn’t aware that the king was hiring young ladies,” he said and paused thoughtfully, and then smiled his big false smile. “But who am I to question the king?”

The party spoke with him for about forty minutes. He told them how the town was named because the bluff it sat upon was riddled with caves that once were the lairs to ogres, but the vast majority of the ogres had left for the Ogre Scar (38) or had been slain the war against the orcs. He also explained that Aze Nuquerna was the name of the elven enclave about two hours to the south by southwest of the town, just beyond a narrow stream, and near a lake called “Green Eye”.

The party asked for a map of the area, but the alderman said it might take a few days to dig scare one up and it’d likely be expensive.

The alderman then politely implied that the time had come for the party to leave, and they took the cue and headed back to town, running into an impatient and annoyed Jeremy who was on his way to meet them.

“I don’t trust the alderman,” said Ratchis, as they all walked back to the inn.

“Well, he certainly doesn’t seem trustworthy,” said Martin. “But then again, few politicians ever do.”

“Well, his daughter seemed nice enough,” commented Jeremy casually.

“His daughter?” asked Jana.

“Yeah, the girl we saw in his house this afternoon,” he replied.

“How could you tell?” Kazrack asked.

“Oh, she came by the inn and we talked,” Jeremy said. “She was really upset about her maid or something.”

Ratchis glared at Jeremy.

Jeremy explained what Jasmine had told him, and how she wanted their help in finding the half-elven woman.

“So, I figure we can add looking for her to the things we have to do,” Jeremy said.

“Do you know what a half-elf looks like?” Ratchis asked.

“Yes, but I’ve never seen a portly one,” the Neergaardian said.

“So, she’s portly?” Ratchis asked.

“No, but I’ve still never seen one that was portly.”

The half-orc had to restrain himself from strangling his companion.

“Well, if she is with the elves, we are going there anyway,” said Martin.

“I didn’t tell her that,” said Jeremy. “I thought it was a secret for some reason.”

‘Thank you,” said Ratchis sarcastically.

“You’re welcome,” replied Jeremy.

“I am not looking forward to talking with the elves,” Kazrack said. “They are so flighty.”

“Flighty?” asked Ratchis.

“Yeah, they wouldn’t think twice about leaving things behind and they like transient things over solid and lasting things,” Kazrack said.

“Oh, I thought you meant flighty like the man that turned into a bat and flew off back at the castle,” said Martin.

“A man that turned into a bat?” Jana said, with a surprised tone. “I never heard anything about that!”

“We must have forgotten to mention it because we were too distracted by your betraying us,” Ratchis replied scathingly, and Jana was quiet.

They arrived at the inn and went up to one room to continue talking.

“You know that bat-man-thing could explain why Markle did not seem to concerned about being locked up,” said Ratchis. “They were probably working together.”

“I wonder what the real gnome chief wants from the elves?” Jeremy wondered aloud. “I mean, what can they do against a demon like Mozek?”

“I don’t know,” said Ratchis. “I don’t know anything about demonic powers.” The half-orc glared at Jana, his mood becoming fouler each passing moment.

There was a long awkward silence, and finally Kazrack brought up the need to decide what they were going to try to sell off to get money for supplies.

“What about this?” Beorth held out the bastard sword that had belonged to Malcolm and that Chance had been carrying.

“Give it to Kazrack,” said Jeremy.

“I don’t use swords,” Kazrack said.

“Yeah, but you can carry it. You carry a ton of other stuff,” said Jeremy.

“Weren’t we going to craft it into rings for the group?” the dwarf asked.

Jana got up and went to her room.

“Well, we don’t have time for that now,” said Ratchis, taking the sword and looking it over. “And I might want to use this.”

“Please do then, and then you can carry it,” Kazrack said.

“I’m going to carry it into battle,” Ratchis said with his first smile in days.


Balem, 26th of Nuiet – 564 H.E.


The next morning, the party went their separate ways to fulfill their errands. Kazrack sought out a quiet place not far from an abandoned quarry to enchant his runestones. Ratchis and Martin headed to the pawn shop, and Jana awoke late to go to the general store.

Jeremy went to the constable’s office. From outside he heard a raspy voice say, “I don’t care, ya lousy pieces of crap! IF I tell ya to patrol, ya patrol!”

There was another voice, much quieter than the first, and a hollered reply, “That’s what you get paid for! I have to protect this town from bandits and ogres and gnolls and such!”

Jeremy stepped into the square building of undressed stone, as two armored guard passed him sheepishly.
“And doing a fine job of it, I’m sure,” Jeremy said to the middle-aged man with a thin and scraggily gray beard that he assumed was the constable.

“What in hell do you want?” he yelled, spit flicking off his dry lips.

“Uh, well, my group and I, we are some of the uh, dragon-hunters and we were wondering, actually it was Jana’s idea, she thought I might come and ask you about any dragon sightings or…” Jeremy was unable to finish.

“She? Is a womun huntin’ dragons?” the constable said, his normal talking barely softer than his yelling.

“Uh, no she, uh… she’s our seamstress…:” Jeremy said. “Actually, I think she was just repeating what the Watch-Mage had said.”

“A watch-mage? You got a watch-mage?” the constable started writing something down.

“That’s what he’s always said and I’ve never doubted it,” replied Jeremy.

“Anyone else in your group?”

“We have a holy warrior of Anubis, and Kazrack, he’s a dwarf and Ratchis,” said Jeremy. “Anyway, we were wondering…”

He was interrupted again.

“That’s it? What about this Ratchis? You never said what he is.”

“Uh, he’s just uh, some guy traveling with us, no one important,” Jeremy said wiping his mouth.

“I want to talk to your friends tonight,” the constable said. “I like to keep tabs on all these here ‘dragon-hunter’ about.”

“If I can find them all. They might be out whoring or something,” Jeremy said quickly.

“Whoring?”

“Well, no, they wouldn’t do that. Jana wouldn’t do that,” Jeremy said, contradicting himself.

“What? Five of you share one woman?” the constable said with sneer.

“Uh, no!” Jeremy sighed. “All I want to know is who around here has seen the dragon?”

“Well, one of them dragon-hunting groups claims to have fought it, but I don’t believe them,” he replied. “And old man Carson, the shepherd.”

It took Jeremy another fifteen minutes to get directions to the shepherds place, and then headed there, feeling very tired for some reason.

---------

The pawn shop proprietor was mute, and Ratchis and Martin haggled with him by writing amounts on pieces of paper. They cashed in some gems that the party had found among Chance’s stuff, including some of those small red rubies that had found on that collar back when they were seeking the source of the zombie infestation in Stonebridge. (39)

They headed over to the smithy, but as soon as the squat smith saw Ratchis he began to yell, “Get that smell Pig-f*cker out of here! What are you crazy?”

Ratchis scowled, and stood by the door, as Martin approached and tried to talk to the man.

“I said, get him out of here!”

“Dear sir, I am Martin the Green, Watch-Mage of the Academy of Wizardry, and…”

“So you’re a wizard, huh? Well, I don’t care if you do have this thing ensorcelled and he is your pet or whatever, I don’t want savage baby-raping pig-f*ckers in my shop. Now get him the hell out!”

Martin turned to Ratchis, who stepped outside. Martin then sold the chain shirt they had taken from one of the gnomes that had waylaid them, but he did not get a very good price.

End of Session #19

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Notes:

(38) The Ogre Scar is a great tear in the earth just off center of the valley that makes up the majority of the Kingdom of Gothanius.

(39) See Session #8.
 
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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Okay, this story hour is now caught up to the one that exists on the old ENboards - and I am now free to start the a new installment.

Remember to rate this thread when you psot here. . . and I want to make one note. . .

I have been changing the names of some places and gods in Aquerra - I am using the new names in my upcoming instlalments and have changed them where I have seen them when I reposted session #11 to session #19 - so there may be some discrepencies. If you find some, please alert me to it. . .

And you can find info on the changes (and why) on the Aquerra Message Boards
 

Halma

First Post
Love this story hour!!!

I just wanted to say hey and that I can't wait until the next installment.



Halma


And I wanted to be the first to rate this thread.
 



Nemm rocks! His players rock! Aquerra rocks! This campaign rocks!

There, I just saved myself the trouble of four separate drooling fanboy posts.

Seriously, Nemm and players, this is one helluva story. ;)
 

Cyronax

Explorer
Love Aquerra

I just started reading Out of the Frying Pan a few months ago, and I have to say I'm enjoying it more than many fantasy books I've read! My favorite characters are definetely Ratchis and the late Chance.

Will Ratchis's player continue writing the Story of Ratchis in Story Hour? I can't remember if he concluded it or not. That was definetely one of the best treatments of orcs I've ever seen.

Well anyway, I just wanted to pay my homage to nemm and his campaign once before I again return to lurker mode.

C.I.D.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Thank you everyone for the kind words.

I am working on a nice and long installment (to make up for my absence) as we speak.

As for you Cyronax: I'm sorry but once you have de-lurked you are required to post once per two installments or you will be banned from this forum forever! ;)

For a preview of the next installment there are three elements that definitely define it:

1) Dogs.

2) Dogs.

and. . .

3) Dogs. :D

I guess I could dedicate to KidCthulhu.
 

Cyronax

Explorer
I've been had!

Nemm you are a Rat Bastard! :)

I go to all that trouble giving you a little props, and now I have to stroke your ego every time you get a new installment posted. Well hell, if it'll get them posted any faster I guess I can deal with that.

Since I now an active poster, I might as well ask you something I've been wondering about regarding your take on magic in Aquerra.

From what I've seen on your website, Aquerra magic is not rare, but it still doesn't show up to the extent that it does in say FR. At what party level do you usually start having the characters get raised from the dead.

Malcom was obviously too low level and unimportant to be raised, especially since the characters were in the middle of nowhere. Chance on the other hand died in the middle of a gnomish city that might or might not have had access to raising magics.

Later,
C.I.D. (Cyronax the Ice Devil)
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Well, Cyronax. . .

Seeing as the party didn't know where Chance's body even was or what had happened to it (except that his brain was ripped out of his skull and eatern for Ra's sake!), even if they had a way of bringing him back it would have been unlikely.

Raising and Resurrection *IS* rare in Aquerra. If you look on the Aquerra website (check this page Changes to Core Rule Spells) you will see that I have placed some limitation on how those spells are cast and MOST priesthoods don't even get access to them (and when they do I have made them higher level in many cases).

In addition, just because a priest can do it doesn't mean he will - typically it requires a LARGE donation, some proof that the person to be raised was a devouted follower of the god, and that his being brought back to life will serve some greater purpose.

Difficult, indeed.

P.S. Stgroking my ego? More like asking questions like this one. I love this stuff!
 

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