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"Second Son of a Second Son" - An Aquerra Story Hour (*finally* Updated 04/19)


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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Oh yeah, there is going to be plenty of action. Every session since #9 (and including it) has had at least one combat encounter, some of which get pretty chaotic.
 

It seams to me based on you previous story hour that your story telling seams better suited to recounting action rich scenes (which I Quite enjoy reading)
So I am looking forward to you next post

thanks

PS

Hopefully this does not come of as a back handed complement
 


Ciaran

First Post
el-remmen said:
I'll take any kind of compliment I can get. ;)
Your story hour threads are highly entertaining. There's deep character moments, exciting combat, and gorgeously described scenery.

In fact, it's only missing one thing. That would be... more Timotheus. ;)
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Session #9 – “Returning to Sluetelot & Leaving Again” (part 3 of 3)

Ralem, the 15th of Quark – 566 H.E. (637 M.Y.)

The next day they were heading southeastward again, the cliffs of the Border Rift, rising up to their left, and the water of the River Takken slipping away ahead of them to much sharper degree to the east. It was clear that these lands were still often used by the halflings, but they had now officially passed out of Thrician territory. The track they followed was wide and well worn, and in a few place, wooden staked fences held back packed earth bursting with grass sprouts. Once or twice they even heard the ring of a goat’s bell, way up at the top of the bluff, which was not nearly as steep here as it was in the eastern part of the island. To the south, green and yellow fields of tall grass wavered in the wind coming down off the bluff.

Here they could spread out some, and ride with some speed for the first time, and it was not until after some miles that they saw anything unusual. Falco noticed it first, but soon they could all see the corpses of men and horses strewn on the track. They approached slowly, suspicious of ambush. Kermit Buckleburr whispered to Duckhunter and he and his mount leapt off the track through the small apple trees and into the fields beyond to flush out anyone that might be in the tall grass.

Most of these men were wearing ring mail armor, a sure sign of their Rube origins (1), though a couple of men wore lighter armor. There were broken spears and several scimitars scattered about. Small arrows had made all their wounds, including those on the horses, though, whoever had massacred these nearly two dozen men, had retrieved the arrows themselves. They could only find one broken haft with a bit of blue-green fletching.

“Halflings did this,” Timotheus said.

“Who cares? They’re Rubes!” Telémahkos pointed to one of the men in ring mail. “These are probably dervishes come to raid the halflings.” The men had long dark hair and sun-baked complexions. All were clean-shaven, and the tattered remains of turbans were strewn everywhere.

“This one’s alive,” Bleys said, as he was going from body to body examining the details of the fight. It was a young man in studded leather armor. Unconscious, he had been lucky enough to stabilize on his own, but abandoned he would surely die.

“This is strange,” Flaco commented. “Rubes don’t use horses, but these seem to have been…”

“They don’t use horses?” Timotheus asked.

“It has something to do with interpretation of scripture,” Tymon piped up, happy to contribute.

“What are we going to do with this guy?” Markos asked, pointing to the unconscious Rube.

Before a debate could begin, however, there was a cry from the field. Kermit had spotted someone hiding behind a nearby tree, and now they could see the figure bounding in the tall grass, Duckhunter appearing mid leap behind it, Kermit on his back. Victoria of Anhur was still on her horse, and spurred Ironside on to cut off the fugitive.

“Stop!” She cried out. “You will not come to harm if you surrender quietly!”

The young figure, a boy of perhaps fifteen or sixteen summers, cried out in a language most of them did not recognize, and cut to the right. Kermit and Duckhunter leapt to cut him off, easily, and soon they were driving the young man towards the trail. The others drew their weapons and called out for his surrender.

The boy eventually fell over, tripping over a rock and looked up to see Victoria’s long spear in his face.

”Get up slowly,” she said to him. Soon, they had him on his knees over by the track. He looked around at all the dead with a long face.

“Who are you?” Telémahkos asked him. The boy steeled his freckled face. He had short brown hair, and was wearing a leather jerkin. He had a long curved dagger at his belt.

No parlosh a’vochstra linguch echfidole,” the boy said. (2)

“What?” Laarus frowned.

“Uh… He said, he doesn’t speak common,” Tymon offered.

“No! No common!” the boy spat on the ground.

Using Tymon as a translator, they gained few answers from the reticent and defiant young man. More than once when refusing to answer questions, he announced his willingness to die. The signers of the Charter of Schiereiland looked at each other with disgusted wonder. His name was Cosimo Najem and was a scout for the missionaries of the Red God leading bands of dervishes to explore the northern borders of the Disputed Territories.

“Raid villages and kill halflings, he means!” Kermit spat.

“Ask him where he came from,” Laarus asked Tymon. “Was it the Kingdom of the Red God of the West? Is there a dervish camp nearby?”

Sheh fo’ch vichdub perchè hech bisogno dich alif guida voi licker degli asini de’jann,” Cosimo spat back.

“Uh, he said, there is no camp nearby, that was why he was guiding them,” Tymon said to the priest, wiping beads of sweat from his forehead. When asked about the horses, the boy explained that the missionary had led them had brought them along, which only made their presence more mysterious.

Anything of value had been taken from the Rube party by the halflings that had killed them, and so the debate arose of what to do with Cosimo and his unconscious companion.

Laarus considered the issue for a long time, but finally decided to use an orison to stabilize the dying Rube. After this the debate shifted to whether or not to give Cosimo, and the still unconscious Amadeo, any rations to help them on their trip back south.

“It is a further journey back to where they came from than any provisions we could afford to provide them would cover,” Bleys the Aubergine said. “In addition, we owe them nothing. They were leading raiders against citizens of our nation. They are lucky we do not just slay them.”

Victoria nodded her agreement.

”We cannot just slay people in cold blood,” Timotheus objected. “And I do not feel right just sending them off into the wilderness to starve.”

“If this young man is a scout, he should be able to forage for food,” Laarus reasoned.

“But it will be days before this other one is ready to travel,” Timotheus said. “We need to leave them food at least that long.”

“We do?” Bleys cocked and eyebrow.

I do…” Timotheus said.

“I don’t care either way,” Markos said, sounding bored.

“Tim has a big heart,” Telémahkos smiled.

Timotheus shrugged and took two days of rations from the party’s packhorse and two from his own, and left them for Cosimo.

“And remember the mercy we have shown you here, and the mercy the priest of Ra showed your companion,” Timotheus said to the young Rube sternly. “Translate!” He pointed to Tymon, losing his usual happy demeanor for a moment, and the servant did so.

“Uh… he said, thank you,” Tymon translated a string of harsh words from the boy. (3)


Tholem, the 18th of Quark – 566 H.E. (637 M.Y.)

Three days later the young nobles and their hirelings had long ago left the track, blazing across the dry harsh grasses of this area of the Disputed Territories. Occasionally, there would be a small copse of trees, and some held cool ponds fed by little streams emerging from lonely hills. The party rose before dawn each day to get as many miles behind them in the cool thinning darkness, allowing them to stay out of the sun in the hours surrounding mid-day. Kermit would lead them to a shady grove or tiny cave to eat and rest out of the relentlessness of Ra’s Glory. Each night he refused to allow them a fire, and a few times he would disappear for an hour or so, giving Falco directions on how to guide the party in the meantime. He would return sometimes with some rabbits or pheasants to ease the party’s reliance on their limited rations. Once Falco managed to take down a sickly doe, which provided food for the big group for nearly two days.

They were heading nearly due south now, and the land was becoming increasingly dry. The foliage here was made up of low scrubby trees, and thick rolling thorny bushes that created a barrier to the east. To the west fingers of a sparse wood over a range of uneven ground obstructed much progress in that direction.

It was late afternoon and the group had spread out quite a bit, the horses slowed to a walk in the heat of the sun, and Kermit was at the lead, ever vigilant.

Ironside nickered nervously, and Victoria reached forward and patted the horse’s neck to soothe it. “What’s the matter, Ironside?”

Suddenly there was movement in the thorny bushes and a wild boar, a runt for its kind, came rushing out in their direction. All the horses shuddered nervously, and Victoria’s reared up. As suddenly as the boar came rushing out, it began to stop, kicking up dust, seeming to just notice the party and all their horses. They could see where thick thorns had torn up its hide on either side of its head and body.

“Something must be hunting it,” Timotheus called out to his companions, as Kermit and Duckhunter hurried ahead toward a tree in the middle of their path, coming around to face what else emerged. The boar squealed nervously, and adjusted its path to hopefully avoid all the horses.

“Dragon!” Kermit cried, but in the chaos of the moment not everyone heard his cry of alarm. There emerged from the thorny bushes a bright green draconic beast, nearly six feet long. Its wings snapped as it gained a bit of height as it emerged. Its tiny scales gleamed in the afternoon light, and it hissed, showing its long dagger-like teeth set in a powerful jaw.

Markos’ horsed reared, and the seaman-wizard was thrown from it. The boar charged past, and Victoria, still not seeing the dragon cried out, “Are we just going to let it go? It could be dinner!” Telémahkos having dismounted on the far side of his horse, did not see the dragon either, nor did he hear Kermit’s cry. He hustled forward towards the boar, crossbow in hand. Looking up he saw small wyrm rise up, and he leapt back. “Let it take the boar!” he cried to the others.

Falco Fletching leapt off his horse and sent it away from the others with a slap to its rear. He hustled over to the tree Kermit was near, getting down to one knee beneath it as he drew an arrow to his bow.

“Pull together!” Timotheus cried out to the others. “If it tries to take one of us, make it pay!”

Materia maxima! Markos intoned, and Tim’s voice grew deeper as he spoke, enlarged by the spell. Now he was nearly thirteen feet tall, and his flail was nearly as long as a man was tall. He took a swing as the dragon was suddenly upon him, but it swooped out of the way and locked its teeth on his shoulder, his breastplate protesting. Timotheus was barely able to push himself free. Dunlevey ran over to support Tim, shield raised and long sword in his other hand, as Laarus dismounted and called out to Ra.

“Ra! Please send us the holy light of your glory to burn this beast that dares attack your servants under your ever-watchful eye!” And a beam of golden light seemed to flash out of the sun itself. The dragon shrieked as its scales began to smolder. (4)

Kermit let loose an arrow from his position south of the melee, and the small dragon shrieked again. The boar disappeared into the sparse wood.

The dragon flicked its head back and forth now, seeming to realize it predicament as Victoria came around from its other side, still astride Ironside, and thrust her spear into its haunch. Green steam blood splattered on the dry ground.

There was a crunch of it scales as Timotheus’ flail slammed into it. It nearly lost its footing. “Take that, lizard breath!”

The small dragon had had enough. It spun around and began to flee along the ground, using its wings to maneuver and get longer strides. Timotheus tried to smash it again as it pulled away, but it was lower down to the ground as it crawled away, and he failed to compensate for his new height. Victoria tried to stab it as it fled as well, but it sidestepped and avoided the bow. (5) There was something odd about the way it scurried away; something that seemed awkward for its sinuous body.

Another of Kermit’s arrows struck it, but Flaco who had been firing at it steadily, wary of hitting any of his allies accidentally, could not find the target.

Victoria spun Ironside around and charged again, as the dragon was making its way back into the thorny brush. It rolled on one side at the last minute, avoiding the blow and then hopping up to gain a little bit of air, its head lolling a bit as it panted. Telémahkos rode up from its left, and lowered his lance even with it, but it hopped again, avoiding the blow.

“If you are not fighting, gather the horses, we need to move!” Timotheus called out to the others as he hurried on foot to join the fight. “If this thing has a momma, we need to be long gone!”

Bleys, who had just dismounted and drawn his sword, put it back away and climbed back up to do the chore, realizing the fight would be over one way or another before he got a chance to contribute anything to it.

Sagitta aquom! Markos cast, and two arrows of watery translucent blue light struck the dragon as it hurtled itself into the brush, barely avoiding the blow of Tim’s flail as he arrived at the edge. They saw it bound once more, and then disappear.

“That… that was a dragon!” Kermit said, sounding nervous. “That is the first I heard of dragons around here…”

“I take it that was why you never mentioned them?” Victoria asked. “Still, it seemed rather small for what I have heard of dragons.”

“It was a young one,” Timotheus said. “Or at least, so I would bet… We need to put some distance between us and this place…”

The others agreed.


Teflem, the 20th of Quark – 566 H.E. (637 M.Y.)

Two days later they skirted a dry lakebed just beyond a row of low hills, approaching the village of the Ray-Ree tribe. The day before, as they made their final camp for the day, Kermit Buckleburr had made map in the dust with the end of a stick, showing the relative positions of the King Stones, the Mounds of the Ray-Ree, the tribe’s village, and the marsh held in by the hills they had passed. The group had agreed to go directly to the so-called barbarians.

When Kermit informed them that the village would be just beyond he horizon, the signers of the charter of Schiereiland dismounted, and left Dunlevey, Falco, and Kermit to bring the animals along a bit behind them. They did not want the tribesmen to think that they came as raiders, and Kermit explained that his presence might sour the meeting, as these barbarians did not tend to like non-humans.

Bleys, Laarus, Markos, Telémahkos, Timotheus walked forward and only a couple of hundred yards away they could see shacks made of thatch that looked as if they were made to be moved. Three figures were jogging in their direction. They were clearly two tall men, and an equally as tall woman. They thrust spears over their heads and called out, “We are the warriors of the Ray-Ree! We do not fear you!”

End of Session #9

---------------------------------------------------------
Notes:

(1) The people of the Kingdom of the Red God of the West are not known for their skill at metallurgy and armor-smithing, having notoriously inefficient armor.

(2) Direct Translation: “I do not speak your filthy infidel tongue!

(3) Throughout the exchange, Tymon was softening the boy’s responses, just giving the gist of them without the invective and insults.

(4) This spell is Holy Light of Ra’s Glory.

(5) This was an attack of opportunity for moving through her threatened area.
 
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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
So I just finished typing up Session #10 last night and started on Session #11, and I have to say it went a lot quicker and was a lot more fun to write than Session #9 and the InterSessions.

I hope to finish writing Session #11 over the weekend, or at the very least before I leave for GEN CON on Wednesday - and post the first part of #10 (which will be in 2 parts) before heading off, and then posting the second part when I return.

It's looking like we are going to be having a month and a half break in the game from now to mid-september, so I have a chance to close ground, though I have little hope of actually catching up.
 
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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Session #10 – “Drunken Chiefs & Cattle Thiefs” (part 1 of 2) (1)

“We are the warriors of the Ray-Ree! We do not fear you!”

The three figures were clearly young. Two men and one woman called out with spears over their heads. Bleys took the lead, dropping his sword belt and his bow. Telémahkos tried to hand the watch-mage a shovel to bring with him, but typical to his manner, Bleys just ignored it, letting it fall into the dust as well.

“Hail and well met!” Bleys the Aubergine called out. “I am Bleys the Aubergine. My companions are the signers of the Charter of Schiereiland, noble adventurers who come bearing gifts for your people!”

The figure in the middle came forward. He was young man with long thick black hair dusted gray by the dry powdered ground. He was the tallest of the three, but they were all tall and wiry, wearing thick leather bands tied around their feet and calves, and crude leather jerkins, decorated with thick and necessary stitches, and lined with tarnished metal studs. The young woman wore a flute about her neck on a leather thong. Her hair was dirty and braided, but her dirt streaked face seemed friendly. The other young man was slightly shorter, but broader in the shoulders. His black hair was cut much shorter, and he wore a quiet grimace.

While they clearly walked with warriors’ gaits, they seemed too young to be the ones to come out and meet strangers.

“I am Marysus,” the man in the middle said, with an exaggerated smile. He spoke common haltingly, the vowels were exaggerated and the diphthongs made into guttural noises. “We have been sent to bring you to the First Elder. Your coming has been foretold.”

“Greetings, Marysus,” Bleys nodded his head in a half-bow, and Victoria and Markos walked up to join him.

“This is Trititia,” Marysus gestured to the young woman on the left. “She is the Voice of the Ray-Ree. She is its memory and its tales.” He then gestured to the young man on his right. “This is Tanliss, son of Tanliss. Son of the chieftain…”

Bleys introduced himself and then Victoria and Markos as well, each of the young barbarians raising a hand to them in greeting. Trititia sang their names back to them, her accent thickening with song. Urged on by Telémahkos, Tymon hurried forward with a sack full of some tools and other gear.

“We come with gifts for your people, and would enjoy the opportunity to present them to your chief,” Bleys explained. “We wish to do your tribe honor and not encroach upon you in our forays into the King Stones and the Dalvan Moor.”

“You coming has been foreseen,” Marysus said again. “You are to come and speak with the First Elder, and may present your gifts to him…”

“We have seen that you have left your servants and the hairy-foot-child with your animals,” Trititia said. “Tanliss, son of Tanliss will go with one of you to retrieve them to the village, as the rest of you come with us. The First Elder must speak to you of the Blood-Eye and the danger they pose.”

Tanliss nodded, but he never spoke a word. Timotheus volunteered to go back with Tanliss and get the others, while Bleys, Telémahkos, Markos, Victoria, Laarus and Tymon followed Marysus and Trititia towards the village of the Ray-Ree.

The young nobles were quite right about the village seeming like it was not permanent. The homes were shacks made of rectangular bundles of thatch tied together with thick hemp rope. There were also some larger huts that seemed to serve communal purpose, and the Ray-Ree began to come out and line up to watch the foreigners walk towards the only structure that seemed to have an actual foundation. It was immediately evident that everyone in the village was either no older than fourteen summers, or nor younger than fifty. Marysus, Trititia and Tanliss, son of Tanliss, were clearer the oldest of the young people, but not one of them had reached eighteen. The people wore ragged clothing tied close to their bodies with spare patches of cloth. The children, their hair long, wild and dirty, had faces of unnerving solemnity, and the permanent grimaces of the old women gave the sense of lives of untold suffering and utter lack. The old people were all shorn; some bearing scarred scalps as if the hair had been cut by force. It was strangely silent.

Telémahkos smiled and waved a shovel at the crowd, hoping to elicit a reaction, but there was none to speak of, just some unintelligible muttering among the women.

There were no animals around except for a wandering handful of scrawny goats, biting stubbornly at equally stubborn grass coming out in harsh shoots through the dry rocky ground.

The central building had a foundation made of stones cemented together and then covered over with a dome of hide nailed to wooden frame. Trititia slipped through the dire wolf pelt serving as a door, and a few moments later, Marysus held it open and motioned for the signers of the Charter of Schiereiland to go in.

The inside of the hut was dim and cool. There was a mix of musk and flowers in the air, and streams of light came through narrow slits cut in the hide. The ground was covered in soft quilts. Sitting on the floor was a man in a long gray poncho. He was very long-limbed, and had a long thick mane of white hair, streaked with black. He had a sharp profile, and deep crags in his leathered skin. He nodded as the party entered, gesturing them to sit on the floor before him. The young Thrician nobles, did so, looking around to take their strange surroundings. There was a young girl of about nine years sitting on a lone pillow. Where her eyes should have been was just scarred over tissue, her head bobbled, following the sound of their arrival and awkward sitting. There were four boys of about thirteen or fourteen dressed in painted hide armor, holding short spears flat against their tall shields. They stood in pairs on either side of the mat of the First Elder, Admentus.

“Welcome Sons and Daughter of Thricia,” Admentus said, his common was much better than that of the young greeters. Though it was thickly accented, he had a good grasp of vocabulary. “It gladdens our hearts that in this time of need you come to us bearing gifts, but our need is greater than mere tools can provide for. While we cannot hope to buy your aid, for the Ray-Ree buy nothing, we can give you the gift of our hospitality, and share in what many young and eager Thricians have shared in over the years in their forays to the King Stones. It was so when I was a boy, and it was so when the First Elder of that time was a boy…”

“I am Bleys Winter, called Bleys the Aubergine, watch-mage of the Academy,” said Bleys formerly. “My companions and I thank you for your seeing us, and for your people’s hospitality.”

“It is not I who saw you, but our seer,” Admentus lay a large calloused hand upon the head of the blind girl.

“I am Telémahkos of House Briareus, my cousin Timotheus will be joining us as well when he has helped settle the horses and the tools we have brought as a gift for your people in return for your hospitality,” Telémahkos said.

“In return? The Ray-Ree buy and sell nothing, but we appreciate your gift, and hope to make good use of them,” Admentus said.

“I am Victoria Ostrander of Anhur,” the militant introduced herself, and Laarus and Markos followed suit, but the young mage went further. “Marysus made it sound as if there was something else we could do in return for your hospitality, some aid in your time of need…?”

“The Ray-Ree buy nothing. We exchange nothing. All is freely given, or not at all… But, yes,” Admentus replied, but instead of explaining, he spoke some words in their harsh Rubar-influenced tongue, and a young girl, much the same age as the seer, came out from a dark corner of the hut bearing a huge skin, nearly as tall as she was. She placed a small ceramic cup in front of the First Elder, and then one in front of each of the young nobles. She then stood by Admentus, holding out the heavy skin, and he took it and filled his cup with some thick off-white liquid. The girl took it back and then went over and stood beside Bleys. The watch-mage followed suit, hoping he was following the custom correctly, and then the girl took the skin and did the same with each of the others.

Admentus raised the cup and waited for everyone else to mimic him, and then he drank deeply. The others did the same hardly able to bear the sour taste of the fermented goat’s milk. Telémahkos coughed, and Markos grimaced.

“As you have no doubt noticed our warriors are gone,” Admentus began. “Our chief, Tanliss, father of Tanliss has led them all to the council of chieftains, where all the great tribes gathered to decide how to act in response to the incursions of the people who worshiped the Red God of the West. It has been generations since such a council was called, but the hordes were gathered, and the cities of the Kingdom the Red God will suffer for the hubris of their priest-kings.”

“Yes, but Trititia said something about the danger of the Blood-eye?” Markos fidgeted, restless.

“Yes… The absence of our warriors leave us vulnerable to the bugbears of the Blood-eye,” Admentus replied.

“Bugbears? Are they from Tar Fane?” Bleys asked, remembering the location from Malcolm’s map. (2)

“Yes, and for near a generation now, the Ray-Ree have avoided conflict with this tribe by granting the gift of a delicious brew for their chief, who is called Bruggah,” Admentus explained. “Left to their own will, the bugbears would stream out of the hills into the moor and hunt the aurochs we depend on to total destruction. The Ray-Ree warriors would be forced to try to stop them, but even if we prevailed, the bugbear tribe serves as an obstacle to much more dangerous groups of ogres and giants that live beyond the Tar Fane… The gift of the brew, four times a year, has placated Bruggah, and he keeps his kind at bay, losing perhaps one aurochs a year to their raids. But now Bruggah has returned ahead of time demanding more brew. We fear that he has been informed about the absence of our warriors, and he seeks to press his desire for the beer… He has given us three days to produce it… Though he has been known to be late…”

“Who would have told him?” asked Bleys.

“Hezra, called Hezra Blacktooth, witch, and lover of orcs.” The crags in the elder’s face deepened when he said the name. “She was once the student of Rudwilla of the Toadstools, witch and midwife of the Ray-Ree, but is now exiled. Gone for years, she was recently seen in the area, and long has she held bitter resentment to her former people and to Rudwilla. It is Rudwilla that makes the brew for Bruggah.”

“So you fear this Hezra may try to interfere with the making of more brew for Bruggah?” Laarus asked.

“Yes… We have no warriors to spare to watch over her as she gathers her ingredients and prepares the crucial brew, for if the bugbears do decide to attack the village, every boy, girl and old man who can raise a spear or throw a stone will have to fight,” Admentus said, solemnly.

The girl was walking around and handing people the huge skin again and refill their cups. Trititia began to sing a song in their strange tongue that obviously told a tale, perhaps of their coming, for they were sure they heard their names chanted in it.

Admentus drank again. This time Telémahkos only pretended to drink, taking the smallest sip.

“We would happily gift you this aid,” Bleys said.

”Yes, the goblins have long been a danger to my people, so I know that they must be handled carefully,” Telémahkos added, as the others nodded their agreement.

“But why is it that your warriors have not slain this chief long ago?” Victoria asked.

“Bugbears we could fight, giants we cannot hope to last against,” Admentus replied. “And if our warriors return and find us slain by the bugbears, then Bruggah and his kind will sorely pay for their crime… Have no doubt of that, but wisdom must be exhausted before revenge is considered.” Victoria lowered her head as if in deep contemplation of alternatives.

“What can you tell us about this Hezra Blacktooth? Why was she exiled?” Bleys asked.

“She dabbled in magics that the Jackal God (3) forbids,” Admentus said. “She left our lands never to return upon pain of death. She had already been cast out of the village proper for her bearing the half-breeds. You will want to be wary of her sons who have the blood of the boar god’s runts…” (4)

“How many sons does she have?” Markos asked.

“At least four, perhaps more now? She has been gone twenty years, and as far as we know she went to the orcish lands to the due west.”

It was decided that the party would head out to Rudwilla’s cottage on the moors after they had partaken a meal with the tribe. Dinner was served outside, a huge roasted aurochs which people were allowed to cut their own piece from with the knife every man, woman and child seemed to carry with them at all time. There were boiled greens, and whole potatoes that had been shoved into the carcass that cooked as it roasted. There was also a lot more of the fermented goat’s milk, though most of the party avoided it, Timotheus took a liking to it, comparing it to a drink made in the area of Chalkour.

The young nobles noticed that anything they left uneaten a neighboring tribesperson would just reach over and grab and eat it, without asking. They also noticed that those sitting around Tim seemed to be eating out of his bowl a lot, and then he stood and staggered and tried to excuse himself. Telémahkos stood as well to help his cousin, and Tymon was right there on the other side. Telie could immediately see Tim was flush and sweating.

“I don’t feel well…” Timotheus croaked. It was bog flu, or something resembling it, and the tall warrior was guided to a ‘pest shack’ where the sick and dying were brought. There the elder women of the tribe would care for him as the rest of the party used the remaining light of the day to get to Rudwilla’s in the swamp. The time limit of Bruggah’s return made waiting for their companion impossible. (5)

Marysus and an unnamed boy of about twelve summers were to guide the signers of the Charter of Schiereiland to a place where they could then easily explain to Falco and Kermit how to arrive at Rudwilla’s cottage. The barbarians were uneasy around Kermit, and never addressed him directly. For his own part, Kermit Buckleburr wore a smug expression as if this treatment was all that could be expected from big folk.



“Marysus will point out to you the Mounds of the Ray-Ree as a feature you can look for in the land should you get turned around,” Admentus said.

“Yes, those Mounds are on our map,” Bleys said, his eyes lighting up.

“They are resting place of our chieftains, great warriors and sages,” Admentus explained. “It is watched over by Brother Cineas who was but a novice when he let with his master Oneidas to the great council of monks abroad…” (6)

“A monk of Anubis?” Laarus asked.

“Yes… His patron is the Jackal God, as are all the guardians of the tombs of people honored by the gods,” Admentus replied. “Do not be so surprised that he has gone to your decadent world and chosen to come back… I too spent time in your lands when I was young, aiding a scholar at your University in Moon City, and seeking adventure in your lands, even as you do in ours… I was at the university during the coming of the Anarcanaloth!” (7)

Admentus coughed and sputtered, and the party politely smiled and gave him some respectful silence, unsure how to respond to this pronouncement, and then went to ready their horses for the journey to the moors.

As they marched across the increasingly muddy ground towards the moors, a lone low cloud momentarily abated the heat of Ra’s Glory. Marysus pointed out an area to their right where they noticed some kind of narrow stream surrounding an area of tall earthen mounds. The Mounds of the Ray-Ree.

“When we are done with this gift for the Ray-Ree we should go an visit the monk,” Laarus of Ra suggested.

“Yes, he may have a unique outlook on the area that it would profit us to know,” Bleys the Aubergine agreed. “If the ‘Devoured Town’ (8) on the map Malcolm provided us has to do with undead, as I suspect, then this Brother Cineas would be just the one to talk to.”

Not too long after, Marysus pointed out the edge of the moorlands, a ridge where poplars shaded a drop off. Just beyond was a line of tall blue elms, and beyond that in the middle of pond fed by five tiny streams they would find Rudwilla’s cottage. Marysus was careful to draw a line of landscape features from the edge of the moors towards the Ray-Ree camp.

Some of the horses were reticent to enter the deepening water beyond the ridge, shaking their heads and blowing air hard out of their nostrils. Progress was slow, as Falco tried to pick a route along relatively dry land and still keep to the barbarian’s instructions. Duckhunter was playfully leaping from root structure to root structure, Kermit holding tightly to his saddle horn.

Eventually they came to the island and saw it dominated by a dome-like stone structure built low to the ground. There was a small pen, perhaps for goats, that stood open and empty. The water was deepest here as they approached, and they got off their horses to climb up onto the island.

A narrow stream of smoke was emerging from a chimney atop the round structure, and they noted the door to the front hall, which stuck out of the front of the structure, was ajar. As Falco and Kermit remained behind with the horses, Victoria slowly made her way around the right side of the cottage, while Dunlevey and Bleys made their way around the right, backed up at some distance by Telémahkos and Tymon. Laarus made his way to the door and called in. There was no response.

Telémahkos looked within a little fenced in garden, and noticed all the vegetables had been violently ripped up and the plants stomped down.

“Someone was here and they weren’t happy…” he whispered up to the watch-mage.

Victoria heard a sound like ‘Kuh-Ziizap!’ as she crept around the cottage, and there she saw the low wall of well with an askew wooden cover. Hovering over it were two bizarre creatures. They were balls of fur about a foot in diameter, with large bug eyes, tiny curved horns and a long bald tail that sizzled with lightning. They flicked their tails against the cover and arcs of energy made the wood smoke. (9)

“What in the Hells?!?” Dunlevey cried out as he came around the cottage from the other side. The creatures began to bob through the air in his direction. There was a hiss in the air as an arrow from Bleys’ bow made the lead creature spin for a moment, a jet of blood arcing to the ground. It snapped its tail angrily and continued towards Dunlevey, opening a here-to-fore unseen fanged mouth. He swung his great sword, slamming it away with the hilt as it tried to bite down on his neck. Markos hurried forward letting a bolt fly from his gnomish repeating crossbow as the creature was pushed way, but it fell short.

The creature dove at Dunlevey again, and the bushy-haired fighter was forced to yank it off, dropping his greatsword to one hand. The second one bit down as well, and he could not keep it off, feeling it begin to suck the blood from his body. He cried out, and Bleys the Aubergine was beside him, chopping at the creature with his sabre, still holding his bow in the other hand. Laarus charged from the front of the cottage, slamming the first of the creatures with his flail before it could attack Dunlevey again. There was a revolting crunch and the thing fell to the ground.

There was a tearing sound as Dunlevey began to grow in size with arcane words from Markos, and the creature was forced to bite down to keep its grip. Dunlevey’s body jerked as the thing whipped him with its lightning tail, and blue lights sparked up and down. Bleys dropped his weapons and grabbed the thing in his hands, as Dunlevey grabbed at it instinctually. Together they were able to rip the thing free, blood pouring down the hireling’s arm.

Victoria charged forward in the same moment, but the creature bobbed awkwardly out of the way of the spear thrust, but as it now turned to flee, she thrust forward again, and jerked it off its trajectory, trailing blood. A crossbow bolt from Tymon finished it before it could get much further.

“What in the Hells were those things?” Dunlevey asked again. Bleys walked over to the corpse of one and examined it by sabre-point, while Markos walked over to the well.

“You say they were hovering over this well?” he asked, as he lifted the cover. The sun-drenched young sea-mage looked down and was startled to see the frightened eyes of a girl of about ten summers looking up at him. She was clutching desperately to the rock wall, her bare feet on the earthen lip of the well.

…to be continued…

---------------------------------------
Notes:

(1) Session #10 was played on June 10th, 2007.

(2) See the Moor-Tomb Map.

(3) The Jackal God is the form of Anubis when considered a part of the Beast Gods.

(4) The Boar God is another name for Ashronk, God of Orcs. It is his guise as one of the Beast Gods.

(5) Timotheus’ player was unable to attend Session #10 and so his character contracted Bog Flu

(6) In 564 H.E. all monks of Anubis were summoned to a convocation in the Equin Isles.

(7) I really expected the players to be intrigued by this, or at the very least ask what an “anarcanaloth” might be… But nope! ;)

(8) Again, see the Moor-Tomb Map

(9) ‘Volts’ are another creature towards my goal of including versions of as many 1E Fiend Folio creatures as I can.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Well, I am off to GEN CON tomorrow.

For those of you readers who are going to be there, I hope to run an Aquerra-style pick-up game at some point (probably Saturday afternoon).

So if you are interested, pop me a private message or an email.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Session #10 – “Drunken Chiefs & Cattle Thiefs” (part 2 of 2)

Markos leaned over to help the girl out of the well, and Victoria moved to aid him when she saw what was happening. Her name was Tora, and was Rudwilla’s apprentice.

“Did you scare lightning tails?” the girl asked in broken common, which was still better than most of the Ray-Ree the party had met aside from Admentus, Trititia and Marysus.

“We have been sent by First Elder Admentus,” Victoria explained. “To help Rudwilla make her brew. Do you know where she is?”

The girl’s face grew paler and she nodded. “Hezra’s sons come and take her… I… I hide, and I see them hit her and carry her off…”

“How many were there?” Markos asked.

“Four… I think, four… I heard them talking…Pig-bloods…” the girl replied, holding up four fingers in case she got the word for the number wrong. “They mentioned the old keep…”

“Do you think they brought her there?” Victoria asked.

“If she is a witch why did she not defend herself?” Markos asked.

“Markos, it does not matter,” Victoria said, sternly.

The little girl scampered away a bit, suddenly overwhelmed by the tall foreign strangers barking at her and each other in a language she barely understood.

“Girl, do you know where this old keep is?” Bleys the Aubergine asked.

She opened her mouth to talk, but then shook her head. “A little?” she offered.

“If she means the ruins of the keep on the old borderlands, then I know where it is,” Kermit said, stepping forward. The girl was startled by the sudden appearance of the halfling, and began to walk quickly around to the front of the cottage.

Victoria, Bleys and Telémahkos followed.

Meanwhile, Laarus and Dunlevey had gone around back to the front of the cottage from the other side, looking inside to see it ransacked. The girl stopped in her tracks as she came around and saw them. Laarus of Ra gave the girl a polite little bow. “Hello!”

“What manner of creatures were those that were trying to get at you?” Bleys asked the girl.

“Lightning tails…”

“Did Hezra’s sons bring those here?” Bleys asked, but he could immediately tell the little girl thought it was a silly question.

“They live moor. They came because noise,” she tried to explain. “I hide again…”

“This certainly is a dangerous place if those monsters are what pass for mosquitoes,” Victoria quipped.

According to Tora, Rudwilla had just returned from retrieving the final three ingredients for the brew when she was taken, and that the ingredients had been taken as well.

It was getting dark and after a brief debate about going immediately, or waiting until morning, they decided to stay in Rudwilla’s hut with watches set outside to look over the horses and make sure no bugbears or any of Hezra’s sons came.

They did their best to help Tora straighten up the ransacked place, but luckily the brewing barrels were hidden away from the cottage, so they were still viable. The girl would spend the next day seeking out the final ingredients and prepare to do her best to replicate her mistress’s methods if the party was unable to rescue her.


Anulem, the 21st of Quark – 566 H.E. (637 M.Y.)

The horses kicked up trailing plumes of dust as the signers of the Charter of Schiereiland galloped out of the moors west by northwest into a dry gray plain broken up by low bald brown hills. Duckhunter ducked in and around the line of horses, Kermit exulting in the open run as much as the animals were. He signaled everyone as they approached a long low ridge that was similar to the brown hills, but topped with green coils of flowering thorny vines.

“Just beyond here,” Kermit said. Tymon stayed behind with the horses, as Kermit and Duckhunter picked their way up the steep slope of the ridge and motioned for everyone to crouch down as they came up, stopping just short of the top. Squatting and laying there, they looked out at an arid field of cracked earth strewn with wind blown pebbles. The lines of long dead streams wound here and there, and here and there were still signs of water, but in the form of slow moving mudflow. One such a stream had been diverted to fill a makeshift moat about a small ruined keep. The moat appeared to be mostly dried, and some wooden boards served as a means of crossing it from the front. The keep looked as if it had once been part of a much larger structure, long gone save for pieces of fractured curtain wall, and the occasional shadow of its foundation.

“These keeps are from the Time of the Six Kingdoms,” Bleys the Aubergine informed the others. “It was these keeps that defended the borderlands of the southern portion of the Sunra Kingdom and the First Kingdom of the Red God of West.”

“That’s fascinating,” Markos sneered.

The keep was perhaps six hundred yards from the edge of the ridge; so approaching it unseen was unlikely. Where the ridge curved to the west, was much further away from great front doors facing where they hid, so they knew they would be out in the open much longer and thus likely to be spotted.

After watching the place for some time and seeing no one come or go, the young nobles discussed their options, from creating a diversion and trying to make their way through a hole in the northern wall of the ruined keep, to simply calling out and parleying. In the end, it was generally agreed that they would approach as if they were seeking this place out as a respite from their mercenary adventuring, and not mention Rudwilla at all, in hopes that Hezra and her sons might be fooled into not using the abducted witch as a human shield or slay her when the fighting started.

They made their way down the ridge toward the small ruined keep on their horses, leaving Kermit to watch from above, as he re-asserted that he would not be doing anymore fighting than he needed to do.

“Hmm… Yes! This looks like a good defensible place to rest before continuing with our treasure hunt!” Markos called loudly to his companions as they approached. Laarus of Ra frowned, not happy with the ruse and not participating in it, though he did nothing to dissuade his companions.

“It certainly seems abandoned,” Telémahkos replied.

The party spread out along the front of the keep, and Telémahkos began to bring his horse forward along the north wall towards the gap they had noticed, with Tymon right on his tail. He noticed that two narrow wooden planks had been laid across the moat on that side, allowing access, however treacherous, to the gap.

Victoria of Anhur noticed the broader wooden boards that served as a bridge over the moat towards the broken front doors would probably not hold the weight of her horse, so she dismounted to cross. As she stepped on the makeshift bridge, an over-sized mouth appeared in the center of it.

“Be gone ye petty thieves, lest your heads be stuffed with leaves and left to stare upon my wall. I have no time for guests AT ALL!” The magic mouth smirked and disappeared, even as its words echoed through the ruins.

“Heh. A rhymer,” Victoria smirked back, and took another step. She cried out as an arrow came out of the boarded up window above the doors into the keep, clipping her hip. Moving between Ironside and Laarus’ horse, she reached up and called to Anhur, granted the priest of Ra bull’s strength. A second arrow made her leap to the side to avoid it.

Meanwhile, Telémahkos and Tymon’s attention was brought to a tall slender dark-complexioned figure, with greasy long-black hair. He had deep-set eyes and thick eyebrows, and seemed startled to see the two adventurer’s so close as he began to pass the gap. He let an arrow fly at Tymon, but fired while off balance and nearly fell on his ass. (1)

“We got us an orc over here!” Telémahkos called to his friends. “The company’s gonna give us a bonus!”

Dunlevey leapt off his horse and hurried forward to cross the bridge and rush the doors, as a third arrow pinged painfully off of Victoria’s scale mail, and she could feel the bruise begin to swell beneath. The hireling, hit the dirt, hoping for a clear moment to resume his charge, but it was not to be. As Laarus dismounted, he thought he heard chanting from behind the boards above, and suddenly, Dunlevey was back on his feet, having dropped his sword, and was running, yelling in fear in the opposite direction from the doors.

Anger making the priest of Ra’s face a stern mask, Laarus rushed across the makeshift bridge and through the doors. As he ran, Markos pointed at him and chanted, “Materia maximus!”, and the priest began to grow, his long legs carrying him across. However, the heavy blow of a great axe greeted him. He staggered back, seeing a nasty rent in his bronze breastplate. Victoria came up behind him, casting cure light wounds. But it was little help. Laarus looked down in time to see the axe rising again in the hands of a half-orc that was gibbering with rage. The foe had ghostly pale skin that revealed the veins and sinews beneath. He had an ugly fuzz-covered jutting jaw, broad shoulders, long thick white hair and yellow eyes. The blow fell and Laarus fell with it, his enlarged form collapsing loudly against the broken door, as he began to bleed out.

“Laarus has fallen!” Victoria called out, and felt a cold rush of fear wash over her, but her faith in Anhur was stronger than the same spell that had driven Dunlevey away. He was still running.

During this time, Bleys turned his horse around to give it room to gallop toward the far end of the moat and leap over it, to support Telémahkos and Tymon. He leapt off his horse and quickly fired an arrow at the orc on that side, but missed. As the orc and Tymon exchanged missile fire, Telémahkos leapt off his horse and hurried over one of the beams crossing the moat. He threw a dagger as he came out of a cartwheel. The dagger missed, but the half-orc gave ground, giving the white-garbed young noble a chance to tumble around into a position behind him, the Steep Whip suddenly in his hand. The orcish bowman, spun around and stepped back and Telémahkos instinctively shielded his face as an arrow came bouncing off the bone of his forearm. He cried out in the agony of it. The half-orc paid for turning his back on Bleys, feeling the bite of the watch-mage’s saber, as the latter rushed in to aid his companion. The half-orc moved back again, to try to keep all three of his foes in his field of vision.

Beyond the gap in the wall, was some kind of crumbly hall with an adjacent stairway up to the next level. The stairway was hidden by the remaining portion of the outer wall beyond the gap.

Swim!” Victoria commanded the raging barbarian that had downed Laarus. He could not resist, and hurried past Victoria and Markos, who was now moving up, torch in hand, and leapt into the shallow moat. (2) The militant of Anhur followed this up by kneeling at Laarus side and curing his wounds. The priest of Ra stirred, and sat up in time to see that the barbarian half-orc had already shaken off the effects of Victoria’s spell. Covered in mud and no less angry, the half-orc began to climb out of the far side of the moat. His battle axe dropped somewhere in the mud.

“Ra! I call on you to smite this foe with your holy light!” Laarus prayed, and a beam of golden light flew out of the sky, and the half-orc sizzled. He roared in agony, drawing a short sword from his side. Victoria readied for the barbarian’s predictable charge.

“Telémahkos!” Bleys tried to warn his brother-in-law, but it was too late. So intent the blond noble was on the tall lithe half-orc that he did not see another had crept down the stairs and stepped out of the shadowy corner to send an arrow at him. Telémahkos ducked feeling his hamstring spasm at the sudden movement. (3) This new half-orc brother was savage-looking, with a long tail of steel-colored hair emerging from the base of his head, and scars all over his bestial face and muscular body.

“Good shot, Lormax!” A third half-orc appeared mid-day up the stairs, firing an arrow of his own. He had tightly woven black braids that were close to his pock-marked scalp. His face was similarly afflicted, and he had a primitive-looking protruding jaw and yellow eyes. “I couldn’t let Sequius have all the fun,” Lormax snorted in reply, referring the tall and lithe brother.

“You foul half-breeds call this fun?” Telémahkos growled. “We’ll kill you all!”

“Yeah, fun…” Sequius let an arrow go that lodged against one of the studs on Bleys’ armor. The watch-mage winced.

By this time, Falco had rode around the perimeter of the keep and leapt off his horse to come to Bleys and Telie’s aid, but in trying to hurry across the beams, he slipped and fell into the moat. A few seconds later, he surfaced, brushing at something long and black attached to his body.

“Leeches!” Falco cried. The leech was nearly four feet long.

Bleys was distracted, and barely leapt out of the way of an arrow from Lormax, who withdrew into the corner. “Materia maxima! Bleys cast on himself, and the watch-mage grew to over twelve feet in height.

Realizing he was at the center of a triangle of bowmen, Telémahkos rushed Sequius, the Steel Whip humming in the air, as it cut the half-orc’s neck open, sending a spurt of blood out. Sequius leapt back, barely avoiding the constant stream of bolts coming from Tymon, still on the other side of the moat.

At the front of the keep, Victoria was jerking the barbarian’s corpse off the end of her spear, as Laarus of Ra called to his god to close his remaining wounds. He felt the exhaustion of pushing his body beyond mortal limits, (4) but endeavored to continue, moving to join the other melee, followed by Victoria. Markos had already gone around the corner, shaking his head with disapproval at Falco’s predicament, but doing nothing to help him.

Sagitta aquom! Markos intoned, and two of his watery arrows of light slammed into the chest of Lormax, who was sending an arrow to nip the back of Bleys’ large legs, as the watch-mage began to suddenly flee. His face was with white with the fear of the same whispered arcane words that had sent Dunlevey away. There was a spellcaster at the top of the shadowy stairs, the watch-mage had caught a glimpse of Hezra before fleeing.

Telémahkos was relieved to have his companions arrive to support him, as once again, he had found himself between three foes that kept moving back and shooting at him with practiced precession. It was only a matter of time before one of those arrows did more than clip his shoulder, or force him to duck hard against a wall. He withdrew towards the enlarged priest, and Laarus laid a hand on him curing him of some his lighter wounds, while Victoria seeing there were more foes called to Anhur with a powerful prayer of combat, that her allies may prevail, and her foes quake with the contemplation of vanquishment.

The militant of Anhur grunted, as an arrow from Sequius, who was across the gap in the wall, punctured her scale mail, drawing blood. An arrow from a bedraggled Falco drove the half-orc back, before he could follow up with another. The scout had finally dragged himself out of the moat, looking pasty and annoyed. Realizing he had dropped most of his arrows in the moat, he dropped his bow and drew his scimitar.

And suddenly, that whole room, and the rear hall with the steps were covered in darkness that ended abruptly, as if a solid curtain of night. An arrow came out of the darkness, embedding itself momentarily in Markos’ shin. The mage cried out.

Telémahkos enveloped by the darkness moved over to where he had last seen Victoria, whispering to her his location so she did not stab him in the dark.

“Ra! Grant us your light and cast away this darkness that is unholy to your sight!” Laarus cried out, filling the area with daylight. The curtain of darkness washed away, and Victoria turned and charged at Sequius, forcing the skinny half-orc back towards the far wall. She thrust her spear into his side. He slid down the wall, a bubble of blood bursting on his lips, his face one of surprise. She turned towards Lormax, still in the corner, as an arrow from him had gotten her attention.

“Anhur! Fill me with your righteous might and fury that I may destroy these brigands!” Victoria cried out, exulting in the power of her god as it made her stronger, tougher and quicker (5). She charged at Lormax, but he stepped aside at the last minute, and within the reach of her spear, forcing her to step back again. She grunted as another arrow lodged itself in her scale mail. The other half-orc, called Orlec, was still on the stairs. A touch from Laarus and Victoria felt some of her wounds begin to heal.

Telémahkos moved in to help keep Lormax on the defensive, whipping his magical rapier back and forth, menacingly.

There was a flash and the smell of brimstone, and suddenly a reddish-brown furred wolf appeared and charged at Falco, pulling the scout off his feet and savaging him some. Lucky for him, Bleys was suddenly there, having come to his senses before he had gone very far, and able to pull a long sword from his horse on the way back to make up for his dropped saber. He drove the fiendish wolf off of Falco, allowing the taciturn scout to crawl away and get to his feet. A moment later, despite still being enlarged the wolf managed to drag Bleys off his feet as well, worrying his ankle. Bleys Winter yanked his foot free and leapt to his feet, chopping down on the fiendish wolf with his sword. Coppery steaming blood dribbled on the hardened earth from the beast. It backed off as Laarus stomped over, flail above his head, to join this melee.

Markos stood back; lending his own bolts to those Tymon kept sending into the fray.

Desperate and penned in, Lormax raised his bow again, taking aim for Victoria, but this left him open to her spear thrust, which pinned him back even as he let the arrow go. There was a metallic pop and then a sickening sound wet sound, as the arrow drove itself into her abdomen at a strange angle. Immediately, she clutched at her side instinctively as her muscles tore. Blood began to gush down her legs. (6) Lormax put another arrow to his bow to try to finish her off, but cried out as Telie’s sword bit him deep, and he was forced to withdraw. Victoria was oblivious to the pain and tears streaming down her dirty face, still filled with the righteous fury of Anhur, and thrust her spear at the fleeing half-orc, but the attempt was futile.

Tymon finally braved balancing over the wooden beams, and joined the melee, long sword drawn. He grit his teeth and moved towards Orlec to discourage him from sending more arrows at Victoria and Telémahkos. Markos, realizing the battle was too chaotic to hope to use his crossbow anymore, drew a dagger and moved over to help pen in the wolf, which was bleeding sorely from a particularly brutal blow from Bleys. Another, and it disappeared in a puff of smoke as it died.

Dunlevey charged into the fray, out of breath from his long run in fear and the run back. Looking around to see where he might be most needed, he headed over to Telémahkos and Victoria. A moment later, his great sword had cleaved Lormax’s head open, and the half-orc was dying.

Orlec suddenly dropped into a roll and leapt away, trying to flee around the corner of the keep along the inside ledge of the moat. Telémahkos gave chase, as did Markos, Falco and Dunlevey. Victoria of Anhur moved to chase him as well, but the little she moved was by force of will alone; trailing a slick of gore.

Laarus called to Ra to calm emotions, hoping to relieve her of her rage, and allow them to see to her wounds, but her will was too strong. (7) But something inside of her must have sensed the danger, for a half a moment later, she shuddered and the bright shine of determination left her eyes, and she collapsed, increasing the speed at which she bled to death. Bleys immediately got down on his knees beside her with his healing kit and went to work, and Laarus did what he could to aid the well-rounded watch-mage, not having any helpful spells remaining.

Around the corner, Telémahkos, Dunlevey, Falco and Tymon pursued Orlec. Telie stepped over a ceramic potion vial that the half-orc must have dropped. Markos moved around the corner and stopped. Seeing the shattered clay, he suddenly realized that perhaps the potion he carried (8) might help Victoria, and he walked over to feed it to her while Bleys and Laarus worked to bandage her. It did some to knit the strained muscles of her abdomen, but the wound continued to bleed (9).

“I surrender,” Orlec cried out, holding his short bow over his head when he realized he was surrounded, but Telémahkos stabbed him anyway.

“Hey! He surrendered!” Dunlevey complained, frowning. The half-orc took the moment’s distraction to tumble out of the ring of foes and scamper along the wall and around the far corner of the keep.

“He didn’t drop his weapon!” Telémahkos replied, by way of explanation, going after him.

“He may have a potion!” Markos called, coming back to the corner. “We need it for Victoria!”

Telémahkos poured on the speed, and stopped short of the corner, and flicked his rapier at the half-orc and drew blood. Orlec had hardly fallen, when the young son of House Briareus began to search him, running back with another ceramic vial.

This one was fed to Victoria as well, and for a moment the bleeding of her wounds slowed, allowing Bleys time finish his work before she died. (10)

“The witch has fled upstairs,” the watch-mage said with a hint of anger in his usually placid voice, looking down at the critically wounded militant. “Let’s go…” He turned to lead the way up.

End of Session #10

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Notes:

(1) The half-orc fumbled, getting this result: 11 – 25 Slip. Make Reflex check vs. DC 15 or fall prone. He made his save. For all the possible fumble effects, click here.

(2) In Aquerra, you are not limited to the five examples listed in the PHB, but can attempt any one-word command with DM approval. The target must understand your language and recognize the chosen word for the spell to function.

(3) This is just a way of describing a very small hit point loss.

(4) In Aquerra, coming back from negative hit points by any means other than full rest means that you are exhausted until you rest a full hour, and fatigued until you rest 8 full hours (though the first hour can count against this if there is no interruption).

(5) Click here to read about the righteous fury ability, and the three aspects she activated at once, holy invigoration, holy might, and holy vigor.

(6) This is the nastiest critical I have ever seen anyone take and not die: 86-87: Apply Crit Multiplier +1 to Total Damage (and armor DP damage) – Reflex Save (DC 10 + ½ damage) or Impaled Through Abdomen, -15 to Speed, 2d4 STR damage, 1d6 DEX damage, 2d4 bleeder.

(7) Victoria made her save against the spell, as she was in her righteous fury, she could not willfully fail her save.

(8) This potion was found in Kraken’s Cove. See session #7.

(9) This was a potion of lesser restoration. While it healed some of the ability damage Victoria took from the critical hit result, it could not actually close those wounds.

(10) This was a potion of aid. The temporary hit points gave Victoria enough time before she would have to make checks against dying for Bleys to finish stabilizing her. For the rules regarding how death and dying works in Aquerra, click here.
 

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