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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
Session #11 – “Strange Brew”(part 1 of 2) (1)

Bleys the Aubergine charged up the stairs, his deep purple cloak whipping behind him. He had retrieved his saber, and Dunlevey was close on his heels. Telémahkos crept as quietly as he could up the stairs behind them, hoping the sound of the two that proceeded him would mask his approach. Laarus of Ra and Markos went upstairs as well, passing the cautious blond, and leaving Tymon and Falco to watch over Victoria.

At the top of the stairs a narrow corner led to a wider hall that led up to the front of the keep. Bleys stood looking at the various wooden doors along the hall, and considering the iron-reinforced one at the end of the hall. Light was coming through the thatched roof that was clearly not original to the structure.

“What next, Master Bleys?” Dunlevey asked, still wearing his perpetual smile, despite half-orc blood being smeared on his face and clothes. The watch-mage simply put a finger to his lips and looked up. Now Dunlevey heard it, too. Something was skittering and hopping around on the roof. As Telémahkos joined them, Bleys pointed to him and then pointed to the bar on the second door on the right, and then walked towards the end of the hall. He kept his saber ready and pointed towards the thatched ceiling which he easily reached with is blade due to his enlarged size.

The thing above made some more noise, and again everyone stopped, Telémahkos listening at the first door on the right, before moving on to the one Bleys has indicated.

“What! Wha-wha-Whaddaya want!” came the screeching voice of a raven above.

“Well…” Telémahkos addressed the bird. “Now we’re here to collect the booty you left behind after making the biggest mistake of your life…” He was obviously continuing the ruse. (2)

“Witch! Show yourself and we will make your death a quick one!” Markos tried to sound intimidating, but all he won was a smirk from Telémahkos.

The raven crowed and then fluttered away, even as Markos cast enlarge person on Dunlevey, so now two hulking forms crowded the narrow keep hallway. The hired warrior stepped over to where Telémahkos was listening at the barred door, and reaching down ripped the bar from the doorframe with his big hands. The door squeaked open and Telémahkos rushed past the large man.

“Ah! Now I see!” Huddled in one corner of this room bare of all but a bucket and a straw mat was the bound and gagged form of white-haired old woman with cheeks like pruned apples and spider-web skin on sharp bones. “So, how much is getting this prisoner back worth to ya?” Telémahkos called up to the roof, even as he kneeled down to whisper in Rudwilla’s ear. “We’re here to rescue you. We were sent by the Ray-Ree. Don’t make any sound yet.” He gestured with a finger to his lips to reinforce his point, and then removed her gag, and began to untie her. She wept silent tears as she rubbed the burns on her freed wrists.

“If you’re still here we’re going to take your treasure, your hostage and then burn this keep to the ground,” Telémahkos called out again. “Feel free to try to dissuade us…”

“Any suggestions about this?” Telémahkos continued to whisper to Rudwilla as he worked on the ropes about her ankles. “Can you help us fight her off? Kill her if necessary?”

“I… I am not prepared,” Rudwilla replied quietly.

Meanwhile, Bleys tried using his increased weight to kick the door at the end of the hall open, but ended up falling on his rear end when it resisted. He stood and dusting himself off, braced himself against the opposed wall and gave a sudden short kick that crushed the door, so that a four-inch gap was visible along one side. Dunlevey squeezed in beside him, and on a count of ‘three’ they smashed the door off its frame, and they heard the clang of the metal bar within the room. Bleys charged in as it fell, looking around quickly and suddenly noticing the open slat in the large boarded window across from the door, he hurried to look through it. This had been where the party has first had arrows rain down on them when the battle began. (3)

Dunlevey went into the room and looked around. Aside from a cot and a footlocker, the only thing in this room of note was large stone table covered with interesting items, including the makings of an alchemist’s lab.

“What now?” Dunlevey asked, stepping over to the footlocker.

“We should get her out of here,” Laarus said, squeezing through the doorway as well. Markos stepped around the enlarged priest, and began to examine the items on the stone table. It was clear that the primitive nature of the laboratory set made easy travel with it out of the question. (4)

“Admentus sent you?” Rudwilla asked, coming into the room with Telémahkos her common thick with an accent. She was clearly walking with some effort.

“Yes, and it seems the witch that abducted you has gotten away,” Bleys replied.

“Could she have turned into that bird?” Telémahkos asked.

Rudwilla shook her head. “Familiar… And you are right, met with overpowering force she will have fled, likely invisibly… We need to see if she left the ingredients for the brew somewhere about…”

Dunlevey went to check the long room on the left as they came up the hall, while Laarus went back down to the others. Bleys the Aubergine meanwhile had knocked the boards out of the window and used his magically increased height to easily climb down. He was worried that the invisible Hezra, or one of her here-to-fore unseen sons, might abscond with their horses. Making a quick circle of the ruined keep, he noticed a here-to-fore unseen secret door in a rear hall behind the stairs that now stood open. He called to Falco, who checked for tracks as Bleys gathered the horses.

"Someone did flee through the moat, but their tracks are quickly obscured," Falco said, as he came over to the watch-mage.

Upstairs the others were checking the remaining room which was some form of barracks, with cots pushed together, and sacks of semi-rotten food, and crumbling holes in one corner where the half-orcs defecated. There were some footlockers there, and Telémahkos warned the others to stay clear of the one in the laboratory while he checked the others. He and Dunlevey collected some odd treasures from the lockers (5), and then he came back to check the larger locker for traps.

Telémahkos rubbed his chin for a long time as he stared at the lock, and then examined it with a small glass he produced from his sash. Finally, with a sigh, he took out his picks and went to work on the lock. It opened with a pop, and he finally exhaled, and confidently threw it open. He looked away and towards the others gesturing at the clothing and other trinkets in the locker. “Search away!” And then he felt something crawling on his arm, and with the mounting horror that stretches a moment out into an hour, he turned his head to see a skeletal hand leaping at his exposed neck. Its sharp finger bones tore Telie’s throat and he shrieked in an unmanly way, brushing at it wildly. It angrily snapped the piece of wrist still connected to it by rotted sinew.

Markos was suddenly beside Telémahkos, stabbing at the disembodied hand with a dagger. Or at least, where Telémahkos had been, for the blond noble scrambled away as quickly as possible, punctuating each step with another girlish shriek. Dunlevey stepped up and smashed down at the little thing with his enlarged great sword, but it was too small and quick to get a good bead on.

“Step back! Give me some room, Markos said, withdrawing and pulling some components from his belt pouch. Dunlevey took another swing that went wide, and then took a long step back. The hand however, moved too quickly. Before Markos could get a spell off, it leapt at him and tore at his face.

“Ugh!” Markos cried, slapping it away. “Get this f*cking thing off me!”

“Dunlevey! Get it! And don’t listen to Markos again!” Telémahkos commanded the hireling, making a show of bringing Ruwilla to squat behind the stone table in relative safety.

The now-hulking swordsman rushed forward and caught the skeletal hand with the tip of his sword, sending it flying across the room and against the wall. The hand bounced back, and then leapt right at him, but he was able to knock it away with the flat of his blade, before it clawed him. This time the slightest chip of bone was seen to fly off of it. Dunlevey stepped back again, hoping that he had a better chance of hitting it when he had a clear view of it coming, rather than right atop of it, but the space was enough for Markos. The small mage cast his spell, and an arrow of green bubbling liquid came flicking out of his hand, and landed squarely on the tiny undead thing, sizzling. The acid wore away the bone with great speed, and soon nothing was left but a stain on the stone floor.

“Boy! It sure is a good thing that Dunlevey chose to listen to me,” Markos commented, glaring at Telémahkos as he got up from behind the table. Telie ignored him and wandered off, still bleeding from his many small wounds, hoping Laarus could help him. Dunlevey followed.

Outside, Bleys had gathered all the horses, and soon after the others came down as well carrying whatever valuables they had scavenged from the place. This included two of the three ingredients needed for the brew.

Rudwilla kneeled beside Victoria and put two fingers to the militant’s temple, and chanted some unrecognizable words. A moment later, Victoria Ostrander was sputtering awake. Her body pushed to exhaustion, she just sat and took long ragged breaths. She would still be weak and slow for some time to come. (6)

“Assuming we are now done here now, I say once the honorable militant has recovered sufficiently to travel we go back and see to the making of this brew,” Bleys told the others.

“Yes, but we should burn this place down,” Telémahkos suggested.

“It is a well-built stone keep, despite the damage it has taken, “ Bleys said. “It would take time to raze it properly, and besides, would it not be better to have places such as these available for repair, than to have to build new keeps when the time comes to reclaim this land of Thricia?”

Telémahkos grudgingly saw the wisdom in the watch-mage’s reasoning, and Laarus agreed, mentioning that the keep’s standing also served to preserve Thrician history.

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

Evening was not far away when the signers of the Charter of Schiereiland finally approached the Ray-Ree camp. Rudwilla of the Toadstools rode with Victoria.

Timotheus Smith, still looking a bit pale, but lacking the glassy eyes of bog flu, was among the Ray-Ree children and elderly that came out to greet them. He was the only one smiling and waving as the taciturn barbarian people merely nodded in acknowledgement of their arrival.

“Glad to see you are feeling better,” Markos managed to say without disdain.

“Yep! But you all look like you weathered a bit of hell,” Timotheus could not help but smile, glad to see them all among the living.

Timotheus and Admentus were quickly informed about the status of their mission and the escape of Hezra, and then continued on to Rudwilla’s cottage in the moors to guard over her while she completed her work. Since he was feeling better, Timotheus was able to rejoin the party.

Back at the cottage, they found Tora crying, as she had been unable to retrieve the baby lemons needed for the brew, for more of the ‘lightning tails’ had been hovering in that area. It was decided that Timotheus, Falco and Laarus would accompany Tora back to the lemon trees while the others remained behind to guard Rudwilla as she started her work, helping to bring the brewing casks from their hiding spot to the cottage.

Luckily, there were no monsters of the sort to be found in the area when Tora led them to it, and they were able to return unmolested. Rudwilla would work through the night, as the party took turns watching as the others rested.


Ralem, the 22nd of Quark - 566 H.E. (637 M.Y.)

The night was long and filled with sounds foreign to the Signers, and while on watch they listened nervously to hear any approach over the cacophony of frogs and insects, but no sound ever came. As dawn picked its way through the mossy canopy of the moorlands, Laarus and Victoria prayed for their spells, while Falco and Kermit watched. The others were sleeping still.

Laarus Raymer granted Ra’s healing graces to Victoria and Telémahkos, while Victoria did similarly with Markos and Falco, as everyone awoke and prepared for the day.

Bleys and Markos had hardly sat down to prepare spells, and Telémahkos was leading Tymon outside to keep watch while the others had breakfast, when they heard a bellow from out in front of the cottage.

“I’ll bring you out some breakfast,” Telémahkos was reassuring a sad-faced Tymon, when they heard a guttural voice cry out, “Rudwilla! Rooodwiiiil-uh!”

The horses, all tied up to the left of the house, nickered nervously as three large humanoid figured walked up onto the island, past the animal pen.

“Roooodwiiil-uhhhh! You best have brew!” the voice came again. Marching towards the cottage were three hairy goblins broad of shoulder and over six feet in height. The center one was particularly fat and wore a huge skin wrapped around his torso, outside of his poorly fastened chain shirt. He had bloodshot eyes, and his sandy-brown hair was twisted into long dirty naps all over his body. The other two bugbears had some girth to them as well, and they were studded leather ponchos tired with chain belts. All three had big spiked clubs.

…to be continued…

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Notes:

(1) This session was played on Sunday, June 24, 2007.

(2) See Session #10 for the reasons behind the ruse.

(3) Again, see Session #10.

(4) This primitive alchemist’s kit weighed in at 120 lbs.

(5) Amid various random coins were found a stack of old lover letters that were clearly stolen or found, some torches, flint and steel, silver arrow heads, and other various doo-dads and junk.

(6) Victoria was still suffering from strength and dexterity ability damage.
 
Last edited:

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
I edited the last installment to add some minor details that I had forgotten about that were pointed out to me by one of the players.

Nothing crucial, but still added for the sake of completion.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
happy birthday, ciaran!

Session #11 – “Strange Brew” (part 2 of 2)

Telémahkos held Tymon back from the doorway and ducked to one side, as Bleys came forward being led by Rudwilla, who looked annoyed, putting her fists to her hips as she stood in the doorway in her leather apron.

“Bruggah! You know you are early!” She yelled at the chief of the Blood-Eye with confidence. The bugbear stepped forward, and it was suddenly clear from his stagger that he was more than a little drunk. His lieutenants seemed a bit tipsy as well.

“Bruggah get brew when Bruggah want!” The chief demanded, his broken common made harder to understand by his drunken slurring. “Bruggah know! Bruggah decide! Bruggah Chief!”

“It is not ready,” Rudwilla replied with disdain. “So either wait, or go ahead and attack and never get it again, no matter what happens!”

Bruggah cried out with great anger, and shook his morningstar above his head, but then lowering it to the ground just as suddenly with a loud belch, he said, “Bruggah wait…” He sat down to chug the last of what was left in his skin.

Satisfied with herself, Rudwilla turned and went back to her work. “Aren’t you going to invite him in to watch?” Timotheus asked her, a smile on his face.

“No!” Rudwilla did not even look at him.

“Why aren’t we just getting rid of this bugbear problem for them again?” Timotheus asked Bleys.

“These bugbears act as a buffer between these lands and worse monsters beyond their hill,” the watch-mage explained.

“BRUGGAH! JASH APSHAI JASH SPISHOO LOXXO GUND!” (1) The voice came from outside, to the left of the doorway on the other side of the small island from where the horses were tethered. “JASH APSHAI ORMUGAH TASH!”

Suddenly, from all directions about the front of the island there rose large desiccated ants, each about five feet long. Their shells were cracked and empty of flesh, their pincers sharp and bony. They began to converge on Bruggah, who was still squinting trying to get a view of who had called out to him in the goblin tongue, not having bothered to get up out of the muck yet. “Ish Mulcrod!” Bruggah said.

“Rudwilla! We are looking to you to know if we should get involved!” Telémahkos called to the witch, who had come back to the door to see what was going on.

She shrugged, “If Bruggah is killed there is no telling what will happen to the political situation…”

“Oh f*ck this!” Timotheus swore, and ran out to intercept one of the skeletal giant ants, and cracked the shell of one with his morningstar.

“Bruggah! I offer you aid on behalf of the Ray-Ree, should you choose to accept it!” Bleys called as he hurried out of the door, even as Laarus took his place there. Bleys moved to his right and was suddenly started by a figure in his peripheral vision. He turned in time to see an ugly humanoid with a look that made no doubt he was of Hezra’s brood. The half-orc smiled, as he slapped the horses, now untied, crying out “HEE-YAH!” to send them into the chaos of the battle in fear. Bleys stumbled back to avoid the possible stampede, even as Falco stepped beside him to let an arrow loose at the half-orc, missing. The half-breed snickered and drew back towards a tree in one corner of Rudwilla’s property.

“Anhur! Make me your good right arm!” Victoria prayed for bull’s strength as she hobbled out the door, spear in hand.

Hearing the militant, the watch-mage called to her, “Victoria! Hezra’s last son awaits over here!”

“Dunlevey! You stay with Rudwilla. Tymon, help Bleys!” Telémahkos gave orders as he hurried out among the horses, hoping to grab his own and have the undead ants ignore him. Dunlevey went back into the cottage to stand by in case anyone got through, while Tymon loaded his crossbow and moved towards Bleys. Markos joined Dunlevey, crossbow in hand, having not had a chance to prepare spells.

It was clear that the bugbears’ drunkenness would interfere with their prowess, as they moved with exaggerated anger, breathing heavy as their morningstars struck the muddy ground more often than their ant targets.

“What in the Nine Hells is going on?” Timotheus called out to no one in particular as he crushed the body of one of the undead ants. He started jogging towards another, but taking a roundabout way to look around for where the other goblin voice has issued from. Suddenly, he felt the tingle of magic washing over him, as his limbs were momentarily brushed numb, but he shook it off. “Magic! Who the f*ck did that?” He looked around wildly.

“May Ra calm the hearts of these steeds!” Laarus chanted, casting a spell, which caused most of the horses to immediately slow down, as their fear fled. Telémahkos leapt atop his own, hoping to get a better vantage point to spot whoever had summoned the undead, and had tried to cast a spell on Timotheus. Seeing that the horses, were now going to move away from the combat as quickly as possible without panicking, Laarus of Ra grabbed hold of his holy symbol and called out to his god, “Ra! Smite these creatures with your holy light!”

Light exploded from Laarus’ symbol, bursting like a wave in all directions. The three bugbears grunted their drunken complaint at the light, but three of the ants crumbled to dust as the light washed over them. The priest of Ra continued to glow, a hemisphere of daylight surrounding him.

Meanwhile Victoria of Anhur had hurried around the corner of the cottage as fast as she could despite her lingering wound and the weight of her armor. Spotting the retreating half-orc, she called after him in challenge. “You! Where is your bitch of a mother?”

The son of Hezra banged his axe on his shield, roaring for her to come towards him, and to punctuate his summons, he hefted the axe at her. Victoria felt the weight of the axe slam into her chest, the worst of the blow absorbed by her armor, but it was still enough to disrupt the spell she had started to cast.

“I won’t fall for your trying to get me close to the tree and whatever trick you have in mind,” Victoria replied, and she called to Anhur to grant her a spiritual weapon that would fight at a distance. A glowing spear appeared hovering in the air next to the half-orc. It thrust forward, but he raised his shield in time as he drew his battle-axe.

From behind the tree appeared a reddish-brown furred wolf and it charged at Victoria, acrid stream rising off its body. Falco let an arrow fly at the wolf but it missed, while Tymon let a crossbow bolt go at the half-orc, nicking him, as he stepped into it to avoid an arrow from Bleys, who like Markos was without spells.

The young mage was at the doorway of the cottage, watching the melee. Kermit has slipped out past him on Duckhunter to attack one of the ants. Markos called back to Dunlevey. “Block the doorway so no one unseen can come in and threaten Rudwilla.” And with that he started to jog towards the left of the house to join the fight against the wolf and the half-orc, crossbow in hand.

Telémahkos tried to ride down one of the undead ants, but failed to compensate for how low to the ground it was and missed. Catching sight of Timotheus, he turned the horse in that direction. The Briareus cousin was charging towards another bugbear that had sent a javelin flying at Tim’s back as he tried to help Bruggah and his lieutenants with the ants.

This bugbear stood at the edge of the island, a few feet from the mucky water of the moors, a few feet deep at first step. He wore a leather tunic and his brown fur was dyed black. About his neck was an elaborate necklace made of bones encrusted with precious gems. He held a morningstar in one hand, and as Timotheus approached he could see the other was twisted and black, ending in an ugly, but powerful looking pincer. He moved around deftly as Timotheus charged, and they circled each other.

“There’s a bugbear shaman over here!” Telémahkos cried out as he rode to join his cousin, and Laarus began to walk with purpose in that direction.

GOONDA LOXXO! the bugbear shaman, Mulcrod, chanted as he stepped away from Tim, and he began to grow in height and girth. In less than a moment, he was over thirteen feet tall and his morningstar was nearly as long as Timotheus was tall.

“Tim! We gotta hurry up and kill this thing!” Telémahkos cried as he rode by, stabbing at Mulcrod with his lance, but the bugbear knocked the weapon off-line with his own.

“I’m working on it!” Tim swung his flail, but each time the bugbear stepped out of the way with a snarl. With one step, the shaman flicked his morningstar across his body to the right, and caught Timotheus full on in the face; only the fact that the bastard-born warrior wore a helmet protected him getting a spike in the skull. Driven to the ground, he looked up in time to see Mulcrod’s pincer grab him tightly about the neck. Timotheus coughed and pulled himself up, swinging out as he stood.

“I’m gonna take it out on your kneecaps!” Timotheus coughed, as he stuck with a bone-crunching blow to Mulcrod’s leg. This exchange gave Telémahkos time and room to spin his horse around and come in from the water side and flank the bugbear shaman, but the goblin seemed an adept warrior, and continued to knock away or avoid his blows.

“Tymon! Falco! Shoot the wolf!” Bleys let an arrow go at the half-orc, who was drawing his battle-axe, but the son of Hezra raised his shield blocking the arrow. Unfortunately for him, this left him momentarily open for Victoria’s spiritual weapon, and he cried out as it drew blood. Sensing an opening, Falco fired at the half-orc as well, but missed.

“Falco didn’t listen! Falco didn’t listen!” Tymon tattled in a whiny voice as his own bolt missed the wolf he was instructed to aim at. The wolf changed directions and went for the arriving Markos, nipping at his ankle, as the young mage pulled away with fear on his face. It snapped at him again as he put distance between himself and the fiendish animal.

Bleys let another arrow fly at the half-orc, and it barked with pain and anger, jogging around to the other side of the large tree in that corner of the small island. Victoria of Anhur wasted no time in having the spiritual spear move over and attack the wolf, striking it deep to draw steaming blood that look like smelt copper.

It bit at the militant, but its teeth could not get a good grip around her greaves.

Unable to watch the battle and not take part, Dunlevey yelled to the retreating Markos to watch the doorway into the cottage while he ran at the wolf, great sword in both his hands. He chopped down, cleaving it in the back, and it disappeared with ‘pop’ and a puff of smoke.

“Many thanks, Dunlevey,” Victoria said with a fatigued sigh.

As Bruggah finally smashed one of the undead ants, allowing him to step over to aid his lieutenants, Telémahkos’ horse was whinnying in despair, as Mulcrod’s morningstar caught it on the flank.

“You goblin bastard!” Telémahkos swore, pulling his war-trained horse away.

Mulcrod grunted as he spun around to deal with Timotheus, who had used the momentary diversion to get in a solid blow on the bugbear’s hip. Tim reared back so the shaman kept moving, swinging his morningstar at the horse again, missing. However, when Telémahkos turned his horse, he left his flank open and he felt the tight pinch of Mulcord’s twisted pincer on his leg and he cried out in agony as he felt flesh tear.

Dosh crah’sh Apshai bloondich art et et coss!” Mulcrod taunted him, though Telémahkos could only make out a few words (2), as he leaned over on his horse in agony, feeling blood pour down his leg. Thankfully, Laarus finally made the long way around the fray and was able to reach up and heal Telémahkos as he called out to Ra.

“Dunlevey! Go aid Timotheus,” Bleys commanded, as he moved to a position to shoot at the now fleeing half-orc. His arrow and Tymon’s final bolt both missed as the son of Hezra leapt into the brush, and Dunlevey ran across the melee in time to see Bruggah and his lieutenants destroy the last two remaining ants, and Timotheus smash Mulcrod in the face with his flail. The shaman showed fear for the first time, and backed away.

Bruggah, Chief of the Blood-Eye Bugbears, walked towards the cottage door with what passed for sober purpose suffering a few wounds from giant ant bites.

“Bruggah take brew now!” he said.

“The brew is not ready,” Markos gulped, being the only one between the brutish drunken hairy goblin and the inside of Rudwilla’s hovel. He pointed to his left. “There are still combatants to be dealt with.”

“Little boy! Bruggah will add you to his pen to go with girl,” Bruggah said. “Now Rudwilla give brew to Bruggah!”

“Hold Bruggah!” Victoria said sternly, limping over to block the doorway as well. “You will get your brew in due time…”

Kull and Grug, the bugbear lieutenants, walked over to stand at either side of their chief.

Mulcrod stepped back to avoid another blow from Timotheus, and right into the point of Telie’s thrusting lance. The bugbear shaman dropped unconscious, immediately aspirating swamp water.

“Role call!” Victoria called out. “Where is everybody?”

“All clear!” Timotheus said, lifting Mulcrod’s head out of the water to slit the monster’s throat.

“Hezra and her son got away again,” Bleys complained as he came around the cottage.

Seeing the fight was done, Bruggah rethought his aggressiveness and went over to see Mulcrod’s body, passing Timotheus going in the other direction. As Telémahkos, who had dismounted, turned the corpse over, Bruggah leaned over and tore the jeweled necklace from the shaman.

“Mulcrod dark insect god weak!” he said.

It took another three hours before the brew was ready, but Bruggah waited with the occasional pitiful grunt. In that time, Timotheus expressed his dismay when Markos and Victoria mentioned Bruggah’s reference to his ‘girl kept in a pen’.

“If the bugbear numbers are small enough we should attack them,” Timotheus suggested. “At least to free the girl, even if we do not kill them all in order for them to still act as a buffer…”

When asked, Rudwilla said that she thought the girl was Hezra’s daughter, though she would not be a girl anymore, as she was carried away over twenty years ago in the time when the deal was first made with the bugbear chieftain.

“Hezra’s daughter?” Telémahkos scoffed. “Why risk our lives to rescue her if she might try to kill us herself?” He shook his head.

Finally, Timotheus helped Rudwilla pour the brew into eight huge skins that were then handed over to Bruggah and his lieutenants.

“Bruggah return before winter for more brew… Double batch!” the bugbear chieftain said by way of good-bye, right after sampling the brew right away and burping happily. He allowed his lieutenants the slightest taste each. And with that, they left.

Rudwilla thanks the young nobles for their help by awarding them a large clay jar filled with the equivalent of seven potions of cure light wounds. Timotheus was happy to drain some flasks of foul spirits (by drinking them) to make room for the potions, so they might be divided among the group.

“Do we have to worry about the witch returning?” Markos asked Rudwilla, but the corpulent witch shook her head.

“Not any time soon,” she said. “My guess at what happened was that she informed Mulcrod the shaman about the absence of the Ray-Ree warriors, perhaps knowing somehow that that he planned to challenge Bruggah for leadership of the tribe, and daring him to come command more brew was a way of doing so. Mulcrod probably figured he could take Bruggah by surprise far from the rest of the Blood-Eye, not expecting a group of adventurers to be involved. Know Hezra, she probably did not tell him, played down your prowess, or accepted your ruse at face value, and did not know of your involvement until they came here. Regardless, now that most of her sons are dead and her ally is too, she should not be returning until she has had time and opportunity to hatch some other plan…”

Satisfied by the response, the signers of the Charter of Schiereiland rode back to the Ray-Ree village that afternoon.

“It would explain Hezra’s resentment of the Ray-Ree and Rudwilla if they did nothing to help the girl when Bruggah took her, and continued to exchange this brew for peace,” Timotheus said as they rode.

“Gifted, not exchanged… The Ray-Ree do not purchase anything… Please try to remember,” Bleys said. “We can ill-afford to insult our hosts.”

“If Hezra’s sins must be paid for by her daughter, then so be it,” Victoria said. “Ever have children had to bear the sins of the parents. It is the will of the gods that it should happen that way.”

Timotheus rolled his eyes.

They had dinner with the Ray-Ree that night, though the fare was much leaner than the time before. Scraps of aurochs meat crusted with salt in some flavorless unidentifiable yellow mush. Two old women clucked over Timotheus in their bizarre tongue, looking at the whites of his eyes and touching his forehead. He smiled and shooed them away, drinking many cups of the fermented goat’s milk.

Afterwards, they met with Admentus in the meeting hut, and drank more of the stuff. He thanked them for their aid and reiterated that the party was allowed to stay as long as they needed and may leave their horses here while they explored the King Stones.

Timotheus asked about Hezra’s daughter.

“She was orc-blooded too, the first of Hezra’s foul brood,” Admentus said. “She lived on the outskirts of the village until she was seven or eight summers old…”

“Do you care to have her rescued?” Markos asked.

Admentus’ brow furrowed. “Rescue here? It matters not to us, but I doubt taking her from that life now would be a rescue…”

“Is that enough for you?” Markos turned to Timotheus smarmily.

Timotheus nodded.

“We would like to ask you more about the Moor Tombs,” Bleys said to the First Elder, but it appeared that Admentus knew very little of them, and recommended visiting the monk, Brother Cineas at the Mounds of the Ray-Ree.

At their own camp made beside a shack set aside for them, they fell to discussing their next move. Bleys Winter wanted to explore the Moor Tomb and look into the retrieval of the amulet, and Laarus and Victoria agreed.

Telémahkos was against this, fearing the Moor Tomb would be too dangerous, having avoided being penetrated all these centuries. Markos felt ambivalent about the tomb and was more curious about the ‘box of wands’, and so voted to go to the King Stones.

Timotheus thought it over. “At the very least we should visit Brother Cineas and see what he has to say about the moor tombs before we make our final decision…”

Bleys, Victoria and Laarus agreed to this compromise.

“As much as I want to go kill a bunch of goblins and I don’t like the idea of some trapped tombs, retrieving the amulet is probably more important, and the more pious thing to do…” Timotheus added.

Telémahkos sighed and glared at Tim, “Can I talk to you privately for a moment?” He took his cousin to just out beyond the doorway of the shack, as the others saw to their things and unrolled blankets and bedrolls. Bleys, however, paused by the doorway and noticed Telémahkos standing with a hand way up on his tall cousin’s drooping shoulder. The blond Briareus was punctuating his points against going to visit the monk.

“All we need is for some crazy monk hermit to mention something that will get the priests all up and arms and then they decide we have to go to these tombs… Tombs I have no desire of seeing now that I have once again been so well reminded of my own mortality…” he said, fervently. “Laarus is a zealot, and we have to consider that when making these decisions… We might learn that going there is certain death and yet they will feel the need to go there all the more because of something said by the monk… We have to keep these scenarios in mind!”

Timotheus sighed and walked back into the shack. “I change my vote… Let’s just go to the King Stones…”

“What? Are you not your own man?” Bleys said, his disdain for Timotheus evident on his usually placid face.

“I… Yes, I am…”

“It certainly doesn’t seem like it, if your cousin can tell you to change your vote and so you simply do,” Bleys replied.

“He changed his mind of his own accord,” Telémahkos said, walking in with a smile.

“Oh fine! We’ll go to the Mounds…” Timotheus threw his hands in the air, acquiescing once again.

End of Session #11

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

(1) The voice called out something along the lines of “The dark insect god will swarm over and devour your weak corpse, Bruggah!”

(2) Telémahkos understands the hobgoblin tongue, and thus can make out a few words of the more primitive goblin dialect.
 
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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Just a note that I added about a paragraph of exposition from Rudwilla that I had forgotten about. It is after the battle with Mulcrod.

“Do we have to worry about the witch returning?” Markos asked Rudwilla, but the corpulent witch shook her head.

“Not any time soon,” she said. “My guess at what happened was that she informed Mulcrod the shaman about the absence of the Ray-Ree warriors, perhaps knowing somehow that that he planned to challenge Bruggah for leadership of the tribe, and daring him to come command more brew was a way of doing so. Mulcrod probably figured he could take Bruggah by surprise far from the rest of the Blood-Eye, not expecting a group of adventurers to be involved. Know Hezra, she probably did not tell him, played down your prowess, or accepted your ruse at face value, and did not know of your involvement until they came here. Regardless, now that most of her sons are dead and her ally is too, she should not be returning until she has had time and opportunity to hatch some other plan…”

Satisfied by the response, the signers of the Charter of Schiereiland rode back to the Ray-Ree village that afternoon.
 

handforged

First Post
I finally caught up again. School starting has a way of taking time away from pleasure reading. And quite pleasurable it was. Both of the fights were exciting, and I am enjoying the delicate politics of this foreign area. The promise of the keep being revived as a stronghold of Thricia definitely sounds exciting. Thanks again Nemm.

~hf
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
handforged said:
I finally caught up again. School starting has a way of taking time away from pleasure reading.

Having started on my second semester of grad school, it also takes away from the pleasure of wriitng this thing and preparing for sessions. ;)

handforged said:
And quite pleasurable it was. Both of the fights were exciting, and I am enjoying the delicate politics of this foreign area. The promise of the keep being revived as a stronghold of Thricia definitely sounds exciting. Thanks again Nemm.

~hf

Thanks for reading. I am glad you are enjoying.

Each of the next four sessions have fights in them.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Hey all!

Perhaps it is bad form to bump your own story hour, but if I don't do it, who will? ;)

Anyway, look for an update this weekend as I will be posting all of Session #12 in one fell swoop. (EDIT: Actually, looking over the installment again, I decided to break it into two parts) However, I plan to continue with my method of not post a session until the one after it is already written in full. Yes, that means that #13 is already written, but it also means that it won't be put up until I can say the same for #14.

I hope you're all enjoying it.
 
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el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Session #12 – “Choices. . . Choices. . .” (1)

Isilem, the 23rd of Quark - 566 H.E. (637 M.Y.)

Morning found Timotheus Smith pale-faced and sweaty once again. He had a relapse of his bog flu, and the old women of the tribe hustled him back to the pest shack to be fretted over and fed strange sickly sweet purgatives and an incredibly spicy tea. Once again his noble companions were forced to go on without him. (2)

“You know, the only reason we are down here is because we can’t think of anything better to do,” Markos said, commiserating with Telémahkos about not wanting to go see Brother Cineas. The blond noble nodded quietly. “These pearls of power (3), or whatever they are, are much more intriguing, don’t you agree?”

Again, Telémahkos nodded, still fuming a bit about this journey to the Mounds of the Ray-Ree despite a night’s sleep. He dreaded what would come of it.

They approached the moat about the area of the mounds on horseback, led by Kermit on Duckhunter, and found the island it held was shielded from view by a circle of tall swamp pines. Looking beyond they could see the long earthen mounds, some as long as forty feet and as tall as fifteen, raised up on the slope of a hill. However, the very top of it was obscured by a steep depression.

They could see the moveable wooden bridge on the other side, sticking out from behind some trees. It looked heavy, and the deep round impressions in the earth on their side attested to this.

“Falco, get us across,” Laarus said to the hireling, and Falco frowned.

“And how should I do that?” he asked.

“You are the scout, you are supposed to know,” Laarus replied, evidently unimpressed with the question and Falco’s attitude. “Wade in if you have to…”

Falco walked over to the edge and began to examine gap, but made no other obvious move to obey. The barrier was five or six feet deep before coming to the sludgy water of unknown depth.

Sighing, Telémahkos fetched a rope and grappling hook from his horse and a moment later affixed it to a tree on the other side with a deft flick. He fastened the other end to the saddle horn, and had Tymon hold the animal still as he shimmied across the taut rope to the other side. After quickly examining the well-constructed wooden bridge (it looked as if it were meant to be carried by four men), he crept further past the tall trees. He noted that the mound covered island did not simply taper up towards the center and have one depression at the top, but rather there were two more dips concealed tiny manicured gardens of small trees and brushes flanked by smaller mounds. Just at the edge of his sight, he could see a man fighting a loping figure with yellowed nacreous skin and stringy black hair. The man was tall with sinewy muscle. His head was shaved save for a small braided tuft at the back. He wore a black tunic and a long brown kilt that wrapped around his waist, along with long beaded chain holding a silver ankh emblazoned on a black jackal's head at the end. He fought with wide circling kicks, and close rapid punches, staying out of the range of the undead menace. A second figure was charging out from behind a mound at the monk.

Telémahkos hurried back and took the grapple from the tree. Dragging the bridge over he attached the grapple to one of the supports underneath, and called for Tymon to have the horse pull.

“The monk is in trouble!” He called over in a hissing whisper. He stepped to one side as Bleys, Dunlevey and Falco galloped over the bridge once it was in place, and then Tymon brought him his horse which he mounted.

“I don’t know what those things are!” Telémahkos cried out to others, as Bleys let an arrow fly from his long bow and it bit into one of the mounds. The watch-mage brought his horse around to the right, while Dunlevey slowed his, not sure if charging down the embankment through the trees was the best idea for one with his limited equestrian ability. Victoria of Anhur, however, had no such trepidations, and charged right into the fray on Ironside. Unfortunately, one of the jaundiced creatures, naked and streaked with grave dirt, turned as she arrived, ducking the spear blow and clawing the horse’s flank. The militant of Anhur steeled herself for her horse’s reaction to the wound, but instead it was rigid and an unmoving, its eyes open and not blinking.

“Unholy fiend!” Victoria swore, leaping off her paralyzed horse. She drove her spear deep into the ghoul and it snarled, clawing the spear away. Such a blow would have easily killed a normal man.

“What allies are these in my hour of need?” the fighting monk said, looking at Victoria, as he kicked the other ghoul back and fell back into a crouched fighting position.

Meanwhile, both Falco and Dunlevey were surprised by ghoulish figures emerging from the trees.

“Falco! To me!” Telémahkos called, fear in his voice. He was hanging back still not far from the bridge, with Tymon not too far away either, held back by his master’s will.

But Falco did not obey. While Dunlevey had withdrawn from his opponent to better prepare his defense by dismounting, and readying his shield, Falco whispered with a tone known to those practiced in the arcane arts. “Shu, I call on you to obscure the air with the mists of the highlands…”

Suddenly, a swirling mist burst out from his position, obscuring the area about the tree he was beside and the ghoul that was attacking him.

The ghoul Dunlevey had withdrawn from, decided to run at the still mounted Bleys instead of chasing the hireling, but the watch-mage easily pulled his horse’s head away to avoid the wild thing. This one had long thick black hair crusted with blood, and wore woolen rags tied all over its body covered with weeping sores.

“Ra! Use me as your vessel and reveal your power to these monstrosities!” Laarus of Ra called out, holding his ankh-emblazoned sun holy symbol aloft. Most of the ghouls began to flee, except the one reaching for Bleys’ horse again. Dunlevey ran at it, chopping down at it with his long sword, but over-extending himself as it leapt back more deftly than he had imagined it could. An arrow from Kermit, who had finally come over the bridge upon Duckhunter, lodged in the ghoul’s back. (4)

Laarus turned his horse and drove it back toward Bleys, dismounting to aid with the one that had flouted Ra’s will.

“Are you alright?” Victoria asked the monk as the ghouls fled.

“I will be better once these creatures are destroyed!” He replied, charging after one of the undead. His blow missed, as it leapt at the last minute, falling into a roll. It climbed back onto its feet, and continued its run.

That ghoul followed another into the muddy gap around the area of the mounds and soon they floundered and disappeared leaving behind large bursting bubbles.

“They may eventually make their way out the other side, but they will not return again so soon,” the monk said to Victoria, as they watched them sink.

The remaining ghoul had been quickly surrounded, and penned in by Laarus and Telémahkos, it was unable to avoid Dunlevey’s devastating blows. He sliced hunks of bug-infested flesh from the thing, and it fell into a jiggling pile of congealing mess.

As they gathered to greet the monk, Telémahkos leaned over to Falco. “I did not know we had a devotee of Shu among our number…” he said, with a sly nod.

“You don’t,” Falco replied curtly, walking off to retrieve his horse, which had sent out of the mist just as the ghouls had fled.

After thanking the young nobles for their aid, the monk introduced himself as Brother Cineas.

“We are from Thricia,” Bleys said, with respect in his voice for the young monk’s station. “We have been staying with the Ray-Ree and gifting them our aid.” He introduced himself and the rest of the party. Cineas bowed low to Laarus of Ra, and gave an extra respectful nod to Victoria.

“Are you often beset by these creatures?” Victoria asked.

“They seem to have grown more brazen since my return from the convocation,” the monk replied. “It was when I was a boy that that a party of adventurers penetrated the seal that closed the portal to the kingdom of the ghouls… Since then, the Devoured Town might be more aptly named the ‘Town of Devourers’.”

“Yes, we were hoping we might learn more about this Devoured Town, and about the Moor-Tombs beyond the Ickle Trick,” Bleys said. “It is for this reason we have come…”

“Yes… I imagined it must be something like that, even when I was a young novice here learning with Master Oneidas, did adventuring bands such as yourselves come and seek out my master for his lore of the area,” The monk bowed again. “Come with me and we shall share tea and discuss the matter.”

He led them to a very small cottage carved of limestone that was not common to this area. Within its cool and barren confines, he brewed tea atop a tiny stone stove, and poured them some in cracked cups. He ripped a loaf of bread apart with his hands to make sure everyone had about the same morsel.

The signers of the Charter of Schiereiland were disappointed with what they learned from Brother Cineas. He knew little more about the King Stones than they did, as he considered those tombs defiled and plundered long before he was ever born, and beyond his ability or that of the Ray-Ree to reestablish or maintain. He knew nothing specific about the tomb of Dalvan d’Amberville, and warned them against trying to use the bridge out of the Devoured Town.

“Many stalwart groups have entered the ruins of that town well-armed and none have ever returned, well… None save the priest of Bast,” (5) Cineas said. “There are bound to be many powerful items there, brought by those groups, but the items did not seem to help. Those who come seeking more them seem to ignore this fact…”

“How else can we cross the Ickle Trik?” Bleys asked. “How wide is it?”

“Wide?” The monk frowned.

“Yes, wide… Can we swim across?” Bleys continued his questions.

“Its width varies, but it is a strong and deep current. You will be unable to cross unless you can… Perhaps conjure a boat…?”

“Well that leaves that out,” Telémahkos said.

Markos shook his head. He had learned a spell at his recent stay at the University of Thricia that allowed him to conjure a boat. (6)

“Cineas, let me ask you, this tomb of Dalvan, would it not violate Anubis’ laws to penetrate it?” Laarus asked.

“He and his followers were known as necromancers. Their tombs are not consecrated and need to be razed,” the monk explained. “There are many in there, and in these past centuries some have been destroyed, andstill others have sunk into the loam to never be seen again.”

“But not the tomb of Dalvan d’Amberville?” Bleys asked. He opened the map that Malcolm the Bronze had given him.

“I do not know. I have been to the moors, but have not seen it,” Cineas looked at the map. “Ah! The masks. I know of the masks. . . They are stone obelisks marked with masks… They lead to a stone spire deep in the moors.” (7)

“What else can you tell us about the moors on that side of the Ickle Trik?” Bleys asked.

Cineas warned them about something he called ‘the Cult of the Mummies’. He did not believe they were true mummies, but could not eliminate the possibility that they were still undead. “They may only be a tribe of men who dress as such, or some other creature entirely…”

Bleys explained that they were seeking an amulet holy to Fallon, and Cineas agreed that was a worthy goal.

“Would you like to accompany us?” Bleys asked.

“My duty is here,” Brother Cineas replied.

Not too much later the young nobles were riding back to the Ray-Ree village. Nothing had convinced them of the need to seek out the Moor-Tomb immediately, and Telémahkos and Markos voiced their preference for exploring the King Stones. Laarus and Victoria agreed to going there first, and Bleys remained silent, knowing his own will had been overruled.

…to be continued…

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

(1) This session was played on July 8, 2007.

(2) Ciaran, who plays Tim, was unable to make it to the session.

(3) Despite being told that “pearls of power” refer to a specific kind of priestly magical item, Markos persisted on using this term.

(4) Corporeal undead have DR 5/ slashing.

(5) Readers of the “Out of the Frying Pan” story hour might have realized this is a reference to Roland Eremecia of Bast and one of the scenes from that campaign’s session #101.

(6) Conjure Boat

(7) Click here to see the Moor-Tomb map.
 

el-remmen

Moderator Emeritus
Session #12 – “Choices. . . Choices. . .”(part 2 of 2)

Osilem, the 24th of Quark - 566 H.E. (637 M.Y.)

After spending another night at the Ray-Ree village, Bleys, Laarus, Markos, Telémahkos, and Victoria marched eastwards towards the King Stones. They were led by Kermit and Duckhunter, and accompanied by Dunlevey, Falco and Tymon. Timotheus was still ill.

The horses were left with the Ray-Ree, the barbarians ‘gifting’ them the care thereof. Kermit warned them that the horses would leave them vulnerable to predatory attack if they were left tied up in the wilderness, and their strong scent would make their camp more attractive to monsters. The halfling would lead them to a fairly sheltered campsite where he could find them again, as he would be returning to the Ray-Ree village to lead Timotheus to them once the tall warrior was feeling better.

The land here was similar to that around the ruined keep at the old borderlands (1). It was a dry craggy plain broken up by the occasional mud pond surrounded by scrubby trees. Ra’s Glory was unrelenting, and while Kermit led them by shaded routes whenever possible, the opportunities were very few, and despite a two hour break under some trees and being hounded by Kermit to drink lots of water, before night fell most of them were suffering from heat exhaustion. (2) They barely said a word as they stripped off their armor and lay atop their rolls, panting. Kermit would take the first watch and would wake a pair of them later to take over, but they would be leaving before the sun rose again in order to get as many miles covered before they could be so afflicted again.


Tholem, the 25th of Quark - 566 H.E. (637 M.Y.)

The young nobles of the Charter of Schiereiland waited for the noontime hours to pass before preparing to try their luck in the area of the King Stones. They had arrived mid-morning to a close copse of trees that provided shelter and was isolated enough from other such copses to allow anyone approaching to be seen at quite a distance. From here they could see the silhouette a shady watering hole about six or seven hundred yards away. Kermit explained that fresh water could be gathered there in the daytime, but that monsters and wild animals came there for water by night, so to approach it warily.

He pointed to the dark outline of the rising landscape to the south. “There is the gorge of the King Stones,” Kermit said before leaving.

Before beginning their explorations, Bleys asked Telémahkos to bring out the map they had gotten from Joezyn Barhyte (3), and they lined it up to their approximate position.

After a surprisingly brief discussion, they decided to go around the caves in the gorge and climb up to the forested hill above in search of the Flar’choo goblins and the legendary ‘box of wands’. (4)

“If we are here for anything, let it be this ‘box of wands’ that we may use its contents for further good in our home lands, otherwise we are naught more than raiders” Laarus had said, and Bleys agreed, as Telémahkos and Markos rolled their eyes behind the priest’s back.

They went over to the watering hole area and found that the muddy pool was fed by a spring and flanked with spears holding the skulls of some kind of small rat-like humanoid.

Falco found sign of a goblin trail and he led them south from there. They marched southward and after a mere half hour they were climbing the gentle slope to the hill, and could see the sudden depth of the gorge off to their right. It disappeared along with the rest of the landscape into a thick forest of curling brown leaves and yellowing grass.

“This place is really dry,” Falco warned. “We should be careful with any fire for fear a setting the whole forest ablaze.” The scout led them along a narrow trail that eventually ran parallel to the eastern side of the u-shaped gorge, and they reasoned that after a couple of miles into the woods they would not be far from the lookout marked on map. A fork in the trail they followed seemed to back up this supposition. Falco checked for tracks again and told them that there was frequent travel in both directions by small feet, most of it turning south there. As they assumed the lookout was to the right, and so they decided to go that way.

About a mile and a half later he put a hand up to signal the others to stop. He was close to forty feet ahead and signaled to Bleys that he saw one figure by pointing to his own eyes and then holding up a finger.

A lone goblin was standing behind a large tree at the edge of a sudden drop. It was about four feet tall, but stout. It had ruddy orange skin, and a big head with a broad face. It was dressed in leather armor studded with bone, and wore a small wooden helmet decorated with a piece of bone as well. The nobles and their retainers quietly fanned out. Telémahkos and Bleys creeping forward with Falco, while Laarus and Victoria waited a bit further back not far from Markos and Dunlevey. Tymon readied his crossbow as everyone did their best to be ready and get into defensible spots.

Bleys held back as Telémahkos went around the left flank and Falco the right, both noticed a second goblin appear from the cliff edge. They knew then that there must be some trail just beyond and out of sight, and they guessed it led to the lookout marked on the map.

With a nod, Telémahkos and Falco let arrows fly, and in a flash both goblins dropped, but the second one tumbled back over the edge, sending up a stream of blood and a plume of dust. There was a cry of alarm from below, and as Telémahkos hurried back towards Bleys, the others hurried forward, readying for any more goblins to appear.

The next goblin to arrive poked his head up carefully as he climbed up to the edge, and took a crossbow bolt to the chest from Telémahkos. The creature bellowed, but miraculously was alive, trying to draw an arrow to its own bow. A bolt from Tymon and an arrow from Bleys flew over its head caused it to duck as it loosed an arrow at the watch-mage. Bleys leapt aside, startled. A shot from Markos’ gnomish crossbow, as he stepped up beside the mage, sent the goblin to the ground, even as another appeared, with a companion right behind it.

“Dookaloo!” They cried in alarm.

Telémahkos fired again, but when this shot missed, he dropped his crossbow and hurried into the chaos of battle, rapier drawn. The latest goblin to arrive tumbled back down with one of Bleys’ arrows in its throat. While the other leapt aside to avoid the worst from one of Falco’s arrows, only to step into the arc of a spear hurtled by Victoria as she charged in. Laarus came around the other side of the large tree and smashed the skull of yet another goblin that had thought to make its way up a bit further along the edge. Its brains were splattered against the tree trunk. The priest of Ra swung his flail and sent gray droplets in all directions.

Now the last four goblins had made it over the edge in the mounting chaos, decided that perhaps it was best to flee back the way they came.

Two readied spears to cover the retreat of the other two, but one of those was cut down with one heavy blow of Dunlevey’s great sword. Markos let a bolt fly into the other, and Victoria moved in to drive it back.

Bleys sent an arrow after one of the fleeing goblins, but missed, Tymon having better luck with the other. A javelin from Telémahkos finished it.

Flicking the corpse of the goblin she had skewered out of her way, Victoria ran up to the edge of the drop off. She could now see that the path wound its way down through thorny bushes and rocky outcroppings to the plateau overlooking the gorge of the King Stones. The plateau itself had a few bushes growing in the muddy ground that covered it, and the scattered remains of what must have once been great statues of black stone, clearly not indigenous to the area, were also visible. (5)

Victoria saw the remaining goblin, ducking and bobbing as it hustled down the path.

“There it is!” Victoria called, pointing with her long spear awkwardly with one hand as she reached to her back for a shorter one to throw. Telémahkos hurried over and flung his last javelin, and it yelped as it clipped the top of its head, shattering the piece of skull on his wooden cap. Less than a moment later, it stumbled as Victoria’s spear bounced painfully off one of the bone studs on the goblin’s armor, but it recovered and continued to run.

Telémahkos tumbled over the side and began to give chase, but an arrow from Falco caught it in the side of the head and it finally fell. Not wanting to waste his effort, Telémahkos continued down to check out the lookout stealthily.

He stopped and stooped to pick up a small bow and a quiver of matching arrows from the dead goblin, and was startled when he heard Bleys’ voice right behind him.

“Do not be alarmed. I am using a spell that allows us to whisper messages back and forth unheard.” The watch-mage was at the top of the embankment, talking softly into his cupped hand. “Describe to me what you see.”

Suddenly there came from the plateau a steady drumming, punctuated with rapid triplets after a seeming random number of beats. Telémahkos crept around the last outcropping and looked around the wide plateau. He described to Bleys what he saw: the small bunches of bushes, and the shattered black stone torso of a statue that must have once been twenty feet tall.

“I hear drumming,” Telie said.

“Yes, we hear it, too,” Bleys replied, as the sound was echoing out over the gorge and through the forest. “Do something about it…”

It was hard to tell where the drumming was coming from at first, but then, noticing how one of the small bushes wavered, Telémahkos raised the small goblin bow and awkwardly fitted one of the small arrows to it. He gave a quick silent prayer to Bes and let the arrow go.

The tiny thing sliced through the air in a perfect arc, ending with the mortal grunt of the unseen goblin. Telémahkos hurried over and pushed the branches aside to reveal his goblin arrow deep in the eye of a goblin with a now bloodstained drum on his lap. Telie smiled. (6).

“Done!” he replied to Bleys.

Quickly looking around the watch-post camp, Telémahkos found little of interest and nothing of value, so he hurried back up the winding path to the others.

“That drum was echoing all over the place,” he said. “There are probably more coming…”

Reasoning that whatever additional goblins were on their way must come from the other side of the forked trailed, they hurried back in the direction in hopes of setting up an ambush.

End of Session #12

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

(1) This was where the party fought Hezra and her sons. (See Session #10)

(2) The party had all taken non-lethal damage and were fatigued or exhausted from the march through the incredible heat of the area. Remember, it is mid-summer.

(3) To see the map click here.

(4) Bleys the Aubergine learned of the ‘box of wands’, from Garkhan the Green, watch-mage of Weirspierogen.

(5) On the party’s map of the King Stones, the nearly illegible writing on it near the “lookout” area, said “broken statues’, though they were originally not sure if it might say “broken stairs”.

(6) Telie’s player not only got past the 50% miss chance for the concealment of the bush, but also rolled a critical hit result, killing the goblin drummer instantly.
 

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