The One True Game: According to Hoyle, and Others

howandwhy99

Adventurer
[DAY 47 – Sunday, Jinto 8th, CY 81]

The party left Keep Margrave the next day. After traveling back five hours along the path to the remains of Outpost Xavier, they came upon a divide in the road. “Captain Radcliffe said to take the right road for Outpost Young,” said Darius. After two more hours travel the forest around them had become thick and the trees stretched high over their heads. Igor scouted a few yards in front of the main group and kept a lookout for tracks. He came upon the remnants of a massive spider’s web, which had barred the road, but was now burned down. He cut off a portion for possible use later. When the others closed with him, he moved into the woods and scouted nearby. Igor spotted the remaining husk of a large spider hanging hung from a web over a hundred yards distant in the forest. When he met back the others they decided not to investigate further.

By dinnertime the team arrived upon at a small hill with a tower atop. Guardsmen greeted them at the roadside before they could get too close. When it was discovered who they were the entire band was brought up and introduced to their leader: Sergeant Keenan. “Good to see you again”, he said. He was a gracious host and shared his company’s food. In return the group was asked to tell its tale about Outpost Xavier. Igor gave a cursory retelling leaving out many of the secret details, but he did embellish when it came to him fighting the goblins and ogre at the caves. His listeners were delighted and inspired upon hearing their actions. The other members examined the outpost with the help of corporals Seth and Reginald. It was exceptionally efficient. Guards patrolled a half-mile perimeter every hour and supplies were categorized, counted and cleaned daily. Its militia members were a mix of seasoned veterans they had met before and twenty fresh new recruits.

Dram climbed to the top of the tower and scanned the surrounding forest below. Darius and Keenan joined him. Keenan pointed out the location of where Xavier used to be, but it was difficult to see. The surrounding wilderness seemed to keep the spot hidden. Darius tried drawing another map with Keenan’s help, but found it difficult. He placed Outposts Yung and Wight and then tried to find where the Caves of Chaos would be. Neither he nor Dram could find the horseshoe-shaped hill though. Darius told Keenan about the spider they had found. The sergeant related the tale of how his men had hunted and killed the giant beast. He seemed quite proud.

When the sun went down songs were sung and Brother Ben felt like he had been welcomed home. He almost felt ashamed as Xavier had been so old and run down compared to Young. One of the soldiers approached him then named Rufus. He asked Ben about the Gods and how he had joined the clergy. Brother Ben tried to put the best face he could on how he had worked long hours as a youth in a temple back in Margrave County. However as the evening drew to a closed he saw the same man talking with Kayla. “I best be careful with what I tell others,” Ben thought to himself. “It seems occult worshippers are everywhere these days.”


[DAY 48 – Moonday, Jinto 9th, CY 81]

Saying goodbye to Sergeant Keenan, the team backtracked to the fork in the road and turned down the middle route. Shortly after midday they reached the massive pit, which had once been Outpost Xavier. The surrounding forest was in full bloom now the rain had stopped, but each traveler had sorrow in their hearts. A massive mound of mud had collected at the bottom of the great hole so it was not quite as deep as was before. Darius rappelled down, but found nothing he could recognize. Heading back up, he asked if Igor might know of a way to the caves overland. “I may, I may,” he said. Dram and Igor led the group into the woods. Both climbed up and down trees trying to scout out the area and used the sun as a guide. South and east they hiked through the thick forest, while trying to avoid the underbrush. Gnats and other insect bothered them throughout the afternoon. After a few hours Igor found booted footprints leading away to the east. The party followed them to a riverside. Searching along its edge Mirel recognized they were back along the Greenwillow River.
 

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howandwhy99

Adventurer
Dram and Igor climbed trees and spotted Quesquaton’s hilltop exit. As they reoriented themselves, Igor pointed to the booted tracks heading back towards the dryad’s tree and probably to the caves beyond. The band climbed back up to the entrance to Quesquaton. Dram spotted more booted prints in rows heading both to the bottom and to the top of the hill. They had expected this. The monsters had found the cave to Quesquaton after all. Taking out their weapons they approached the top carefully. The summit was scrutinized, but nothing stirred upon it. Everyone checked for tracks this time, but none could be found on the rough shale of the hilltop. Heading into the cave entrance Dram and Darius looked inside for tracks and noticed something very unusual.

At the eave of the tubular tunnel was a taught tarp disguised and covered in mud. Igor was called over and he drew a border around the trap. Peeking underneath, he could see a fairly deep pit had been dug just within the entranceway. The party scooted around it and headed down to see what was left of Quesquaton. Igor led with a torch checking the ground ahead in case there were more traps. The tunnel was intact the full half mile down and the group reentered the batcave below. No sounds came from within, so they all lit torches and spread out to see what had happened. After only a few yards a colossal mound of mud was discovered. Over three quarters of the room was collapsed. The unfilled portion of the cave continued opening to the right side. In single file the party carefully stepped along the cave-in’s edge searching to see how far it went.

After squeezing all the way to the far end of the original room, they spotted the right side’s exit, which used to have a boulder covering it. It was the opening they almost always entered through. Now the boulder was gone. But the space beyond was entirely collapsed. The truth had to be accepted. Nothing was left of Quesquaton or the treasure within. With a measure of regret the party retreated again to the outside. The next task was to explore the Chaos Caves again before heading back to Yung. It was late in the afternoon, but everyone agreed to another battle nonetheless. A plan was made to attack the ogre. It was decided that if the ogre were killed the goblins and possibly others would be leaderless and easier to defeat. The idea was to lure the creature outside its cave with ranged attacks and then a hidden Kayla would cause it to sleep. Thus allowing Igor to use his killing maneuver.

Darius and Dram followed the paired boot prints down the hill. They led directly through a thick cluster of forest and straight on to the streamlet running along the outer hillside of the Chaos Caves. Igor remembered the place. He quietly crept forward to the same cluster of bushes the kobold’s had set a sentry at before. Rustling noises came from behind the blind again. Crawling back he gave a quick report and Darius, Dalin, Dram, and Brother Ben snuck off to ambush the kobolds before they could set off an alarm. Lining up in the brush, each prepared to fire. “On three,” Darius whispered. “One…two…three.” Arrows and bullets flew into the bushes. A human scream echoed out and the movement stopped.

Checking on their handiwork they saw the grisly result. A nude, dead, human man lay inside the sentry blind. The body was tied up, hanging upside down from a tree, and stuck full of arrows. “Hee hee hee hee!!” The laughter came from up the hill behind them. Three goblins were seen poking around trees. The small creatures fired their crossbows and began running madly up the hillside. “It’s a trap!” yelled out Brother Ben. He hid behind a tree and scanned for other attackers. Many of the others began running after the goblins. Mirel, Kayla, and Ormand the Redd had stayed behind and did not know what was happening. They hid upon hearing Brother Ben yell out. Pulling out his bastard sword Igor hurtled himself upwards at the fleeing goblins. As Dalin, Dram, and Darius caught up with the chef from behind they found him cutting the goblins into filet.

Brother Ben continued to hide, while listening to the loud battle above. “ORMAND, COME HERE!” bellowed out Dram. The archer ran up towards the others. One by one Kayla and Mirel decided to follow too. “Come on!” said Mirel as she tugged at the priest while running by. Exasperated he trailed after. It took almost five minutes for everyone to reach the crest of the hill. More precious minutes passed as each struggled to catch his or her breath. The bodies were searched. Three small crossbows and 8 silver pieces were collected. The goblin armor was too small to fit anyone. Covered in blood, Igor climbed a tree and surveyed what he could. The interior of the ravine was out of sight, but he did spot movement along the streamlet where they had arrived below.
 

howandwhy99

Adventurer
Igor scrambled back down. Dram led the group along the tree-covered ridge of the hill towards the gnoll cave they had encountered weeks ago. Turning around he said, “Gnolls are supposed to be mercenaries. We should be able to buy them off. If we can convince them to attack the others covertly we may be able to start a civil war in this place.” Darius liked the plan. “Maybe we could pay them off to let us farther inside?” He said. “It would give us a safe escape route back to the surface.” They found the gnoll cave again. It was dark within and no guards were posted. Quietly the group moved into position for a possible attack. Darius peered into the darkness.

gnoll_cave.jpg


After five feet a round cavern opened up. It was about 35 feet in diameter and a worked stone exit lay on the far right side. Nothing else could be seen. The group lit torches and silently entered the cave. A brown furry form walked in from the far exit. It barked loudly as it ran from the group. Darius, Dalin, Dram, and Igor chased after it. The other four members followed to get in from outside. The second room was square and all worked stone. Another exit was in the middle of the far side. The barking gnoll ran through it, but not before Ormand the Redd shot an arrow in its back.

Four more gnolls ran in from where their brother had just exited. These wore heavy armor and carried axes. Dram, Darius, Igor and Dalin engaged them and managed to kill one, but the others circled around trying to reach Ormand the Redd and the slingers in back. Kayla wisely ran to the cave entrance, as she wore no armor. Ormand paced backwards trying to fire again, but an axe slashed off the side of his cuirass. Mirel and Ben pulled back abandoning their slings for the moment. Dram squared off with a gnoll, but kept missing it. Dalin and Igor shifted to flank another gnoll, but the third rounded on Dalin’s rear side. Torchless, Darius decided to chase after the fleeing gnoll into the darkness. The passage it had entered turned to the right after 10 feet and continued for 30 more before the dwarf saw steep stairs heading downward. They were full of heavily armored gnolls marching direclty at him.

Kayla looked out the cave entrance for possible reinforcements like the last gnoll attack. Ben and Mirel fired slingstones, while Ormand backpedaled and fired at the gnoll attacking Dram. Flanking, Igor pried his sword under the armor of the gnoll in front of him and pushed. The creature fell. Dalin turned on the gnoll to his rear, but not before it cut into his back. He staggered in place. A call came down the passageway. “We have company!” yelled out Darius. The dwarf had retreated into the dark corner and prepared to make a stand in close quarters.

Mirel hit the head of the gnoll, which had cut into Dalin. Dram pushed his foe back into a corner in the room and kept wailing on its armor with his sword. Igor called out, “We need some help back in here too!” as he engaged the gnoll on Dalin. Ben ran forward and deftly touched his hand out to Dalin’s outstretched one. Healing power passed from Brother Ben into the fighter’s body. Ormand the Redd scored a hit on Dram’s gnoll and the creature collapsed. Darius’s saw his enemies’ advance with his darkvision. They filled the length of the hallway in front of him. An instant later, arrows flew through the darkness and into and off his full plate armor.

Shifting its stance the gnoll facing Dalin moved towards Brother Ben and cut him with its axe. Ben thanked the Gods his chainmail had blocked most of the blow. Feeling better Dalin distracted the creature while Ben ran back towards Kayla and the front of the cavern. Igor and Dram ran to aid Darius and found the dwarf backed into a corner and surrounded. A dozen or more gnolls seemed to be pouring out of the right-hand passage. Ormand fired at the final gnoll in the square room and struck it right through its visor. The body fell next to the other three gnoll corpses. Darius turned to his right hoping to cut a path back to his friends. The gnoll he and Dram flanked tried to maneuver out of their way, but had nowhere to go. Its helm caved in under Darius’s hammer blow.

Stepping forward to fill the dead gnoll’s space, Dram stood side to side with Darius and faced the enemy. At Igor’s urging, Dalin took his space, while the chef crouched down in the shadows next to him holding his bastard sword overhead. “Kayla! Come here! We need you to sleep these things,” called out Darius. The message was passed along and reluctantly she ran back into the cave. Wondering at her sanity, Brother Ben continued running out of the cave and into the daylight. Stumbling down into the grass and dirt, he had a vision of two kobolds betting on the chances of those inside. As if in response, Ormand fired another arrow into the melee and killed his third gnoll for the day.
 

howandwhy99

Adventurer
Darius, Dram, and Dalin continued to swing at the foes in front of them. One more fell to the their blades, but its body was grabbed by a gnoll behind it and dragged backwards into the mass. “We must remember to burn the bodies!” Dalin shouted. Nudging him to the left, Igor saw his chance as another gnoll stepped forward to fill its downed ally’s space. With his bastard sword held high, he swung under its helm and cut off the creatures’ head. Calm up until this point, the other gnolls finally broke and a cacophony of barking and echoes filled the hall as they retreated.

The team quickly searched the dead bodies for loot. Darius remained in the darkened corner as the other stripped off the gnolls’ chainmail armor and stowed their axes in Igor’s sack. Only a small stack of silver was found. As flasks of oil were poured over the piled remains of the dead gnolls, Darius called Dalin over. “Watch this spot. I’m going ahead to find out where they went.” The smoke from the flames behind him reached Darius’s nose as he cautiously stepped down the stairs. He did not need to carry a torch as the other did, but he knew the gnolls could see in the dark just as well. At the bottom he saw the passage continued straight for another 25 feet and opened into another chamber. A second passage angled back and to his right. It looked smaller as less used.

Choosing the second, hopefully safer route he scouted a few feet further and saw an archway on the left hand side. Sidling up to its edge he peered around the corner. Whatever was there smelled awfully foul. SMASH!! A massive clawed paw flung the paladin into the opposite wall. “Darius?” called out Dalin. Enlisting some help Dalin, Dram, and Mirel approached the top of the stairwell with torches. Feeling confident in his new armor, Dalin descended to the bottom and waved the other two back. He advanced alone hoping one torch was less likely to be seen. Around the corner to his right he saw blood along walls and Darius’s crumpled form. Grunting and loud breathing noises came from an archway near the body. Dalin approached slowly and cautiously dragged the dwarf’s body back to the stairwell. In the shadows beyond the arch he saw a shaggy form reach out for him.

manacled_owlbear.JPG


Running as fast as possible back to the main group, Dalin was helped by Dram to pull Darius’s armored body up the stairs behind them. Mirel unfastened Igor’s sack and they stuffed the dwarven paladin into it. Most of the team had already evacuated after permanently destroyed the six gnoll dead. Once outside, everyone ran together back down the hill and along the newfound path to Quesquaton. At the streamlet below, Dram saw what he thought was a hobgoblin, but it was facing away from him and searching the surrounding countryside. “Turn right”, he called out and the group headed for the dryad’s tree instead.

Running along the Greenwillow River the Quesquaton hill came into view on their left side again. Remembering what had happened last time Dram, Igor, and Dalin cleared away every track they could. Once at the top of the hill and safely back within the entrance tunnel, the team set up camp. The sun was setting outside as Brother Ben bandaged the wounds on Darius’s body. The others were in poor shape too. It was a long and frightful night as each watch waited for the coming reprisal.


[DAY 49 – Feastday, Jinto 10th, CY 81]
– [DAY 51 – Thunderday, Jinto 12th, CY 81]


For the next two days Darius was too laid up to move. Brother Ben used his healing prayers to restore his lost vitality and seal shut his wounds, but the dwarf still needed time to recuperate. The party kept a constant vigil day and night, but nothing ever approached the cave’s entrance. Each had rations enough to last for over a week, but no fire could be built as it may have alerted the enemy to their presence. Upon the third day Darius’s health had fully returned and the team packed up for departure. With Igor scouting ahead, they moved back to the Greenwillow river and crossed over it. It took the entire morning to find their way back to Outpost Young. In actuality a patrol found them. The rest of the day was spent walking back to Keep Margrave and finding lodging for the night.
 

howandwhy99

Adventurer
AUTHORS NOTE: [SBLOCK]Quite a bit of the action occurs between sessions in online play. The quotes you’ve seen are taken from our online messageboard. Sometimes I need to edit them slightly to get the tense right, but otherwise it is the text from the actual players and referee.

In the scatter of quoted posts between sessions eight and nine, Darius and Igor’s histories were also posted. Well… sort of a second one for Igor. The following are in addition to the histories you can find near the beginning of the storyhour.[/SBLOCK]
 
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howandwhy99

Adventurer
Darius’s History

Posted on behalf of Skrayper

The History of Darius Kord

Darius grew up in one of the more prestigious homes of the Dwarven Kingdom. The 2nd of 5 children, Darius knew many responsibilities around the hearth and home. Most of the time, even as a child, he was a mediator, his personality quickly defusing the hostile personalities of his fellow dwarves. His father, also a diplomat, saw great promise in him and his abilities. His mother, a hearth cleric, sought to instill a strong devotion to her faith in their children, and also saw potential in Darius. She pushed forward his training in religious training, hoping one day Darius would follow in her footsteps instead.

Darius was much more inclined towards his father's work than his mother's. His father taught him the subtleties of dwarven diplomacy, which to other cultures was an oxymoron. Darius was an apt pupil, and began at an early age to mediate disputes between other dwarven households. The Council of Thanes were impressed with his abilities, and asked that he come in to mediate a trade agreement with a large city of gnomes nearby that had eluded the other diplomats. Darius agreed.

Darius spent several months with the gnomes, learning from them as well as constantly relaying messages back and forth with the dwarves to broker a better deal. After the first, large trade
agreement was found beneficial to both sides in about a month, Darius stayed on the remaining months to broker smaller agreements and treaties between gnomish families, and between the gnomes and smaller dwarven groups. The gnomes began to teach Darius many things, even their ability to speak with stone (his dwarven heritage making it possible, though much more difficult). However, he was nearly done when a messenger had arrived to bring him terrible news… his mother was deathly ill.

Darius returned home post-haste. His father was there to greet him, and Darius walked in to find all of his siblings there waiting on them. His older brother, a soldier within the dwarven
army; his twin sister, a cleric like their mother; his younger brother, a scout for the army (rogue); and his little sister, still too young to venture forth. Darius found her lying in her bed, her breath raspy and shallow.

Darius pledged to her that day that he would be part of the church. He realized he lacked his sister's aptitude for true clerical power and wisdom, and he did not want to abandon his true calling. At the same time, however, he found that he truly wanted to keep his promise to his mother. It was his sister that suggested that he undergo the trial of paladinhood. Darius pondered deeply on the subject, and then proceeded to be tested by High Priest Gimor of the Church of Thor. Darius passed, and was assigned to First Paladin Durok. He learned the art of mount riding, swordplay, and learned to access his powers for the greater good of the dwarven lands.

Soon after Darius finished his training, he was brought before the council of Thanes and asked to be one of the ambassadors sent to the nearby human kingdom, more specifically the county of Margrave. Once he arrived, Darius learned of the problems and signed on, his moral duty and job duties demanding that he assist the humans.

Family Name: Kord
Father's Name: T'darl
Mother's Name: Dera (deceased)
Older Brother: Brin
Twin Sister: Nira
Younger Brother: D'kar
Younger Sister: Minar

Interesting tidbits:
Darius refers to his twin sister as "han-ownad", which translates into "half-spirit". Darius and his sister have joked that she gained more wisdom and intelligence than he did (him being average, her being well above-average in those) but he gained all the charm and physical durability. Neither is incredibly strong (Darius is 12 str) and neither cares for dexterity anyway.

Darius refers to his little sister as "silfar-kahl", or silver stone. Because he once found a small nugget of the silver on his travels, had it affixed to a gold chain, and gave it to her as a birthday present.

Darius finds gnomish culture fascinating.

Darius spent time training in the arts of Trading, Negotiating, Diplomacy, Scribing Contracts, and Etiquette for Dwarves and Gnomes. He's not nearly so familiar with Human or other racial etiquette.

Darius learned much of speaking with the stone, but still requires training to get over the "hump," if you will, and actually be able to accomplish it.
 

howandwhy99

Adventurer
Igor’s History

Posted on behalf of Biorph

Igor’s History

I considered doing a history for Igor, one of swashbuckling deeds of daring do, adventure on horseback and the high seas, finding, losing and finding lost loves again, all while fighting monster shaped robots from the year 2010...but then who knows if Igor is even his real name. How exactly did Igor learn to speak Goblin, Dwarf, Halfling, and Elven? What accident left him the twisted and scarred person he was until he was touched by the healing powers of Thor? Where did he train that he knows how to strike so precisely at his enemies, and why didn't any of you learn this stuff when you were being taught to fight? Who taught him all of his woodcraft? How is it he's so proficient with weaponry but so lacking in his armor? When did he work with the barbarian humanoid tribes to learn how to make disguises to look like them? What's the family history behind the big bag? What up with his voice? Exactly what are beans 4-7 in the seven bean casserole? Sooo many questions.
 

howandwhy99

Adventurer
[Session 9]

[DAY 52 – Fastday, Jinto 13th, CY 81]
– [DAY 64 – Weddingday, Jinto 25th, CY 81]


For the following two weeks the party decided to improve their skills before journeying back to the caves. The gnolls and hobgoblins had proven difficult enemies and the team’s previous training had proved exceptionally useful; both in understanding more of what they faced and how to overcome it. Brother Ben spent his days at Father Hedrach’s side and several hours every night in prayer and devotion. Igor decided to learn a new profession. He helped the merchant Mouse keep shop and take orders which kept him so busy, few saw him the entire time. Mirel remained stationed in the barracks and practiced her archery. She still found time to spend with her family each day, but mainly kept up the appearance of fulfilling her militia duties.

Dram and Dalin drank, diced, and caroused every night. They did their best to look busy when the sun was up by window-shopping for things they liked: mainly pretty women. Darius was as adamant as ever in trying to secure a meeting with Lady Devereaux. Unfortunately, her strict privacy policy had not changed. This did not deter Darius however. He kept busy learning and doing numerous different tasks around Keep Margrave all while petitioning for the Lady’s time. At one point, he decided to speak with Father Hedrach at the temple about “what would be entailed in questing for his holy avenger and his sacred mount.”

Father Hetrick said:
Father Hetrick spends most hours of each day during the 2 weeks in prayer with Brother Ben. Late in the evenings he is able to see Darius, but tells him that for at least the next little while he will not be much help to him. It would require him to perform a rite on the dwarf’s behalf.

He does know of several Holy weapons lost in the histories of the Church. Perhaps Thor will look upon each if found as a token of your faith. He also knows of several potential areas to seek a mount. The plains of Nihm in the Barbarian lands to the West are known for their great horse stock. The Kronheim, a series of hills to the South, also have some creatures of exceptional intelligence and are possible to train by those of pure heart. He suspects although he doesn't know for sure that a mount to fly could be found there. Even further South and across the Vast Sea there are the Jungles from which many creatures have been found and many more have not been discovered yet.

And the Great Chasm in the Barren tundra of the North. The raiders from which are known to ride Bears, Great Wolves, and all other sorts of beasts.

Darius thanked Father Hedrick. After leaving he daydreamed about what mount his bond would be with. Igor, on the other hand, had barely a spare moment to himself. But having learned from Dram of an alchemist’s shop in the keep, he stole a few minutes to check it out. When Igor found and knocked on the shop’s green door he learned some strange news.

Bert the Chemist said:
Questri the Alchemist was away gathering materials for two weeks. Currently his assistant Albert the Chemist (he likes to be called Bert not Al) was tending the shop. Bert told Igor that due to recent purchases Questri had to go find some rare substances to replenish his stocks.

Igor understood, but decided to look at all the wares anyhow. He selected quite a few potions for himself paying with more gold than Bert had presumed he had.
 


howandwhy99

Adventurer
Originally posted by Mirel
Mirel undertakes 3 of 14 days of training in archery. The welts on her left forearm reveal that her skill is improving rather slowly. She has begun wrapping her arm in various common herbs, mostly shredded willowbark and aloe vera from the kitchen gardens. She most likely goes on to another form of training, to give her arm a rest, probably tracking and tracks reading. On the road, she'd go to Igor for that, but since he's preoccupied with his own training, she'll ask the Keep Quartermaster whom she should speak with.

After several days of tracking, she goes back to archery (wearing a nice, sturdy leather half sleeve on her forearm) and then finishes up with tracking. During her free days, she spends her time in the Keep's kitchen and stables. Normalcy is such an easy routine to fall back into. This time, before leaving, she remembers to acquire feed for Solly, and ask Igor to put it in the backpack.

Quartermaster Harold, as is on everybody's mind whenever someone mentions tracking, starts to say Pendra and Certa... but stutters and turns embarrassed as he remembers they haven't been seen in several months. When he regains his composure, his next suggestion is a little bizarre. He tells you to speak to Mouse. Mouse knows a hermit who lives in the woods nearby. However, the hermit doesn't like visitors and so Mouse may be reluctant to tell you of him. Not only that Mouse likes to keep his secrets. But Mouse seems to be able to find whatever we need, when we need it for the right price

Mirel tells Igor that the Quartermaster said to go ask Mouse about a hermit. She figures that Mouse will more likely help Igor, since Igor has traded with Mouse quite a bit, and if Mouse can get lessons set up for both Igor and Mirel with the hermit, that would work out pretty good.

If not, well, if only one person can meet with the hermit, it ought to be Igor, since he already knows something of woods lore, and not make the hermit mad with so many foolish mistakes. Mirel has lots of other training options she can turn to, not the least of which is short sword.

Mirel gets the sinking suspicion she is not too far off. With most of the regular army away; and many of the most prominent and powerful figures of the county away with Lord Margrave; and with no physical sign of Lady Devereaux; and with banditry near the Keep; and with a Giant's Army in the Caves of Chaos; and with...

Rumors to that effect are not unheard of. The most common one is: The Guild is conspiring to acquire more of an influence over the day to day running of the County.

Mirel received many offers once she asked around for training in new weapons.

Originally posted by Dalin and Galf
Dalin offered his assistance with weapon training to Mirel. He was also working to choose a primary weapon for himself, rather than switching around all the time. The dwarven-made sword was the most likely candidate. He also experimented with shields and looked into getting some modifications made to his field plate, so it was not quite so flashy. It was not his style, and also too obvious out in the open.

Galf the Armorer: “The suit of Armor you now wear was originally fashioned for Sir Ronaldo of Clares. His family's estate donated it to the cause since Sir Ronaldo is dead and had no heirs to wear it.” The armorer was more than willing to make any adjustments he wished. But he asked that Dalin not hide Sir Ronaldo's colors. “He was a brave defender of the County. And if not for the fact that he was slain in his sleep before he could don his armor would likely have gone off to the War in this suit. His squire fought bravely and was found dead protecting this armor from theft.”

Dalin was thrilled to learn the history of the armor, and asked the armorer anything else he could tell of Sir Ronaldo and his family. “Are they local?” Dalin considered requesting an audience with them at some point, to let them know that their donation had been put to good use. He agreed not to hide Sir Ronaldo's colors. Perhaps a cloak would be appropriate for times when temporary cover was needed, but otherwise he would wear the armor proudly.

Galf the Armorer: “I didn't know him personally. But I can tell you that to reach Clares, you need to travel to the West a day to the Village of Hommlet. And from there go South to Holmfaust.... about 2 days more travel. And then to the SouthWest again about another day or day and a half. Sir Ronaldo's widow would I’m sure love to hear that the armor is seeing use.”

There was filigree aplenty on the armor. The most noted symbols involved a chalice and three connected rings. The breastplate had the 3 rings.

When Darius heard about Dalin’s discovery, he offered the black cloak they found to him. A length of it was cut off, but the shoulders and such were broad enough for Dalin in his new armor. The paladin took special note of the symbols now they were polished up. He tried to remember if he had seen the crest before.
 
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