Wednesday 27 November 2013

WB1, Session 4: There and Back again

Session 4: "There and Back again"
Wednesday 3rd, March 1001 AC

And so the morning finally came with no further hints of the goblins...

While the party prepared to depart for Pflenzen, the dwarf miners took upon themselves to clean the last goblin bodies out of the mines and make a pyre outside. After some time, Urist agreed to bless a small shrine the dwarves had deeper in their tunnels while Grom watched the lone wolf in the distance outside.

The cleric had a strange "experience" while blessing the small shrine to his god, Kagyar. Afterwards, he reported confused images, sounds and smells, things he could see but not comprehend. One thing was clear however, a voice, and a message: 
"When doom crushes dead and alive alike, find refuge in the bowels of the earth"
Finally, the companions departed, leaving Jandaem, Matholim and Lotek at the mines with some rations to sustain themselves for a few days. By midday, they reached the old caravan attack site but still no new tracks could be found. Serrin noticed a painted rock, quickly identified as a Druid Cant message by Danik. Grom soon confirmed, the paintings on the rock said: "Tracking west, White Tail reports prisoners. Meet back at farmer later"

With not much more to go on, they decided to check on Hrodik, the pig farmer they had met previously during their travel, less than a day away heading south.

As evening came and everyone prepared for the night, the lone wolf was heard once again, howling to the full moon above. During dinner, Grom seemed lost in thought for a while. Suddenly, his entire body began to shift and transform, fur emerging over his gear and in a couple seconds, he was a wolf, large and muscled with faint markings drawn over his body. As his companions dealt with shock and confusion, the wolf that was once Grom leaped into the darkness and soon disappeared into the night...and all was quiet.

As morning arrived, Danik noticed Grom at the end of his watch, sleeping in the snow a bit away from the camp, in his normal form. Quickly everyone was awake and asking about the half orc condition but Grom re-assured his companions and Serrin, barely phased by all this, nonchalantly explained what he knew about Druids wild shaping.

The clouds overhead opened up as the morning went by, hinting for a rainy spring, but at least the temperatures were rising slightly. By midday, they arrived at Hrodik's farm. There, they met Hrodik once again, in person this time and an Heldaner named Ulfar Icepelt, a ranger from the Heldannic Wardens.

While the two Heldaners had their lunch, the party discussed and learned that:

  • The ranger Uflar had reports from little friends about the caravan and 3 captives. From the farm, one would need to follow the western woods border north a bit until something called the "Reaching Fingers" is reached (a stone formation of some kind). From there, it would be Northward toward the Mengul Mountains. 
  • Vigfus Raknarson, the man who was at the mine asking about Asnia's expedition and left with the caravan, is not a ranger but, from what Hrodik said, a militia man from Pflenzen who disappeared when Ott LongReach took over the village from the old governor. 
  • Ulfar would resume his patrols east later on. 

The party then resumed their march south and by mid afternoon reached the forking in the trail. Heading west, they set up camp on the road side. Everyone prepared for the night as usual, Danik writing frantically in his journals, Serrin maintaining his gear and Urist ushering small prayers to Kagyar. Grom, meanwhile, went into the night a step and had a quick "exchange" with the lone wolf that party was now getting used to, then rejoined his companions.

The night went peacefully and with the new day a clear sky and a shining cold sun arrived, lowering the temperatures slightly. After a couple hours walk, there was Pflenzen once again, the only trace of civilization in these parts of the Heldanic Territories...

The first order of business was to meet Knight Banneret Mandred Kriburg, the local representative of the Order of Vanya. The meeting that followed was firm, professional and to the point with Danik, seen by Mandred as the leader of the group due to him being the only member of the Order, even if only as a contractor. Many things were discussed and some things learned:
  • The knight was appreciative of the feat that the group had accomplished in defending the miners from the Goblin horde, but considered the act as part of normal duty. 
  • Apparently, there was a report from a ranger of the Heldannic Wardens in the area that the horde the party had encountered was now heading further south east. 
  • Mandred was quite adamant with Danik that the mission to find the caravan was not completed and did not seem to appreciate the haggler's tone of the mage. While unsure about Grom, he was however quite confidant that Serrin would work for gold and that the dwarf had personal interests in finding the caravan and his lost brothers. 
  • Mandred confirmed that Vigfus Raknarson left his post in the militia when Ott Longreach took over as governor and hinted that he might now be in league with Njall Thrinnsson, the son of the old governor with a bounty for his capture. 
  • When asked, Mandred confirmed that there was no charge currently against Njall Thrinnsson but that he was believed to prepare reprisal against the current governor, suspicion of this raised further by the fact that he disappeared from Pflenzen afterwards and is rumored to hide in the area, with trusted men. 
  • Mandred was quite appreciative of the bounty hunter and paid fully for the goblin fangs, offering free gear maintenance as well as lodging and free use of the barracks facilities. As for Danik, he was given permission to use the Church of Vanya library. 
  • Urist was finally given official papers regarding their current mission and the small down-payment of 10 gold. 

Afterwards, the party decided to prepare for what lay ahead...

Urist and Serrin went and met with Old Randers, an old one-legged dwarven smith. Shocked by the news of the missing caravan and dead dwarven brothers, he agreed to plea for help for the miners with Mandred Kriburg. He also seemed very distraut at the news that the mines ledger and books went missing.

Danik and Grom meanwhile headed for the local Church of Vanya and there met with Prior Gregory, a young and somewhat naive priest. The discussion did not go too well, the priest being quite true and strict in his faith. He however allowed Danik inside the libraries and assigned an acolyte to aid his research. Danik would then remain in the library for a full day, working and studying to the extremes of what his endurance allowed.

While Urist spent the day resting, praying, training and having some talks with the militia men, Grom and Serrin, faced with lack of proper supplies in the village, went out and hunted for a day, with decent success.

On the second day, the companions met back at the barracks and talked things over during dinner. Danik shared what he had learned during his research:
  • Asnia, the governor's daughter, was researching stories of a mage that wandered the area about a century ago. The mage was an exile from a faraway land called Alphatia (very far in the west). 
  • She left about two weeks ago with lots of supplies, a dozen of the most trusted men of the governor, a couple horses and carts. 

These news confused the others since they could not see any direct link with the matters at hand and the caravan missing. Despite Danik's tentative tries to match the two together, it was soon decided to focus on the problem in front of them and continue investigate the missing caravan.

After a night at the barracks, the party felt refreshed. Confident and stronger from what they had faced and experienced, they headed out, following the eastern trail once more under the cold rays of a spring sun...

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