2014-08-26

Grand Duchy 28

Grand Duchy of Adventure

Session 28
August 13-25, 2014

The Keeper of the Circle

Lunadain 11th of Flaurmont

The Keeper

The strange Human stops about 15 feet away and throws his hands in the air, calling out in Traladaran, “I said, what are you doing in my storehouse!”

Griffin tosses the bundle of herbs he carried out of the cave behind a bush. He looks at Marcel with a shrug and a quirked eyebrow. You want to field this, or do you want me to?

Marcel lowers his spear and turns to the man.

“This is a storehouse? Well, this makes sense. I’m very sorry about this.”

Marcel motions the other to keep quiet while he appeases the man and figure out more about him.

“My name is Marcel, traveller who can’t resist exploring cracks in cliffs. For this, I apologize.”
Feigning a cough to avoid laughing at her companions’ shenanigans, Iris smiles at the strange and dirty stranger. “Is this really your storehouse? That’s so incredible! So, you must be very old then. Or you pass down as progeny from one of the caretakers of this religious site.” She stares right at the man and quirks an eyebrow, “What’s your name?”

Not yet joining in on the conversation, Draven takes a moment to pull his armor back on over his head and settle it into place. He listens in for the fellow’s replies, especially keen to see just how he manages to keep himself so clean, but also wondering a bit about the bones in the water off to the north.

The man stares at the companions then cocks his head to the side as if thinking, “I am the Keeper of the Circle,” he says matter of factly. “My name is, um,” he pauses for a moment and scratches his rough, bearded chin, “it is, well, oh yes, my name is Wyrtung. And what are your names, and what are you doing here?”

Marcel steps back into the foreground.

"We are the Grey Company, travelers stumbling here by accident. Our business is not with you, but we must admit that we are most curious about the circle and the reason why it requires a keeper. I hail from a Traladaran family, yet I have never heard of this wonder."

He invites the keeper to get seated on nearby stones and encourages him to talk.

While listening with half an ear, Draven crosses the ruins toward the stream that runs there to wash his hands and face, cleaning up from the dirt of his travels and from crawling through the fissure.

The strange man cautiously approaches the group while Draven excuses himself from the immediate area. “Everything needs a keeper. Your shield, his boots, her family, his gods, they all need keepers. I am this place’s keeper. That is what I am. Why have you come to this place, you say you have business elsewhere, but you are here.” He smiles an awkward smile then grimaces as his stomach audibly growls. “Ahh, excuse me.” He starts looking around on the ground near him. He pats the waistline of his ratty pants. He puts his finger to his mouth, a thoughtful look on his face. “Have you seen my pipe anywhere?” His stomach growls again. He holds his stomach and then looks over his shoulder to the eastern horizon. “The moon will be full tonight. I must bathe.” With that he stands and drops his pants and starts to walk toward the steps leading to the top of the mound.

From his place next to the bubbling brook, Draven is drawn from his washing by an astonished gasp from his companions. He turns around to see Wrytung striding toward him completely naked.

The moon would be full that night.
“So, Iris, still want to talk to the guy now? Maybe you should take your pants off?”, Marcel adds in a mock. He remembers the bucket with the pipe that he left on a rock atop the mound and heads for it.

“Full moon tonight hey? I guess this is what we’re here for. We are looking for Bailakask and Kalkask. Are they for real? Are they causing you trouble?”

He follows the keeper up the stairs to see where this bath will take them, and recover the bucket to give it back to him.

Griffin grins as his Traladaran friend interacts with the hermit. Yea, but when we get to town, it’s my turn. He keeps an eye on the hermit, but he’s really curious about the rest of the place. “Hey, um, Wyrtung? Okay, if we keep looking around while you… bathe? This is a really cool place.”

Bath Time

Marcel realizes that this Wyrtung is heading up to the top of the mound, possibly to get his bucket. The Marcel follows the naked man. Just at the base of the stairs, the Keeper of the Circle stops and turns abruptly, bringing his hand up, as if to make a point. Marcel, who had been following just a bit too closely, ends up more than face to face with the fully naked man. Wyrtung crosses his eyes slightly, then huffs a mouthful of hot, sour breath into Marcel’s face. Marcel blushes and quickly retreats out of arm’s length of the man and steps to the side. Wyrtung composes himself a bit and then says, “You speak of Bailakask. I know of her.” As he speaks, he subconsciously puts one hand on his left elbow, hugging himself. “She does not come here, nor does her vile spawn, Kalkask. But that is why I must be here, must be the Keeper. I keep this circle and this place, but I also keep them out! But stop pestering me, it is time for me to bathe. I must bathe, for I am hungry.” To punctuate this last statement, Marcel can hear the man’s flat stomach growl again. 

Wyrtung turns and continues up the steps. He seems to have no problem with the Company hanging around the Circle and Mound while he bathes. Marcel follows him to the to top of the mound where he finds his bucket and pipe. “Ahh, yes, that’s where I left it.” He smiles and, from some unfathomable place, he produces a flint and steel, huddles down and lights his pipe.

Iris grimaces and decides to excuse herself after the strange hermit decided to undress. She looks for Griffin and tries to find somewhere the two of them could discuss this place and possibly throw ideas to each other regarding its use and relevance. Her deep red face seems to contrast with her relatively calm attitude, but Iris thinks she manages to keep herself together despite the awkward circumstances.

Griffin chats with Iris about other areas to check out, excluding the storehouse and Wyrtung’s cave. “Maybe there is more to the pool with the bones, or the crack with the weird mist coming out of it. I have a few questions for the old man. Out of respect for your delicate sensibilities, perhaps you could check one of those other areas out while I chat with our bathing hermit.” Iris nods and wanders off, but not too far.

Griffin heads up to the stonepit where Wyrtung is bathing. “Um, excuse me, would it be alright if I asked a few questions? I was wondering what those herbs in your storehouse are. And who do you trade with? Do folks stop by here often? Has the field of tranquility inside the circle always been there, or does it come and go?”

Wrytung looks at Griffin with an odd look, “Sure,” he says while munching on something in between puffs on his pipe.

Marcel heads back down to the others.

“I think that the guys is busy. I think that he is nuts too, but maybe I’m reading too much into this.”, the others grin.

“He knows about the werewolves. There is a mother and a son. The circle keeps them away or something like this.”

Marcel stare to the West. “He is all yours, friends. I’m going to get the others now.”

And Marcel leaves along the cliff’s, keeping an eye on the ground in case that he makes interesting findings.

As Marcel leaves, Wyrtung keeps himself busy. He takes his bucket from the grass on the top of the mound and then climbs back down the stairs. At the base of the stairs. he turns and wades out into the shallow, bubbling pool. There he crouches down and fills the bucket with water, an uncomfortable sight for those keeping an eye on him. He heads back up to the top of the mound and then climbs down into the stone lined pit, disappearing from sight to those still on the ground below the mound.

Griffin talks with the strange man as he performs his bathing ritual. Wyrtung climbs down into the 6 foot deep pit then pulls his bucket down. He sets his pipe aside then starts taking handfuls of water out of the bucket and scrubbing himself vigorously.

He explains to Griffin that the herbs are cyldwort, or wolfsbane. He plants and harvests it here as a hobby. He tells Griffin that he is involved with no trade with any others and that he keeps to himself as much as he can, though it seems that many others seem to want to intrude on his solitude quite often. As for the Circle, he says that it has always been ‘hushed’ up there.

Griffin perks up when he hears the mention of ‘wolfsbane.’ “Wyrtung, how could we use that in our fight against Bailakask and Kalkask.” He hesitates, “Assuming you might be willing to part with some, of course.”

“Even a little could keep them from entering our camp, were they to approach while we were scouting out theirs, right? I’m trying to so what I can to protect our horses. I hear they will be a liability if we try to take them with us to the werewolves’ lair.”

“Well, its all mine. You can’t have it! Why would you want to go to the Wolves Lair? They will eat you, or worse yet, Bailakask will put her mark on you!” He holds up his left arm, turning it out to reveal a dark purple scar on his elbow.

Griffin takes a few steps back. “Wyrtung! Are you a werewolf, too?”

“No, of course not. Are you? Why would I have all this wolfsbane here if I were a werewolf? Not all bites from a Werewolf turn you, you know. But EVERY bite from Bailkask leaves a mark. She is something MORE than just a Werewolf, though I know not what it is.” He turns back to his washing, scrubbing his nether regions.

“Oh, wait, I think you missed a spot… Well, could we trade for some? What do you need so much for, anyway?”

“I have need of very little here, I am able to take care of myself. But if you are so inclined to go after the Wolves, I can give you some advice.” He pauses for a moment, then continues, “Don’t!”

He then bends over and starts laughing. “No, really, they are dangerous and I do my part to stay out of their way, they leave me alone, but Bailakask has some desire for this circle, which is why I protect it. I grow and harvest the cyldwort and keep it here in such supply that they cannot come. The other wolves, the normal wolves, are for some reason kept from this place as well, though if I venture too far afield, they find me quickly. If you are going there, you would be best served to leave your mounts here. I will watch them for you.”

Griffin smiles. “We would indeed appreciate that, Wyrtung. And I wish I could heed your wisdom, but we are charged by the Fairy King of Horses with this task, and beyond that he promises to help us find a friend kidnapped by Goblins. So we have little choice.”

“There is always a choice. Which is why I refuse to join the others in their “worships” on the mound. They have no idea what they are doing. I think they are under the sway of the Wolves. I think they want to set the evil spirits free. I cannot let them do it. I have not seen them in some time. Usually they would be here, on the day of the full moon. I thought you were them. I thought they were going to try to clear my storehouse. I could give you some wolfsbane if you like, to help you in your quest. Remember, though, when you kill that bitch, you MUST use silver. Or throw her in lava. That would work too.” He finishes his washing and dumps the remainder of the bucket over his head. “Can you give me a hand out, it’s getting harder and harder to get in and out of this thing.”

Griffin offers a hand and helps the old man out of the pit. “You could grab one of those bigger stones and toss it in there as a step to get out, couldn’t you? Or bathe in the pool down there. Why do you come up here instead?”

“No, no, no! The Pool of Gefeoht must remain pure. It is what gives it its power. It protects me from the Wolves!” He starts to shiver and shake as he says this. He calms and then goes on to explain the pool, “I was drawn to this place when I was very young. I am not of these parts, I am Heldanner, from far to the north. A vision sent me here. I traveled for almost a year, not really knowing where I was going. When I got here, many years ago, I found an old man living here. He greeted me invited me into the circle. By that evening he had died. I was sent here as his replacement. Sent to “keep” the Circle and Mound. Sent to keep the Embrenu Sætung safe. Those are the evil spirits trapped in the lava down below, you know.” He points over to the dark fissure in the side of the mound.

“I didn’t, but thanks for the heads-up. We’ll give that a wide berth.”

“Bailkask has been taken by one of the spirits I believe. One of those stupid people who came here several years ago, the ones that “worship” in my garden, he climbed into the fissure and upset one of the receptacles, releasing the spirit. That dark spirit found the darkest and most evil being to inhabit, Bailakask. You must kill her! I can help you. I know a way to approach her lair secretly and safely. I can give you wolfsbane to protect you. I will watch your horses. But don’t get bitten by her and she MUST be killed by silver. The killing blow has to be silver or we are all in danger. Or at least YOU are!

“We’ll gladly accept all the help you can spare, Wyrtung. I hear these Weres have been a plague on the area for a long time. It would be great if we could rid the area of them for good.”

After some time, Wyrtung comes climbing back out of the pit. He smiles and stretches his arms and legs out wide, giving everyone the opportunity to fully see him. This whole process takes nearly 30 minutes, and just as he is coming back down the stairs and putting his filthy pants back on, Marcel calls from the other side of the mound. He has found Remar, Ree, Burik and Akaios and brought them to this site.

Marcel leads the others to Griffin, Draven and Iris. He points out that the place would be somewhat safe tonight and fish for opinion on where to camp the others.

"The werewolves will be out hunting tonight", he stares. "I think that we know where we should be, but how about our friends? Our horses?"

“It might be that this is a safe place for them to be. It is a place of holiness, after a fashion, and perhaps will continue to serve in such a capacity even for more modern and worldly peoples than our naked host.”

For the rest of the afternoon, Wyrtung moves about the area doing his own thing, really paying no attention to the members of the Grey Company except to nod and smile at them as he passes. He happily converses when spoken to, but continues to act just a little odd, as if sometimes forgetting they are there or what he had spoken about previously.

He seems content to have the group there and even happy at times for the company despite his lack of social skills or understanding of others. Eventually, even the Elves show up at the site, though they seem uninterested in conversing with the strange Wyrtung.

Marcel kinds of like the keeper and show proper deference to his ways. Griffin fills him in on the his conversation with the keeper. It looks like we’ve found a haven for the mounts, and a friend in these parts. “I say that we split, build a camp and catch some z’s before nightfall. We then take the safe way to the lair and then we…”, he gives a sideways grin “improvise until they are both dead.”

“Something in me suggests that we should be making better use of this protective place. Are we worried at all about them worshippers that the keeper thought we were?”

Hesitating slightly, Iris sighs and agrees that Marcel’s logic is sound. It doesn’t help that both the strange man and this place were incredibly enrapturing. “I think staying here is definitely the best course of action. Something about this place calls to me.”

“Okay, that sounds good. Let’s find a quiet corner and set up camp.” He quickly makes some suggestions for watches and turns in.

A comfortable camp is made with good lines of sight throughout the area. As the camp is being finished the Elves do a bit more scouting of the wider area and report that they find frequent wolf tracks, of varying sizes, nearby, though none closer than about 500 yards or so. Something is keeping the wolves at bay.

Story Time
Wyrtung agrees to part with just one bundle of Wolfsbane per person, he says that it will hinder the Werewolves, but it is not a guaranteed deterrent. He also suggests to approach the lair along the old road leading away from the mound. He says that the road is “thrice blessed” and “one cannot meet enemies while walking upon it.” Wyrtung also tells stories from his youth, about the strong and severe Heldannic Knights, about his people, a rough and hardy mountain folk, he tells of his travels from this far northern land. Unbelievable tales of survival and luck. He often retells parts, giving different accounts each time, most of the events he describes are outlandish and very lethal, lending continual credence that the man has lost whatever weak grip he once held on reality.

Initially hoping to add to the greater knowledge of the church, Draven began writing in his hesitant left-handed scrawl of what the old fellow had to say. As the stories deviate and mutate along the way, he continues to make notes, but with occasional side references to indicate, for any future reader, just how outlandish it all seemed at the time.

He does occasionally prompt the old fellow into talking more about the faith of the old times that founded this sanctuary.

Draven is very curious to hear that when Wyrtung speaks of faith, some of it is familiar to him, though much is foreign. It appears that Vanya, the Girder on of Weapons, is the primary Patron of the Heldannic Knights, the rulers and protectors of his homeland. He tells of a time when he was very young, before he embarked upon his quest, that the “Knights from the South” arrived at his homeland. He says they moved in quickly with their weapons and warships. They battled the many wild hordes of evil humanoids and even some native Heldanner resistance. Within a year the Knights had placed themselves in charge. Wyrtung makes it seem like these Knights were actually a good thing for the Heldanner people. “They brought order where there was none. They made peace through war.” He also speaks of some other Immortals such as Odin, Thor and Frey, but reminds himself that these gods are now outlawed and the enemies of the Grey Lady. He nods to the nearby mound, “This circle is of Odin and his brood. Built long ago. Many before me have kept this place. The wind blows strange, I feel that maybe it is no longer time for this place.”

Draven files that snippet of supposition away for a later time. Places of great sanctity remain sacred even after the gods to which they were ascribed have forgotten about them. This might a place to serve as a foundation for the spread of the true faith in these lands.

While the hermit rambles, Griffin brings up “The Star of Sairalindë.” “Have you ever heard of it, Wyrtung? It’s supposed to be lost around these hills somewhere.”

“Star of Sairalindë, you say. Why yes, there is a full moon tonight. Good night to hunt wolves! Visiblity will be high.” Wyrtung states. He makes no further comment about the “Star” and completely ignores Griffin when asked again.

Also intrigued by the wealth of information this man held, Iris takes the time making an accounting of his stories and comparing them to what she had learned from her research back at home of the histories of this region. Briefly, Iris wondered if her guardian would take stock in the sort of man Draven appears to be. She knew Draven definitely reminded her of him.

As Iris writes down the stories of old Wyrtung, she reminds herself that many of these stories are from the hermits past, before he came to Karameikos. He talks of being a Heldanner, from the Heldann Freeholds far to the north, past the great Ylari desert, through the Dwarven mountains of Rockhome and across the vast plains of grass of the Great Khan of Ethengar.

Wyrtung comes from far in the north.
While they wait for sundown and the imminent battle against formidable foes, Griffin takes time to get to know the Elves that accompany them. He asks about Rifllian and what they might know of this strange place. At some point, he awkwardly asks about how they handle honoring their fallen comrades. He shares the story of Eranthil, killed at the Battle of Susikyn. “I think he said he was from Rifllian. Did you know him?”

The Elves confirm that they knew of Eranthil, more directly they knew his mother, who still lives in Rifllian. Seldanna is her name and she is one of the village weavers.

Marcel wakes up from a nap to find the lot in chatter as if it was a strawberry social. He does the rounds and polishes the silver on everyone’s weapon to make them smooth. “May they find targets tonight.” He prays to the best of his abilities as he buffs, trying to engrain a little bit of the gods in the silver with this vigorous meditation.

“Halav, in this silver, imbue the just cause.”, he intones for each weapon.

Seeing Marcel’s attention to the silver reminds Griffin of the mad hermit’s warning. “Marcel, for what it’s worth, you’re going to be taking point on this one. Wyrtung says that Bailakask, the werewolf queen, may be possessed by some evil spirit from this place. He says the killing blow must be from silver. Going in, let that be your mission, okay? We’ll help, but I’m thinking you’ll be the one facing her anyway.”

“Point taken”, he replies. He wonders whether he shouldn’t have stuffed a small blade in his belt in case it comes down to a skin-to-skin contact.

Dining with Wyrtung
The afternoon progresses quickly and finally the night falls. Wyrtung is invited to dine with the Company and he remains much quieter throughout this meal. As soon as it is done he leaps up, gathers his bucket and proceeds to repeat his bathing ritual as he did earlier in the day, all the while fretting about “too many meals” and “must cleanse and protect.”

When he is done, he looks around, seemingly startled by the Elves, who have been in the camp for several hows now. “Where did these Elves come from?” he asks, though does not wait for answers. He talks about them a bit, though never speaking directly to them, and ignoring the few attempts they make to talk to him. After a while, the Elves just start ignoring Wyrtung all together.

Eventually, the sun sets. Wyrtung gives each member of the Company a sprig of Wolfsbane, though he does not give any to the Elves. When asked about this, he says he does not have enough to spare, that even the small amount he is giving away is potentially catastrophic.

Again, he points out the ancient road leading to the east. “The road is thrice blessed, you will never meet an enemy upon those stones!”

“Okay, guys, let’s get rolling. The Fairy King of Horses said that the werewolves should be out hunting, so if we time this right we’ll get a chance to get in and clear out a few wolves before they get back. Then we can set up a decent ambush!” Griffin makes sure that he has the traps he prepared at Susikyn in his pack. “We’ll be on foot, so let’s keep it quiet. The goal is us surprising them.” He looks at Thallan. “Perhaps one or two of your troop could take point?”

He turns back to his comrades. Now, we may not have a lot of time once we get there.  Are there any questions you need answered now?”

Thallan the Elf nods, “We will scout ahead, secure the perimeter and watch behind as well.” He goes on to explain a series of whistles that sound like bird calls that the Elves will use to alert the Grey Company of anything they find.


Cast of Characters: 

Garrett "Griffin" Constantine, a Thyatian rogue of a gambler from Penhaligon rolled by +Arne Jamtgaard 

Marcel Maasa homely but sincere wielder of spears aspiring to cooking greatness commanded by +Christian Blouin 

Draven Rickart, a Thyatian Acolyte of the Church of Karameikos ministered by +Jason Packer 

Iris Varda, a Thyatian explorer and historian searching for answers and adventure guided by +Alex Safatli  

Remar Umerus, an Alphatian battle mage that escaped forced service in the Thyatian army conjured by +Ben Lipe and currently in NPC mode. 

and +Jason Woollard as The DM


2014-08-14

Grand Duchy 27

Grand Duchy of Adventure

Session 27
August 12, 2014

An Ancient Mystery

Soladian 10th of Flaurmont

A Perfect Day for a Journey

What beautiful weather were having!
The weather was absolutely perfect as the Grey Company and their new Elf companions set out from Susikyn. The plan was to follow the path to Hokol, then the Cherkass, then north along the trail and across the grasslands to the edge of the hills, hoping to approach the Werewolf lair from the west, which was suggested by the Fairy King of Horses. The journey was perfect and the Company made it all the way to the hills before night fall and were able to secure a perfect camping site. It was estimated that it would take half of a day to reach the werewolves area so the next day would be spent carefully approaching, looking for a suitable site to camp and hide the horses and hopefully scouting the lair to get a better strategy for attacking the beasts.

Lunadain 11th of Flaurmont

The next day was nice, the sky was clear, there was a breeze, but as the sun rose, the temperature continued to rise and even before camp was broken, people were sweating. It was hotter than it had been all year. The plan was for the group to spread out a bit, watching for signs of wolves and hoping to find the best approach. The Elves took to the hills, ranging through the more difficult terrain. Akaios, Burik, Ree and Remar kept more to the south, moving across the grasslands and Draven, Marcel, Iris and Griffin focused their route on the area where the hills meet the plains. They moved slowly, foraging and hunting as they went, often checking in with each other. The morning produced no results, but just before noon, Griffin spied something up ahead worth checking out.

The Mysterious Mound

A large mound, clearly purposefully constructed, rested near the base of a tall escarpment the group had been following for some time. The mound was about 30 feet high and topped with what looked like a ring of standing stones. Iris became immediately excited by this find and exclaimed that it was no doubt an ancient Traldar religious site. The sounds of rushing water could be heard somewhere nearby and a faint wisps of dark smoke, steam and vapors could be seen coming from the far side of the mound. 

Griffin immediately moved up and started climbing the nearby rocky cliff face, hoping to get a better view of the area from the top of the high rocks. Draven, Marcel and Iris went up the wide ramp leading to the top of the mound to get a better look. Marcel spied some sort of pit or pool on the far side and walked around the standing stones to investigate. Iris began carefully inspecting the surface of the stones themselves, looking for more specific clues as to the function, date or construction of the site. Draven wanted to examine the source of the misty vapors, which seemed to be coming from a dark rift on the other side of the mound. He crossed through the center of the circle of stones. 

A very interesting site is discovered.
Upon stepping into the middle of the ring, he immediately felt a change. Everything around him felt suddenly calmer. No, that wasn't it. Everything had become quieter; silent in fact. He turned and could see Iris but could not hear her. He could not hear the nearby sound of water, could not hear the birds, could not hear the wind. He spoke a prayer out-loud and found that he could hear himself, but it sounded as if he were talking through a blanket, muffled and quiet. 

He stepped back out of the circle and described what had happened to Iris. Intrigued, she joined him in the circle and experienced the same thing. They found that they could converse with each other, but their voices sounded small and distant, even though they were standing next to each other. 

This confirmed to Iris that this was some sort of ancient holy site of the Traldar, the ancient people of this land that the Traladarans were descended from. She continued to examine the stones and ring and estimated that the construction was from the Traldar Golden Age, possibly 2000 years old, maybe even before the time of the the great King Halav.

From atop the high cliff, Griffin had a good view of the area. He could now see the source of the water sounds: a waterfall of several flows of water were rushing out of cracks in the nearby cliff wall, hidden by an outcropping and the mound itself. A small stream could be seen winding around past the far side of the mound. He got a better look at the fissure on the far side of the mound where the dark mists were coming from. Past the mound, he could see what looked like the ruins of some ancient buildings and the remnants of a road that stretched to the east along the base of the escarpment.

Marcel found the pit to be shallow, only about 6 or so feet deep. The sides were lined with close fitting stones and the bottom appeared to be dry, cracked earth, though very smooth. He decided to hop down into it to check it out more closely and in the process discovered a bucket hidden in some tall grass nearby. Inside the bucket was a clay pipe with some relatively recent pipe-weed in it. Intrigued, he immediately begins searching the area and finds some fairly recent tracks of what appears to be bare human feet. The tracks are centered between the pit and the remains of a stone path leading to some stairs that go down this side of the mound. 
The bottom of the pit.

After scouting the area as good as he can, Griffin decides to climb back down to join his friends in their investigation of this strange place. He nearly falls from about 20 feet up but luckily manages to catch himself before doing so.

Iris spends some time searching the near side of the mound area for tracks, but only manages to waste a bunch of time following her own footprints around. Meanwhile, Draven checks out the dark fissure that is releasing the dark gasses. As he approaches, he hears occasional sizzling and feels the temperature rise even more. Being right next to the fissure is nearly unbearable due to the heat and noxious stench of the gasses escaping from it. Though he cannot see directly down into it, he senses a red glow, like that of molten lava or very high heat. Immediately Draven proclaims this to be the "entrance to the very depths of hell!" He climbs down the cliff-side to try to get a closer view and is distracted by a curious pool of water formed by the small stream that circles the mound. It pools down below, near where the dark fissure starts in the side of the mound and he assumes that some water is getting in there from the sizzling and occasional cloud of steam that comes out of the fissure. The pool is interesting though, as it is crystal clear, revealing the smooth, flat stone bottom and many tiny bubbles floating to the surface. A misty vapor swirls across the top of this pool and distracts him with nearly hypnotic patterns. At the far end of the pool, the water escapes over several short drops and then continues on as a narrow stream, snaking away into the grasslands.

Griffin moves around the mound and checks out the waterfall, hoping to find some sort of hidden cave or fissure behind it. Unfortunately he only finds the waterfall and a narrow splash pool below. Going for a better look, he steps through the pool and realizes that what he thought were rocks and gravel at the bottom are in fact piles of old, nearly decomposed bones. Quite a few bones. From a quick look, they appear to be Human or at least something close and there appears to be several sets of bones. He quickly retreats and to share his findings with the others.

Iris then joins Marcel and they both descend the stairs and examine the remains of the building foundation that was spied from the top of the mound. It looks to have been a fairly large building, though not much remains to give any more immediate clues. Iris is sure that with enough time and the proper tools, she could uncover much more about this building and site. Marcel notes quite a bit of a similar growing plant around the inside and outside edges of the foundation, and in one corner, he sees a small pile of carefully cut and stacked parts of these plants, as if someone had been gardening, in fact, they are still quite green, implying that they had been cut recently.
freshly cut

As Griffin and Draven join their companions on the far side of the mound, a small cave opening is notices in the cliff wall nearby. It had not been visible earlier due to an outcropping of rock and the angle of vision. Everyone moved to check it out closer. The cave opening is quite narrow and only about 5 feet high. Curious to see where it goes, Griffin leads the way in. He easily squeezes himself in, though Draven and Marcel both get stuck, their chain armor catching and making it nearly impossible to squeeze in. As they back out, Iris slinks in, following Griffin. Draven quickly sheds his armor and removes his shield and pack, following the others in.

Though it is quite dark inside though Draven holds his glowing holy symbol up, shedding some light on the subject. The floor is smooth dirt, well worn and the walls of this narrow passage are lined with hundreds upon hundreds of bundles of what appear to be the same plant that was growing outside. The ones at the front of the tunnel are a little fresher while the ones farther back are much drier. The tunnel leads in about 25 feet then stops. 

Nice hair!
Outside, Marcel finally decides to remove his armor and follow his friends. He makes it just barely into the passage when they come pushing back out. Perturbed, he backs out, allowing them to exit the cave. As they tell him what they found, a voice calls out from behind them, "Hey, what are you doing in my storehouse!"

A little further down the cliff face, a Human rises up out of some bushes. He initially appears to be naked but quickly it is revealed that he is wearing dirty ratty pants. The man is barefoot and surprisingly clean. His dark hair is long and unkempt, but plastered back on his head by some unknown substance. He marches toward the group, shaking his head and mumbling something to himself. Eager to make a new friend, Marcel walks toward him.


Continued on GDA28 - The Keeper of the Circle


Cast of Characters: 

Garrett "Griffin" Constantine, a Thyatian rogue of a gambler from Penhaligon rolled by +Arne Jamtgaard 

Marcel Maasa homely but sincere wielder of spears aspiring to cooking greatness commanded by +Christian Blouin 

Draven Rickart, a Thyatian Acolyte of the Church of Karameikos ministered by +Jason Packer 

Iris Varda, a Thyatian explorer and historian searching for answers and adventure guided by +Alex Safatli  

Remar Umerus, an Alphatian battle mage that escaped forced service in the Thyatian army conjured by +Ben Lipe and currently in NPC mode. 

and +Jason Woollard as The DM


2014-08-13

Grand Duchy 26

Grand Duchy of Adventure

Session 26
July 30 - August 11, 2014


Werewolves on the Horizon

Tserdain 6th of Flaurmont

The Slow Hike Back Home

The sun rises over the Moor on a new day, or at least everyone assumes it does. A thick, dark blanket of clouds covers the entire sky as far as anyone can see. They are low and heavy, occasionally spitting out brief showers.


A somber, cold breakfast is had by all and a quick inventory of food supplies shows that the remaining food will only barely cover one day for this new, larger group.


Griffin ponders the sky and wonders if it is worth trying to avoid the rain or to just trudge through it and try to get where they need to be. Watching the weather for a bit and noting the movement of the clouds, Griffin thinks that they can make better time if they wait a bit before heading out.


The tired, wounded and exhausted refugees will slow the party down even more than having to carry all the camping and horse equipment will, it seems, as they plod along, dragging their tired feet through the marshy Moor. This at least, will give the Company some extra time to hunt and forage to help supplement their dwindling food stores.


Marcel suggests that we set up a cache for the horseback-riding equipment. We have just so much energy to go with, it would be a waste to burn it too fast. He also suggests that two our light footed scout double-time ahead to fetch food and new horses.  He feels a bit responsible for this whole mess: letting go so readily of the horses for one thing. No one seems to be holding it against him, though, which makes it easier on him.


He glances at the ragtag of refugees cowering under a brushy bush. Some a whimpering, shivering in the cold. Their lips bluish as they can’t raise their body temperature very well anymore.


“If we send someone to fetch horses and a wagon, maybe we need to forage and hunt more than we actually need to travel with the Hokol folks? We’d be in business with a boar.”


I miss you Pepito… you stupid goblin.”, he moans.


Griffin, a bit groggy from missed sleep, points out that all that wouldn’t buy that much time nor energy. Griffin is usually always right as Marcel often repeats to himself.


“Alright, folks.”, and he launches into an uplifting and detailed plan where each of the Hokol people gets to contribute the best that they can.  He gives responsibility to the vigorous young ones and bid them to watch over the others while the company goes on a hunt for a short while.


While Marcel tries to rally the poor folk of Hokol into a moving convoy, Draven finds a clear patch to kneel down and pray. He divests himself of his weapon and shield and takes a minute to clear his head. Brandishing his holy symbol, he raises it above his head and starts to pray in a clear, loud voice.


He seems to go on and on, warming to his subject as he goes, becoming more and more passionate about the plight of the poor refugees and their place in the will of the gods.


“In the names of Petra and Patura, I call out for hope for these poor people. They need succor, and find themselves perched in your palms, looking up to your faces in the sky and hoping against hope for some solace. Patrons of the weak and downtrodden, mother of the hearth and home, hear their cries of lamentation in this their greatest hour of need.”


“D’jaea, we walk through your lands, and bring word of your grace to these people who have never known your name. We seek not to defile the lands, but merely to subsist here and grow strong as we make our way homeward.”


“Lady of luck, Tyche, we beseech you to smile upon us, and bring us good fortune as we see these abandoned people back to their own, to what remains of their friends and kin in Susikyn.”


Griffin waits quietly for Draven to finish his prayers. “Thank you, Brother.  I think we’ll need all the help we can get.”


He gathers the four Company members together for a quick pow-wow.  “I don’t think we can leave these folks alone while we all go out to gather food.  Iris and Draven, can you switch off while you forage, while Marcel and I range a little farther afield.  We should make for the ferry.  If Akaios is there, we can get across the river and make for Susikyn.  If not, we’ll hole up in the ferry house - at least get these folks out of the weather, and hunt around there until Akaios does show up.


Once Griffin and Marcel set out, he pulls him aside for a quick word.  “I like how Iris has stepped up to learn how to track.  With Eran gone, we need at least two-deep on a lot of things like that.  Speaking of which, when we get back to the river, could you shadow Akaios, see what you can pick up about boating?  I’m becoming aware that we’re in a bit of a tight spot if he doesn’t check in when we expect him to.”


“Now, lets get those poor folks (and us) some dinner!”


Draven gives Griffin a long suffering look, mutters “you’ll see” to himself, and proceeds to work with the refugees while Iris begins to forage.


Iris nods her assent to Griffin’s suggestion. Forage she can do; she’s depended on it for what seems to be becoming a very significant portion of her life now. Catching sight of the refugees that are travelling with them, it also occurs to her that she will have to depend on it a great deal more now. That is if she wishes to distract herself from the obvious discomfort she feels around the Traladarans. Rich as their culture may be, a very ingrained part of her can’t seem to distance this notion from her predispositions.


The caravan moves slowly but steadily, following Marcel’s lead and following Griffin’s advice as to avoiding the worst of the weather. Draven helps the Traladaran refugees along, stopping for the occasional moment of intense prayer while Iris spends most of her time foraging nearby. Griffin and Marcel both spend the day scouting forward, hunting and watching out for any trouble. The day’s hunting and foraging managed to produce at least enough food for that night's dinner without having to tap into more reserves.


As the last light of the day is disappearing, the group crosses one last rise and up ahead, Marcel spots the river and the ferry on the opposite bank. He turns to Griffin, “I thought we were farther away. We should have never made it this far with all these other people with us. Huh.” He shrugs his shoulders and turns to tell the others that they have made it to the ferry.


Marcel breathes heavily. He looks exhausted. The day’s travel had definitely taken its toll on the Traladaran warrior. “Feels like we walked far enough to make it all the way back to Susikyn today,” he fakes complaint, laughing.


“Don’t be so surprised if we didn’t walk farther than you thought, my friend,” says Draven with a laugh. He kisses his holy symbol and tilts his head back to look up at the sky. “The gods are truly great to have helped us to bridge the distance in but a single day!”


Taking a closer look, Griffin spots a bright spot on the far bank, the tell tale signs of a campfire. Could it be the other members of the Company, or someone else, he wonders.


The howl of nearby wolves fill the air and several wolves can be seen on a rise just behind the group, about a half mile away. Several of the refugees become startled and upset, reminded of one of their own that was lost to the wolves a handful of days ago.


Marcel’s patience for goblins is getting very thin. He finds a vantage points where he may spot the wolves on the horizon line and direct the weaker members of the expedition so as to avoid getting silhouetted against the sky over a crest of the terrain. “We got to keep them’ goblins from realizing that we have smaller and weaker people.”


Wolves are beautiful, fierce when desperate, but also a cowardly when they can sense danger. Marcel bangs his spear and shield together, stomps and let out a fair collection of savoury Traladaran expressions to intimidate them the best that he can.


“Grif, tonight we need a defensible position if we don’t make it over the river, and a big fire. I don’t like the look of ‘em dawggies over there.”


Griffin shakes his head. “Let’s try and get down there to shelter.  That could be Akaios over on the far bank.  Keep doing what you’re doing to keep the dawgies at bay.”  He beckons Draven over.  “Why don’t you and Marcel take the rear - look big and imposing and dangerous.”  He clears his throat. “Okay, folks, I know you’re tired.  There’s shelter down next to the river.  We’re almost there, so let’s keep moving!”  He makes sure his crossbow is ready, then shoulders his saddle and starts leading the way down to the river.


Griffin makes it down to the river’s edge and by this time it is dark, too dark to make out the faces on the other side of the river, even with his superior night vision. There are a few stacks of firewood, a small shed and an old, ruined raft that must have once been used as a ferry craft. Peering across the river, Griffin can see the flickering campfire and he hears, but does not see, the sound of horses. He catches a glimpse of figures moving around near the campfire. Up away from the bank, past the campfire, he can see the dark shape of Misha’s shack, dark and empty


Griffin stealthily approaches the shed.  He drops his saddle and grips his crossbow.  The refugees will be arriving soon, and he hopes that the noise of their arrival will mask his own approach.  He gives the shed a good once-over before moving to intercept the rest of the party to lead them in.


Once Griffin sees the tiny shed, he mutters at himself.  The shack that he remembers, the one they stayed in on their first trip to Susikyn, was obviously on the other side of the river.  Dang it! He stares across the river.  Behind him, across the moors, he can still hear the howl of wolves.  They might need to cross anyway.
Hroowwwlll!


He waits until the rag-tag band catches up to him at the shed.  “Okay, this may not be the most defensible place.  That fire across the river might be Akaios and company.  I propose that I swim across and check them out.  If it is them, maybe we can get everyone across and join the camp over there.  Sound good?”


“Swimming hey?”, Marcel recalls the small bite-y fish in the petrified forest. “I think that this is as good as it gets.” The wolves are barking in the not so far distance.


Marcel asks Iris if she has magic stones, but she only shrugs as she assumes that this request may never make sense even if she asks for clarifications.


“Draven, cover Griffin, someone else settles the Traladarans and I’ll interpose between them and the wolves.”


Draven looks at Marcel regarding this order to ‘cover’ Griffin, then shrugs. As preparations are made for a swim across the river, a familiar voice calls out from the far bank. “Griffin, is that you? Draven, Marcel, are you over there? Who goes there?” It is Akaios deep voice calling out. Griffin can see several forms standing on the bank. A light flares up there, illuminating Akaios, Ree, Remar and Burik. They are crouched and ready for action, bows aimed across the river.


Perplexed by the crowd of people, some she assumed were elves, she looks to the others to verify these were not enemies. Remar was with them, but she was still unsure of if there was danger here. The wolves in the distance have been making Iris slightly nervous and ready to get to action. Marcel’s strange questioning and his crowd of Traladaran friends are not helping, either.


Relieved it is the remainder of the Grey Company, the refugees are ushered down to the riverside as Akaios prepares the ferry and brings it across. It is a tight fit but everyone manages to squeeze onto the ferry raft and Akaios, with help from Marcel, safely pilots them back to the other side.


Remar and the others are eager to hear the tale of meeting the Fairy King of Horses and then tell their tales of patrolling the paths near Susikyn. They chased off one group of Goblins and engaged another ragtag bunch that seemed to be made up of members of both the Red Blade and Viper tribes. They also finally caught up to the crazy Captain Kalanos who had still been roaming through the woods. He was weak from lack of food and delirious, screaming about “killing them all” and “Goblins everywhere!” The good captain had been taken back to Susikyn and was under the care of old


After going over the details of the parley with the Fairy King of Horses, Remar has a very blank expression on his face. He nervously grips the hilt of the large knife at his belt, sliding the blade in and out of its sheath. Nervously he giggles and shakes his head, “Silver. We’re going to need silver to deal with werewolves.” He stares off at the moon in the distance and then walks off, grabbing his grimoire to study his spells.


Burik says they had just arrived late in the afternoon and camped on the riverbank so they could more easily be seen as opposed to staying in Misha’s shack again.


Conrad is more than thankful to have met up with others. He again thanks the members of the Grey Company. Many of the refugees speak prayers to the Traladaran Patrons, Halav, Petra and Zirchev. Conrad speaks to Draven, “I heard you saying your prayers on the trail. You included Petra in your  benedictions among the other Thyatian gods.” He looks confused.


“Well of course, Petra is the defender of the weak, no matter where they were born or how they were raised.” He enjoins the fellow to sit with him. “And it was in no small part due to her intercession that we made it here in one piece, to join our friends.”


Griffin lets Draven and Conrad have their theological conversation while he pulls Marcel aside.  “Marcel, what do you think of Remar’s suggestion about using silver to combat the werewolves?  Can you use the coins we have to make weapons, or modify the ones we have?  I’m up for anything that can give us an edge in this.”


Making weapons is a tall order. However, Marcel believes that he could use mending techniques to inlay silver into the edges of  metal weapons in hope that the magical properties of silver take effect.


“I’d need the tools and the forge at Susikyn. But I sure can give it a shot. Making bolt heads, though, would be simple and effective against unarmored targets.”


Being something of a novice in the area, Draven asks “Is it enough that the weapons be silvered? Could we dip your swords and spears, and my mace, into molten silver to make them proof against the fell magic that protects the werewolves?”


Griffin nods.  “I don’t think we know for sure.  But we have to get these folk to Susikyn anyways, so when we get there Marcel can get right to work.  Do the best we can, and we’ll see how it goes.  Marcel, let me know what you need.  I know we have plenty of silver in the wagon.”


Overhearing Griffin’s conversation with Marcel, Iris begins to think to herself how these werewolves differed from the wild animals she spoke to on a daily basis. She wondered whether the gift she used to speak to them could be leveraged to try and strike a bargain with them. A smirk comes on her face as she imagines what the Fairy King would think.


Griffin spends some time touching base with the other team to set up watches amongst the company for the night - two per watch.  He’ll pair up with Ree for the last watch before morning, see if he can catch up with her and how she’s doing.  He also quickly sees that they will need to spend at least one day hunting to get enough food to feed everyone and then continue on to Susikyn.  “Okay, we need to replenish our supplies before he have a hope of getting these folks back to base.  Everyone who can hunt, we’ll set out early and hunt all day.  Those of you who don’t come, stick around camp and forage while you keep an eye on our new friends.


Marcel will use tricks from his army days to get the most out of the food that gets foraged and hunted. Boil bones to make heartier bases comes to mind. Get collagen turned to gelatin for protein from tendons and pelts is another option. The goal here isn't to prepare fine dining but get the most out of what gets harvested. He is on fire, full of ideas and motivated by the well being of everyone.


Moldain 7th of Flaurmont

Hunting and Gathering

Despite the wolves howling and occasionally appearing on the Moor side of the river a few times during the night, everyone slept well. The rising sun is warm and quickly burns off the morning fog being blown in from the Moor across the river. The day is spent at Misha’s Ferry, though the camp is moved up to the still missing Misha’s small shack. At least the refugees will be able to sleep inside a little more comfortably.


The day hunting and gathering food is quite fruitful and the Company brings back a copious haul of food for their day’s work. The benefits are not without some price to pay though. Griffin, Marcel and Burik all sustained minor injuries throughout the day and Marcel, Akaios and Ree all over exerted themselves during the day and are exhausted as well.


Once settled in at Misha’s Ferry, Draven sets about seeing to everyone’s needs, healing injuries new and old, and ensuring that every one of the refugees is tended to personally, lacking for nothing that can be presented. He invites each, quietly and without coercion, to join him at a celebration of their success so far in returning to safety, and to pray for the continued patronage of the gods as they make their way to Susikyn. He is quick to lean heavily on the names of the immortals that are shared with the traditional Traladaran pantheon.


The Traladaran refugees continue to be thankful for their rescue and escort back to the homestead, even more so toward the Thyatian cleric, Draven. They seem to be quite taken by the young acolyte preaching to them about their own Patron Immortals through the lens of the Church of Karameikos. As is common, many of the rural Traladarans initially foster some resentment, even bordering on intolerance for Thyatians, but Draven’s kind words, healing magic and heavy inclusion of the Traladran Three in his benedictions does much to soften the old tensions. At least with this small group.


A Plan for the Wolves

Griffin looks over the stocks of food accumulated over the day. This should be enough to get us home. But we’ll probably need to do another day of hunting before we head to the werewolf lair. He shudders. Werewolves.  Like out of one of Dad’s old stories.


Now, what else can we do to prepare for this fight? Marcel is tasked with ‘silvering up’ our weapons, but I need to make sure he has all the silver he needs. May need to do some negotiating with Pytor. Maybe I can make some more traps, simple leg traps to just keep them from overwhelming us. Barricades? Nets? I might be able to get off more than one shot.


One thing I know is that we’ll need more manpower. Get the other team before we go. I need to get Draven, Remar and Ree, and Iris if she’s willing to let that cat out of the bag, to brainstorm magical tactics. And Remar seems to have some insights to this - need to get him to open up about that.


He heads off searching for the teammates he needs to talk to.


Griffin finds Draven tending to his improvised flock, in full flower and full of himself with his newfound audience.


“I definitely agree that silvered weapons will be insufficient to stave off the disaster that is lycanthropy. And I know that it must sound like my answer for everything, but let me pray on this. Some of the gifts of the gods might be worth more than others when facing a foe of this type.”


Draven considers all of his training, and his reading, and tries to recall anything that would help him to know how he might be of the most help, or even to help guide the hands of his more magically inclined brethren.


“It’d be useful to know how big is the flock of wolves hanging around the werewolves.”, replies Marcel. “I like the idea of trap from a tactical perspective. If we’re to be outnumbered… What we’d need is a few armed henchmen to screen our flanks... ”


The eight members of the Grey Company discuss and plan about the upcoming assault on the Werewolves lair, hoping to come up with a sound plan. Draven is sure that silver is the best course of action, he believes that magic and magical weapons are also effective against them, though not as much. Draven believes that Werewolves, being supernatural creatures similar to Fairies, Demons or Spirits, are often impervious to being hurt by normal means. Just to penetrate their outer defenses requires either magic or silver. Once past that, much of the damage is mitigated by supernatural means unless it is magical or silver in nature. Draven believes that while both silver and magic will better get past a Werewolf’s defenses, the silver will be more effective due to the beasts supernatural vulnerability to the metal.


Marcel adds in that Wolfsbane is commonly used to ward off Werewolves and his story is backed up by both Remar and Conrad, one of the Traladaran refugees. “The Werewolves are repulsed by dried sprigs of wolfsbane, most of the homesteads around would keep some on hand. Fresh wolfsbane, though acts as a poison to werewolves, and to anyone who handles it. The wolfsbane does not grow around here, though. It grows farther to the east, on the hills and mountains. Elek and the hunters from Cherkass would sometimes gather it. You may get lucky and run across some here and there, but again, it is very dangerous, even picking the flowers wrong can be disastrous. I would stay away from it unless you know exactly what you are doing!”


Nytdain 8th of Flaurmont

The next day proves to be another nice day, a bit cool and breezy, but still dry. The heavy clouds continue to cover the spring sky, though, threatening to rain at any moment. Griffin believes that the rain will hold off for at least one more day, so getting on the road and back to Susikyn is suggested. The group has just enough food to make it back to the homestead and any further hunting and foraging will only add to their stores for another foray out into the wilderness.


Griffin pushes the refugees to be ready to set out at first light.  “C’mon Conrad!  One more day and we’ll be safe inside the walls at Pytor’s place. A warm fire, a real roof over our heads, and soft blankets to sleep under.” He turns to all his friends. “That goes for all of us.  We need to regroup and prepare for the next step in finding Stephan.” He doesn’t mention ‘werewolves’ near the refugees - no need to add to their stress. “And we’re all showing some wear from all this time in the wilderness.  We’ll spend at least two nights in Susikyn, so we can set out well-rested.”


“Now I believe that we need to be heading,” and he spins around and then points, “thataway!”

Back to Susikyn

The large group heads down the path toward Susikyn. Griffin and Iris lead some groups hunting and foraging while Draven and Marcel remain with the group for protection and guidance. Progress is slower than expected and some of the hikers are becoming exhausted and by sundown, Susikyn still has not been reached. The group presses on, though because the destination cannot be far now.


Eventually the homestead is reached, several hours later than expected, but it is a sight for sore eyes, and feet. Pytor once again welcomes a new set of refugees into his home. It is soon discovered that another group of visitors has arrived as well, a group of 5 Callarii Elves from Rifllian to the west, have come to see if Pytor is still planning on sending out the anticipated herd of white horses that had been promised. The leader, Thallan, seems friendly and approachable.


Griffin greets the Elvish leader in accented Elvish. “Griffin. Grey Company. We’ll be helping the folk here deliver those horses as soon as we rescue our horse trader. Seems to have got himself into a spot of trouble. By the way, would you and your band be interested in helping us rid the area of some werewolves? We could always use more help.”


“Werewolves you say, interesting,” the Elf smiles a wry smile as his companions edge nearer, all seeming eager to hear what Griffin has to say. Griffin explains the situation and Thallan agrees to provide support for an equal share of the spoils. Pytor, who happened to be nearby, interjects and offers the Elves several of the white horses they had been checking out earlier in the day as payment. Thallan readily agrees to this, forgoing any percentage of loot gained. “Me and my folk can provide ranged support, we have some silver arrows for just such an event. I can also offer a suggestion, DON’T bring the horses anywhere near the lair. The wolves will be able to smell them from some distance. The horses will likewise be able to smell the wolves. This will frighten them, make them loud, make them urinate, which will, in turn, alert the wolves. We can hide the horses some distance away then approach and get into position more quickly than you all can, I’m assuming.” This last statement comes off a bit brash, but Thallan does not seem to be trying to be boastful.


“Excellent, excellent. Your help is much appreciated.” He pauses for a second. “Oh, one more thing.  Do you know anything about wolfsbane?”


“Yes of course,” he replies, “Keeps lycanthropes away. Haven’t seen any of it in the nearby woods though. We could go out and look though. I think it only repels them once it is dried out. If you are considering coating your weapons with the oils, unless you are skilled at that work, I would not suggest it. Dangerous work that is.”


Griffin nods. “Got it. I’d heard some vague things. Sounds like something best not attempted this foray.”


Thallan nods in agreement.


Food is eaten and places for the new refugees are found. The Susikyn homestead is becoming more and more crowded these days. Later that evening, Pytor asks the members of the Grey Company what they learned out on the Moor.


Griffin nods and tells him. “We found the Table Rock that Stellios told us about, and Marcel led the ritual to summon the Fairy King of Horses.  During the days we explored a little bit.  Bumped into Conrad and his crew out there and they helped with the ritual that last night. The Fairy King of Horses finally arrived that night, and he turned out to be a centaur! Marcel quickly agreed to free our horses and to do a task for the King, in exchange for which he will tell us where the goblins have taken Stephan. He demands the heads of Bailakask and Kalkask, two Werewolves that have been enemies of the horses and Centaurs. Once we take care of them, he’ll tell us where this Xitaqa is.  Then we go get Stephan, and we can finally finish this horse drive.”


Pytor ponders this news. “The Werewolves. A steep price, but I thank you for your continued friendship and support.” The stout homesteader grabs his sword, which has been hanging from a hook near the door. He pulls the blade from its scabbard. “Take this, it may help you. It was my father’s and his father’s before. A magical blade. It will help defeat the infernal Werewolves. Our people have long battled them, we no longer have use of the grazing lands to the north because of them. It will be a boon to our people to be rid of them.” He hands the weapon to Griffin and looks down. “I would like it returned if possible. It means a lot to my family and some day I will pass it along to my son, Taras.”
Pytor Sword.jpg
Pytor's enchanted sword
Griffin accepts the blade solemnly. “Thank you, Pytor. We will make good use of your blade, you can be sure. And we will return with it and your brother at the end of this.” He belts on the new blade. “We’ll take a day to prepare, silver our weapons and build some traps, also take some time to replenish our supplies with some hunting. We’ll leave at first light the day after that.”


Iris speaks to Griffin more about his offer to teach her how to use a crossbow. She seems apprehensive about the prospect of learning it, but also appears steeled to the occasion. She also offhandedly asks whether getting a large collection of silver coated arrows may be a worthwhile investment for this venture.

Loshdain 9th of Flaurmont

Preparations

The sun rises again to rain, though only very light showers. The rain has stopped by the time everyone is up and ready to get to work. Then it starts again but quickly subsides. It looks like a day of scattered showers again, nothing too terrible, just a bit inconvenient.


Griffin calls a brief powwow over the morning meal. “Okay guys, hope you all had a good rest last night. I think this is gonna be a busy day.” He turns to the team’s main fighter. “Marcel, sounds like you’ll be spending time in the smithy today. Let me know what you need that we can help with. If it’s coin, the Company will be taking care of that as much as it’s able.” He turns to the rest of the group. “Okay, today is prep for a nasty fight. If you don’t have specific ideas or things to do, we could use fresh supplies. Head out and try and get a full day in, okay? We’ll reconvene at dinner - see where we stand. I’m going to see about scaring up some nasties - traps that can give the beasties more to worry about than just us.”


Marcel heads to the forge to meet with Gregor. He remembers stumbling into this place in more difficult time while the goblins were attacking. This was the night that Stephan disappeared, he thought to himself. His mind wandered in the chain of events taking him back here.


“Something that we’ve been doing in the guard was filling fissures in weapons. This isn’t going to be lasting kind of work, but hopefully durable enough to skewer two werewolf.” Gregors gasps, “Don’t worry buddy, I’ll do that bit with my friends.”


He proceeds to explain to Gregor how he intends to create grooves to create false fissures which hatched texture will be used to anchor the silver fluid. “We’re not going after fancy shapes here, just as thick as two or three fingernails.”


“As a test, I’ll use the striking rim of my shield.”, now, friend, pass along your hardest awl and files so that I can prep that surface for adhesion. Silver is smooth, a good polish and it will slice through just fine.


“But, Marcel, what if the silver stays in the werewolf after striking?”, asks Gregor. Marcel smiles.


“It’d take a shock to fall off, which means hitting hard bones… This is the only time when I’ll brag about shoddy work.”


Joining the men in the armory space, Draven presents his mace. “Not sure if it’ll make any difference, or if I can hit the broad side of a barn with it, but I’d like to try mine as well, just a coating…”


Akaios, Burik, Ree and Remar all come to the armory when they hear that Marcel has his silversmithing operation up and running. They offer their weapons up to be silvered.


“Line ‘em up!”, Marcel invite them in. “It’ll be just as good as my stew.” Some still smile, others gasp. “I could use a few of you to help prepare the surfaces. All that’s needed is a light touch on the file to create a bunch of criss-cross on your favourite edge.”


Meanwhile, Marcel keeps the reassuring smile as he works out the punching patch at the edge of his shield. That’ll be his first try...


Gregor has the first batch of silver ready to go. They argue for a bit on the way to go, the stress level is high. Eventually, Marcel takes a lead of faith and dip the rim of his precious shield and coats it with a good layer of silver. After a lot of filing, then buffing, he gets the blue sheen of a mirror all around the edge. He can almost see the perplexed face of a werewolf reflecting through it.


“That’ll be fun, kids. Gregor, throw more coins in the bucket! Goblins will eat this silver soon enough!”


Marcel has varying degrees of success with this batch of weapons. He coats Akaios’s great axe, Remar’s staff, Ree’s knife and a handful of sling stones. He grabs Burik’s sword and looks into the silver pot, realizing there will be nowhere near enough to coat the sword. He reaches back into the lockbox, grabbing a previously undisturbed sack of coins.


Griffin stops by with a handful of crossbow bolts for the silvering process. His eyes get wide when he sees his personal coin sack in Marcel’s hand. “Whoa, whoa whoa, big guy! What are you doing there? That’s not Company funds - that sack is mine.”


He looks in the chest. “You went through all the company’s funds already?!?”

Marcel's silver spear
“This is not easy work, but I do my best.” The Traladaran replies. Griffin notices quite a bit of silver splashed all around the smithy, on the tools, on the ground, on Gregor’s boots, on the walls, even a few drops somehow on the rafters above. “But look here, look at my spear. See how the silver has nearly fused itself with the steel from my blade. This is fine work!” Marcel beams. Gregor looks at Griffin and nods, appreciating Marcel’s handiwork. It is we well done bit of work, considerably better than any of the other weapons he has done.


Burik, who was watching nearby steps up, “What’s going on? Why aren’t you putting the silver on my blade. I will need it to harm the werewolves! The silver will spoil their blood, it will defeat them!”


Griffin looks in the chest, then the small pool of molten silver, then at his old friend. This is not going to go well.


“Look, Burik, I don’t think there’s enough silver left to do your sword.” He looks to Marcel. “Am I right? Or can we still silver up old Widowmaker there?”


The silver-spattered Traladaran shrugs. “Swords are hard. Would take a lot of silver. More than we have, I think.”


Burik scowls. “So he gets a silver spear, and Akaios gets a silver axe? What am I supposed to do when a werewolf comes at me? Use harsh language?”


Griffin glares right back. “Honestly? It was either silver up weapons for everyone or your sword. You want it so bad? Pay for it. I happen to know you have a bit of a personal fortune stashed away.’


“But Akaios didn‘t have to pay for his,” the hot-headed warrior complains. “Why should I have to pay…”


“You shouldn’t,” Griffin cuts him off. “But if you want your sword silvered so badly, I won’t stop you from paying for it with your own silver.” His voice softens. “Look, if we had the cash, there would not even be a question - of course we would do it.”


“So why don’t we have the cash? Maybe everyone can chip in from their shares to make it so we all go into this battle prepared.” Burik looks at his comrades hopefully. “Split eight ways, how much could it be?”


Remar clears his throat. “I do not see why my funds should be depleted just to pour them over your sword. Just chop up the wolves and let others deal with their masters.”


Before Burik can get into with the haughty mage, Griffin steps in. “Hold it, hold it! Let me think without all this yammering!” He stares at Burik, who is still red in the face.


Burik waits, his cheeks puffed out and red, he balls his fists up and stomps his feet, “Whatever then!” He grabs his sword off the table next to the silver pot and storms off into the rain, leaving everyone else standing around staring at each other, some with mouths agape.


Griffin swears, “Aw, hells. Burik! Burik, wait!” He tosses some crossbow bolts down in front of Marcel. “If you can get those fixed up as well, that’d be great.” He heads out of the smithy after his friend.


“Dude! Will you slow down? Sheesh!” Burik has headed out the south gate of the compound. He does not seem to be interested in slowing down. “Hey, you big idiot! I’m talking to you!”


At that, the warrior turns, and Griffin has a moment to realize that that might have been a big mistake.


Burik spins around and Griffin flinches back as the warrior’s fist passes just in front of his nose. Fine, if that’s the way he wants to play it!  The rogue is determined to give as good as he gets, and punches back. A few punches and kicks later, he is realizing that neither of them is particularly good at this. After Griffin knocks a particularly forceful blow aside, Burik throws up his hands and yells “Forget it!  Just leave me alone!”


Griffin yells back. “Just answer one question. Honestly, do you want to fight werewolves? Or do you just want a pretty silver sword?


Burik does not look at his friend, he merely shakes his head slightly in the light rain.


“Cuz I got loaned this nifty magic sword from Pytor, and if you want to fight werewolves, I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have using it than you. Except maybe me. But it’s yours if you can get over being a big doofus long enough.”


Burik turns around, and Griffin shrugs the sword and scabbard off his shoulder. “We gotta give it back when we’re done with this rescue.” The warrior takes them, then draws the sword and swings it around a few times. Griffin takes a few steps back, just in case.


Burik grins, then scowls, then grins again. “Ooom that’s nice. Just kinda floats through the air, dunnit? What kind of magic does it do? Catch on fire, like that sword in the old stories, Flametongue?”


Griffin shakes his head. “Pytor didn’t know, and neither did Remar, although he assures me that it is magic and we know that magic weapons are very effective against weres.” He looks at his friend. “So, you in?”

Burik nods and smiles as he begins strapping Pytor’s enchanted blade around his waist.




Continued on GDA 27 - An Ancient Mystery


Cast of Characters: 

Garrett "Griffin" Constantine, a Thyatian rogue of a gambler from Penhaligon rolled by +Arne Jamtgaard 

Marcel Maasa homely but sincere wielder of spears aspiring to cooking greatness commanded by +Christian Blouin 

Draven Rickart, a Thyatian Acolyte of the Church of Karameikos ministered by +Jason Packer 

Iris Varda, a Thyatian explorer and historian searching for answers and adventure guided by +Alex Safatli  

Remar Umerus, an Alphatian battle mage that escaped forced service in the Thyatian army conjured by +Ben Lipe and currently in NPC mode. 

and +Jason Woollard as The DM