February 13 - 25, 2015
Against the Slavers
Nytdain 1st of Yarthmont
Taking out the Sentry
Griffin signals his companions, Ree, Remar and Rood, to get into position up on the rocks above the slaver camp as he heads toward where he saw the light of one of the sentries to the north east.
He whispers, “We need to take out the sentry back there. Can’t have someone at our backs, can we?” He thinks for a bit, then says, “Remar, I’m going to try and jump him to keep him from giving the alarm. Once I do, a few of your magic bolts would be really helpful, okay?” He winks at Ree and quietly scrambles back into the darkness.
Griffin makes his way to the edge of the rocks and peeks down on the sentry. He checks over his shoulder to make sure Remar has his back, then takes a deep breath and jumps down on the unsuspecting sentry.
Griffin slides down the rock face and grabs the Human sentry from behind. He struggles and drops his torch to the ground. Griffin claps his hand over the man’s face to keep him from crying out. Remar blasts him with a few well placed bolts and he falls to the ground.
Griffin steps on the torch to extinguish it, then scrambles back up to rejoin the others. He readies his crossbow and kneels, taking a bead on one of the better armored slavers, assuming them to be what they call “Reavers.” He waits for a reaction from the other two teams.
After repositioning, Griffin can spy some action taking place on the far side of the camp, presumably where Marcel and his strike force are. The elevated group of ranged support take several seconds to pick out targets amongst the people standing near the horses. Just then, the sound of Loshad’s horn can be heard from the south.
|The Iron Ring slaver camp|
Who Goes There
Marcel carefully slides along the rockface to try to get a better look into the camp. The sentry across the way is looking the other direction and the wind is blowing loudly across the rocks and through the trees nearby. Draven, Iris and the others watch as he moves quietly, making nearly no sound at all. As he reaches the corner and peers around into the natural box canyon formed by the jutting rocks, a harsh voice calls out from across the way, “Hey! Who goes there?”
Hearing the challenge, Draven stiffens, readying himself and his weapons to leap to Marcel’s defense should he need it.
Draven moves up along the large rock obstruction to his right. Iris, Sen and Esir follow behind. They cannot see Marcel up ahead of them, but can see the faint flicker of the sentry’s torch playing on the ground.
With great determination, Marcel shows himself, frowning. He feels pissed at the slaver for the trouble that they brought on them in the past. However, he feels the swell of resolve. He steps in forward and orders the slaver to stand down his weapon.
The slaver is first confused by this reverse request and hesitates before raising his guard further. By then, Marcel has closed in by a few yards and will wait for the brigand to close in into his reach to deliver strikes to the torch such as to plunge everyone into darkness to make is easier for the other to slip to their objectives.
With Marcel now out in the light of the torch, the sentry smiles a crooked smile. He raises his torch, which he is holding in his left hand and draws his short sword with his right hand. “We ‘ave comp’ny!” he shouts out in coarse and slurred Thyatian. He steps forward, then looks down at his shield leaning against the rock behind him. He pauses then flings the torch at Marcel, it whirls end over end directly at him!
Marcel is taken aback that the hound is handing him the torch that he wanted to usurp. He easily deflects the torch to the ground at his feet and grinds the burning end into the dirt. He is convinced that he forced this with sheer willpower, smiles so wide that the wild sparks in his eyes further unsettles the hound. Marcel motions his colleagues to proceed to the horses and slaves while he unsheath his shield from its yellow cosy, shove its light into the hound’s eyes and rushes on the startled man.
While the hound is trying to see something else than the light, Marcel spears thrust in the dark.
As Marcel engages the Hound, he hears a commotion from the camp beyond and sees several people moving around on the other side of the campfires near the edge of the slaver camp. Just then, a loud blast from a horn can be heard echoing off the tall, jutting rocks, signaling the arrival of Loshad, the Fairy King of Horses, and his troop of angry horses.
Hearing the commotion, Draven waves the others forward and makes a wide pass, trying to flank the slaver sentry and give Marcel the opening he needs - or to make one for himself.
The Charge of the Fairy King of Horses
The sound of the Fairy King's horn echoes through the slaver's camp as Marcel moves forward and dispatches the sentry ahead of him. Draven, Iris and the two boys move up to his position and peer into the camp. To the left, just past a large rock outcropping, are some horses and a few of the slavers. Further past, some tents and a group of what looks like Goblin slaves chained to a rock. The Human slaves cannot be seen. Griffin and his group are somewhere up on the rocks on the far side of the encampment, but they are shrouded in the darkness of night, above the range of the campfires.
Marcel tries to keep the momentum after felling the first fella and heads at full speed. As he heads forward, he wave his shield and let out a warcry in hope to divert all attention away from the others that are following him in the dark on the other side.
“Today is the day where you must meet your fate like big boys!”, he enthusiastically intones as he acts big.
The gathered men near the horses up ahead definitely give Marcel their full attention. The man holding the lead of one of the horses looks around quickly then drops the lead of the horse, points toward Marcel and shouts “Get him!”
At just that moment, Remar looks at Griffin and he nods at the Alphatian mage. Remar sends a magical bolt streaming across the campsite and watches it strike one of the Hounds in the back of the leg. At the same time, Ree, Rood and Griffin all let their missiles fly as well.
Marcel revels in the attention. Being a target to these monsters validates his sense of self worth. He is all smiles. He points at the lead man and quizzically asks in full voice:
“And just why are you dressing like a lady?”
As missiles are whizzing in the dark from the slaver’s rear.
The lead man opens his mouth to reply to Marcel’s insult and a crossbow bolt emerges from the side of his face. His eyes grow wide and then he falls face first into the dirt, unmoving.
The three Hounds all turn and rush toward Marcel while the other Reaver steps forward and kneels beside his fallen companion. The horse they had been working with brays loudly, stamps its feet and whirls around to face the opposite direction. It whinnies loudly and rears up onto its back legs. The kneeling Reaver yells loudly. “We’re under attack! Sgagast, get out here! Rucker is down! Get out here NOW!” He lets out a grunt as one of Remar’s bolt’s hits him square in the back. He turns his head and looks back, scanning the area for his attackers. “There are snipers up on the rocks! Get out here, quick!”
Marcel charges forward, followed by the others. He is now just over 30 feet away from the nearest hound. Up on the hill, Remar flings another bolt as Griffin and the others contemplate reloading or beginning the climb down. The sound of galloping hooves can be heard coming from the ravine to the south. The chained up horses in the middle of the camp begin to move uneasily and whinney and snort.
|The Fairy King of Horses makes his charge!|
Marcel and those behind him close the gap with the charging Hounds just as the Fairy King of Horses and his herd stampede into the slaver’s camp from the south. The thunder of hooves fills the entire area, alerting everyone nearby that trouble is at hand!
The Hounds continue their charge and the nearest one closes with Marcel and flings his body directly at the Traladaran mercenary, slamming into him aggressively! Near the horses, the remaining Reaver stands in a crouch and begins moving toward the horses and rock wall near him for cover.
Marcel rudely catches the flying hound’s body in mid-flight and sends it in a spin while keeping his eyes on the other foes running a yard behind. The two bodies swooshes as they pass by.
The Hound grunts as he hits Marcel’s shield and moves past, unable to stop his charge. The other two slow up their run and wave their swords menacingly at Marcel. Out of the corner of his eye, Marcel sees Sen making his way around from the right to assist him. The others are moving up from behind still.
Draven shouts, “Get to the horses, find the captives! I’ll help Marcel with that one!” pointing his mace at the one who had just run past Marcel. As he yells, the other two Hounds step up, one raising his shortsword over his head and attacking from the left while the other charging in wildly from the right. Marcel was ready for this tactic and lashes out at the first one with his spear and shield, scoring two hits and sending the Hound hard to the ground. The other Hound slashes his shortsword at Marcel’s neck! Marcel brings his shield up and across, easily blocking the attack.
The other Hound sees Draven moving up and charges him, this time swinging with his weapon. Draven brings his shield up in defense and takes a quick step back away from the attack, just barely bringing his shield up in time. The Hound’s blade hacks into the shield, taking out a small chunk!
Up on the rock face, Remar continues firing bolts into the camp, though his target, the Reaver that is still standing, has run and hidden behind the horses near the rock wall. Ree and Rood are busy reloading and looking for more targets while Griffin contemplates moving down toward the action on the ground.
Griffin yells to his friends, “Keep hammering them! If any of the Reavers try to get away, make sure you stop them. And watch out for Golthar! That slimy yellow wizard could be around here somewhere!”
He starts hopping from rock to rock, nimbly making his way towards the lip of the cliff. Just at the edge, his foot hits what looks like a solid outcropping, only to have it give way! He slides over the edge, down the rock face, right towards a particularly nasty sharp boulder. At the last second, he comes to rest with his back to the boulder, his shield taking the brunt of the impact. Oof! That wasn’t supposed to happen…
Loshad and his horse entourage charge into the camp, several of the horses trampling right over one of the strange hide tents on the south side of the camp. Faint screams of terror and pain can barely be heard as their hooves crush the inhabitants of the tents.
Marcel won’t skip a beat and, eyes on the pinned-down reaver, run towards him in hope that Sen will take care of the hound that he is leaving behind.
“Do you always hide behind horses, kid?”, he yelps at the crouching reaver.
Though he doesn’t see it happen, Marcel would have been proud of young Sen as he steps up behind the Hound and runs him through with his sword. The Hound gurgles and slides forward off the young boy’s blade and onto the ground next to his companion. They both lay there and bleed quietly. Nearby Draven engages his opponent while Iris and Esir move along the base of the rock, moving toward the horses but letting Marcel lead the way.
Draven and the Hound trade blows back and forth, neither one gaining the upper hand.
A Blast From the Past
As Marcel approaches the crouching Reaver he gets a good look at the fellow and he is struck with a sudden realization that he knows this man. He met him in the Celibate Maiden the night he first met Stephan. He was the troublemaker that came back and accosted them in the alley later that night. The Reaver sneers a crooked smile at Marcel and nods at him, confirming that he also remembers. “So we meet again, Traladaran. I should have finished you off the first time you got in my way!” He steps forward, holding his sword and shield at the ready.
|Marcel's old foe.|
Marcel pauses and feels transported back to that day.
“The kid that you failed to kill is there no more.”, Marcel replies. “Now, I want you to CRAWL! Vile fiend. CRAWL!!!!”
Marcel, feeling less like a warlock and more like a spearman, takes a steps forward and looks for an opening on his advancing foe.
After taking a moment to catch his breath, Griffin rolls over and makes his way down the rest of the rock face. His feet touch the ground and he starts readying his shield while making his way through the cluster of tents. Lots of tents for the number of folks we’ve seen so far. Hmmm… He slows and takes a quick peek in one of the tents.
Griffin peers into the small tent. It smells like sweat and dirty feet. There is barely enough room for one person in here. He sees a bedroll, some blankets and a pack with some pieces of clothing hanging out of it.
The Fairy King of Horses come charging into the center of the camp, taking out another of the tents (this one from the eastern end of the canyon) as they go.
The Reaver also takes a step up toward Marcel, waiting for him to make the first move. He eyes Sen who is moving around toward his flank. “You better call your little girl off, Traladaran, before she gets hurt!” Marcel hears someone moving up behind him on the left and a quick glance shows it to be Iris and Esir a few yards back, along the base of the rock. He can hear Draven and the other Hound battling back behind him.
Marcel moves in to attack, but the Reaver, his old foe, was ready and strikes first. He slashes out with a solid strike at Marcel’s leading leg.
Marcel and the reaver exchange violent blows as Sen is closing in, but all of them are deflected by shields or weapon. Marcel is enjoying the competence of his foe.
Seeing his allies closing in, Marcel pretends to tip slash the reavers and quickly converts his attack into a wicked sweep with his spear, tangling the reaver’s legs with a lightning twist of his forearm.
The Reaver lowers his shield hard, wrenching the sweeping spear from Marcel’s hand and pinning it to the ground. Surprised, Marcel brings his shield up in front of him as Sen rushes in from the side.
Griffin sees the fight over the tops of the tents and starts sprinting in that direction, hoping to lend aid to his comrades while not getting trampled by the Fairy King of Horses.
Sen’s wild blow misses wide and the Reaver takes advantage of this. He slashes at Sen and steps forward. The boy tries to parry the blow but fails. A red slash opens up across his chest and he falls forward, toward Marcel, landing right where the Reaver had just been standing, right on top of Marcel’s spear. trapping it beneath him! The Reaver then runs over to where his fallen companion is and crouches down over him.
Iris and Esir rush up next to Marcel to check on the fallen Sen. Just then, an arrow sprouts from Iris’s neck and she also crashes to the ground. Marcel turns to his right and sees a large figure crouching near the rock behind the pack of Goblin slaves. It is a tall (at least 8 feet), muscular being with Goblinoid features and huge ears. Patches of fur are visible on his arms and legs and shoulders. Marcel knows this type of goblin. They are called Bugbears by some, though it’s just another goblin to him.
As the Fairy King of Horses and his herd gallop past, Griffin sees some movement to his left, over by the odd shaped tents across the way. Four Goblins have emerged from them and are aiming bows up toward where his friends are up on the rocks. Past them and to the right, he sees a large being skulk up, crouching along the rock facing. He stops behind the pack of Goblin slaves and fires his bow across the yard, striking Iris and causing her to crash to the ground near Marcel.
Marcel scans the scene as if it was unraveling in slow motion. The horses, the falling friends, the yelps and moans of the dying. However, Marcel seems to enter an ever narrowing tunnel between him and the bugbear. He tugs are the spear, but useless Sen is pinning it on the ground. Iris’ eyes are open and fixed on his, but he can’t tell if she is conscious.
He unceremoniously push Sen aside to recover his spear. He can see the reaver crouched over the other one. Marcel jumps over Iris and dashes to the reaver with murder in his eye, a tingle in his spine and once more the feeling that he is channeling ancient angers drawn from the soil underneath his feet.
Another Hound appears from around the other side of the horses and approaches where the Reaver is kneeling by his fallen companion.
|A Bugbear Reaver of the Iron Ring!|
Marcel sees the Bugbear begin pulling notching another arrow. Nearby the Reaver yells to the Hound, “Kill them!” The Reaver stands up, tucking something behind his shield that he had possibly taken off the other fallen Reaver. He turns and runs away, toward the Bugbear Archer. The Hound, on the other hand, steps over the fallen Reaver and rushes toward Marcel, ending up right in his face.
Seeing the goblin archers, Griffin yells “Ree! Incoming!” as he points in the foe’s direction. He sees the larger Reaver lurking behind them. He whips out his sword and heads that way at top speed. Goblins. I hate these guys...
As Marcel studies the big picture and Griffin begins making his way across the yard, the Fairy King of Horses and his herd turn to the left, filling up the center of the encampment and start to head back the other way. The Human Reaver continues moving away while the Bugbear Reaver continues to aim in Marcel’s direction but cannot get off a shot because of the Hound standing in front of Marcel. The Goblin archers have moved out a bit from their tents and are firing at the folk up on the rock behind Griffin. One of them angles his bow down and releases an arrow in Griffin’s direction.
After a grueling melee, Draven finally finishes his opponent off with a brutal strike to the Hound’s skull, smashing him to the ground. As fast as he can, he rushes toward Marcel and his fallen comrades.
Marcel’s current opponent, an ugly Hound, slashes at him with his shortsword, his aim true. Marcel brings his shield up in a feverish block, knocking the sword to the side.
Of course there are more of them. Damn, that one is big, though. Griffin hurdles the campfire, ducking behind his shield as a stray arrow comes his way. Gotta hope Ree and the boys can handle them! Griffin keeps sprinting toward the Reavers.
As the herd of horses led by the Fairy King turns, they split up and head in different directions. A few of them turn sharp and come up past Griffin. Some others turn wide and a large bay leads some others directly through the crowd of Goblin slaves, trampling many of them. The Fairy King himself, leading a few more, turns to the left and tramples right over another Hound that had been slinking up from behind some rocks. Goblin and Human screams fill the air and then are drowned out by the thunder of hooves.
The Hound that Marcel is battling turns to look at the cries for just a moment, but it is long enough for the tip of Marcel’s spear to find its mark. The Hound falls to the ground, gurgling on his own blood.
|A great battle rages on!|
The tide of the battle seems to be tipping in the favor of the Grey Company but there are still a handful of enemies remaining: two Reavers (one Human and one Bugbear) and a handful of Goblin archers, not to mention the wounded members of the Grey Company!
Marcel takes off towards the reaver and let out a loud war cry to rallies horses and men to his target. His voice echoes from all sides and distorts against the rock faces, creating a powerful rumble that almost can compete with the low roar of the stampede. Beyond rallying the horses, Marcel hopes that the wounded can be pulled to safety while arrows are flying in his direction.
Several horses have to veer wildly to one side or the other to avoid trampling Marcel as he charges across the camp, screaming at the top of his lungs. Marcel nearly topples as the horses gallop past in different directions. The majority of the horses are galloping back toward the way they entered the campsite while the Fairy King and a few others are turning around in the open space to the west. Griffin finds himself directly in front of one lone charging horse who has just trampled through the group of Goblin slaves, following a few of the others.
Griffin’s attention focusses on the Reavers as they flee from Marcel’s charge along the rock face. Suddenly,out of the corner of his eye he sees a horse coming towards him. He twists to avoid the horse, but is too late. He crashes off the beast’s broad chest and stumbles to the ground, dropping his blade. He shakes it off as he looks up and sees two Reavers giving him entirely too much of their attention.
The horses running to the south chase down the fleeing Goblin archers and put an end to them then slow and stop in the wide pathway, blocking any exit in that direction. Marcel rushes up and helps Griffin to his feet. Just ahead, the two Reavers step from behind one of the Goblin tents. The Human clangs his sword on his shield and smiles while the Bugbear bangs his axe and shield together, snarling. Marcel’s glowing shield cuts through the deep shadows here, casting the only nearby light, as the stampeding horses managed to trample most of the campfires in the vicinity.
On the north side of the camp, Draven runs past where all the horses are tied up and sees a group of raggedy looking Humans huddled behind a large rock with a low-burning fire pit in front of it. Draven can hear the horses behind him snickering and braying loudly as the Fairy King moves over to them.
Marcel has had enough of the reavers, but the combat is not over. Or is it? He addresses them:
"Unless you are dragons in disguise, I'd drop your weapon and live. The Grey Company has laid claims on your property and this is how the tale ends. The slaves are free, the horses are free. Are you the fools who can't see this forgone conclusion?"
Now we’ve got ‘em! This should be easy - Marcel takes left, I take right. Wait, what? Griffin blinks as Marcel offers quarter to the thugs, but quickly puts on his best game face and follows his lead.
The Bugbear snarls again and takes a threatening step forward but the Human looks at Marcel, “Well, my friend, I was attempting to leave. I willingly surrender this camp to you in exchange for my freedom. Sgagast, lower your axe. Can’t you see that this, um, Grey Company, has us?” He takes a step back. The Bugbear looks back at him and blurts out, “You are a coward, Harkam. A worm!”
Harkam retorts, “You have already taken our leader, Rucker, out,” he nods his head toward the fallen Reaver on the other side of the camp, “You have your slaves, well, the Human ones at least. I guess everyone has to have their standards.” He stares at the nearby pile of bloody and mangled Goblin slaves.
Griffin sneers, “No deal. You offer the camp in exchange for your freedom, but we already have that. You are bargaining with something that is no longer yours. All you have left is your life, which we will accept if you throw down your weapons and surrender.”
“Brissard take you!” Harkam curses then turns and runs to the south, toward the horse blocked ravine. Sgagast the Bugbear also curses, but at his companion, “Coward!” then charges forward, swinging his axe in a mighty arc and coming in from Griffin’s side!
Griffin swears as he brings his shield around, barely avoiding the powerful blow. Lucky I’m a southpaw, or I could never have blocked that! Griffin steps back in with a stab to the vitals, which the Bugbear knocks aside. Suddenly, hands grab Griffin from behind! One of the goblin slaves has entered the fight.
|Griffin and Marcel take on the bad guys!|
Really? This is all I need right now…
The scrappy little git is pulling on Griffin as the Bugbear makes another swing. The axe thunks into Griffin’s side. His vision dims for a moment, but then he grits his teeth and pulls himself back. Reeling, he lashes out at the Bugbear again, but misses.
Fortunately, Marcel steps up with a Traladaran two-fisted spank-a-roo. The shield bash knocks the beast back, and to Griffin’s relief it turns it’s attention to Marcel.
That leaves Griffin free to deal with the goblin on his back. He slashes over his shoulder and forces the wretch to jump away. Marcel presses the Bugbear with another strong attack, which it deflects, then responds with one of its own. Griffin turns and dispatches the goblin with a quick blow, then turns back to the Bugbear. Figuring any help is good, Griffin yells “Ree! Remar! Little help here!”
The monster sees himself flanked by two warriors, and decides to make a break for it. It sprints around Marcel away from Griffin and lands a solid blow on the Traladaran. It turns to face the two fighters.
"Stay back", he threatens. "I will leave now. You will not follow!"
Just then, a sling stone and a magical bolt strike it. An arrow strikes close by. The huge goblin turns and makes its way behind the tents, crouching to avoid more attacks. Griffin follows. He emerges from the mess to see the Bugbear surrounded by Loshad’s horses. Griffin sneers “Going somewhere, villain?” The Bugbear can see that Griffin means to finish this fight, so it turns and pushes it’s way through the horses in a mad attempt to escape. Before Griffin can say a word, the horses turn on the monster and trample it to death.
Of the Human Reaver Harkam, there is no sign.
Freeing the Slaves and Other Things
Draven makes his way over to the slaves and sees about 15 or so folk huddled behind a large rock. They are all shackled at the wrist together and then the chain is wrapped around a rock. Draven is unable to break the chain so he quickly smashes a portion of the rock allowing the whole chain to be moved. The prisoners are still chained together, but they can now move.
“Come, there’s little time, and battles like these are rarely sure things!” He scans around him, looking for a way to lead the former slaves away from the fighting and to a place where they can find their own freedom if things turn ill for their rescuers. “We’ve seen too many reversals and unexpected reinforcements to take this slowly or easily.”
After a few short minutes it seems that the fighting is over on the south side of the camp. The only sound that can be heard from that direction is the horses.
It dawns on Marcel that the Grey company just got itself heavier a tail as he would have liked. He step in front of the slaves and announces:
“You have been freed by the Grey Company. We did not set out for this rescue and have little to provide in matter of subsistence. However, I will demand that you follow our instructions closely and we will take you to a more hospitable place. ”
Marcel peers over his shoulder and nods to Draven to keep up leading the slaves. He then seeks Loshad for he intends to remind the mythical creature of his debt to the Grey Company (in more diplomatic terms, of course).
All of the freed slaves are wounded and quite exhausted. Some of them cannot even move without the help of others. They are dressed in filthy and torn clothing. It is difficult at first glance, in the shadowy darkness of the camp to even tell one from the other.
Most of the newly freed slaves nod in agreement, though it is clear that several of them do not understand Marcel. They just look at him with puzzled looks on their faces. A quick inspection reveals that many of the slaves are not local folk. There are 17 slaves total, nine women and 8 men. Five of them are the dark skinned and haired Ylari from the deserts to the north and east of Karameikos. Another five of them have the light olive skin and beards of men from Darokin. Three of them look to be Thyatian and the remaining four are Traladaran.
|A Darokinian merchant|
One of the Darokinian stands up, catches his breath and waves his hand in the air, as if to indicate he is to be listened to. He clears his throat and begins to speak in fluent, though accented, Thyatian. “Friends and saviors, thank you, thank you! I am Anders Hallonica of Selenica.” He smiles weakly, as if expecting some sort of recognition. “Well, as it were, my retinue was attacked on the road north of Penhaligon, whilst on our way back to Darokin. These are all that remain,” he indicates the four other Darokinians, all of which bear fairly serious wounds, “and these beautiful ladies. They are also part of my company.” He indicates the three Ylari women. “I thank you greatly for saving us from these foul slavers. We have been in captivity for some 2 weeks now I believe. My house will pay greatly for arrival back in Selenica.”
Back at the other end of the camp, the wounded Iris and Sen are moved to the side and the remaining wounded of the Iron Ring are dealt with. The Fairy King of Horses marches up to where the horses are tied up and asks for immediate help in untying them. “Some of my herd were wounded in the battle. Can one of yours help them?”
Marcel do not skip a beat and runs to the Fairy King of Horses. He heads to the horses and begins to untie them as discussed. He makes a point of being kind to the beast, inspecting some that looks like they’d need special attention.
“Do you have a tradition of healing in your culture?”, he respectfully asks to the king.
Griffin sees Marcel and Draven managing crowd control, so he takes a minute to bind his wound with some shredded blankets. He unchains the goblin slaves and runs them out of the camp. Then he goes around and checks in with the other members of the Grey Company, making sure they’ll be okay. He has Remar stay on high sentry, then makes certain the Hounds and Reavers are indeed dead, the Bugbear first.
Looks like 17 freed slaves, Ten slaver horses. What to do, what to do? I suppose the first step is to tidy up here, then get them all back to Lumm. Then on to Gnome’s Ferry. We may have to call in a favor or two from that innkeeper.
In all, there were 8 Hounds killed, 2 Reavers (one Human and one Bugbear with the third Reaver being missing), 8 Yellow Fang Goblins killed (they were working with the Iron Ring) and and 11 Goblin slaves killed. The Goblin slaves look like they might have been from the Red Blade tribe, as they had flaking red paint on them and much of their bodies had been permanently stained red from the continual use of such paint.
The Grey Company took a bit of a beating as well. Iris and Sen are still unconscious, having both taken some serious wounds during the fighting. Draven, Marcel and Griffin each took some battering as well.
Griffin wanders over to the main group of folks and pulls Draven aside. “Triage Grey Company first,” he whispers. “In case there’s more trouble, we need to be ready for it.”
Then he turns his attention to the noble. “Lord Anders, my name is Griffin Constantine. I think we have the site secured, so if we could get you as comfortable as we can, we can get started seeing to the injured.” Griffin shows him to the Reaver campsite, far from the slave area and goblin tents. Griffin will take a little time to survey the Reaver tent for anything interesting or dangerous when he does so.
Inside the large tent, Griffin sees what looks like sleeping areas for two people. Bedrolls and articles of clothing litter the ground. At the back of the tent lies several bags and wineskins. Looking in the bags reveals mostly dried meat, bread and other foodstuffs. A small pouch holds what appears to be 5 healing potions, all marked with the silver bell of Chardastes. The wineskins are full of a sour, dark wine. At the back of the tent stands a small idol about a foot and a half high. The idol consists of a central cylinder of purple metal that tapers toward the top. Grey iron chain links of about 1 inch adorn the cylinder and form a horizontal figure eight out in front of the pillar. The “eight” is about one foot across. Griffin gets an uneasy feeling when he gets too close to the idol.
|A strange and evil idol|
“Ooo, what have we here?” Griffin says as he eyes the potions. He steps out of the tent and motions Lord Anders inside. “Temporary, but better than standing out in the cold. I’ll be right back.”
The other Darokinian men follow Griffin and Anders, as do the three Ylari women. “Thank you very much, my good man. It seems that even these harsh lands cannot take the good graces out of everyone. It is nice to meet you, again, and thank you for your help here.” Anders thanks Griffin and takes a seat inside the tent. His companions each take up seats outside the tent while the three young Ylari women accompany Anders inside the tent.
Griffin heads over to Draven and hands him the potions. “There is some food in the tent as well. I’ll see that it gets distributed when we’re done with the healing.” He recalls some of the more attractive females in Anders’ entourage. “And I’d be happy to help the less wounded folk, so you are free to focus on the more serious cases.” He turns away, then back. “Oh, and there’s a shrine of some sort in that tent. Has a big lemniscate or somesuch on it. I’d appreciate your insights when you have time. Which, “ and he holds up a hand, “I know will be after these poor wretches have been tended to. Just wanted to make you aware of it.”
Griffin returns to the tent. “Let’s get a quick take on your injuries, shall we? Our good priest has some serious work to do on some of our Company. I’m sure he’ll be along soon.” Griffin quickly addresses any minor wounds on Anders, then moves to his attractive companions. Really need to pick up Ylari one of these days, especially if the women are all this attractive! When he finished with them, he will also give a cursory going over of the contingent of guards outside.
Griffin eyes the men of Anders’ retinue. “There were around eight Hounds, the slavers’ flunkies, in the casualties. If you want, we can set you up temporarily with their armor and swords, in case we run into more trouble on the way.” He singles out the one who seems to be the head guard, addressing him directly. He tries Thyatian first, and finds that the fellow seems to speak it, albeit with a heavy accent. “Armor”, and Griffin shakes his breast piece. “Sword,” as he slaps his weapon. “Yes?” and he points to the four warriors.
The head guard nods once, then barks something in Darokini. The other three move to the pile of downed foes, helping themselves to suitable gear.
After tending to Ander’s retinue, Griffin turns to the other injured women. “Ladies, my name is Griffin. let’s see to your needs…” As folk are determined to not require further immediate medical attention, Griffin will send them over to the Reavers campsite to get them out of the way. He delegates Ariadne to distribute the foodstuffs to them as they arrive.
Griffin starts performing first aid on the former slaves, each one of them needing more than the initial bandaging that Griffin is doing, but the bandaging will definitely help once Draven gets to them.
The Thyatian woman, Maria Angelos, says she is from Stallanford, the small village just north of Penhaligon. Her and her daughters, Sophia and Avonne were abducted a couple of weeks ago while working in their small orchard outside of town. Maria begins crying, as do her daughters. She begs Griffin not to hurt them any more and Griffin soon learns that the slavers had not been kind to the mother or the daughters, beating them and worse since taking them. All three are good looking women, though filthy, cut and bruised. And like all of the slaves, they are all starving and have not eaten much in days.
“Please, please, Goodwoman Angelos, have no fear. The slavers are dead or fled, and you and your lovely daughters are in the excellent care if the Grey Company.” He continues to politely check their wounds and dresses them as efficiently as possible. “Stallanford, you say? Why, my mother is from Stallanford. Helena Vivianna? She married my father Andreas Constantine. The family runs a small jewelers shop in Penhaligion now.”
“What, oh, Vivianna? Constantine? Yes, those names sound familiar to me. Do you still have family in Stallanford? We sell our harvest in Penhaligon. We travel there a few times a year. Yes, Constantine. Jewelers you say? I believe my husband once, um, bought me a,” she begins to choke up. Tears stream down her face again. She coughs. “Hmm, yes. Thank you for your help, kind sir. The blessings of Tarastia have shined upon us.” She watches Griffin as he finishes putting some ripped blanket bandages on her youngest daughters leg. “Thank you again, but do you have any spare water or bread? We have not eaten for days.” She looks at him with sad, sunken eyes.
“Oh, of course, of course, forgive my manners, you must be starving. Ariadne? Could you bring Goodwoman Angelos and her daughters something to eat?” He digs out his canteen. “Here, you must be thirsty, too.”
When Ree wanders over, Griffin introduces her. “This is Ariadne, a most important member of the Company. Why, her sling stones helped drive away that foul Bugbear!”
Ree hands out some food and Griffin thinks he sees her blush a little bit at his compliments. She talks nicely to the three ladies and escorts them across the way.
Once the ladies are bandaged and have something to tide them over a bit, Griffin sends them over to the Reaver campsite and moves on to other slaves. It takes a bit of pantomime, but Griffin is eventually able to tend to the two tall Ylari men. He then turns to the Traladaran family.
The Traladarans are a family unit. The father, Bronin Kradjzic, is near 30 and a tough looking guy. He is very protective of his family which consists of his wife, Vela, their daughter Neda and Vela’s younger sister Tanis. All three women had been considerably mistreated at the hands of the slavers and Bronin bears the brunt of the wounds for it. He eyes Griffin with steel grey eyes and a firm jaw. “I will tend to my own, Thyatian. Don’ be layin’ your hands on my women. If ye have food and blankets, that is all we will be needing from you,” he says in the local Traladaran, his accent so thick that Griffin has trouble picking out specific words, though the intent of the man’s speech is clear.
Griffin responds in his own accented Traladaran. “Of course, Master Kradjzic, of course. Completely understand. I’m Griffin, by the way. Just call if you need anything else. I’ll see about those blankets.” Griffin bustles off, returning soon with some of the Reaver’s supply of food, being put to much better use. “Our healer, Brother Draven, will stop by soon, as will our battlemage, Remar. We want to get you folk moving back to your homes, so we will try to bring you into better shape before we leave, which, I’m afraid, will be fairly soon.”
At the mention of the Grey Company leaving, the young girl, Neda, begins crying and clinging to her father. She speaks in very fast Traladaran and the most that Griffin can make out is that she is scared to be alone again. Griffin learns that they are from near Stallanford also. Farmers. They had been taken a few weeks ago as well, while they were driving some goods into town to sell. Their wagon and goods were taken and they were forced into the hills to the east.
Griffin takes pains to make sure, through her father, that young Neda understands that they are all leaving together. He explains that they are heading for Gnome’s Ferry, where he hopes more concrete decisions can be made about how best to get them home.
All of the stories sound similar, as far as Griffin can tell. They were taken while on the road north of Penhaligon and Stallanford. They say the Ylari men were already prisoners and they had been taken much earlier, across the mountains in Darokin and were the sole survivors of a Ylari caravan. The slaver band was just the Humans at first but they were joined recently by the Bugbear and Goblin slaves and slavers about a week or so ago in the hills. They had been heading south slowly. Any goods that had been taken from them had been taken away by others in the group, presumably sold off at nearby towns.
Griffin pictures the area of northern Karameikos in his head, trying to get a better handle on how and where these fiends operated. How far north was Xitaqa compared to Penhaligon and Stallanford? Was Golthar the head slaver for all this? Speaking of which…
Griffin clears his throat. “Master Kradjzic, a brief word, please?” Griffin steps out of easy earshot of the Traladaran’s family, fearing to bring back more painful memories. “One more question, sir. Did you see a man dressed in yellow here at this camp? Or hear the name Golthar? I suspect he was the one in charge, and we would really like to deal with him.”
A long shot, but if there’s any way to get a jump on this bastard, it’s worth it.
Seeing that his family is safe and secure with some food to eat, the gruff Traladaran walks over to Griffin, “You don’t have to be “sir”-ing me like that, Thyatian. I get it. You want something from me. You want to know about a man dressed in yellow? I wasn’t on the lookout for anything like that. We have only been camped here for a couple of days. No visitors here, but now that you say something, there might have been a visitor about a week ago. We were in the hills, the Wulfwolde I’m pretty sure. Somewhere east of Penhaligon. I remember seeing Zirchev’s Finger off to our right and we were heading south. Well we had been camped for a few nights, felt like we were waiting for something, though of course none of ‘em told us nothin and we learnt early on that questions only got beatings for answers. But one night, I remember a commotion going on. It was raining pretty steady that night so I know it must have been quite a commotion to have caught my attention. I couldn’t see any of them, but I do remember an unfamiliar voice, a loud one. Whoever it was seemed to be in charge. I remember hearing something about a ship and Fort Doom. That was all I could make out.” The man forces a weak smile at Griffin and waits to be excused, looking back at his family several times.
Griffin holds up one finger. “One thing. I was raised to use the term ‘sir’ to show respect. You kept your family alive and together during an unthinkable ordeal. That deserves respect.” He holds up a second finger. “Second thing. My friends and I just went out of our way to give you the chance to take your family home. I think that deserves some respect, too.” He looks at the older man. “My name is Griffin, not ‘Thyatian.’” He turns away to get to the next thing on his list, then turns back. “Thank you for the information, sir. I’ll try and put it to good use.” He leaves to talk to Marcel about the horse situation.
As he walks, he goes over his mental checklist. Weird altar in the Reavers tent. Need to check in with Draven or Iris on that. Any way to turn this victory profitable? Getting Anders home could pay well, and may have additional benefits as well. Could throw Golthar off our scent, at least for a little bit. Force him to stretch himself out of his current areas of influence…
More immediately, how to get all these folks to Lumm? Probably should give Anders a mount at least, to acknowledge his station. Are there any that are likely to slow us down? Are there any dangers out here that we need to sweep for ahead of this ridiculously large and unwieldy group? Oh! Armor and weapons! We could at least arm Anders and his guards. No need to be the only ones in a fight.
And then what? We still need to get the horses to Rifflian. Then this contract is done, and the Grey Company can discuss what our next move will be. Stephan will push for following the tapestry map. Near as I can tell, it leads into nowhere. Where can we get better maps?
Postpone Stephan’s quest and take Anders and the other slaver victims home to the north? May want to see if Stephan wants to join up. He seems to have been bitten by the adventuring bug. I can certainly relate to that.
Working his way from slave to Company member to hanger on, Draven does what he can to salve wounds, apply bandages and provide the most light of divine healing to each person in need.
“Any who have bread or other rations, make sure to be share with those who have known privation.”
As he finishes up the rounds, he decides to also check on the idol that Griffin found. Missed out on destroying Orcus’s mound entirely, I won’t make the same mistake twice.
After making his rounds healing the freed slaves, Draven heads to the tent where Griffin found the profane idol. He nods to the Darokinian men sitting around the tent and climbs in to find Anders Hallonica, the freed merchant, resting on a bedroll and drinking from a wine skin. Three Ylari girls are curled up next to him, fearful looks on their eyes as Draven enters. “Thank you for your healing powers, priest. It is most blessed that you all saved us from our harsh captivity.” Anders smiles. “Ahh, you wish to examine the curious idol there, I have seen no such thing in any Darokinian temple before. My ladies and I will depart from the tent and give you some room.”
Draven moves over to the far end of the tent to get a closer look at this idol. Immediately he gets an uneasy feeling about it. Looking at it, he can sense that it is dedicated to some patron of evil, but one he is unfamiliar with.
An Audience with the King
Marcel wipes the blood off his body from his wound. It hurts, but has seen worst. He seeks again the Fairy King of Horses. He much desires to talk to the King.
|Loshad, the Fairy King of Horses - an ally?!|
Marcel finds the King of Horses easily as he is doing some mending of wounds on his beasts. “I have some healing skill, but my abilities are not as effective as magic. Do your people have magic skills to heal wounds? Enchanted potions, perhaps, those are the best.” he explains to Marcel as he approaches.
Marcel and the Fairy King converse for a short while quietly about the horses and what happens next. In exchange for some healing help with the most wounded of his horses, the Fairy King agrees to escort, albeit at a distance, the group to the edge of the Moor. The rescued Humans will be given over to the Grey Company for protection and the freed horses are to be freed and under the protection of the Fairy King of Horses. Any other salvaged loot the Fairy King is happy to allow the Grey Company to have. As they wrap up their conversation, Griffin wanders over.
“Marcel! Have you and our most excellent comrade come to some sort of agreement on the unfortunate horses these fiends kept against their will? If possible, could we cooperate long enough to get the Human rescuees over to Lumm?”
Cast of Characters:Garrett "Griffin" Constantine, a Thyatian rogue of a gambler from Penhaligon rolled by +Arne Jamtgaard
Marcel Maas, a 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
and +Jason Woollard as The DM