The Wild Coast

Valshea meets Old Creel

Patchwall 25, (Godsday) continued

Anders makes a courtly bow as he takes his leave. You can see the villagers turn to follow his progress as he makes his way back towards the inn. Some of them stop him to ask him questions, and though you know he is in a hurry, he is very polite, and takes time to speak to each one, learning all their names, and encouraging them to come see his next performance.

Na’Pungu finds a spot at the edge of the village green and watches. He watches the villagers, looking for any signs of tension. He knows that eventually the work will come to him. There is always someone with a problem that can’t be solved by tradtional means. Sometimes he just needs to be nearby when someone wants to talk. Na’Pungu is a very good listener.

Valshea wanders around a bit, talking about the weather with the villagers, who seem a bit uncomfortable having an Elf noble in her finery among them.

Valshea comes upon Carth talking shop with Tongan the blacksmith. Both men stop and greet her. Carth points her to the edge of the village green, where an old man sits with his back against a tree, with a mug of cider in his lap, people watching. “There is Old Creel, in his favorite spot. Go introduce yourself.”

Valshea walks up to Old Creel. She observes for a moment before she blunders in with an opening line. Her familiar, Seanait the Falcon, helps her examine the situation closely with her beady Falcon eye.

Creel is old. He has swollen joints that indicate arthritis. There’s a cane lying on the grass beside him. A middle age woman is hovering near, obviously his daughter. She is speaking to another villager, but she often looks his way, making sure he is all right.

He notices Valshea looking at him and squints back at her. “Ah the elven princess. Well, come on girl, I won’t bite. My name is Telemon Creel, but folks around here just call me Old Creel. Come have a seat and tell me about yourself.”

He pats the ground beside him in invitation. “I’ll even share some of this fresh pressed cider with you.”

Valshea sits down on the grass beside the old man, uncaring of her fine clothes and takes a sip of the cider. She introduces herself, tells him about her family so that he has a sense of where she sits in the world (context) and then explains that she is curious about the history of the region and the things Telemon himself might know about the history and environs of Namburil. Valshea tells him that she sees herself settling here for a good length of time.

Creel listens to the elf’s story attentively. “So, not quite a princess. Oh well”

After a few minutes, his daughter comes over. “Dad? Is everything okay?”

He looks up at her angrily. “I’m fine Lori, I’m fine. Why can’t you just leave me be? I swear I’m going to live longer than you if you keep worrying like this. I’m just making a new friend.” He pats Valshea on the knee and looks at her a little lecherously. “Now run along. I’m busy.”

Old Creel listens as Valshea wraps up her introduction, and then tells her about himself.

“As for me, my family has lived in the area for generations – I was born not far from here. As a youth, I wandered the surrounding woods and mountains, always curious what was behind the next tree, or over the next hill. There’s lots of neat old ruins and secret places around here if you know where to look. I was always too chicken to go inside them though. I guess maybe that’s why I’m still here. I’ve heard some stories about people getting more than they bargained for checking out old tombs and such.”

“Anyways, I went away for a few years, signed on as a merchant guard, but returned to raise a family. I always had a wanderlust though, and used to spend whatever time I could away from home, especially beyond the settled areas. I even made a few maps. Fortunately, the woods were relatively safe back then, thanks to your people.”

“I eventually married a local girl, Edyth was her name. She died a few years back. Now my daughter and son-in-law take care of the farm. They’re good people, but not very imaginative. Its nice to talk to young people who are a little more worldly.” He pats Valshea’s knee again in a friendly manner.

They talk for a while about landmarks and points of interest in the area. He is happy to give you directions to a number of ‘interesting places’, but he’s concerned that you don’t do anything foolish. “We’ve just met. I’ll be expecting you to come around and keep this old man company every once in a while.”

Valshea asks if he knows of any local wizards and Creel shakes his head. “I don’t know about any wizards round these parts. We get the odd one passing through, but people around here don’t really go in for that sort of stuff.”

He pauses, thinking back, “There was talk years ago that the hermit who lives out southwest of here was involved in witchcraft or bad magic or something, but I never believed it. I met him a couple times in my wanders, and he never seemed like anything special.”

Valshea and Creel talk for a while longer, before his daughter comes over again. He grumbles at her, but allows her to help him up. She curtsies to Valshea, as best she can, and thanks her for putting up with her father. Creel says his farewells and the two of them head off, presumably back to their farm.

Meanwhile, the village green is starting to clear as people head back to their homes. Brother Dunstan has brought some long staves out and is showing a few of the younger men basic attack and defense positions as if they were wielding spears.

Valshea approaches, and she can see that Dunstan is teaching very simple techniques to these farmers. They are still learning how to hold a spear properly, and how to ensure that their opponent doesn’t knock the tip away and then move inside their effective range. He is a patient teacher, but his students are not very attentive, especially once Valshea joins them.

Dunstan calls for them to stop and pay attention. He squares off against Valshea, and the two of them demonstrate basic attack and defense moves. As he feels out her skill level, he begins to speed up, using more complex combinations. Valshea is game, and soon the two padded staves are whirling as each opponent presses advantage or retreats as the tide of their mock battle shifts back and forth.

Dunstan calls out pointers to his students for the first few minutes, (“Watch our footwork! Don’t overextend yourself!”), but soon fending off Valshea requires all of his concentration. Eventually, Dunstan lands a lucky blow on Valshea’s shoulder, and he stops and apologizes to the elf maid.

Both of them are panting from the fierce competition and Dunstan takes a moment to recover his breath.

“Now, I want you to pair up and practice what you’ve just seen. Your life could depend on this one day.”

The farmers are much more focused now, and seem to be trying to impress both Dunstan and Valshea.

Valshea thanks Dunstan for the workout, and they arrange to meet for dinner at the Rusty Golem. She heads back to the inn, with na’Pungu in tow.

Praise the Lord(s)

Patchwall 25, (Godsday) continued

You head out of the inn towards the temple. It seems as if Carth was right – the entire village seems to have come out and are chatting on the village green in front of the temple. A few of the young farmwives are rounding up the younger children and herding them towards the building next to the temple (the Town Hall). Most of the villagers nod or smile at you, especially those who have seen Ander perform at the inn.

Brother Dunstan opens the the double doors to the temple and begins greeting the townspeople as they file in. He greets you all warmly, happy to see you in better circumstances. You notice that Bevan, Lord Ostwill’s steward has come to the temple today, along with a couple of men that you recognize as his guards. They are dressed in plain clothes though, and carry no weapons. Brother Dunstan is polite to them, but they obviously have a strained relationship.

You can see that there is some unspoken seating arrangement as everyone finds their places on the long benches that take up most of the room. There are a few spots open near the back and you seat yourselves.

After everyone is settled, Brother Dunstan comes up to the podium and dives into a long winded sermon. He invokes Beory, Phyton and Velnius for the harvest just past, and the winter to come. He speaks of being a good neighbor, and tells a story about St Cuthbert. You can see that some of the people are getting bored, while some of the older people, especially the women are quite enthralled. At one point, you hear a very loud snore from an older man, followed by an exclamation of pain, and a shush from his wife as the man rubs his ribs where she elbowed him.

After the brief interruption, Brother Dunstan continues his sermon, speaking about Trithereon. “Trithereon teaches us that we all may choose our own path. No one owns you, you are independent and strong.” He looks over at Bevan. “Together we are as strong as we need to be. We won’t be slaves.”

He ends by telling you to go in peace and friendship, and reminding the villagers that he will be leading self-defense and spear formation practice this afternoon.

As the service ends and people start filing out of the temple, some remain behind to start moving the benches to the side of the room. Many of the villagers have brought food to share with the congregation.

Valshea watches the entire proceedings with interest. Brother Dunstan. Well, who would have thought it. Follower of Trithereon. Well, well, well.

She seeks him out respectfully after the service. She congratulates him on his cogent advice for all the townsfolk. She explains that it looks like the group is no longer in the employ of Lord Ostwill. She asks him if the group can be of any service to him or the townsfolk. Perhaps there are some rumours that need checking out? She would also be interested in talking about the history of Namburil with Brother Dunstan. She is genuinely concerned for the townsfolk’s wellbeing and interested in their governance structures. If she can be of any help in helping with militia training she is genuinely interested in helping. Maybe she can run an archery series? Train people in shortbows/longbows. She would be happy to volunteer the time. She is a very good shot…

Brother Dunstan is happy to hear that you’re no longer working for Lord Ostwill. He says that he would welcome your help with archery training, but tells you that trying to get the townsfolk interested is another matter. Apparently, hardly anyone shows up to his practice sessions. Most of the villagers (at least the men) know which end of the spear is which, and are taught how to use a bow for hunting, but they lead busy lives, and don’t want to spend their only free day practicing something they don’t believe they will need.

The priest tells you that the village has held archery competitions in the past, which gets the villagers to train for a little while, but it doesn’t endure.

The younger men and boys don’t find spears very interesting. Though Dunstan explains that they are very easy to learn, the youths see the mercenaries and guards that come through town with swords strapped to their hips, and want to emulate them. They playfight with sticks, but most of them can’t afford a sword, nor would they know how to use one properly.

Dunstan has been trying to get the Village Elders to reform the militia and require villagers to do weekly training, but so far his efforts have not met with success.

Brother Dunstan must see to his flock, so he doesn’t have much time to talk right now, but he tells you he will come to the inn tonight and speak more then.

Conversation over Breakfast

Patchwall 25, (Godsday)

The adventurers get up in the morning, and dress in their finest clothes (which for some of them are the same ones they wore yesterday).

Over breakfast, Valshea explains the situation, as she sees it:

“On the East bank, Ostwill feels like he needs to protect the people. He has maybe liquidated his own assets to hire guards and the like but he is almost out of money. He is squeezing merchants because he is dry but the kicker is – he’s right. There is a menace! There ARE REALLY goblins and the like gathering. We fought them!”

“On the West bank, Dunstan and … we don’t know who… feel that Ostwill is kind of bad. We can’t really comment on this since we don’t know what ‘liberties’ his men are taking – squeezing some extra coppers out here or there? Or taking payment in sexual services? To be sure – I didn’t like the way we had to initially pay to cross the river but to be fair his overall tax load is light and he doesn’t charge locals to cross the bridge. The west bank is ostensibly in Celene and under Elvish protection. Perhaps that’s why they feel ‘safe’ and feel like taxes are a burden. I have noticed humans always think taxes are a burden. But they still want protection when the orc horde comes.”

“Politically, I feel it is wise to be attentive, respectful, and open until we understand what we have walked into. My medium term goal is to make money, but long term I need to find some bad people and make them pay. So it’s kind of about revenge. And protecting others from coming to harm.”

She turns to Ander. “You’ve been saying you don’t like lords of men and the like. I understand what you mean – lots of knights and lords are parasites who subjugate the weak in order to extort them. On the other hand, we live in a terrible world with real evil. There needs to be some governance and protection structure. How would you change things?”

Ander is distracted from the conversation by the pretty serving girl, Shae, who crooks a finger at him. He gets up from the table and heads over to her.

Na’Pungu chimes in, “Hmm, complicated. I don’t get the feeling that Lord Ostwill is bad, per se. I suspect more along the lines of self serving, with some motives unknown to us, but not bad. Until some concrete evidence presents itself, it’s all speculation. More importantly, we need to find work! We are starving adventurers… well, not so much anymore, after the recent haul, but anyway…”

He pauses. “I agree with your goals, we need money, then information and finally we need to kill some slavers.”

Meanwhile, Shae and Ander are involved in a quiet conversation. She is wearing a loose fitting, high necked dress which is much more modest than what she normally wears while serving at the inn, but she still manages to look stunning.

Ander seems pleased, (and a bit smug) as he returns to the table.

As the group is finishing breakfast, Carth the innkeeper comes over to their table.

“Are you heading to the temple this morning? Everyone in town will be there. I usually close the inn, but I can have Lewin (one of the stablehands) remain if you are staying here.”

Na’Pungu neatly folds his napkin beside his empty plate and responds, “Thank you for a fine breakfast. We certainly don’t want to impose. As it turns out, we too are going to leave for the temple now.”

As Carth gathers up Na’Pungu’s plate and heads towards the kitchen, Na’Pungu continues in a loud voice, “C’mon Ander, let’s go, you can chat up the girl later.”

Ander busies himself with the last few bites of his breakfast and avoids the piercing gaze of the innkeeper.

The group heads out of the inn towards the temple.

Returning to Lord Ostwill
our heroes get paid for work well done

Patchwall 24, (Moonday) continued

Night has fallen and the road is deserted as the group makes its way back to the manor. The bridge is lit by torches, but the men guarding it remain inside their tower as they pass. The manor itself is well lit and its gates, surprisingly, stand open. The adventurers are obviously expected. The guards wave them in, and close the gates behind them.

Na’Pungu takes careful note of the number and movement patterns of the guards that patrol manor grounds.

He thanks the servants as they take the horses and lead them to the stable. The group approaches the house and are met by the Steward, Bevan, who escorts them once again to the Lord’s Study.

As she follows the Steward, Valshea notices how empty the manor seems. It is apparent that the lord lives alone, with few servants. The manor is well built, but there seems to be rather less furniture than you would expect. There are also lighter patches on the on the wall where artwork used to hang but is now missing. It seems likely that the steward acts as the lord’s doorman, butler and cook as well as commanding his small group of guards.

Lord Ostwill is pleased to see his new hirelings. “Done already? Good. Show me.”

Ander pours the goblin ears out on to the lord’s desk, as Valshea seems to be adjusting the front of her gown.

Ander smiles and speaks to the lord, “Lord Ostwill, we have cut down the goblin filth at great risk, entering their lair wherein we found not only a tribe of goblins but also a bugbear and several terrible wolves! This threat was much greater than we expected and it was only by the grace of the gods that we survived. The people will be safe now – from this threat at least. I suggest a head price of 15gp each for the bugbear and wolves – not only were they far greater threats than goblins, the wolves were trained! And with these foes gone, your trade routes will prosper better. Fair pay for deadly risks undertaken on your behalf, methinks.”

Lord Ostwill seems initially pleased as Ander tells him what has happened, at least until the arrogant bard presumes to suggest how much extra money they deserve! And then goes on to explain the benefit to his trade routes as if he were some imbecile.

He takes a moment to get hold of his temper, muttering something under his breath that sounds a bit like “effing mercenaries.” Then he looks back up at the adventurers.

“I am a man of my word, and I will honor the contract which you required of me. I will pay you 5 gold coins for each goblin killed.”

He pauses, evaluating the groups’ reactions. Na’Pungu is satisfied that the contract has been fulfilled as agreed, but is concerned by the Lord’s body language as he continues.

“I also appreciate your efficiency. I am not a wealthy man, but I am prepared to give you each a bonus of 10 gold for bringing this matter to a swift conclusion.”

He motions for his steward to take the ears away. The steward gathers the ears up in his handkerchief, making an uncomfortable face, and carries them away.

“Now, can I offer you a drink while my man gets your pay?”

Valshea, who seems to have finished adjusting her gown, turns her blue eyes on the Lord.

“Let me speak plainly, Lord Ostwill. We are happy that our business came to a satisfactory conclusion. We desire further work with you. Your alarm at the encroachment of humanoids is well founded. We have noticed it too. We would be happy to share a drink and perhaps we can speak of next steps.”

Lord Ostwill’s demeanor becomes even more severe and formal as Valshea speaks to him as if they were equals. She seems to finally realize her error and continues more respectfully:

“My Lord. We try your patience. I cannot imagine how hard it is to be in your position. Especially when you so keenly see the dangers and yet others are unwilling to give you the resources to deal with them. With your permission we will take our leave. We thank you for your patronage. We were proud to serve you, even briefly. We rest at the Inn. If you have further need of us ease don’t hesitate to contact us.”

Lord Ostwill has reverted to a very formal tone of speech, of superior to inferior, “We thank you again for your help. Our steward will show you out. You will be sent for if we have further use for you.”

The adventurers have been dismissed, rather coldly. It seems Lord Ostwill believes he is better than them.

Bevan escorts the group back outside and hands Valshea a purse containing the reward. He asks them to return his lord’s badges, which they do, before heading back to the inn for a well earned rest.

As they head back, Ander is obviously smarting from the encounter with Lord Ostwill, and he begins composing some disrespectful ditties to mock the Lord’s attitude.

Seeking help in Namburil
Is there hope for Sildar?

Patchwall 24, (Moonday) continued

The party finished ferreting out every bit of loot. Valshea’s Falcon glared at the nooks and crannies and one could swear it was helping to find overlooked treasures.

They used wood and poles to construct a travois to carry out the man they found, Sildar, as well as their other goods. It was all heavy but Valshea alone could carry a surprising amount of weight.

They followed the creek down to the road and out of the woods and reunited with their horses. They carefully lifted Sildar up onto Valshea’s horse (or at least the one she was borrowing). The other horses saddle bags they stuffed with silver and bloody bound wolf pelts. Then they began the walk back into town.

The sun set. They lit torches to guide their way. After a few hours they made it back to the bridge. Rather than checking in with Lord Ustwill they instead took Sildar to the temple.

Dunstan, the young priest in attendance frowned at the adventurers appearance. From the armor and weapons they were obviously straight from a battle of some sort. He was shocked by Sildar’s appearance, as he was malnourished and had clearly been tortured. He looked him over and found no permanent physical damage, however. After feeding Sildar, and tucking him into a bed in the back room, he told the party he should be up and about in a few days.

His initial cold reaction had lessened somewhat, though he told you that he would prefer you not wear weapons in the temple in future. His eyes narrowed as he noticed badges that showed the group to be in service to Lord Ostwill.

He politely inquired as to what happened to Sildar, and how the party are involved.

Valshea explained that they were hired by the Lord to put an end to a goblin menace plaguing innocent travellers in the road. They did so and in the process of clearing their foul cave warrens they found this poor prisoner.

Then she covered up the badge with one hand and said softly to the man… “I am new to these parts as are my companions. Is there something we should know before we take further service with the Lord?”

Meanwhile, na’Pungu did not help matters with his steel-tipped whip bumping into the pews as he came in with Valshea. As he politely tried to rearrange it to cause less noise, the rapier on his other hip clacked against the chairs on the other side. He grimaced with embarrassment, which, with his unusual face, came out looking like a challenge.

Dunstan was surprised by their story, and plainly believed they were exaggerating, or distorting the facts. He seemed to believe they were in league with the lord, whom he plainly did not like.

“Lord Ostwill is not well liked on this side of the river. His men have convinced some of the people that they are in danger, and they take liberties that are not due with the promise of protection. He charges unjust tolls to use a bridge that borders his territory – half of the bridge is in Namburil, but none of the money goes to the townsfolk.”

“His actions are morally reprehensible. If you are truly concerned, it would be best for you to not wear that badge around town.”

“Now, if you will excuse me, I have duties which require my attention”

He pointed them towards the door.

With a look of shock on his face Ander stepped forward.

“Good priest, believe me when I say I am a friend of the people. Never have I and never will I knowingly support the immorality of the parasites that call themselves ‘lords of men’. My companions are of like mind. Tell us more. You can trust me.”

The priest turned and nodded to Valshea, and looked disconcertedly at na’Pungu for a moment before shaking his head and continuing.

“I must apologize, it seems I have misjudged you. I should not presume character based on appearances.”

You felt that his apology was somewhat lacking in grace; he was obviously flustered.

“I’m glad to hear that you are of sound moral character. I would recommend you limit your dealings with Lord Ostwill, though perhaps he is not as bad as I had thought.”

He looked pensive for a moment, then continued.

“I must pray for guidance on this.”

“I hope to see all of you here for services in the morning. I truly have much to do to prepare, so I bid you goodnight.”

Working for the Lord of Trobridge
Into the Caves of the Goblin Scum

Patchwall 20 (Earthday)

Valshea joined the party in the common room and watched as the dwarves drank a gallon of ale provided by Ander, a troubadour of no small skill. She found him to be…intriguing. His words were inspiring and he she suspected he would make a valuable addition to the group, especially in the long term. She spent the rest of the night listening for rumours and figuring out who lived in the town and what their stories were.

Patchwall 21 (Freeday)

Valshea spent much of the day with Ander and Pale Eye as they visited merchants to sell the weapons and armor they had found in the caverns under the Inn. Ander again proved to be a valuable companion and a shrewd bargainer. Valshea also visited the blacksmith to commission a suit of armor. After some time measuring he said it would take a week and cost forty five gold. She was left with one gold piece. It would be worth it to have superior armor.

Once the others left Valshea went for a long walk into the woods. She called her old friend, Seanait, to come back to her. The Peregrin Falcon rested on her left hand most of the time it was not flying around high above.

That night Valshea noticed some interesting mercenaries pass through town. The leader’s name was Telrath. They were heading west but were vague. Something about their manner and appearance triggered a suspicion in Valshea. Although the leader retired to his room, Ander would pump the others for information. Ander himself entertained the entire Inn with engaging songs and stories. He was very talented and Carth must be happy to have him in residence.

Patchwall 22 (Starday)

Down into the dark.
She visited Belgrum and Beris and recruited them for one last push into Carth’s basement cavern complex. They were leery but willing for an equal share. The returned to the deserted dark passageways. They went into unexplored territory until they found what appeared to be a large room with a sarcophagus in the middle. Around it were seven horrific skeletons armed with great axes. Pale Eye passed his war hammer to Valshea and she smote the nearest one on the left. It exploded into shards most satisfyingly, but the other six lurched to life. Ander called on everyone to leave as he would wreath the undead in illuminating flames of the faerie. And so they did. Everyone backed out of the room quickly and Ander wove his hands in the air and said words of power and flickering bright purple light burned all over the skeletons. And now the grim task began. Belgrum fought in the front rank beside Pale Eye for a bit until Valshea bid him leave. She took his place and began smiting the horrors. Ander inspired them with battle humor and mocked the bags of bones viciously. It worked. Even the dead can make mistakes it seems…
Once all the undead were destroyed they set to work removing the lid to the sarcophagus. To her surprise what lay beyond was a hole. A long deep dark hole. Hundreds of feet down. They dropped a torch which seemed to fall forever before being snuffed out. Very strange…
They put the lid back and returned to the surface to tell Carth that the job was done. Nothing below would be bothering him now.

Patchwall 23 (Sunday)

Valshea had noticed a pirate in the Inn. A pirate who was three feet, six inches tall. He was a gnome but clearly one who had been to sea. He carried a small cutlass but didn’t use it in bar fights. And he appeared to like getting into bar fights. Valshea admired his courage and ferocity. A Wolverine. Yes, he would make a perfect fourth. She spent some time talking to him and discovered his name was Gerbo Timbers. Very Gnomish. She found his company delightful and unpretentious.
Together they visited Lord Ustwill looking for work. Despite her earlier misgivings the Lord turned out to be a decent enough man, if hard on commerce. He was recruiting men to take work of a more independent and far ranging sort. He paid 5 pieces of gold per goblin killed and needed a particularly troublesome group eradicated. Valshea was only too glad to comply. She had an abiding and furious hatred of goblins, orcs, and their goblinoid kin. He would even lend the party horses for their travel and the services of a groom. They even got to wear his badge as his agents.
To celebrate their new found work they had another night of partying in the Inn. Valshea, again, didn’t partake to a great degree preferring instead to observe others, including the maudlin miners. Their travails would need following up on.

Patchwall 24 (Moonday)

They set out that morning. It felt good to be on a horse. Seanait ranged far and wide and brought her tidings of fat pigeons and grouse in the area. Before long they came to the site of the latest goblin ambush. Gerbo proved an able tracker and was able to follow the war party back towards their cave. It was a small cave and a frontal assault looked dangerous. As they were searching around the outside they came across two goblins. Fast little demons they both attacked Pale Eye, who was walking on point, stabbing him viciously. Ander broke in though, before Pale Eye could slay the beasts, and called for a truce. He appeared to convince the beasts that the party was in the service of bad humans and could help them kill the good humans. One goblin went inside while the other talked to the party. Eventually he started to lead the group into the cave. Ander could tell from the imps body language that he was lying. He was leading us into a trap. Valshea fired an arrow but missed. He ran away into the cave, shrieking.
There was some disagreement. Valshea did feel that surprise was lost and a frontal assault would be very dangerous, a point Ander was making. So they put the goblin cave under siege. Valshea called out threats to the goblins to let them know the nature of their eventual death. They piled wood up in front of the entrance and burned it. After a few hours there was no signs that the smoke had any effect. So they let the fire burn down and retreated. After some time two goblins leading wolves on leashes came out to investigate. They followed the party’s scent right to them. Battle was joined. The two wolves were viciously mocked by Ander and one of the goblins ran away screaming while the other was cut down. Gerbo went wolverine berserk and chased the goblin into the cave. One of the wolves snapped at Valshea, too close for comfort. She barely had time to put up a shimmering sparkling ward before it’s jaws closed on her creamy white neck. She drew her sword and cut it down. Then they raced into the cave after Gerbo to find him locked in mortal combat with the fleeing goblin and another wolf. More loud screams and Ander called out very distracting threats and the goblin was indeed rattled. Then a goblin from further in the complex started shooting arrows at Pale Eye. The two were locked in a sniper battle. Valshea stepped out to draw his fire. She saw where he was and dropped her shield and drew her own longbow. She killed him with one well placed shot to the eye. They stormed deeper. They found another room with a small army of goblins. They commenced the slaughter. Valshea fought side by side with Pale Eye and the two hacked their way through more of the foul brutes. A lucky stab threatend to gore Valshea but she was quick with her wards again. The Goblins were fast but luckily Ander was faster with another spell. With a gesture four of the beasts slumped down asleep, ensorcelled. The leader fled. They pursued him, hot on his heels, through another room with some goblins to dispatch, until they entered the final chamber. More goblins awaited along with a terrifying bugbear chieftain and a vicious warg. Ander wove his spell again and faerie fire wreathed them, making them very easy targets in the dark. More combat ensued. Gerbo flew into a berserk rage again and it was a good thing since the goblins appeared drawn to him. They stabbed him over and over but Gerbo shrugged them off. Pale Eye and Valshea methodically killed one after another as Ander cried out the most vicious and distracting taunts. It’s no exaggeration to say he saved Valshea’s life at least. The evil ones were simply so distracted they could not land a telling blow. Despite that Valshea did get banged up by the relentless assault of spears and teeth.
And then there was silence.
They looted the Goblins treasure. There were some trade goods. Eleven Goblin ears and a bugbear ear. A small chest filled with coppers and silvers. A statue of a Frog. And two flasks that Valshea later identified as potions that would bring healing if imbibed. Gerbo skinned the wargs and wolves. Those hides would come in handy…

Beautiful Music
Valshea and Pale Eye meet Ander

When they returned to the inn disheveled from their sweaty endeavours in the bowels of the earth, they found the inn lit up with a new life. The lute music weaved itself through the air. In tavern room proper they were greeted by the sight of a handsome young half-elf with bright blue eyes and a blazing smile capering around playfully playing his lute to the demands of the village folk. Upon his spying the tired and sweaty group the tune changed in nature, leaving the traditional folky rhythms behind and moving to align with the impromptu beat of his tapping heel into a something akin to a more modern dance tune and then he – Ander Liadon – welcomes the group with a smile and a song into the inn.

Ander is a very young half elf, with long dark hair, bright blue eyes and a dazzling smile and tremendous charm. not to mention musical talent. He can’t have been here long but he seems friendly with all he sees already. Garbed in what appears to be travel-worn simple clothing with the odd patch, he nonetheless carries a surprisingly fine Lute and even in the initial greeting there is perhaps a hint that he is highborn.

Kill Monsters, Take their Stuff, Go Shopping
but in a small village...

Valshea has 2 Greataxes, 2 ragged suits of chainmail, a garnet ring worth around 25 gold. She asks Pale Eye, Belgrim and Beris if they want to accompany her, and heads to market. She wants to get rid of these things and split the cash up. How does this turn out? Who can take it? Opportunity to meet Blacksmiths and Jewelers, etc.

Ancient bones and huge caverns
Into the Underdark - Part 2

Patchwall 20 – Day 3

The intrepid crew walked down a steep, rough hewn tunnel. Pale Eye carried a torch as did one of the Dwarves, Beris. They came quickly to a large room with passageways to the East and South. Valshea asked Belgrum, who presumably was wise in the ways of the underdark, which way led down deeper (thinking, perhaps that’s where any true danger would lie…). Belgrum replied “Yes. Always the left tunnel.” And so they went left. They walked down and to the east for a long time. Perhaps over one hundred feet. They were deep in the Oerth. Had they gone under the river? Valshea didn’t know enough about tunnels. Maybe Belgrum did.

Finally they came to a scrambly bank. Beyond was a simply huge cavern running off to the right. They scrambled down the bank. Their torches could not even illuminate the far walls. The ground was scattered with little totemic devices and bones. Very creepy and disconcerting. Why was all this.. junk.. here? They forged ahead. And as they searched Valshea asked that they all stay within close distance of each other.

As they approached the far left wall a horrible thing happened. A cloak on a skeleton rose up. Where the empty hood should have been was instead a maw of sharp teeth and horrible giant pupil eyes. An Abomination! Valshea felt cold fury boiling up in her against this affront to nature. “Slay it!” She cried in Dwarvish. She lunged to attack but it was too quick for her. Belgrum circled around behind it. He slashed it vigorously and it was hurt. Valshea could not see what color blood it had. It looked black in the torchlight. It lunged and snapped at Belgrum but missed. Then Pale Eye and Beris circled around it. They had it cornered! There was no escape. it lunged and snapped but no matter which way it turned blades found it. It then emitted a long moaning noise. The most horrible, blood curdling noise. Every instinct screamed – leave – but the group remained resolute. They hacked the abberation down.

It hovered over a pile of bones. where they found 43 ancient gold coins, a garnet ring and an Iron Scrollcase. Valshea would have to examine that later.

There were three open doors leading out of this massive cavern. Two led to large rooms with old sarcophagi. Inside were orc bones but no treasure. They made sure to remove the bones and stomp them to powder. No orc grave would go undesecrated while Valshea still drew breath! In the final room they found something much more. Two large sarcophagi and a stature of Gruumsh missing an eye (and an arm). They locked their torches into sconces and got to work searching the place. The two Dwarves threw open the stone lid and a massive skeleton draped in shreds of chainmail and wielding a greataxe attacked them. Desperate battle was joined. They chopped and stabbed but the beast was nigh unstoppable. And as they fought a most terrible thing occurred. With an ominous grinding the lid slid of the other sarcophagi. Another towering skeleton emerged, draped likewise in shreds of black chainmail and wielding a greataxe as well. Valshea was slashed viciously and stunned by the first giant. Beris found himself between both of the towering skeletal horrors. All looked dark.

But their desperate struggle paid off. Beris fought his way from between the two. Belgrum came to his aid. The first horror finally fell in a mass of splintered bone. The second one followed soon after as the group surrounded it hacking away like grim bonecutters.

Finally, silence. They would need to bring what they had gained out to Carth the Innkeep and rest a while. Perhaps they needed reinforcements?

Once back in the safety of the inn (with the door locked and barricaded behind them) they could rest and regroup. Valshea retreated to her room and removed an old Tome from her backpack. She, with some resignation, began rehearsing her lessons in Eldritch Power. Her family had taught her much but it time to apply herself to her studies. They were going to fight things that a strong sword arm alone could not fight.

Dwarves, Orcs and Dark Caverns
Into the Underdark - Part 1

Patchwall 20 – Day Three
In the morning Valshea and Pale Eye waited for Mebren . He was deep in conversation with another merchant. After more patient waiting he broke off his conversation and approached Valshea and Pale Eye. He announced that he had sold his wares to a fellow merchant and would not longer need to hire them to Dyvers. He would only pay them out four gold coins.

Pale Eye shifted closer to the merchant. “That was not the deal,” he muttered darkly. Valshea calmed him, whispering to him in Dwarvish, which surprisingly they both spoke, that this gold was not the issue. “We had a verbal agreement of service, which by its nature, is a somewhat loose contract. Besides, this is better for us. We are going to play a longer game – patience, my friend.”

An uncomfortable pause (while the merchant nervously eyed the strange black human). “Hmm, yes, I suppose you are correct Valshea. I normally take payments in advance, however, in this instance, a prorated fee is acceptable.” Then, Pale Eye simply nodded at the merchant and walked away.

After taking their payment Valshea circled back to the Innkeeper, Carth. When asked about his bad mood he finally allowed that he was concerned. He had only bought the fortified stockade and Inn recently, this spring in fact. And he had discovered something. He took Valshea and Pale Eye to the basement. He showed them a secret door – locked. “If you explore it you can keep anything you find inside and I’ll let you stay here free of charge for the duration.”

Pale Eye and Valshea discussed. “Deal”. But they would need backup. They recruited two Dwarves who were self styled adventurers. They were paid 2 gold each plus an equal share of treasure. The Dwarves had chainmail, shields and battleaxes. They would be doughty and worthy additions. They lit some torches and Pale Eye picked the lock on the secret door.


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