Conquering the Barbarian Altanis: Session 22
|Rad||Thief level 2||A young, short and malnourished rogue.|
|Winslow||Fighter level 3||A dirty warrior reeking of urine, body odours, and rotten wood.|
|Guha||Thief level 1||Handsome and trustworthy gentleman who fled the jungle because it got “too hot.”|
|Gon'd'elf||Elf level 2||“Surely magnificent, am I not?” is his favourite opener. Works every time, 40% of the time.|
|Deter Darker||Magic-User level 2||A stable boy whom got tired of shovelling horse shit.|
|Rhovar||Fighter level 2||A generic Nordic guy.|
|Francis Goreaxe||Dwarf level 1||A son of Goreaxe, master jeweller of Antil.|
|Dolgo||Dwarf level 1||Francis's friend.|
Longrass 11th, Airday
After carefully considering all their options, the party opted for the one they perceived to be the least amount of work for the most amount of gold—investigating Eargal Firebeard's mine and fate of his son whom went missing some six months ago.
With five adventurers, two retainers, VVagon full of equipment, and four mercenaries-in-training, this was a guaranteed success. While the rest of his peers spent their time preparing for the expedition, Guha decided to hit questionable inns and taverns for some rumours about influential actors in the city.
Nothing much came out of it (except some lost coin), but he did learn about the existence of the “Underlight Guild at the Walled Bazaar” from a man named Tabard.
The party set out, following the coast south-west. By mid-day they encountered a gross sight—vultures picking clean the carcasses of several slaughtered animals. The scene was gory, with blood splattered all over the coastal rocks. They smartly adjusted their course further south, to avoid the scene and whatever might've caused it.
The sun was up and spring was in full bloom. Winslow, whom had the rearguard duty, felt something was amiss. Sudden howls and barks did not surprise him. Seven wolves broke out of the woods, some with their muzzle still bloody, and charged the party without delay.
Winslow positioned himself to protect Deter, a fragile magic-user whose life he had already saved once. Alas, this time his noble act was rewarded by a wolf ripping out his throat. Another canine managed to take a bite of Deter, but he survived. Two mercenary trainees were lost to panic. Rad, Guha, and Ehrman, managed to down one each with a relentless barrage of arrows. Gon'd'elf's wizardry put the remaining wolves to sleep, finishing this brief, but brutal encounter.
The warrior was buried nearby, and the party continued their journey after brief moment of mourning.
Longrass 15th, Spiritday
“What are you doing?” a fine looking man dressed in gold-yellow cloak asked Deter. It was the third segment of night-watch, and it was the young cripple's turn.
“I'm chilling by the fire. Wanna join me”
“Chilling? What does that mean can you explain it to me?
“Well, you just sit down and don't do anything. Just enjoy yourself.
“I don't understand. Why would you do that?”
“It's a human thing...” Gon'd'elf interjected, awoken by the discussion.
“Ah, why didn't you say so earlier! Oh humans, I never understood their habits...”
“What are you doing here? Why are you out and about in the hills at this time?”
“I went out for a nice walk—to stretch my legs and enjoy some fresh air!”
“And where are you from? Where is your home?”
“Oh, just across the sea, at the Castelian Mountains. You ought to visit once. Well, I leave you to your “chilling” and off I go “chilling” in the hills.”
Bejewelled by the man's gilded cloak, Deter quickly grabbed some rope and followed him in the darkness. He snuck up on the man, but failed to surprise him. The figure turned around, with eyes glowing gold, and asked with stern voice “What are you doing?” Young mage already made up his mind, and went forward with his plan.
Calling it a plan might be an overstatement. An idea, perhaps, would be a better fitting word. Either way, Deter's intention was to quickly tie up the man, and take whatever valuables might there be on him. After all, someone who hikes in golden cloak must be full of treasure.
The figure easily overpowered Deter, and the whispered a word in a language so alien that it sounded like gentle breeze caressing the morning dew. At first Deter felt nothing but warmth and solace. That feeling was soon replaced with a tickling sensation in his fingertips, which then evolved into feeling like his skin was being twisted with great force.
He could see his fingers shrivel and wither; the effect soon expanded to his palms, then forearms, then elbows, and it didn't stop until his arms were nothing but two pathetic twigs. Golden-eyed figure blew some air, and Deter's twigs fell off.
Armless, the mage retread back to the camp, and hid himself in his bedroll... Perhaps he hoped none of his peers would notice his latest deformation.
Indeed, morning did not bring a flurry of questions. Other adventures were obviously too polite, or too self-absorbed to notice. They packed up their camp, and marched on in their quest for the mine.
It was high noon when they found it. There it stood, a gaping mouth on the western side of the Windgod Hills. An old wooden table and some chairs stood in front of the entrance. There were some dice on the table. The damaged sign said “Mithril Mine, Property of Firebeard.”
“That's the place. Let's go.”
Rhovar, a fighter whom the party met on their way here, took the lead. Armless Deter took the rearguard, while others were in between.
The mine entrance opened up in ten feet wide and tall corridor. Part of it was natural and part of it was hewn. Daylight didn't penetrate any further than 30 feet in.
The fighter was first to see the descent, but before he had any chance to inform the others, two large hairy brutes surprised him out of the darkness. They beat him unconscious.
At the same time, three armoured humanoids, whom Gon'd'elf recognised as hobgoblins, surprised Deter from behind. Alas, the Armless mage was pathetic opposition and was quickly killed.
Elvish tricks once again saved the day—once he put the three hobgoblins to sleep, everybody focused on the hairy brutes up front. One of the two slipped and dropped his weapon, while the other fled down into the darkness.
Francis and Dolgo, two dwarf buddies, joined the fray by jumping down from above, crushing the heads of two sleeping hobgoblins. The party rapidly wore down the sole standing monster, and then quickly retreated to their camp some two hundred feet away from the mine entrance.
Although wounded, withered, and demoralised, they arrived at the right place. What will they do next?
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