Conquering the Barbarian Altanis: Session 30
|Eccy Throi||Elf level 1||Wears a dark green cloak to hide his bulging muscles and crippling anxiety.|
|Adkin the Butcher||Fighter level 3||A hot headed warrior quick to fury trained by Marco Vitelli, retired quartermaster of the army of the Invincible Overlord.|
|Rhovar||Fighter level 3||A generic Nordic guy.|
|Rad||Thief level 1||A young, short and malnourished rogue.|
|Taegen Ianlynn||Elf level 1||Tan skinned wood elf of magnificent physique. Doesn't hide it.|
|Sinai||Cleric level 3||White-robbed beduin, worshipper of Bukera, The Silent Scorpion.|
|Flamthwynn||Magic-user level 1||An older gentleman sporting fashionable dark blue robe with purplish overtones. Seeking arcane objects and offensive spell.|
|Dave Basic||Fighter level 1||A village boy with an affinity for stabbing rats.|
Warmshade 9th, Fireday
“We have it all under the control, don't fall apart now!”
Sinai, Eccy, Adkin, and Rhovar were keeping a host of fungi-men checked. Their positioning forced the creatures to squeeze through the passageway one at a time.
“Thank you friend! I will not forget this!” Ulster, the warrior imprisoned in one of the cages, was profoundly grateful that Rad set him free. Although dressed in nothing but loincloth and tattered shirt, he rushed to pick up mace dropped by Norna.
The latter had perished from horrible wound inflicted by a feral dwarf in another cage. He ripped out her arm, and she bled to death as her party ignored her wails and pleas.
“Somebody take care of that damn dwarf!”
Taegen handed over the lantern to Ehrman, ensured Merinthia that he will be back soon, and rushed into the chamber. There, joined by Ariad, he stabbed the captive dwarf. Grunts, froth, and a mean look was all he got.
“Fall back! Regroup by the cave entrance!”
They've been doing so well. They cut down a dozen of these fungal creatures, nine cursed trees, and other plant-based critters they've encountered.
“Something is very wrong with this dwarf...” Ulster muttered.
Alas, in the chaos Sinai was grabbed by two fungi-men. No matter how hard he fought back, he was unable to break their iron grip. He was dragged into unknown darkness. Eccy didn't manage to get far before being constrained by three creatures.
Given their retreat, light abandoned the chamber, barely illuminating the entrance—just enough for the retreating warriors to see creatures right in front of them.
“You left something behind.” an unexpectedly deep, almost growling sound voiced from the darkness.
The party had no time for wonder, for a cage came flying from the darkness. It landed straight on Taegens's broad chest, nearly killing him. And indeed, were it not for his amazing physique, he'd be nothing but a mangled collection of bone and sinew.
“Go, save yourself!” Eccy shouted, encouraging his friends to flee. He continued fighting the fungi-men, desperately trying to set himself free. Few of the creatures ignored him and went toward the growls in the darkness.
Ehrman, Ariad, and Merinthia rapidly moved upstream. Taegen and Rad were just behind them. Heavily armoured Adkin and Rhovar were way behind.
And then it went from bad to worse.
A towering black figure stepped out of the darkness. Nearly 8 feet tall, with long, lanky arms. It was so black it seemed like it was sucking the colour out of its surroundings. Its amazing blackness made it impossible to make sense of any features—except two. First, it had two blood-red eyes which felt like razors cutting at the very fabric of being . Second, it had a pearly white grin spanning the width of its head. Snot-yellow foam was dripping from it.
The figure moved with shocking speed. It ran right past the fungal creatures and captured Eccy, past the armoured warriors, and stopped just short of Rad and Taegen.
“I said, you left something behind.” the demon turned to Adkin, dwarfing him. It raised it right arm, showing a short-sword given to it by the fighter. And then it just dropped it into the stream.
“Um, ahm, why thank you.” the warrior stammered. “Now that we saved you, how about you help us escape?”
The creature was so close he could smell its horrible breath. He could also make out some of its facial features: long nose flattened against its face, large ears, and tense, leathery skin covered with warts and boils.
“Banter? I'm hungry, you know...”
Rad quickly dropped some rations. Adkin offered his wine.
The creature threw its head back, as in disbelief, and growled “Oh no, I'm hungry for something else! Your flesh!”
Without any further venue of escape, Rhovar and Adkin attacked the creature. Nordman missed, but Adkin delivered a stunning blow, nearly severing the monster in half. The creature roared and wailed whilst Adkin watched in horror as parts of its wounds are closing right in front of his eyes.
Rad the Bad snuck up to the creature from behind. He acted without hesitation. He doused the monster's open wound with oil. Then he wasted no time in shoving a lit torch deep into the gash. His bold action was well rewarded.
The monster roared and thrashed around as flames engulfed it. Then it melted away like a large, black candle. Thick, oily substance covered the stream.
Alas, there was no time for celebration. Eccy was still held by a number of fungi-men. The party had decided to leave him behind—all but Ulster.
“No! I refuse to go! Haven't you seen what they do their prisoners? It's fate worse than death!”
“Listen, you must go! Leave!”
“I promise I will come back! And I will bring an army! We will level this accursed place! I promise!
And so Eccy was left behind in darkness.
It was pitch black outside.
A sole figure sat by the campfire. Few horses slept next to her.
“I was starting to get worried... Where is Sinai?!”
“He was captured. Listen, we have no time. Saddle the horses, we must leave at once!”
The party rode until the first ray of sunlight guided them to Bathdawn. There they crashed and spent the day sleeping.
Warmshade 10th, Spiritday
“My father will surely reward you. I'm from Tenoch, a village that's just one day of riding to west.”
Coin is coin. Taegen stayed behind to rest and heal, while the rest escorted Merinthia to her home. Dave Basic, the village pest controller, and Flamthwynn, a wizard seeking spells of great power, joined the party as well.
Indeed, they were warmly greeted in Tenoch. Kegan, wealthy farmer and Merinthia's father, welcomed the party to his manor. Meats and ale were served in great quantities, and good times were had.
As the night drew close, Kegan brought forth a heavy sack of coin and presented it as a gift to the party. Rad the Scale estimated it to be some five hundred coins heavy.
“Is that all?” Adkin inquired. “Without us your daughter would still be in that hole. If you don't have more coin, how about you provide us supplies and men?”
“We cannot afford to spend any man. This is ruthless territory. I'm happy to provide ropes, oil and food, but cannot offer much more than that...”
“How about we take Merinthia back?”
“Are you threatening me?”
The tensions were soon calmed by other, more level headed participants, and festivities were continued. Despite that small hiccup, the adventurers were invited to spend the night in the manor house so they can leave refreshed.
Warmshade 11th, Airday
New day, new victories.
Rat boy spent the morning catch rats. That earned him 79 copper coins. Adkin and Rhovar fletched some arrows and exchanged words with the militia captain. The latter was impressed with them and asked if they'd be willing to train the locals.
Rad threw some pebbles, before joining Flamthwynn. The wizard heard that there was another, truer, wizard in Tenoch. The people described him as appalling and scary. Most keep away from him. Not Flamthwynn though.
It didn't take them long to find his house.
Knocks were answered by a grumpy looking man dressed in garish yellow robe with blue inscriptions. One look at Flamthwynn made his face glow.
“A man of Arts! What a delightful surprise. My name is Minn Almar. Please come in...” the man, despite his invitation, was rather awkward and cumbersome in his move, almost like he isn't sure how to behave in presence of others.
Flamthwynn broke the silence “So! What brings you to live in this fine place, wise Almaruz... Amiraz? Emorul? ... Wise colleague?”
The man frowned “Minn Almar.”
The inside of his villa was opulently dressed—unlike anything adventurers have seen in Tenoch so far. Merinthia's father's manor pales in comparison.
A selection of teas was served by purple-skinned slave boys. Some of them smelled fruity, others earthy.
“Oh, I had enough of city life. I sought a perfect place far and wide until I found this humble village.”
“It is perfectly positioned between Antil and Actun. Farms here are abundant, so there is healthy trade with both cities. I hate the dirty streets and zealots of the Walled City.”
“Elves of Actun make my skin crawl, but they have many arcane wares and secrets... Again, Tenoch shines, because it serves as the usual meeting place between them and local humans.”
“Surely you recognise the brilliance of my choice?”
He took a hearty sip of brown-coloured tea.
“What brings you here, Flamthwynn? What is your specialty?”
“And why is your slave boy eyeing my properties so intently?” he asked, motioning to Rad.
Rad looked around, wondering who he is talking about before realising he’s referring to him! He quickly dusted himself off and tried to look more proper. Finally, he responds “I am no slave, my Lord, just a travelling companion. I was just admiring your many trinkets and wares.” Rad made a mental note of any valuable that would be easy to take.
“These are art pieces, boy, not trinkets.”
He couldn't help but notice how Minn's unpleasant face deformed even further, before turning his attention back to Flamthwynn.
Flamthwynn tried to hide his amazement at this man's riches and potential arcane knowledge. He stuttered “My specialty is... Health! Health of the body. Especially bodies- I mean people that are... Uhm... Unhealthy. I come here in search of knowledge of spells that might bring health to these... people.” He concluded his eloquent answer with a grin.
“Your service might be in high demand soon.”
“Poor people of Tenoch are unaware of the fate that awaits them, fools they are.”
“A savage tribe of cannibal barbarians has been raiding the village for months now. Gof the Old and his dimwitted son are way out of their league.”
“They think that they are safe just because there haven't been any raids for two weeks now.”
“Little do they know of their impending doom...”
Minn barely whispered the last sentence, and kind of just gazed through the window with glassy eyes.
Rad, hearing the opportunity for money, snapped out of his treasure gazing and remarked “Raiders huh, how many? Perhaps our mercenary company can be of service!”
Minn looked at Rad with renewed interest; almost as if new life was brought into him. “Mercenary company? Tell more!”
Trying his best to look and sound professional, Rad explained “We are the Hydra Company. Well renowned in Antil. With us is about a dozen well trained men, but if needed we can return to base and gather much more.”
“And, who is your leader? Flamthwynn, have you been concealing your identity?”
Unperturbed continued “The company is owned by several men and I know I aren't the best example of a fighter personality. I’m more of a marksman or specialist, but we have plenty of strong warriors. If you doubt us, you can ask Kegan or his daughter. They will surely vouch for us.”
“As for Flathwynn, we are barely acquainted, but of course he can speak for himself.”
Minn stroked his chin and leaned back in soft chair. “Interesting. Most interesting.”
“Oh, I do not mean to hide anything from you, wise colleague. I have only recently joined the company of these mercenaries, but can attest to their professionalism and ability!” Flamthwynn glanced at Rad with a hint of a wink, more of a playful squint of the eyes, trying to not be seen by Minn Almar.
“Perhaps we could protect this village on your behalf, it would be advantageous for all of us... I cannot speak for Hydra, but perhaps you could instruct upon me some of your wisdom in return?”
“Well if you speak so highly of them, then this poor village might stand a chance after all.” Minn spoke after several minutes of silence.
“Hear me well—you too boy—do not say a word of our conversation to the locals. They are superstitious lot, and could react to their detriment.”
“I have a secret location a mile from here. Can you meet me there in three days, so we can discuss our plan of action?”
“Time is of the essence.”
“Absolutely. I shall convene with the rest of the company, and give you an answer as soon as I am able.” Flamthwynn gets up with a look of determination, though inside he was thinking “Oh god what am I getting myself into.”
Rad gives his best impression of an elegant bow and adult voice “Of course Milord, we will be there and battle ready.” He was already counting all the coin this guy will pay them.
Minn illustrated the meeting place as well as best path to it on a piece of parchment and handed it over to Flamthwynn. “Make sure that no one from Tenoch sees or knows you are heading there. And don't waste my time. I will wait until the sun sets, but no longer.” And then he awkwardly shooed them both out under the excuse that he needs to tend to some other matters.
Will the party go back to save Sinai and Eccy? Or will they find nothing but ground meat?
Player Session Reports
- Eccy Throi's diary entry
- Adkin's nightmare:
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