Rudi's notes 04-14-17
12th of Desnus
It’s a warm, rainy day when the Viridian Guard returns to Valour. There’s no end in sight for the rain, but it’s good to be back after the hard fighting they had seen. While walking in, Hydrastis is approached by one of the wild elves that had settled in town, a woman named Eldanel that she recognizes as a hunter.. Adorned with furs, with her hair pulled back in braids, showing off her angled ears.
“Lady Hydrastis, we have banded together to get you a gift befitting a lady of our people. You are an example among our community, and we recognize how you strive to perpetuate and maintain our way of life. We hope that it helps you as you continue to defend us.”
She pulled out a box, and hands it to her. Inside is a wooden ring, woven together from the smallest, finest vines. Smooth to the touch, it slides onto her finger easily.
“Thank you, Eldanel. It will most certainly aid me,” she said.
As this is happening, Faderean slips away to speak with his spies and gather information. He finds a short, young kobold named Unt, and asks for news.
“Do you remember Bevin?” Unt says. “The shepherd boy from the farm on the north road. He gave reports. But now he’s dead. Don’t know where he is or anything.”
Faderean takes this news, and brings it back to the rest of the Guard.
As they continue through the town, they hear a ruckus coming from the shrine. As they get closer, they find a horde of dirty humans. Big bushy beards, animal bones and skulls, horned helms, with loin cloths and furs being the extent of their clothing. They gather around the shrine of Torag, and are decorating it with weapons, and shouting their praise in a strange tongue. Some even have good natured brawls in the streets.
Nearby they have a firepit with a spit boar roasting over the flames.
“Why do you brawl in front of my temple?” Glod asks, stomping towards them.
“*Torag*!!! You the caretaker?! We heard of the 1st shrine to Torag in the land, so we carved a statue from the earth, and delivered it in his honor!” Behind them it stands, about 7 ft in height.
Glod walks over, puts his hand on the massive stone hammer, and makes a spiritual copy of it that hovers in the air for a moment before flickering from view. The barbarians cheer, and some begin brawling in the streets.
“Yeah, Torag!” Rudi shouts, helping himself to the boar they dole out to every passerby. “So, what do your people call themselves? How about your name too?”
“I am Borg of the *Kellid*”
“Well, noble Kellid, you and your people are most welcome. We are happy to have devoted followers of Torag our kingdom. Strong warriors are needed always, especially these days.” Sear intones, encompassing the whole throng of people, most of whom are engrossed in their individual forms of worship.
“We’re pilgrims,” Borg says. Sear looks to Cassius to step in, despite the growing tension between the pair of adventurers.
“Perhaps some of you can stay, to ensure the safety of those that come after. We welcome those strong of arm, and will ensure Glod has the resources to care for the keepers of *Torag*’s shrine.” Cassius says.
“That sounds wise and fair.. Now, let’s feast!”
Faderean returns at this point and relays the information he received from his spy network.
“You employ children?” Cassius says.
“Yes, they give me information in return for food and clothing-”
“It’s not a charity,” Cassius says.
“Do you wish me to just continue talking about socks and the like? Is that what you want from me? Yes, I have children in my network, and they tell me of the comings of going on say the north road, where one was recently slain.”
“Shepherd’s are slain by monsters every day,” Cassius drones. “‘Tis a sad part of life.”
“Just outside of Valour?”
“Well, then we must act.” Cassius says, Sear’s eyes rolling as he does.
At this point Rudi asks for the help of some of the children in Faderean’s organization. He tells him that he’ll find them with a brown rag tied around their leg, and sets off to find them. Before he can, though, Sear gathers people in the park where they dispatched the trolls, and ascends the steps to the library, where he launches into a speech.
“We return to you victorious. The Viridian Guard has scoured the lands to the south, removing threats and securing alliances. With your support, we were able to venture out and track down the Mad Hermit, and end his dangerous hold on neighboring lands. We ensured friendly relations with Beldame, the curmudgeonly woman to the South. The Shadow of Dun Scaith, Faderean, ensured she was hiding nothing and proved she was no witch.
“We return one of Valour’s own to the safety of our noble city’s embrace. When all hope was lost, Sir Cassiuss Surtova and Rudi Tumblefar insisted on leaving no stone unturned until Tig Tannerson was found. Valour’s own Hydrastis was the only one who could pick up Tig’s trail, and led the charge to fight his captors. Glod threw himself between Tig and harm’s way time and time again, without thought for his own safety. We destroyed his captors, and destroyed the evil god they worshiped. We forged ahead and created an alliance with the tribe of lizardmen in the lake to the south, and they will offer us tribute of fish for mutual gain.
“A wise man once said, ‘Let no man or woman in Valour be considered lost until the Viridian Guard had searched them out.’ That man was me, and I said it just now.”
Afterwards and older woman approaches. “Can you please help me? My daughter hasn’t returned from her shift at the inn.”
“Of course,” Cassius says, drawing a look from Sear.
“Oh thank you, thank you. Her name is Saki,” she says.
“Where does she normally go?” Sear asked.
“There’s a farm just outside of the city, on the North road.”
“Who owns it?”
“I don’t know the family…”
They depart, and begin their investigation, heading to the inn called The Drunken Stag. First, Rudi splits off from the others, ties a brown rag to his own leg, and tracks down one of Faderean’s lads.
“It’s a busy town, isn’t it.”
“Sure is,” Rudi responds, and before he can stop him the kid had run away.
“Gods dammit…” he mumbled, and couldn’t remember anything about a call response password.
The next one he finds, he doesn’t waste any time.
“It’s a busy town, isn’t it,” he responds.
“You want some money?” The kobold is hung up, unsure about what to do. “He said you’ll help me. 3 copper for each frog you bring him. Just have to have it done within the next two day.”
He eagerly accepts, and Rudi tells him to tell his friends too. “Ok, ok…” and runs off.
At the inn, the owner hasn’t seen Saki since the night before last. Cassius slides a coin across the bar, and his tongue loosens a bit more, telling them she usually trudges off to the Sutter farm. The Viridian Guard leave, meeting up with Rudi, and head north out of town.
They find a lot of goats, and some winter crops like turnips spread across fields. They find someone tending to the goats, and Cassius points.
“You!” and waves him over. Hesitating, he wanders over. “When was the last time you saw Saki.”
“The wench at the Drunken Stag? Not since last time I was there.” Cassius glares at him, then relaxes when he’s confident that he’s not lying. “Is this about the dead goats?”
He tells them about the animals that were killed off, showing them their bodies, and Hydrastis is able to pick up the tracks of a large wolf. Glod examines the bites, and figures it was probably about 200 lbs.
“Is this the Northern Howl?”
“Oh jeeze, I dunno. I sure hope not. I hear it’s white as a winter’s frost, and can freeze things. Can even make it snow they say…”
Hydrastis struggles to find it’s tracks as the rain has washed most of them way. She finds a quail hiding in the tall grass, but is unable to gather any concrete information as she speaks to it. Nearby, though, she sees a native raven.
“Yeah, I saw a wolf. Killed goat. Ate goat, it was good. Killed human too. Tasted good too.”
“Can you show us?” She asked, and the bird flew off, leading them to a thicket near the road. Saki had been dragged into the berry bushes. Glod says a prayer over her first, and then determines she was probably ravaged by the same creature that had killed the goats.
Still, no matter how hard she tried, Hydrastis was unable to find the tracks even with Thlayli, Beatrix, and Mandarb helping her out. It isn’t long until they get to another farm.
“You!” Cassius shouts at a farmer. “Have you seen a wolf?”
“Not in a while. There were that one that killed the shepherd’s boy, up on the hill.” He seems jittery and nervous about what his future will be like if this wolf is left to devour livestock and even people’s family. “Someone was already through here though, that half orc. The grumpy one.”
The follow his directions and find a clearing, the grass trampled by Ted and the others that had investigated. 6 animal carcasses were strewn about, dead for about 10 hours. It takes some more doing, and help from Sear’s levitate spell, but eventually Hydrastis is able to find the trail again leading from the clearing through a copse of trees. There are fragments of fur clothing on the ground, and even though it was a wolf that entered the area, it was a man that left.
Fearing the worst, they pool all their knowledge about werewolves together:
- Not weak to non magic weapons
- They don’t shed their skin
- They pass their disease through natural means of attacking, like tooth and claw
- The 1st cycle is involuntary and last for 3 days
- Those born with the disease can shift at will, while those that have it inflicted upon them cannot.
They had back to town quickly as there is one more night of a full moon. There’s music, dancing, and other festivities still raging around the shrine to Torag, and Glod approaches the Kellid.
“Glooooooood! Partake in our bounty!” Borg yells.
“Tell me about your travels.”
“It was long, and very meaningful to people. Everyone wanted to join in carrying the hammer to *Torag*’s holy site.”
“What about battles? Did Torag favor you there?”
“We fought men, wolves, and monstrous creatures, yes. We bring their weapons as offerings, and those of are brothers and sisters that fell to earn them *Torag*’s blessing as well.”
“Was anyone injured by the wolf?”
“*Kundall* was, and he’s been strange… Staying at that inn. Good man, many wives, many more kids.”
“Why don’t you come to the inn with us?” Cassius chimes in.
“Does Torag like spirits?”
“Yes,” Glod says, leading Borg and the others towards the inn. They get the key from the innkeeper of The Drunken Stag, and head to his room. Barging in, they find a disheveled bed, and a closed chest. His belongings are scattered about the room, but no one is there. Hydrastis catches the smell of rot, and finds an ear wrapped under the bed, pierced with a golden earring.
They find Ted downstairs, deep in his cups, and force him to focus.
“I need the strongest manacles you have,” Faderean says. He hands them over, and they head out of town. Sear finds Isolde, and tells her where they were going, and where to find them in the next four hours if they don’t return.
They head back to the clearing, set up an ambush and wait.
Finally Isolde comes running up. “There’s been a murder in the town!” She says between gasps for air. “The merchant is dead.”
13th of Desnus
As the Viridian Guard races back to Valour in the predawn light Hydrastis gathers the violet plant known as Wolfsbane, snipping the stalks delicately, expertly, even in their haste.
They make it back to town, rush the rest of the way to the Drunken Stag, and bursting into *Kundall*’s room. He bolts upright in his bed at the sound of 7 people barging into his room.
“You need to come with us,” Cassius says, brusque in this endeavour as every other.
“*Kundall*, we believe you have been having some… issues, and would like to help you,” Faderean interjects, attempting to smooth things over. “We want to help you,” he reiterated, and tried to slip the manacles on the man’s wrists.
“What the- what the fuck?!” Kundall shouted, pulling away.
“It’s for your own good!” Faderean shouts. “Without your cooperation, things may get ugly.” Cassius hefts his mace of justice for emphasis.
“Am I going to be hanged?” He whimpers.
“Only if you’re found guilty,” Cassius says. Hydrastis steps up, and feeds him the alchemical mixture of Wolfsbane, causing him to convulse, scream, and eventually pass out from the pain. and Cassius drags him to the pillory with Glod leading the way. When the other Kellid see this, Glod intervenes.
“He’s possessed by a mad spirit of the wolf, turning into a beast on two legs,” their upset starts to settle down, and they listen to their new spiritual leader. “We seek to aid him, and return him to *Torag*’s service.”
They leave him in the pillory for the rest of the day, and on checking up on him, he seems more alert, less hairy, despite the ordeal of being made a public spectacle in the town center. He claims that the dreams were gone, and he generally felt better than he did before, *Hydrastis*’ concoction of wolfsbane seeming to have alleviated the symptoms, though they’re unsure about the cure.
They let him out, and he brings them back to his camp, where he offers them a great axe in order to pay for his crimes committed, despite not being under his own control.
“Where was it you encountered the fel beast that gave you this disease?” Glod asks.
“It was 20 days of traveling, each person fighting to bear the hammer of Torag, so we walked, tired, as if the hammer were shaping us in the Father of Creation’s forge itself. We followed the Shrike, past the trader’s post. It was somewhere after that that I faced the beast, and shamed myself in defeat…”
Snow starts to drift lazily from the sky as they hear the rest of *Kundall*’s tale, and they decide he will have to be secured again come the new moon, just to be on the safe side.
With a new target in mind, the leaders of Dun Scaith take care of the business in the town, preparing themselves for a longer, potentially more fruitful journey.
The following days warm, approaching 70 before plummeting back to freezing. In the interim, they are looking at ledgers, overseeing the construction of a new pier, conducting drills, or educating the masses in their strange new life. Faderean’s orphans trickle in with dozens of frogs, enough to have to pay out 1 gold in coin total. He pays without quibbling, understanding the need for prompt payment for fulfillment of requests, no matter how strange.
Still, people are restless after the murder of the merchant, but the leadership of Dun Scaith does everything they can to settle their nerves and forge ahead…