Rudi's Notes 07-14-17
In Riggs’s small house that had been carved from the ruined tower, the party had fitful sleep interrupted constantly by Riggs himself. Upon waking one of these times Rudi found a wooden case, clearly elven in design, carved into a piece of wood shaped like a flame. Curiously, he opens it, and finds a scroll of dragon’s breath.
As the night wears on, Faderean complains about the night’s rest and the lack thereof because of the constant feints against them. These complaints fall on less than deaf ears as Perlivash and Tyg-Titter-Tut appear and drag Faderean to a fae party, with Glod follows after eagerly. As he’s leaving, they ask them to at least ask for Sige. When the harassment continues, the remainder of the group leaves the elven ruins in spite of Faderean and Glod not returning, venturing into the land around the ruins.
Not much later, the strange cleric appears before them much to the party’s surprise.
“I heard you need a healer,” he said, voice as flat and emotionless as always.
“Seems I’m becoming more reliable than your dwarf.”
“Unfortunaterly I can’t really argue with that,” Rudi mumbled. Sige held out a fresh contract towards Sear, who signed without reading. It’s with some surprise, then, that the next morning he asks for 10 gold.
1st of Erastus, Year 2
Realizing the date, the 4 members of Team Quattro head back towards Valour sans Faderean and Glod. Sear gives a quick shout into the air to let them know that wherever they are,hey’re leaving, and the start the trek north. Sear additionally terminates the contract when he realizes the new pricing.
3rd of Erastus, Year 2
It’s noon when Sear, Cassius, Hydrastis, and Rudi enter the town. It’s the height of summer, the heat bearing down on the group as they walk amidst the relationships that had budded that year as well as at the celebration, and through the people reveling in the gifts of the God Erastil.
As the wagon rolled past, Cassius held up the trophies from their most recent outing. He gestured to the hide of the Northern Howl, holding up the head for all to see. He called out to Arven, boasting about their victories against old crackjaw.
“Are the fish all gone?” Arven called back.
“Probably,” Rudi returned, mood souring almost as quickly as they returned.
“But they probably swam back!” Cassius called. “We’re taking back these Stolen Lands!”
“Here, take this!” Arven shouted, beaming up at them as a small ring flipped through the air towards them. Sear caught it, looked down into his hand, and recognized it as a ring of featherfall. He handed it off to Rudi, knowing his propensity for climbing things, and because Faderean wasn’t around.
Rudi maneuvered through the crowds, steering between the small stage erected near unofficial park surrounding the tree that had come to life to fight the trolls. Flowers are scattered across the stage, where young men and women mill about, drinking from jacks distributed at nearby stands. Paper ornaments hung from the tree’s branches, with others scattered about the area.
Nearby, a set of hay bales had been prepared for an archery competition. The arbiter beckoned people in, calling challenges and requesting worthy competitors. Hydrastis and Cassius are quick to enter, alongside Harris from the Free Irregulars, Eldanel the wild elf huntress, and a large kobold named Atrogmox.
“The rules are simple!” The judge called, smiling into the crowds that had gathered. “Each competitor must hit the bullseye- or perhaps, is it the stagseye? For anything less is not worthy of Old Deadeye! The victor will receive a hefty purse for their efforts!
Each stepped up to the firing line, each earning cheers. Curiously, Hydrastis and Cassius earn more jeers than expected. In the first round, despite their combat prowess, Cassius, Hydrastis, and Eldanel all miss the marks. Between the Free Irregular and the Sootscale Kobold expatriate, Harris’s arrow punches through the dead center of the bullseye while Atrogmox strikes the target just to the left of center.
Harris steps forward to accept the award, taking the purse happily. “These are the troops that we need in Valour!” Cassius congratulated him heartily, and drew a mixed response from the crowd.
As everyone dispersed from the competition, Sear sought out Isolde so she could share the news she had given him previously. As they stand in the cool shadows of the library, she described what she had learned about the other parties hired by the Sword Lords one year ago.
The first was a group of adventurers contracted to go to the Glenabond Uplands, an experienced band called the Iron Wraiths. They were meant to purge the lands of a group of Kellid that called themselves the Tiger Lord barbarians. Additionally they were meant to forge a peace with Pitaxin of the River Kingdoms.
The second were sent to Nomen Heights, a region inhabited by hostile centaurs. They sent the sword lord Stannis Mercer, a young, ambitious man that was very eager to prove himself.
“Those are typically the sort to get themselves into trouble, and not get themselves out,” Cassius said sagely, voicing the odds for the young man as he saw them.
“In the interest of disclosure, he was the leader of the Band of the Red Hand.”
“May I continue?” Isolde asked, cross at the interruptions.
The last was the Slough. The area of the Hooktongue Slough was very important to Brevoy, so a more politically minded mission was sent instead. Surtovan Soldiers were sent along with diplomats to ensure the safety of the trade routes leading through the region.
“Now, if I may?” Isolde asked, finishing her report.
“What are you so eager to get away from us for?” Sear asked. “Who is it you’re planning to bed tonight?”
She described a Kellid woman, and they make a wager even though he’s uninterested in the woman. Rudi warned him that it sounded like a really bad idea and could come back to bite him, but Sear ignored him. In the end, he spends the rest of the day and convinced the Kellid woman she wanted to sleep with him instead.
4th of Erastus, Year 2
They wake up 3 days after leaving the ruins of a strange building only to find them inside their own familiar. Outside, each of them could hear loud voices raised in anger, and a quick look out the window showed a crowd gathering on the makeshift stage from yesterday. In the middle stood a hefty man in supple leather clothes, with dark hair slicked back.
“…it is nothing short of gross negligence on the part of these so-called rulers! Leaving the town while it is still growing to do Gods know what! You have already suffered one attack from hideous creatures of these lands. Who’s to say more aren’t coming? You sir? How about you, ma’am? Do you know what these self-proclaimed rulers, this Viridian Guard does while they’re out in the Green Belt? I’ll tell you one thing is for sure, it is not ruling! What if another attack happens? Or worse, they aren’t killing these monsters, but instead driving them into town, building a false need for their presence instead of more homes, more food, and more wealth for each of you?”
The Viridian Guard slowly came together in the crowd, and are surprised by the positive reaction the man is receiving.
“And who might you be, sir?” Cassius asks undeterred, stepping through the crowd that parted around him, making space for him to climb the stage.
“My name is Grigory, and I only give voice to what your people are thinking.”
“All are free to speak what they will here, we will not dissuade you. It is one of the virtues of this kingdom we have endeavored to create,” Cassius continued.
“Then I will continue-”
“I would just like to point out, however, all of our recent successes.”
“Successes? And how are we to believe you, you disappear, and return, and Valour’s people are attacked. How do we know you’re not instigators? You give succor to beasts, while your people die. The barmaid, the farmers, the townsfolk and you do nothing to secure them from these ghastly nightmares.”
“If you speak of the werewolf, we have remedied that situation,” Sear said, joining the cavalier on stage. “And as for townsfolk, did we not just return one of our own children, Tig, to the embrace of his mother and father?” The couple, in the middle of the crowd, were two lone voices of approval, recalling their son’s rescue from the Lizard Folk. “Have we not also secured a food source in the bargain in ample amounts of fish through trade, while also ending their raiding parties? Have we not sacrificed and worked through all of this for you and with you?”
Rudi, at this point had slipped away back to the wagon, safely in the ruined keep of the Stag Lord, and was driving it back, still laden with the raw materials from the creatures they had slain in their travels. As Sear finished, Rudi was driving back up, and the crowd had started to turn back in favor of the Viridian Guard.
“There have been losses, that is true, but we have fought to cut a place for ourselves within these wild lands. This is not a soft place for soft people. We test our mettle, and come out stronger, hardier folk for it. It’s not just humans, but any person that wishes to settle a new life within Dun Scaith and work together to make something better. These lands have been cast in shadows, but we are now the light.” Seeing Rudi navigating towards them, he continues. “Lest you have forgotten, we have pushed to pacify even more land for our people. A tatzlwyrm nest in the south, the feared Northern Howl and it’s pack of wargs, Old Crackjaw which laid claim to swathes of the river, and more many of you have not, and will not have to suffer. A tree, foul and and corrupt, ruining the land which almost claimed one of us for our efforts. Gnomes, trapped and in despair were saved from a river. A foul barrow blighted with an undead curse was cleansed. Yes, these are harsh lands, meant for the brave and hardy people willing to settle it, meant for all of you.”
Some people started to cheer, others looking at Grigory skeptically.
“You know Grigory,” Rudi said. “When the trolls attacked, where were you? Because I took on about 3 of them, and can’t remember seeing your greasy ass anywhere.”
Grigory mumbled and stammered as the crowd turned from cheers turned to heckling, and eventually some of the town started throwing rotten fruits and vegetables at him. He scurried away, onto his horse, and out of town, chased out before being able to chase out the Viridian Guard.
To further prove their good will, Cassius fronts enough money to start another celebration within the town. Apprehensive at first due to the work they missed on the previous day, the second day of festivities kicked off, and merriment picked up quickly.
Looking for answers, they headed to The Drunken Stag, the only inn in town. Behind the bar is the owner Targen, a big man with charcoal-black skin, long black hair that curled tightly down his back, and a long beard with a shock of white through it. The former cleric of Serenrae left his order to pursue his only love, his wife Sherron. Together they arrived in Dun Scaith and used the money from his former life to start over.
He readily tells them that Grigory arrived from Fort Drelev, but had little more than that. He couldn’t say if he was sent by someone, or what his true intentions were.
Sear attempted to hire him and pass along any and all information they could use, but Targen is uncomfortable with the situation and refused. Instead, they settled on him bringing only the most pressing and dangerous information to them, at his own discretion.
Cassius asked him to pass on his regard to Sherron, and the Viridian guard heads out one more time.
5th of Erastus, Year 2
The Viridian Guard returned to the Lonely Barrow once more, and explored the area immediately surrounding the resting place.
9th of Erastus, Year 2
Following the maps from Gnarlthorple and the gnomes they had rescued just under a month ago, they find the Gurden River crossing exactly where he said it would be. They spend some time making detailed maps of that area, as well as the area just across the river to the southwest.
11th of Erastus, Year 2
As the group draws closer to the Mud Bowl, they start to get whiffs of rotten vapor drifting towards them. The ground softened and small patches of bubbling mud appeared. A pool of bubbling mud approximately 20 feet across sats in a narrow defile, with mounds of fungi covering the shores. In the center was a sickly tree, twisted and malformed, it’s roots sinking into the mud. Noxious fumes covered the area, and Sear and Rudi began dry heaving. The party retreated while they adjusted to the smell, then returned.
Hydrastis weaved signs and whispered an elven incantation that requested the trees aid while they picked the black rattle cap mushrooms. It’s leaves shook, branches quivered, vines stretching across the ground towards them. But instead of taking up a defensive position, it cut a swathe of the caps they were sent to collect, trampling them in it’s charge towards them and sending spores floating up into the air. A long, gaping maw like a toothed flower spreads open and grabs hold of Cassius, pulling him into the plants maw. He struggled to break free, while Hydrastis called on a different form of nature to help, with the other two casting various spells to try and free him.
Before they are able, Tendriculos swallowed Cassius. The cavalier felt the acid as it burned his flesh, hissing as it ate away at his pristine armor. Still full of fight, he fumbled with his pouch, pulled the straight razor from his shaving kit to try and cut his way out in the cramped space. With one of the party members taken care of, it turned it’s attention to Rudi. He ducked under it’s first swipe that ruined the spell he was trying to cast, but his trident still burst into fire as he jabs at it.
Two eagles coalesce from the sulfurous air, and Hydrastis sent her two eagle allies join the assault. One was lethargic and sleepy, but the other was vicious and swift. She fired her bow, the arrow cutting between the pair of mismatched birds as they danced through the sky, piercing it’s trunk.
Focused solely on destruction, Sear held out his hand, the air sparking before turning into a roiling mass of fire that he lobbed over Tendriculos, exploding against his backside. The gases in the area ignited, turning the immediate vicinity into an inferno, flames licking the air. *Hydrastis*’s allies are engulfed with a squawk, and Rudi throws a hand up as it singes the ends of his hair.
The halfling saw the first vine as it whipped towards him and deftly ducked under it, but missed the second as it snapped around his waist, coiling tightly before lifting him in the air just as another arrow whizzed past his cheek to thud into the bark-like skin of the creature. Rudi clutched his trident, the tines still burning, and tried to stab the swamp tree. As he drew closer, he’s just shy, so releases his grip to let the haft snap forward through his loose grip before grabbing it again, and carrying it back with him as Tendriculos jerked him through the air.
Simultaneously, Sear released another fireball, scorching the tree before sending it toppling to the ground. This time, Rudi is engulfed too, and the magus yelped in pain as he caught fire and the vine slammed him into the ground, sending him tumbling over the muddy ground. Different spores drifted lazily through the air as the violence died down, and the party picked itself back up. Viscous fluid leaks from the creature, pungent and noxious, forcing the group to cough as they try and free Cassius. Hydrastis tried to cut him free, hacking at the bark, while Rudi tried to find the mouth and climb in only to get tangled in the vines.
Sear, wasting no time, cast scorching ray and carved a hole across the center. *Hydrastis*’s form shifts, her head sprouting horns, jaw extending slightly to a snout, her hips and shouldersgrowing broader as she reached into the abdominal cavity. She found the cavalier and pulled out his motionless body with a sickening slurp. Viscera of the creature slops into the ground.
Flipping the visor up, she could tell he was breathing, just paralyzed by whatever toxins the creature employed. Their friend’s safety secured, she turned to the black rattle cap mushrooms. Whatever might have existed was consumed by the fireballs however.
“Tell you? I didn’t know! You didn’t tell me!”
“You’re supposed to know these things!”
“What?! How, by reading minds?”
As they squabbled, she only saw one from the turned earth. Sear pointed out another patch where another 3 were uncovered. Despite the poisonous nature of the mushroom, she picked three, and leaft one to regrow.
Once Cassius is recovered enough to ride, they continued to explore the region before setting up camp.
13th of Erastus
A new day dawns, and the party faces the decision of what feat to accomplish next…