Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Curse; Return From the Dead; Dragon Hunt

Recap of recorded session# 5

The following recap comes courtesy of Lord Darmot Kromwell

This session begins as the last one ended. Ademar, letting his curiosity get the best of him decides to explore a cave on his own. Ignoring the dead ogres, that his party had nothing to do with, he drives deeper into the cave. Only to find himself face to face with a Remorhaz. It rears his head up and before the poor elf has a chance to react the creature bites at Ademar. Biting deep in to his chest, the Remorhaz lifts its head up high. While Ademar puts up a valiant struggle, he could do nothing to stop the beast from swallowing him whole. With one large gulp, the Remorhaz took the elf down where he died in the belly of the beast.

Back in the frost giant’s lair, the rest of the group is looking over their spoils and looking to take a rest. Gareth, stripping down his armor laid out a bedroll. Raell, determined to make Black Rhett sick, was cutting the head off the frost giant who was stealing the ale shipments. Cor’Nal, looking around the room, asked where Ademar was. When Gareth asked why he only said, I thought I heard something. While this behavior was normal for Ademar, Cor’Nal did not relax and wished to go find the missing elf. While Gareth protested having to put his armor back on, the group went to check for the missing elf. With Gareth leading the way, the group went to looking for Ademar.

The group headed down the only opening they had not explored. When the group came to the new cave, outside of dead ogres, the group saw nothing but a ridge where the floor sloped down out of sight. Leuthar, hears something ‘big’ that madkes him uncomfortable and the group decides to fall back so the casters can rest. Returning to the room with the decapitated frost giant, the group takes a rest. The night passes without incident and the group gets up to find out the fate of Ademar. Cor’Nal returns to the rope bridge and uses his stone shape power to create a bridge over the chasm so he may once again summon his wolf companion who could not cross the rope bridge. Once that was completed, the group returned to the cave where they believed Ademar was last know to be.

After Cor’Nal casts various spells on the party members, the group followed Gareth into the room. Using a club they found in the frost giant room, Gareth threw it over the ridge to see if they could draw out anything that might be on the other side. When the club landed, it landed on the beast below, making the Remorhaz rear up and show itself. Not wanting to waste any time Gareth charges at the beast while Cor’Nal and Leuthar launch magical attacks. The Remorhaz slithers forward and bites at the charging Gareth. While the fighter is hurt, he manages to avoid being trapped in the creature’s maw. Lashing out at the creature Gareth notices that his blade got hot when it came in contact with the creature. After taking a magical blast from Cor’Nal, the creature once again turned to Gareth. Biting deep into his chest, Gareth is now trapped in the jaws of the Remorhaz. Leuthar, using a scorching ray damaged the creature but it was still trying to eat Gareth. It was then that Raell killed the creature with an arrow to its face. Gareth was then released from the creature’s jaws as it collapsed back down into the ravine from which it came.

Wanting to find some sign of their missing Ademar, Cor’Nal approached the dead creature’s body but found it was putting out a tremendous amount of heat. So much so that Cor’Nal and Raell were burned. After a bit of healing was given to Gareth and Raell, Cor’Nal went in search of the stolen shipment of ale. Finding one full cask, Cor’Nal rolled it back into the room with the dead, hot, Remorhaz. Smashing the cask into the creature cooled it off enough so Raell could cut the beast open. With the belly of the beast wide open, the first thing to fall out was half of a large skeleton. Assuming it was an ogre, the ranger and druid continued with their grim task. Next they were able to find a smaller whole skeleton of what seemed to be an elf. As Est'Perolyne was also in the belly of the beast, the companions knew they had found their friend Ademar.

There was a large pile of gems with the body, Cor’Nal took the body of his friend and the pile of gems and stuffed them in a large sack with Est'Perolyne. Cor’Nal explained that he had a way to bring the elf back to life. While Cor’Nal collected all that remained of Ademar’s remains, Raell started to cut out a large patch of the creature’s skin. Hoping that when Ademar did return, Raell would have armor made of the creature’s skin for him. With that task completed, the group collected their loot and started to leave the cave. All the while, Leuthar remained silent in his discomfort. Believing that he had taken ill while sleeping, Leuthar asked if they could rest before leaving the caves. With the exit in sight, the group decided to rest in the rust monster cave yet again. The night passes without incident yet Leuthar is even worse when he awakes in the morning. Cor’Nal attempts to cure the Halfling's illness but it has no affect.

Unsure of what is causing the illness, Leuthar took a broach off that he had found a few days prior and tossed it at the druid. Assuming this is what caused his problem, he told the druid to take the beetle shaped item. Cor’Nal thinking nothing of it just dropped it in a bag with other items the group had found along the way. As the group started to leave the cave, Cor’Nal announced that he was leaving on his own and that his companion Besali would follow the orders of Leuthar until he returned. Cor’Nal then changed shape into a Dire Hawk and flew away to a mine near Snoam-Schlabach. Raell turning to Gareth told him that he was now a free man. He invited him to return to Henutsen with the group or he was free to go as he pleased. Gareth, deciding to press his luck said he would stay with the group.

Gareth, Leuthar and Raell with Besali in tow set out for Henutsen. Driving the wagon the group had brought with them. When the group first sets out, they have a solid canopy of trees over head, as they get closer to the main trail the cover lessens and they notice a strange shape circling over head. As they stop to look, it is plain to see it is the white dragon high over head. Leuthar looks to Raell and suggest they find a forest trail to follow back to Henutsen. After some discussion, they decide to leave the empty wagon behind and just ride the horses. The group sticks to the edge of the forest as best they can to avoid catching the eye of the dragon. In the process, the trails they take make the trip back twice as long as it needed to be. In the end it all turned out to be for naught. As the group comes to a clearing they see the white dragon soaring over the trees towards them. Madly kicking their mounts, the group dashes for the nearest tree line hoping to avoid the giant beast and its frosty breath before it is too late.

As the group crashes into the tree line, the dragon is coming in for a landing. Massive gusts of wind slam into the trees as the dragon’s wings beat the air. Now deep into the trees, the group cannot see their mounts or the dragon. Yet they know it is out there, somewhere.

Elsewhere Cor’Nal flies to The Olde Snoam Mine. Still in the form of a bird the druid hops into the mine. Cor’Nal then finds a small room where he can work. After changing back into his elven form, Cor’Nal lays out the remains of Ademar, saying a prayer over them to Kutenai. After this was completed, he uses a rod of resurrection on the remains of the elf. A great light fills the room and fills the druid with a profound amount of joy and peace. As the light clears the room, the body of Ademar fully formed again and alive. Ademar, naked as the day he was born looks around in confusion. Unsure of where he is. When he sees his druid friend, he questions where they are. As soon as the druid sees his friend he casts a spell on him to help him resist the bitter cold of the mine. After which he gave the elf a spare set of clothes. After being told where he was and how he was brought back to life, Ademar had one question.

“Where is all my gold?”

Cor’Nal returned the few items that survived being eaten. It was then that Cor’Nal asked his friend for one thing. That Ademar was not to venture off on his own anymore and that they needed to work as a team from then on. Still having the bitter taste of death in his mouth, the thief was quick to agree. Then the druid extended his hand to the thief, expressing his joy at seeing Ademar returned to life. What started as a simple hand shake, ended in a gentle embrace between two kindred spirits. Once the two parted, Cor’Nal put a question to Ademar. Asking him if he wanted to continue on with the druid or if he wanted to go off on his own. “I can take you anywhere you want to go!” the druid told him. While Ademar pondered the question, he got himself dressed. In the end, Ademar could not give up on the druid and agreed to continue on with the group. As the pair started to leave the cave, Ademar picked up the expended rod of resurrection and tucked it into his pants.

Farther away, the trio of Gareth, Leuthar and Raell huddle in the tree line, still looking out for the white dragon. While Raell is trying to get the group to move on, Gareth refuses to leave without his items. Pointing out that all he took with him into the tree line was his weapon. Everything else he owned was in his bag on the back of a horse. Raell feeling bad agrees to try to find his mount. Moving slowly, the pair looks and listens for the dragon. They cannot see or hear anything yet, as they look around the clearing they can only see one horse of the three they were riding. Gareth went back into the tree line then to retrieve Leuthar who had buried himself in a pile of snow with Besali. Gareth kicked at the snow pile hoping to draw the halfling out, yet he refused to move or even speak. Raell, growing tired of being out in the open starts yelling at the halfling, telling him that if he doesn’t get moving, he will climb in the snow pile and pull him out. While he is reluctant, he agrees to go with them. Sticking to the edge of the tree line, the group makes its way towards the lone horse they can still see.

As luck would have it, the horse they could see was the one that carried Gareth’s gear. Raell let out a whistle and the animal came over to the group. Gareth mounts up on the horse while Raell runs alongside of them. Leuthar however decides that he will just ride on Cor’Nal’s companion Besali. While the wolf doesn’t seem to care for the halfling, he allows him to ride on his back. While the group continues to head back to town, they keep a sharp eye out for the dragon. Thankful that they do not see it, the group finds its way back to the town of Henutsen. Just outside of the city gates Raell turns to Gareth and warns him about the town. Stating that the town is filled with the worst of humanity and that he should be careful as to what he talks about. After a quick stop at the Tread Light Inn, Raell and Gareth head to the other side of town to see Black Rhett at the Longest Mile. Just before leaving the halfling behind, Gareth asked Leuthar if he was feeling well. The halfling had grown pale and was looking worse than at any time before.

As Gareth and Raell left the halfling behind, Raell suggested that he see a cleric.

Elsewhere, Cor’Nal and Ademar exit the mine where the thief was brought back to life. Looking at the vast amounts of snow, Ademar continued to lament the loss of his magical boots. He then questioned how the druid was going to get him back to Henutsen. Using a length of hemp rope, the druid tied a loop and put it around Ademar. It was then that he transformed into a dire bat and flew away clutching the rope, taking Ademar with him. Flying back the same way he came, Cor’Nal saw a pair of horses in a clearing near the road to Henutsen. It was then that they saw the wagon that had been left behind. While he saw no signs of his companions, he thought it best to land, gather the horses and salvage what they could from the wagon. With a giant sack of goods, Ademar mounts one of the horses while Cor’Nal flies over head. While the pair were making good time, still ten miles away from Henutsen they are ambushed by a trio of Gricks. The creatures lash out with tentacles at Ademar, drawing fresh blood. In a panic, Ademar lets go of the one horse he was leading and tried to flee. Cor’Nal in a rage blasted the trio of beast with a flame strike, killing them all. As the flames from his spell fade, there is nothing left of the creatures but ash and bone. So great was the gout of flame, it also killed the horse Ademar left behind when attacked. With Ademar unwilling to slow his pace anymore after the attack, the pair was able to make it back to Henutsen without any more problems. After getting back to the Tread Light Inn, Cor’Nal and Ademar return to their rooms to rest for the night. Not knowing that Leuthar was just down the hall from them, putting study time into a book of necromancy.

On the other side of town, Raell and Gareth walk into The Longest Mile. Seeing Flanders behind the bar, Raell asked if Black Rhett was in. When he said he was, Raell then told Flanders that Gareth would need a room for the night. The ranger offered to pay for his room and anything else he wanted. Anything he wanted at all. Gareth thanked the ranger and went about seeing what The Longest Mile had to offer. After a bit of posturing by Flanders, Raell was escorted in to see Black Rhett. On this evening, Rhett was not alone. He was in the company of two of his employees, Marcus Two Blades and Keelhaul Thom. Pulling a bloody sack from his shoulder, Raell held it up for Black Rhett to see. Raell watched with a grim bit of pleasure as his eyes got larger in his fat head. “Please do not do what you did before.” He asked the ranger.

Raell smiled as he set the bloody sack on the floor and explained to him who had stolen all of the missing ale shipments. When Raell told him of the giant, he seemed to question him. Raell, happy to show Black Rhett the proof, opened the bag on the floor and pulled out the frost giant head. Rhett looked at Thom and asked him to look at the contents of the bag. Thom sticks his hand deep into the bag of ears and eyeballs and starts looking over the contents. Rhett seemed satisfied with that and discussed payment, trying to low-ball the ranger. Raell reminded him what the agreed upon payment was and waited. While the coin was counted out by Marcus, Rhett offered Raell the use of the ‘finest whore’ in the house on him. Raell wanting to continue on the MacBrady line agreed.

Back at the Tread Light, Leuthar hears a knock at his door while trying to study his book of necromancy. Digger Menthic yells at him through the door, asking to see him. Leuthar invites him in when Digger tells him they have another job offer for him and when he is ready to head down stairs. Leuthar thinks about it for a moment, prepares his spells for the day and heads down to the meeting with Kayzen. Once face to face with Kayzen, the halfling is warned that a wand was found near the body of Deacon Jones, which was the last job Leuthar did for the Black Glove XIII. They told him that the Baron’s men had the wand and were looking into the murder. Leuthar assured Kayzen that he wouldn’t have been so sloppy as to leave behind anything like that. Kayzen then offered Leuthar another job, the murder of Will Wilson, also known as Cam Crowley. Kayzen told Leuthar of all the murders this man had committed and said they could not abide by his type any longer. After he was told some basic facts, Leuthar only wanted to know how much the job paid. Kayzen then told him how much and that if he did the job well, there may be a spot in the Black Glove XIII for him.

After Cor’Nal deposits Ademar in his room, he leaves the inn behind and goes off in search of a still body of water in the forest. Once he finds that he takes out a coin he took from the dragon horde and cast a scrying spell to spy on the dragon. After more than an hour, he fails in his attempt to scry the dragon. Cursing at his failure, Cor’Nal returns to the Tread Light Inn to rest for the remainder of the night.

After dark, Leuthar not wanting to waste any time on his new assignment heads to the other side of town. First he secures himself a room at the Longest Mile. From there he goes to look for the house of Will Wilson. After looking around the house he decides that the best way to enter the house is through the upper floor window. Using a potion of levitation he scales his way up the side of the house. Looking in the first window he comes to, he sees an older man, about to turn in for the night. After inspecting the rest of the house he comes back to the bedroom window and forces the lock open. Knowing he could open the window, Leuthar changes his shape to that of a troglodyte. With that completed, he opens the window and floats inside. Wilson, feeling the chilly draft sits up demanding to know who was there. Leuthar pulls out a weapon and launches himself forward to attack the defenseless man in his night clothes.

While he took a nasty hit, Wilson was able to roll off the bed and grab one of his nearby weapons. In the end it did him no good. When the fighting was done, Wilson was dead along with two of his personal guard. One was half hanging out of a now broken window; the other was dead in a heap at the bottom of the stairs. The upper floors of the home were bathed in the blood of Wilson and his men. Leaving nothing behind but the tracks of a troglodyte on the blood splattered floors the halfling searched the house after he pulled the guard back in the window. Leuthar took his time searching first the bedroom of Wilson and then the rest of the house. He first found a large stash of coins in a chest in the bedroom and a memoir of Wilson’s life. Leuthar, flipping through the book, turned to the last pages that were written. In it Wilson commiserates about himself and his one sided relationship to the Baron. Leuthar tosses the book aside and takes a set of fine clothes that were also in the chest. In another room Leuthar finds a statue of Geedes, along with various other items and religious books on the god. Leuthar looking about the room was stricken with a moment of inspiration. Using the body and blood of Will Wilson, Leuthar desecrates the statue of Geedes. Finding little else of value in the home Leuthar looks to leave the house, only to notice one of the town guards outside.

Rushing up the stairs Leuthar watched the guard outside of the house while trying to plot his escape. Unknown to him, the guard that had crashed through the window, bled down the side of the house. While the sight of the broken window drew the guard’s attention, the sight of blood made him reach for a whistle. Soon the night air was filled with the piercing sound of the guard’s whistle. Leuthar looked out the other windows of the upper floor saw no easy way to escape without being seen. Reaching into his bag of scrolls, Leuthar looked for help in the form of magic. Momentarily lamenting the loss of the scroll, Leuthar summoned an Unseen Servant. First sending the invisible creature out the window, Leuthar willed it to go around the house and make noise to distract the guard. While the guard went to look for the source of the noise, he did not stop blowing the whistle. Leuthar then had the Unseen Servant attack the guard, making him retreat to the road and then down the road in a panic. As soon as the guard was gone, Leuthar jumped out the window. While he hurt himself jumping out of the second floor window, he was able to limp away. Having to avoid the arrival of more guards along the way, the halfling was able to make it back to his room at the Longest Mile.

First thing the following morning, Raell told the whore he was with the night before that if she was with child, he would pay her two hundred gold pieces to keep the baby. Raell then went about the task of replacing his armor that was eaten by the Rust Monsters. From there he went to find a tannery to have Masterwork Studded Leather armor made from the skin of the Remorhaz for Ademar. Along the way to Tread Light, Raell finds Ademar in the street on his way to the blacksmith’s shop. The two traveled together to the shop, Ademar was checking on the status of two blades he had commissioned. At long last, the weapons Ademar had made were completed. Two beautiful gleaming blades, crafted by a master smith. The two then went together to resupply their depleted quivers. Once their shopping was completed Raell went to see Cor’Nal. He told him that he was going to spend the rest of the day in the wild to replace his lost animal companion. The two agreed to meet the following day to discuss the location of Farkas Windsow. Once the ranger was gone, the druid changed himself into a bird and once again set off to find the white dragon.

Back at The Longest Mile, Leuthar comes down from his night of rest into the common room. He sees Gareth having breakfast. He also sees a pair of the town guards speaking with Flanders behind the bar. While he attempted to scoot out of the inn without being noticed, Gareth spotted the halfling and invited him to have breakfast with him. Leuthar agreed to stay only after making sure the human warrior would foot the bill. Once the town guards left the inn, Gareth called over Flanders to order the halfling a meal. While the two ate, Gareth questioned Leuthar about the group, trying to find if they were trustworthy. Wondering if he really had a future with the group and where they were going next. Leuthar did his best to assure the human that they were traveling with good people but did not know where they were going next. Once the meal was completed, Leuthar left the Longest Mile and returned to the Tread Light Inn.

Far from the city, Cor’Nal is still flying about, searching for the dragon. North West of the city he sees a commotion in the trees, as he flies closer he can hear something pounding its way through the forest. As he darts down under the canopy of trees, he finds the source of the noise. A large white yeti is making its way through the forest. The druid stares ahead in shock, knowing this was the same creature he had seen before. Determined to know more about the creature, he begins to follow it. The druid watched as it stalked through the forest and into a clearing where it found a herd of deer. The druid did nothing but watch as it killed a deer and ate it. For more than an hour the druid followed the yeti until it came to its nest on the side of a hill. Taking a look around, taking a note of his location the druid took flight once again, in search of the white dragon. He continued to search for the rest of the day, without a single sighting of the great white beast.

Back in Henutsen, Leuthar returns to the Tread Light Inn. While he sees one of the Black Glove XII members behind the bar, he only returns to his room to work on creating scrolls. As he works, he can’t help but notice, he is feeling worse than the day before. Whatever illness he is afflicted with seems to be getting stronger. At the end of his rope, the halfling goes in search of someone to help him. Unsure of where to go and unwilling to pay the bridge tax again, Leuthar goes to the temple of Geedes. While they let the halfling in, he is told that he came at a bad time but they will do what they can for him for a price of one hundred and fifty gold. Leuthar claims to not have that much money and leaves the temple. In the end he had to pay the bridge tax while on his way to the temple of Myrrdin. While at the temple of Myrrdin, Leuthar discusses what he is feeling with one of the priest. As Leuthar told him that he may be cursed, he was told he would find no help in the temple and that he needed to seek out a sage. With nowhere else to turn, the halfling goes to see Gaen Baliol. After some small talk, Leuthar tells Gaen that he believes that he is cursed.

Gaen tells Leuthar that he should go to the temple of Geedes. As Deacon Jones was quiet skilled in dealing with such problems (Hmm, a bit of karma? -E). Leuthar tells Gaen that it could be caused by an item that he has. The sage, desperate to see all that Leuthar has in his bag of tricks, tells him to lay out everything he has. After looking over the items Gaen picks up a bag of dust that Leuthar found in the dragon’s horde. After casting a spell on the bag he tells Leuthar that it is called dust of appearance. It is used for making the invisible, visible. It was also the cursed item that was causing his illness. He then offered to dispose of the dust for the halfling. Leuthar left Gaen’s shop, lighter in the coin pouch but free of the curse. Much the same way Cor’Nal did later that day when he had a few items identified by the old mage.

Mid afternoon Raell returned to Henutsen with his new companion Xander. A great eagle that lived in the peaks around the mountain city. Once he entered the gates, he went to the Tread Light Inn to find Cor’Nal, Ademar and Leuthar. The four companions went together to the pool of water in the forest where Cor’Nal cast the scry spell before. Only this time, they were looking for something else. Using the toenail clippings Cor’Nal recovered days before he cast his spell to find Farkas Windsow. As the image began to form, the druid described what he could see. The image of the dwarf first appeared, he was sitting on a bed in a large room. As Cor’Nal shifted his focus around the room and then out they could tell where the dwarf slaver was. In the guest room of the Baron's palace.

(This is the end of the recorded session. I will let the DM and Cor’Nal write about the solo dragon fight.)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Derek Steadyfingers

Derek Steadyfingers (born Dereque Kel’Nestessir) held the last of the highwaymen who attempted to accost him by his shirt collar with the fist of his left hand. He lifted the beaten, bleeding man from the dirt of the dusty road just enough so that his back no longer touched the ground. The man remained motionless as Derek stood, straddling his torso, though he was clearly still alive. His eyes lolled in his head like marbles in a child’s palm. The broken flesh of his lips told the tale of the encounter they had with Derek’s right fist. A tale that was not yet finished being told. 

Thunk! The sound of Derek’s right fist upon the highwayman’s mouth again. His head snapped back for a moment before returning to its original position. More blood upon his lips to wet the crust that had dried there in the moments leading to this latest blow.

“Who sent you?” Derek screamed. Uncontrollable anger was not usually part of Derek Steadyfinger’s emotional repertoire but the elf was finding it extremely difficult after this most recent attack. He knew he was being followed, sensed it days ago, but could not understand who or why at this time. He was a rogue after all, it could be anybody, but Derek was the most careful of his kind, and in over a hundred and fifty years, had never been captured or arrested. Barely a housemaiden had been awakened from slumber during his tenure as a common house-burglar and since he had gotten himself in the jewel trade, well, let’s just say perfect might seem like hubris, but what of hubris if such brash sensibilities about oneself turned out to be true?

Yes, Derek would consider himself the perfect thief, if he considered himself a thief at all. Instead, Derek liked the word rogue and considered himself a freelance procurer of all things shiny and pretty. Offering those things procured back at a considerable markdown from their original prices, and oftentimes even to their original owner. Derek wasn’t particular about such things, and always liked to see a happy customer after all.

“Piss… off…” Was the whispered, blood mist response from the road agent.

“Wrong answer.” Another punch from Derek’s calloused right fist. The highwayman’s lower lip split almost completely to the upper part of his beard. More blood, far more than before and the eye lolling had gotten worse as well. Derek didn’t have much time.

“Now, I’m going to ask you again, and if you don’t tell me what I want to hear I’m going to have to punch you again.” His voice was calmer, more reasonable than before. More, Derek.

The raider closed his eyes slowly; the lids were as horizontal stage curtains at the close of a romantic tragedy. He wasn’t going to live much longer.

Derek reached for one of the arrows he had fired into the highwayman’s thigh, an admittedly errant shot that should have been fatal, and would have been, had Derek not been outnumbered and been forced to fire so quickly and so often. He twisted the arrow as he grasped it. The effect it had was exactly as desired as the highwayman’s eyes snapped back open, a quick scream emanated from his bleeding mouth and he inhaled sharply, presumably to scream again but Derek muffled whatever would have come next with an open palm.

“Shh, tell me friend… and I will ease your suffering.” His voice was gentle, a soft whisper on the summer breeze.

The road agent’s breath slowed, became raspy as death approached. His eyes remained open through some miracle, the color had run completely from his lips and sweating face as more blood drained from the wounds he had received. Wishing the pain to end, he opened his mouth to speak.

“Drahg… drago…” His whisper was barely audible though Derek’s face was only inches away.

“Dragons?” Derek shook the dying man at his collar. “What of ‘dragons’? I know of no dragons! I’ve never been within miles of one that I know of.”

The man’s eyes began to close again, the death-sleep had begun to overtake him, he would be dead in moments.

“No, no! Not yet.” Derek shook him again and reached for the arrow shaft once more, though he thought it would do little good this time. As if the highwayman could sense the motion and direction of Steadyfinger’s hand his eyes snapped open once more before Derek’s hand made contact. The elf stayed his palm just short of contact and leaned closer for what he expected to be the man’s last words.

“Drahgov… Drahgov… vin.” The word must have been a name, or perhaps it was nonsense. Either way Derek Steadyfinger’s, an elf nearly two-hundred and twenty five years old, had never heard it before.

“Drahguvvin.” Softly, Derek repeated the word to himself.

The man’s chest rattled and he coughed a spot of dark-red blood that spilled over the corners of his mouth and further stained his road-filthy shirt, a portion of it pooled in the split of his lip that Steadyfinger’s fist had made. He wheezed again as his chest rattled for the last time. His body become limp, moreso than before to Derek’s amazement. When the wheeze stopped, Derek let go of the highwayman’s collar nonchalantly and his torso fell to the ground, his neck whipped back as his lifeless skull cracked heavily upon the gravel road.

The elf stood, believing himself no closer to realizing who wanted him dead than before. He set about reclaiming what he could from the wreckage of battle; his rapier, his longbow, a dagger and any spent arrows that could possibly be loosed again. Once he had gathered all of his own belongings he dared enough time to loot the corpses of the dead, four in all, for any clue to what had brought on this disorganized ambush. He found nothing of a clue, but the 37 pieces of gold and near one hundred silver pieces he did find seemed a pittance for the work he’d done here today. He checked the saddlebags of the horses they had rode in on, pilfered what food he found agreeable as well as their waterskins and, after seriously considering taking the horses and selling them in Goodale, the small city that this road he was traveling on led to, he opted for speed instead and besides; why risk adding Horse Thievery to the list of things that could be attributed the elf if one were ever fortunate enough to take him into custody?

Instead he slapped the three surviving horses each on their rears and sent them in opposite directions, hoping to confuse any who still followed him. He then dragged the corpses of his attackers to the side of the road, propped all four dead men against the underside of the dead horse who lay there along its left flank. As he stood back to admire his work, Steadyfingers found that they comically resembled drunken companions awaiting a chartered wagon. Derek expected whoever hired these sloppy highwaymen to come through this area soon enough and he hoped the discovery of this display would have one of two desired effects: It would either discourage this “Drahguvvin” from pursuing him further or it would convince him to employ higher caliber, better equipped agents. Derek hoped for the former, but the latter would provide him with better equipment to loot, as well as more coin to take from their corpses once he bested them.

Derek always tried to find the silver lining in every cloud.

Once finished with admiring his handiwork the young elf took to the saddle of his own horse, a four year old reddish-brown stallion he called Lightpurse. He gave the steed a gentle urging with his spurs and slapped the reigns as he spoke in elven, directing the horse back toward the South. Dust swirled up behind mount and rider as they trailed away from the mess that Derek left behind; a mess that would intrigue more than anger the man responsible for the attack. As intriguing as he found Steadyfingers’ methods in dispatching his hired men, or the bravado in which he displayed their corpses once dispatched, he would do neither of the things Derek had expected. Instead he would continue as planned. He would have Faramin, his Goodale puppet, make certain to select the elf when choosing the next raiding party just as he had arranged all the others to be selected to this point. If the road agents couldn’t kill him, then Raylock the mage would.

Raylock had been wildly successful up to this point and the mage was turning out to be more efficient than he’d ever expected, lasting much longer and ending the careers of far more ”heroes” than he ever expected his gold to pay for. Yes, if Raylock was expected to live much longer, Dragoven might find a place for him in his new kingdom. But alas, he was not, so he would not.

Lightpurse made the distance between the site of Derek’s ambush and the town of Goodale with little discernible effort. He negotiated the rolling hills and Once again, Derek found reason to be proud of his companion and even prouder of himself for having the good sense to procure him when he did. He saw potential in the steed at the time, despite having little actual equine experience or knowledge, and leapt at the chance to take him when the opportunity presented itself.

Coming into town, a smallish, though busy village of mostly human population, Derek inhaled the robust aroma of the malted hops and barley for which the town of Goodale was famous for. Unlike many elves, Derek enjoyed the odd pint of stout here and there and looked forward to enjoying one before the business at hand was to begin. Unfortunately, that pint wouldn’t be had today as Faramin’s lineup, for which he was expected at Highsun, would be taking place only moments from now and Derek needed to find a place to hitch Lightpurse. He grimaced as he dismounted, looking to the sky before leading his mount to a fairly clean-looking stable. The clouds were growing thicker and darker, and Derek thanked Sanastarus, a deity whom he usually had little to say to these last hundred and fifty years, for holding off on the coming storm until now. Not wanting to believe that the bandits he overcame just hours ago would have had any more success under the cover of cloud and rain, but grateful not to have had to find out, regardless.

After hitching Lightpurse at the stable, the name of which was already escaping him, he set out to the town square six silver pieces lighter, an expensive sum even for a large city. Derek made a mental note to visit the stablebuck later in order to recoup his lost coin, but now wasn’t the time to risk being caught.

“Not that I’ve anything to fear in that regard.” Derek, smiling, whispered to himself.

Moving deftly through the bustling streets Derek saw the town square, an ornate, heavily flowered area, several hundred feet ahead of him. He eyed who he believed to be Lord Faramin, a man of average stature with short brown hair graying at the ears flanked by two uniformed guards. Near them, a young brightly silver-haired elf stood in front of a dozen or so armored warriors, mostly human. A second, red-haired elf stood a step and a half behind him, occasionally offering counsel, his arms folded across his narrow chest as he leaned in to whisper his advice or observations.

I’m late. Derek thought to himself as he absently put a finger to his split lower lip. Though I do have a good excuse if they decide to inquire.

He frowned at this though internally he was grateful that an elf (or pair of elves) seemingly held some sway in choosing the next group to deal with Faramin’s great matter. Breaking through the line of onlookers now Derek moved to join the lineup, he looked up in time to see a red-headed dwarf, one who apparently already dipped into a fair share of ale this morning, waddle his way to the opposite end of the line that he was about to bookend.

No way that one gets picked. Derek Steadyfingers thought to himself. The silver-haired elf glanced at the dwarf and frowned noticeably in response to his tardiness and apparent lack of sobriety. He seemed not to notice Derek, or if he did, didn’t seem to care. This was a double-standard that Steadyfingers could certainly support and, not surprisingly, he felt no sympathy for the dwarf.

The silver-haired elf opened his mouth to speak.

It was then that the rain came.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Cor'Nals journal

As I sit in my room awaiting the events that are about to unfold I wonder if this is truly the path that Kutenai has in store for me. My path has lead me into the wilds on plenty occasions but more and more time seems to be in the civilized areas. I miss the ground under my back while I lay on the ground to look upon the sky or the smell of the air while the rain is beating down upon me. I grow wearier by the day of these places and wish to stretch my legs and run in the wild once again beside Basali. And poor Basali he has been my faithful companion for some time now and always answered my call no matter what type of threat there was but does he not deserve better? I have not watched him and listen to what it is that he is wanting. Would he like to be set free down south around Goodale where we had met so he might live the remainder of his life in the peace of the forest and possibly find a mate? Or does he truly wish to stay by my side and continue to adventure and fight my enemies? I believe that he will continue to fight with me until the end of his days if I ask him to but I do not wish to keep a most loyal creature such as him from truly living a free life. After we deal with the Baron I am going to head to the forest and watch and listen to Basali to see if he wishes to continue on the path with me or return to the area in which he became my friend.
But what will I do without the one creature that has been with me through so much and put his own life before my own on more than one occasion? Perhaps Kutenai will guide my thoughts to another of his creatures that will wish to become my friend and ally once more. Maybe he will bestow a great blessing upon me and allow me to befriend the great yeti that I had went and seen just a few days past? A creature such as that would be a great honor indeed and to think of the great things that we could achieve if we were together. I will have to pray very hard to the great Kutenai indeed in order to receive a blessing such as that then we might be able to rival even some of the greatest blights that cause nature harm. Whatever the gods decide I will continue to be grateful for and continue on my quest for greatness.

I am unsure of the new companions that myself and Adamar have allowed to join with us. Raell even though he seems to have some sort of connection with the wild seems a better fit for a Kingdom than the forest but he has been there when things were tough. Gareth seems like a noble person that had just received a run of bad luck when we found him. Since then I have spoke with him on several occasions and he seems very trustworthy and good willed. Luether on the other hand I feel is as evil as they come. I have been putting together the deaths that have occurred around the town and now he is in league with the Black Glove XIII who is supposed to be a guild that is trying to help the town but I’m afraid to think that they are just as evil as the rest. I can’t wait to leave this place even though they say that the people are here to make a new start for themselves I really have my doubts.
One question that keeps bothering me is what will Adamar do if we dispose of the baron? Will he continue on with me and allow me to aid him in the search for the person that did him such harm and when we find him will we bring him to answer for his crimes or is Adamar going to be the judging hand for him? I believe that the turmoil for him is great but what does that say for after he has been found and brought to justice? Will he continue to stand by our sides into battle or will he return to the great forest that we hail from? I hope that he continues with us because I think that he will be an even greater asset once his mind is free of this burden.