Oliver D. Bernuetz's Campaign Chronicles
Chronicles of the North - Part 2
6) Fire Season 1618 (What do we have to
do to get out of this burg?)(July 4th, 1998)
Surprise Appearances by: Peracles (Journeyman Rokari sorceror from Heortland)(Jeff N.), Hooman (Pentan warrior)(Darryl A.)
After the fight at the temple was over the party healed themselves up. (This involved Svart and Durnfal invoking divine magic to heal their Sun Spear wounds. Yemalio himself must have intervened to spare Durnfal excess damage as he should have been slain by the two Sun Spears he was hit by). They were prepared to leave right away but Sylvanthi Brighteyes couldn't leave that day so the party agreed to spend one more night and depart the following morning. They spent the night at the inn, avoiding the locals. Bright and early the next morning Sylvanthi and his three initiates showed up and the group prepared to depart. As they were heading to the main gate (Svart having dung thrown at him by children along the way) they heard screams and sounds of general carnage coming from the area of the pig pens. When they reached the pens they discovered that one of the pens had been smashed and a boar had escaped, apparently killing two men in the process. Sylvanthi directed his initiates to start making some order from the chaos and the party wondered if it had been the Red Boar that had escaped but before they could determine that fact the escaping boar attacked them! Durnfal was the first person attacked but the rest of the party and Sylvanthi quickly got involved. They quickly discovered that the boar was resistant to their weapons and had a fairly thick skin. As they were battling the boar two men (a Pentan and a sorceror) on horseback rode up. (Some party members immediately divvied up the Pentan's possession as he had a composite bow and a horse! After the battle the sorceror gave his self bow to Gerhardt). The sorceror seemed to be in charge and instructed the Pentan to move closer. He then greeted the party and the Pentan lowered his lance and charged the boar doing some damage to it. The boar turned to run taking Sylvanthi's short spear with it. The Pentan pursued the boar a ways but the sorceror ordered him to stop. The boar hadn't managed to hurt anyone.
Sylvanthi wanted to immediately form a party in order to track the
boar down so it wouldn't kill anyone in its wounded state. Durnfal and Svart were against
joining in but Hallelujah saw it as her duty to track the boar down to prevent it hurting
any innocent women and children. She started tracking the boar and the rest of the party,
the four Dykeneans and the Pentan and the sorceror joined in. Peracles the sorceror
renewed his acquaintance with the group and gave them a brief recounting of his activities
since he'd last seen them. As they tracked the boar they noticed that the trail of blood
was diminishing. They wondered whether it was because the boar was running out of blood or
regenerating. The boar quickly answered that question by charging at them from behind some
bushes. It charged at the Pentan's horse but missed its first attack. The party surrounded
it again and began to attack it. The horse wanted to back away from the boar but the
Pentan kept it in place with a Riding roll. The horse wasn't so lucky with the boar's
second blow and had its chest ripped open. The sorceror fell off while the Pentan managed
to land on his feet. Hallelujah chopped one of the boar's back legs off and others managed
to wound it as well. The boar gored the horse again and Burning Willow and the Yemalio
initiates tried to hit the boar with javelins. Unfortunately all they succeeded in doing
was killing the horse as all four of the javelins they threw struck the horse instead.
This really angered the Pentan who had been trying to heal his horse and he started
demanding recompense. (He even tried calling on East King Wind to bring his horse back to
life. This attempt failed). Burning Willow refused any claims of recompense as she didn't
recognize his claims of ownership. The boar was killed and the group waited to see whether
it would begin regenerating again. It did not. Tamerlan and Greystone butchered the beast
and Sylvanthi wanted to return the meat, skin and tusks to Dykene. Durnfal didn't want to
do this but the rest of party agreed to do so he was forced to go along. When they reached
Dykene they discovered King Skilfil and the major priests, priestesses and shamans of
Dykene surveying the damage the boar had done. The group were hailed with a cheer when
they saw the boar's head decorating the top of Hooman's lance. Skilfil gifted them with
the boar's hide and tusks as a reward for slaying the beast and as recompense for Hooman's
slain horse. Peracles asked how they could get the hides turned into armour and Burning
Willow told him she could tan the hide. When asked how long this would take she said four
or five days. The party entered the citadel to make inquiries about getting the hides
tanned or about how they could exchange their leather for some finished leather. The
tanners didn't understand the concept of trading some of the king's leather for these
outlander's leather so that went nowhere fast. Peracles also asked whether they'd trade
for some metal weapons but the locals had too much metal of their own to agree to this.
Then they asked some of the outlanders who live in Dykene whether they'd be willing to
take the leather off their hands or not. Eagle Eye G'jorni wouldn't do it but Ostakkar
Three Scar agreed to for 200 pennies and 500 pennies worth of furs. The party agreed to
this and gave the Pentan all 200 of the pennies.
The party then proceeded to the gate intending to leave but were turned back when they discovered that the guardsman found in the escaped boar's pen had been murdered and that King Skilfil had ordered that no one leave (especially foreigners, the only people capable of such a heinous act as stabbing someone in the back). They headed to the citadel for an audience with Skilfil and discovered him in chamber with the priests, priestesses and shamans examining the bodies. Skilfil told them that the guardsman, an outlander had been slain and his body dumped in the pig pen the previous night. They were told the guardsman was a Lunar named Rufus from Raibanth. Some sort of bladed weapon had slain or badly wounded him before he was dumped into the pen. The boar had either finished him off or had gored him badly enough to obscure any evidence. Hallelujah started talking to the party in Sunspeech so the Balazarings wouldn't understand and immediately speculated that he had been slain either at the hands of or at the instigation of Praxenia, the king's concubine which she suspected of being a Lunar spy. (She had suspected her of being a spy ever since Greystone had told her about the lost pigeon incident. She was familiar with the concept of carrier pigeons whereas Greystone was not. She also felt that they needed to get moving quickly as the Lunars undoubtedly knew of their presence in Dykene due to Praxenia's pigeons. Hallelujah theorized that Rufus had threatened to expose Praxenia or was a rival spy. The party also theorized that someone had realized that the boars became enraged when they drank human blood and had thrown Rufus' body in there on purpose to do just that). The party was told that the head priestess of Grandmother Earth would be attempting to contact Rufus' spirit that evening. Hallelujah, Peracles, Svart, Hooman and Greystone searched Rufus' quarters which were pretty much empty except for a book of New Pelorian pornography. They gave the book to Eagle Eye G'jorni to see if the text contained any modifications. (Peracles remained behind to try and use his Project Vision spell to find evidence in the palace. Hooman remained behind to guard him). Meanwhile Gerhardt and Tamerlan hung around the palace to try and keep an eye on Praxenia. The group discovered that Rufus had not been on duty that night and that his closest friend was one Cletus, another Lunar outlander who was presently on guard duty. Durnfal, Svart and Hallelujah went to question him and discovered he was a complete jerk who tried to hit on Lou, (Lou offered to hit back and he retracted his advance). Cletus told them that he and Rufus had gambled with the other guardsmen but this had been rather good natured so it was unlikely any of them had killed him. Besides which they'd have been more likely to fight him face to face than stab him in the back. After a while they decided questioning this jerk was a waste of time and they returned to the palace where Lou decided she would guard the Grandmother Earth priestess from any potential attacks. Gerhardt and Tamerlan noticed a short figure in a cloak and a guardsman leaving the palace. They followed them out of the palace, past the warrior's barracks and all the way to the main gate where the horses were kept. The pair entered the stables and Gerhardt and Tamerlan got closer to try and hear what was being said. The pair soon exited the stables leading horses and after saddling up rode out of the gate, almost riding down the gate guards in the process. Gerhardt pulled out his bow and Tamerlan grabbed a javelin. Tamerlan hit Cletus (who had been identified by the gate guards) in the leg and Gerhardt hit the cloaked figure with an arrow. Tamerlan's second javelin missed as did Gerhardt's arrow but his third arrow hit the figure in the head and it slumped in the saddle and fell off. (By this time Cletus was out of javelin range). Gerhardt and Tamerlan ran up to the figure and discovered that it was Praxenia (surprise, surprise). They healed her up and dragged her before the king. She confessed all her crimes and admitted to getting Cletus to kill Rufus who had attempted to blackmail her because he recognized her as someone her had seen in Elkoi in the company of the Lunar spymaster there. She denied knowing Rufus' blood would turn the boar savage and refused to tell who the Lunar spymaster in Elkoi was. Skilfil judged her and sentenced her to exile. King Skilfil declared Cletus an exile as well and told the party they could keep all of his possessions and the horse, arms and armour he has as well if they can catch him.
The party was present when King Skilfil announced sentence on Praxenia, the Lunar spy. Svart Ulfsson tried to convince Skilfil that he should exile her without any possessions other than the clothes on her back (and without any boots) as this was how he would treat a Balazaring who had committed the same crimes. Skilfil was reluctant to do this as Praxenia would not survive long in the wilderness without any assistance. He would not exile her like this and cause her death. Svart also argued that they did not need her fleeing to Elkoi and giving the Lunars any more information than she already had. Skilfil decided that he would keep Praxenia here in the citadel under guard on reduced rations until a Lunar merchant caravan appeared and then sell her to them (to recoup his losses). Svart thought this was a good compromise and thus it transpired.
The party set off early the next morning. It was a large group consisting of the regular party (Svart, Gerhardt, Durnfal, Tamerlan, Greystone, Hallelujah and Burning Willow) plus two new members (Peracles and Hooman) and Sylvanthi Brighteyes and his three initiates, Primus, Secundus and Tertius (more commonly referred to as Larry, Moe and Curly for some arcane reason). Sylvanthi and his initiates were mounted on horses while the rest of the party walked. Sylvanthi was also accompanied by his giant hawk familiar Highflyer. The party made good progress following the caravan route from Dykene to Elkoi. They had met and peacefully visited with two different bands of hunters when they came across the tracks of a large number of giant pigs. At first they speculated that these may be the tracks of escaped progeny of the two god boars but Greystone quickly identified the tracks as those of tuskers, the giant swine Tusk Riders ride. He guessed there were in the area of a hundred tuskers in all with an unknown number of Tusk Riders in attendance. Sylvanthi had never heard of Tusk Riders and the group quickly filled him in on their nature. Svart speculated that the Tusk Riders had somehow heard of the god boars and were in Balazar in order to steal them. Sylvanthi decided he would mount Highflyer and see whether he could track these Tusk Riders. He followed their trail to a forest to the north and returned and told the party of this. He then decided to ride Highflyer back to Dykene in order to warn King Skilfil of this possible threat. While he was gone Hooman got to ride his horse which made him very happy. The party traveled on a ways further meeting and warning another band of hunters about the Tusk Riders before passing over the High Bridge, scene of the famous defeat of a Pentan horde generations before. After the party passed over the bridge (spending the night camped on the bridge itself as a defensive measure) Tertius asked whether they wanted to keep to the caravan trail or set off cross country since the caravan trail wasn't the most direct path. After some debate they decided to keep following the caravan trail since it was easier going and they hadn't told the still absent Sylvanthi that they would be doing otherwise. As they neared the fork that led to Trilus they spotted a small forest to the west of the trail. The gap was at least 6 keymiles wide but they were a bit worried about a Tusk Rider attack. Sylvanthi had returned by this time and he volunteered to take Highflyer up and scout ahead. He returned having seen nothing but sure enough once they'd passed the small forest a horde of Tusk Riders rode out. They did not act exceptionally threatening (not any more than their appearance and reputation provided) and slowly approached the party which stopped and also did not act threatening. A large, grossly pregnant, (and just plain gross) Tusk Rider female approached and hailed them in Sartarite. Gerhardt returned her hail. She announced herself as Gretta Killmany of the Crushskulls and asked who their leader was. She assumed Durnfal was because of his armour but the party seemed uncommitted to this. They ended up agreeing to a parley, four of them and four Tusk Riders. Durnfal, Svart, Gerhardt and Sylvanthi on the party side, Gretta, her consort, Baby-eater, and two others (Crusher and Masher) on the Tusk Rider's side. The rest of the Tusk Riders would withdraw to the woods and the rest of the party would go 1/2 a key mile or so away in the opposite direction to wait. After introductions and the exchange of food, dried venison(?) from the Tusk Riders, and barley porridge and bacon from the party they got down to talking. Gretta claimed they were just in Balazar to see one of the god pigs (which they had heard about somehow, they didn't volunteer and the party never asked). They claimed they had been riding around trying to get some locals to stop and talk to them but hadn't cornered, err found anyone who could talk to them. The party decided they had four basic options: 1) tell them nothing; 2) attack them and risk being killed; 3) tell them the way to Dykene (Sylvanthi vetoed this option); or 4) tell them about Trilus. Since three out of the four negotiators were from cults with truth runes the party decided to tell the Tusk Riders about the god boar at Trilus. (Sylvanthi told the party he would warn King Yalaring (they may be enemies but they're still Balzarings. After the Tusk Riders withdrew to the woods to join their fellows he jumped aboard Highflyer and flew to Trilus. Sure enough after a while the Tusk Riders came out of the woods and headed off in the direction of Trilus. After Sylvanthi returned they continued on to Elkoi. After a few more uneventful days they arrived there. After the usual check through Lunar customs and tax collectors (costing them a fur worth 50L) they entered the citadel. Sylvanthi showed them a few of the sites and put them in the King's Inn while he went to talk to Taklong Woodheart, High Priest of Yemalio in Balazar. (While waiting they all ate and most tried the local swill, err beer while Durnfal cleaned up. Sylvanthi returned an hour later and took Durnfal, Gerhardt, Svart and Hooman to the temple. They waited outside while the true believers went in. Taklong met and spoke with Durnfal and told him he needed a day to commune with the god and to return tomorrow for his decision. Upon returning to the inn they learned that they had been invited to dine that evening with King Glyptus the Good.
While waiting for evening to fall so they could attend the dinner at King Glyptus' palace Hallelujah and Burning Willow went to offer Hallelujah's services at the local Earth temple. Hallelujah was also wondering if the local Grandmother Earth priestess knew when exactly the upcoming high holy day of Babeester Gor was. The priestess was able to help her out with that and enlisted her services as Earth guardian at the upcoming ceremonies. Gerhardt went to find someplace where he could buy some new clothes. He was directed to Cyriel Endelkar, the local Etryies trader's place where he purchased two sets of Orlanthi style clothing at an outrageous price. (He also purchased a pair of boots and a belt). After he returned to the King's Inn the rest of the party who were waiting there decided they wanted to buy some new clothes as well, plus some equipment. Gerhardt, Svart, Greystone, Tamerlan and Peracles decided to find Hallelujah as she had some training as a merchant and enlist her aid in bargaining with the clerk. Durnfal and the Pentan Hooman decided to go to the merchants by themselves where Durnfal purchased a set of clothing. Durnfal lusted after a composite bow the merchant had which he was asking 15 furs for! (Roughly 1500 L, though the sales clerk would have taken either of the party members in exchange for the bow and its assorted equipment). Hooman also asked about horses and was told a horse would cost about five slaves. It was during this exchange that Hooman evidenced a strong dislike for slavery, no doubt part of his Pentan heritage. As the pair left Cyriel's they met the rest of the party who had managed to find Hallelujah and Burning Willow. The pair returned with Hallelujah and the crowd as Durnfal had forgotten about boots and hadn't bought any equipment. Hallelujah arranged to purchase four traveler's packs, five sets of clothes, six pairs of boots and the composite bow and its case for all the rest of their furs, a lump of gold, 25 lumps of bronze and some tin. The party then returned to the inn where the four contenders for the title "Bearer of the Bow" , Hallelujah, Svart, Durnfal and Gerhardt, had an archery contest to see who would carry it first. Hooman joined in to test his skill against them. They decided to each take five shots with a critical worth three points, an impale two points and a hit one point. Durnfal scored two points, Lou three, Gerhardt four and Svart five while Hooman scored an impressive eight points! Svart gave the bow to Gerhardt to bear as he was already too encumbered. Some of the party then cleaned up for the dinner party. (Here Hooman and Greystone again showed their lack of dedication to their traditional ways of life by having baths! Tamerlan just put his new clothes on over the old set). They then all sat around waiting for their escort to the party to arrive. Soon a citadel guard showed up to show them to the palace. (Svart refused to attend since he wasn't allowed to bring his iron bastardswords with him and he couldn't find a good enough hiding place for them. He stayed back at the Inn playing games of chance with Sylvanthi's initiates). At the palace they were introduced to the royal family and the rest of the guests. In attendance were: the Royal Family, King Glyptus the Good, Queen Jocestis, Sylveius the heir, and Hecis the princess; the local Lunar officials, Euryptus the Bold garrison commander; Halcyon var Enkorth, aide to the Provincial Director of Security; Marusa the Shrew, Priestess of the Seven Mothers; and Elecora Kindtongue, Priestess of the Seven Mothers. A special group of Lunars were also in attendance, Flora Catanya, Priestess of Pela, the Barley Goddess; Sildis Puranis, Runelord of Yemalio and Balazar; and Marduk the Scarlet, Scimitar of Yanafil Tarnils. Also in attendance were Cyriel Endelkar, private Lunar citizen and trader and Taklong Woodheart, High Priest of Balazar and Yemalio in Balazar. The palace was a nightmare of bad taste (the food was a mostly entrails in honey sauces) and dining was done in the Lunar style of reclining on couches. The party were seated together but later on got the chance to mingle. All the male members of the party were entranced by the supernatural beauty of Flora Catanya, with most of the men deciding the would lay their lives down for her except, Durnfal who fell head over heals in love with her (he really fell for her when he discovered she was a priestess of the barley goddess!) and Greystone who thought she was good looking but that was it. Lou sat with Elecora and found her to be a nice woman if rather uninteresting. Hooman sat with Halcyon var Enkorth who did nothing but insult him. Sildis was sitting with Flora until Durnfal tried to bribe a servant to spill something on him so he'd leave to change his clothes. The servant said he'd do it for nothing and managed to spill wine all over Sildis's immaculate tunic. Cursing the servant he left to change and Durnfal quickly took his place. He spoke with Flora and was absolutely enraptured by her knowledge of barley cultivation. Hooman also sat with Sildis when he came back from changing his outfit and was "impressed" by the great deeds he recounted. Someone sat with the king and was exposed to his immense shallowness. The party tried to determine what Flora and her group were doing in Balazar and decided that the Lunars were trying to introduce agriculture to Balazar by marrying Pela to Balazar. (Lucky guess!) Hecis tried to pick Durnfal up but he only had eyes for Flora and he quickly gave her the brush-off. She then tried to pick Greystone up and had much more success. They left the dining room early to go back to her room. The rest of the party left en mass and returned to the inn. When they got back they noticed that Sylvanthi wasn't with them. They were discussing what to do about this when Greystone staggered in holding his stomach. Seems that Hecis slipped him some poison in their post-coital glass of wine (which he survived). He managed to escape from the palace and return to the King's Inn ahead of the pursuing citadel guards. Six armed and armoured warriors showed up and tried to arrest Greystone. The party argued with the guards that they shouldn't be doing this or that they should wait until the next morning to pick Greystone up. The guards weren't interested in arguing the social justice of arresting Greystone, debating the Elkoi social system or in coming back the next morning for him. Finally the group decided not to slaughter the guards and the lot of them returned to the palace with them. There the king was summoned and when he was told what had happened he brushed the whole incident off and let Greystone go free. (The guards knew he was going to do this but they had to follow the formalities now didn't they). The party debated what to do about the missing Sylvanthi and decided it could wait until morning. (They had asked Peracles to use his magic but he hemmed and hawed about doing so). In the morning when they left they the inn they were greeted by Highflyer, Sylvanthi's allied spirit who was perched on the roof. He cast a mindlink on Hallelujah and told her that he had felt his link with Sylvanthi being severed the previous night (he'd been off hunting for food). He had returned to look for him and asked for their help. Since normally the link between an allied spirit and his rune lord/priest couldn't be severed without the lord/priest's death Sylvanthi's disappearance was odd. They decided to consult with Taklong Woodheart to see of the god knew where Sylvanthi was. The hawk flew ahead and the party hastened after. They returned to the temple where they persuaded the guards not to attack the hawk. He perched on the temple roof and Taklong was informed of Sylvanthi's disappearance. He hastened to perform a divination which revealed nothing. The party went to the palace where the king was informed. He ordered a search of the citadel using twenty citadel guards. The party and Sylvanthi's initiated helped search and he was not found. (Taklong told Durnfal that he had decided that the god's wishes regarding the torches of Everburning was that they should be sent to the Sun Dome Temple in Sartar.) The hotheads of the party suggested that they would try and foil the Lunar plans to introduce agriculture into Balazar by "rescuing" Flora from her Lunar captors but this was greeted with the derision it deserved from the more practical. The hotheads ignored the derision and decided that they had to try anyway. Peracles was not so keen to foil the Lunars in their attempt to 'civilise' the Balazaring as he's sees it as but one step on the long road to enlightened Malkionism (Rokari style). (Especially if Durnfal is the prime mover (obviously he suffers from Clintonitis). Better the group look for the Runelord and then head back 'home'. They also wanted to rescue Sylvanthi from his captivity.
The party decided that they would try and find Sylvanthi and do what they could to thwart the Lunars at the same time. They "brainstormed" and came up with three basic plans:
The party also attempted to incite the pig farmers to revolt but they were too fearful of the Lunars and were unconvinced the introduction of agriculture would harm them (What have the Lunars ever done for you? Well there's the aquaducts, oh yeah and the highways, don't forget about the highways...etc., etc.). They discovered from questioning various sources (Taklong Woodheart, Erde the "High Priestess" of the Hearth Goddess) that the ceremony would take place within a week's time. Erde suggested the best thing to do would be to disrupt the ceremony. This returned the party to plan 2. Hallelujah suggested that all this would do was postpone the marriage. What they really needed was a major disruption. Erde suggested they could try ruining the ceremony in a more serious manner by invoking the spirit of the Wild Mother who would be most wroth by the introduction of agriculture into her land.
The party learned that the Lunars had built an Earth temple at the village of Greater Bykotus (known as the big Bykotus to the locals to differentiate it from the village of Lesser Bykotus (little Bykotus) and completely identical in size and age) for the worship of Pela. This temple had yet to be consecrated. Halellujah decided they would travel to the village to inspect this temple. The party travelled there and were met by a band of twenty peltasts who refused to allow them admission due to their not having written permission from Marduk. Hallelujah was incensed by this and a bloodbath was narrowly averted by her turning around and leaving. Peracles was persuaded to inspect the temple using his Project Vision spell. As far as he could tell it was just what it appeared, a standard cube shaped Earth temple that hadn't yet been consecrated. The peltasts sent one of their number by horseback back to the citadel to warn Marduk of their visit. The party decided that they would stay outside the citadel with the pig tenders rather than attempt to re-enter it. Erde found them lodgings with the pig tenders and they tried to stir them up to revolt. Lou sent a strongly worded protest into the citadel to Flora complaining about her inability to inspect an earth temple which a Lunar guard promised to deliver.
Early the next morning Flora, Marduk and an escort of YT initiates and peltasts came out to pay Lou a visit. Flora and Marduk (at Flora's urging) apologized for Lou inability to inspect the temple. (It was all an oversight, who knew a Babeester Gor would want to inspect the temple?) Flora gracefully declined Lou's offer of guardianship for the temple (at Marduk's urging, command?) and this did not impress Lou at all. Marduk made a speech about the benefits awaiting the locals from the introduction of agriculture and they were all impressed. The party's oratory lacked any similar impact. The party decided to contact Blueface to enlist his aid in invoking the Wild Mother. Lou used the Eubuck staff to place herself in mental contact with Blueface and he promised to come warning that it would take him at least three days to get there.
The next day the marriage party, a big group of Lunar soldiers, some citadel warriors and the royal family moved enmass to Greater Bykotus for the temple consecration. The party didn't know why they were going and feared the worse. They observed some sort of ceremony but weren't sure what it was for. The next two days also held some sort of ceremonies but nothing crucial seemed to happen. Then Blueface arrived and told Lou that she was the best candidate for invoking the Wild Mother. Lou was worried about her unborn baby and neither Blueface nor Erde could promise her nothing would happen to it. Lou agreed to do it with some reservations. Blueface told her she would have to fast and that the best way to attract the Wild Mother's attention was with a blood sacrifice, the more the better-preferably human. Svart and Hooman were keen to locate a Lunar volunteer.
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Last updated October 09, 2016
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