Oliver D. Bernuetz's Campaign Chronicles
Chronicles of the North - Part 3
11) Earth Season 1618 (Loot the Buffet!)
(December 05, 1998)
The party decided that they would take some of the equipment off of the dead Lunars (one set of chain, all of Marduk the Scarlet's equipment, all the bows and arrows, a pair of scimitars and everything magical in nature). They told their Yemalian captives that they could bury the rest for their own use. The guardsmen were very impressed by the party's generosity even moreso when Durnfal told them they could give their ransoms to the families of the guardmen slain in the battle rather than giving it to party. After hearing this they swore blood brotherhood with Durnfal and told him they would honor him above all except Yemalio and King Glyptus. No one in the party was the right size to fit the iron plate so they just brought it along for future use. Greystone and Hooman shared the iron scimitars between themselves, Hallelujah took the crystal found on his body (after she woke up-everyone else refused it) and Svart took the black sweater Marduk had been wearing. They knew it was magical but they didn't know what it did. They also took as much food as they could carry from the wedding feast that had been laid out on trestle tables near the temple.
Once Lou regained consciousness (after they'd burned Gerhardt's body) she and Svart set out to find out what the black sweater did (the nearest Lhankhor Mhy's being keymiles away). They decided upon a fist fight to test it out and Lou promised not to enhance her strength with magic. Svart swung at her and missed. She swung back and pulled a muscle in her arm. She took an aimed blow at his chest, struck him and knocked Svart down by equaling his chest hit points. (Why didn't she swing at one of his arms? They're covered by the sweater too!) She quickly restored all his hit points using first aid and magical healing. Meanwhile Durnfal and Greystone were sparring as well doing no permanent damage to each other. Lou cast a disruption at Svart and that wasn't stopped by the sweater either. Tamerlan suggested he could trying throwing a javelin at Svart but Svart called off the experimentation at that point.
Using their looted buffet supplies to extend their iron rations the party managed to travel all the way to Dykene. (They hunted and gathered along the way and Greystone showed an hitherto unknown aptitude for H&G's feeding easily two or three people each day. Burning Willow also helped by finding a lot of food for the party. She had very different criteria as to what constituted edible than the party did though). Hallelujah told the rest of the party that she preferred if they stayed in Dykene until after the baby was born as she didn't relish the idea of traveling while constipated and nauseous. (Go figure). After some half-hearted arguing they all decided to take Skilfil up on his offer of employment for four or five months at least. They briefly discussed going to Trilus after getting the torches from Dykene to stay since there was a Chalana Arroy there but Hallelujah believed a hearth mother would be sufficient. (The party's main reason for going to Trilus seemed to be so they could get thrown out of that citadel as well since it was the only one where they hadn't offended the local rulers. They decided that they could always go there on their way out of Balazar and get thrown out).
When the party reached Highbridge they discovered two human bodies crucified on constructs of wood and rawhide. A Tusk Rider was staked out on the ground right in front of the bridge. All had been tortured but their bodies had been feeding the local carrion eaters for too long to tell what kind of tools had been used on them.
When the party neared the citadel they were welcomed by a patrol of guardsmen who took them up to the citadel. There they met with King Skilfil and told him about Sylvanthi Brighteyes disappearance and the Lunar attempt to introduce agriculture to the area. They also asked for jobs and Skilfil said he'd like to sleep on their offer. He was visibly upset by Sylvanthi's loss and when he and Starnia Stormrender (Yemalio Light Son) were asked why they thought he'd been nabbed they suggested it was due to his status as senior runelord of Balazar in the area. This made him a much better candidate than Sildis Puranis had been (see 8) Earth Season 1618 (Um, did anyone see a runelord around here? We seem to have lost ours.)). They guessed that this was why he'd been removed from the scene. It didn't explain why he was still alive though (they knew he was still alive because his allied spirit had not been released from its bond to him. The party cleaned up the best they could and went to bed at the Stabbing Cat Inn.
The next morning they went to the palace for breakfast with the king. The king told them that he'd decided to hire them (or at least some of them) and that they'd get the standard benefits-use of a horse, a share in any spoils, and food and room. He waived the arms and armour benefit as they already had better equipment themselves. As they sat at breakfast someone rushed in and announced that Sylvanthi Brighteyes and his initiates had been spotted approaching the citadel. The king ordered an escort out to meet him. Everyone went out to the main gate to meet him. His hawk familiar could be seen flying over the horsemen (as could Starnia on her hawk). His party got closer and closer and once he was in range for vision the party could see that he bore the marks of abusive treatment. When his party got up to the king, Skilfil embraced him and ushered him inside the palace to hear his story.
Sylvanthi told everyone that he had been knocked unconscious as he was leaving the banquet at the citadel of Elkoi he and the party had been invited to. When he regained consciousness he found himself in a windowless room with slave manacles attached to his wrists. He couldn't contact his allied spirit or his god and he lay there helpless for a number of days. The Lunars (his captors) hadn't been particularly cruel to him but they had neglected to feed him very often and had abused him verbally. He had the feeling they were going to kill him eventually but before that could happen Taklong Woodheart, King Glyptus and (more importantly) Elecora Kindtongue came to his prison and he was freed. He found his initiates in the King's Inn where he'd left them and collecting them and his familiar he left the citadel bearing supplies thrust upon him by King Glyptus.
The party asked him what the mood had been like in Elkoi and he said that the people were terrified that the Wild Mother had been invoked so close to their citadel. There seemed to be a resurgence of that old-time religion in response but it was premature to say what effect if any this would have on the long-term Lunar presence in Balazar.
King Skilfil declared a feast of celebration for the return of Sylvanthi and the party's role in squelching the Lunar's plans. The stocks of imported wine was broken out and most people proceeded to get blitzed. Most party members (other than Tamerlan) restrained themselves and didn't get too drunk. Everyone tried to tell glorious stories about their deeds. Most of these attempts failed miserably except for Greystone's account of his food collecting abilities on the trip back. The locals loved that! Svart attempted to glorify the memory of his dead cousin Gerhardt but he played up his role in the fight with the citadel guardsmen to the detriment of the others involved on that flank (i.e. Hooman, Tamerlan, Burning Willow, and Greystone). Offended, Tamerlan called Svart a liar. Svart called him out on it and they decided to fight to first blood with daggers-no magic allowed. Svart swung and missed while Tamerlan landed a lucky shot that made him the winner. He bragged a lot about his glorious victory with a blade over a Humakti claiming his god was the better war god. Why Svart spared him is uncertain.
Hooman, Svart, Durnfal, Tamerlan, and Greystone all joined Skilfil's guards. Burning Willow refused and took her place with the local hunters. Hallelujah also wanted to help the hunters but they refused her a place saying she wasn't skilled enough. She wanted to hunt alone but they wouldn't let her do this until she had joined the cult of Foundchild as a laymember and learned the Peaceful Cut spell. This required her joining the eight year olds in a minor hero quest to learn the spell and the proper rituals/procedures required to hunt in Balazar. Peracles was sort of at a loss, the locals know nothing about sorcery and he has no skills really applicable to warfare of hunting. It remains to be seen how he's going to earn his keep without offending the locals.
After a week of being guards had passed the party was sent out to meet a group approaching the citadel. The group was known to include trolls so both Sylvanthi and Starnia were circling overhead to keep an eye on them. The captain of the guards Boldoni Boldface, felt that the group along with their aerial cover was sufficient to gauge the approaching party's intent. As they neared they realized the party consisted of three humans, a baboon, a dark troll and a trollkin. Orders were that trolls were not to be killed out of hand but neither the king nor the party wanted them within the citadel. Once the party got very close to the strangers they discovered that Alcibades was among the party. He introduced his associates as Arkan, Sword of Humakt, Baron Jheary Han, Wind Lord of Orlanth, Lawrence the baboon, X, initiate of Xiola Umbar, and so and so the trollkin. The party asked the strangers their intent and Alcibades told them he and his associates wanted to enter Dykene so that they could ask questions of the locals. They declined to elaborate. Svart insulted the Sword of Humakt and a duel was narrowly averted. Lou asked whether anyone had any contacts with the Lunars (especially since Alcibades was a Tarshite). The idea quite offended the Wind Lord and he almost drew on Lou but Svart reminded him that they were just asking questions as part of their duty to their liege lord. The Wind Lord relented as he understood quite well the conflicts of duty
Durnfal rode back to the citadel to warn Skilfil. He advised him not to allow the trolls into the citadel because they might tell any local Zorak Zoranis about the torches. Skilfil had had no intention of letting trolls into his citadel but he agreed. When the combined parties reached the citadel King Skilfil greeted the party and allowed the humans to enter. The trolls and the baboon were forced to stay outside where they were objects of great interest. The humans entered and started asking the locals questions about the possible location of a large mountain that was inhabited by flying monsters. (Hallelujah followed them around asking the people they questioned what they had been asked about so she knew what it was they were looking for.)
12) (Late) Earth Season 1618 (Death (what
again?) of a Titan) (January 16, 1999)
One of the party's first duties was to protect the citadel dwellers during the grain harvest. The harvest took place half a day away from the citadel so all the participants had to camp out near the fields. The harvest began with a ceremony dedicated to thanking the Wild Mother for her bounty. Each harvester used a obsidian blade to cut her or his left palm and smeared the blood on a patch of grain that wasn't harvested. Durnfal managed to attract the attention of one of the pretty locals named Atraxa and he decided to return her interest. Guard duty started off simple enough, just sitting around being bored in the hot weather but it soon took a turn for the worst.
As the party present (Svart, Greystone, Tamerlan, Hooman and Durnfal) were standing guard one warm day they heard a strange sound. Svart screamed, "Incoming." and threw himself off his horse. The others thought this strange until Atraxa screamed and fell to the ground. This was followed by loud, uproarious laughter. Svart told the others that they were under fire by some sort of siege engine. A quick look around led to a giant figure being spotted about a keymile away. He seemed to have a long log in his hands which he lifted to his lips. This action was quickly followed by another missile hitting near the harvesters. The group quickly decided to close with the giant and engage it in hand-to-hand combat. The three with horses (Svart, Durnfal and Hooman) mounted up and Tamerlan and Greystone grabbed hold of the horses to speed their running up.
The party started off towards the giant as fast as they could go. They figured that it would take them around 17 rounds to close with the giant. His next shot hit Tamerlan in the arm smashing it. Tamerlan screamed and dropped to the ground. Svart and Greystone stopped to help Tamerlan and he quickly got up. The three horsemen decided that they'd never make it to the giant if they stayed at the speed of the footmen so they continued at top speed leaving the footmen to follow at their best speed. The next target to be hit was Hooman's horse who took a stone to his right fore leg. This wasn't enough to stop the horse but the next round it took a stone in the chest which knocked it unconscious. (Tamerlan and Greystone paused long enough in their progress to put it out of its "misery"). Hooman easily managed to leap to the ground and Svart slowed long enough to let him on. The next stone hit Hooman in the right leg crippling it but he managed to stay on. After that a stone hit Durnfal, but bounced off his armour. The next missile hit Svart in the arm and the shock made him drop the sword in that hand and knocked him off his horse. Hooman took the reins and he and Durnfal prepared their spears as lances to charge the giant. Their first passes didn't even get through the giant's natural armour so they came around to make another pass. Durnfal's next pass managed to impale the giant and do some damage to his left leg but he was still standing. (Svart was running up while this was going on). The giant who had announced himself as Warren's Favourite Giant (WFG), kept shooting his "spitballs" at Durnfal and Hooman but he had considerably less success even though they were now closer! Durnfal kept inflicting small wounds on WFG's legs and abdomen and even Hooman managed to inflict a few points of damage. Durnfal kept trying to persuade the giant to stop attacking and leave but to no avail.
Svart had finally run up and his first blow bounced off the giant. The following round he got a critical on the giant's left leg and WFG was knocked off his feet. This blow had the unfortunate side-effect of getting WFG's attention and he switched to his melee weapon against Svart. Svart managed to wound him again and then WFG swung at Svart and hit. Svart managed to parry the blow but even with his iron bastardsword, protection spell and armour enough damage got through to crush his chest killing him instantly. Everyone who had spotted this (except Tamerlan) tried to call on his god for healing since Svart's soul hadn't departed his body yet. Durnfal got Yemalio's attention and all the party's damage was healed. This put Svart back into the fight.
The following round he swung and damaged the giant again. The giant swung back and ripped his head off. This really pissed Durnfal off since he had expended 10 points of power in his d.i. Even though WFG was now interested in fleeing Durnfal wasn't interested in letting him go. WFG kept trying to use his club on his attackers but they aborted their charges whenever he had it in his hand. By this time Greystone and Tamerlan had run up and Greystone started disrupting the giant to some effect. WFG tried to shoot again but the fates conspired against him and his pea shooter shattered in his hands! using his club as a crutch he tried to hobble away but Durnfal and Hooman charged again. He hurled a stone at Durnfal but it bounced off his armour. Greystone managed to disrupt him again and Durnfal plunged his lance one last time into the giant killing it. Hooman kept stabbing the giant to make sure it was dead. Svart's remains were collected and his body was slung over Durnfal's pony for the trip back to the harvest site. (Both Durnfal and Greystone hacked teeth out of the giant's body as souvenirs of the battle). Everyone was very careful when handling the black bastard sword.
When they reached the field they discovered a unit of citadel guardsmen come to help them against the giant. Too little too late. The party returned to the citadel with Svart's body. King Skilfil announced a big feast to celebrate the end of the harvest and mourn Svart's death. At the feast Durnfal got stinking drunk and disappeared. Stories were told about Svart's feats and his body was burnt. (A naked Durnfal did the honours). The king gifted each of the survivors giving Durnfal a gold torc, Hooman a silver armband, and Greystone and Tamerlan obsidian amulets on thongs. The party was somewhat concerned that Warren might be pissed now that his favourite giant was dead but divinations did not reveal who Warren might be so they relaxed a bit.
It was discovered that Hallelujah was the sole beneficiary of Svart's will and all his possessions went to her. They suspect that the black sword holds Svart's soul captive and some discussion was made about getting a herd man to hold the sword once they got back to Prax.
Greystone, Tamerlan and some hunter went back out to the giant's corpse to try and skin it. They found a sabertooth tiger in possession and they decided to let it get its fill before skinning the giant. Even the mighty tiger could only feed on the softest parts and it left after finishing off most of the penis and testicles. (Tamerlan managed to rescue the foreskin for a hat). The crew started skinning the giant and lots of carrion eaters congregated. They were all soon covered with gore and filth but a violent rain storm a few days later served to clean them up. As they waited out the storm in their tents the ground started shaking and most of the crew ran for it fearing more giants. A loud voice said, "Oh, poor Warren's Favourite, what's happened to you?" As Greystone slipped out of his tent he was grabbed and raised up to eye level with a female giant. She quickly reassured him that she meant him no harm and offered to cook him some food and serve him tea. She pitched an enormous tent and started a fire. She offered him some wretched concoction of herbs and plants served in a gold plated iron full helm marked with Yemalio's's runes and told Greystone that her name was Bunscotto the Kind Giant. She stated that she loved all living creatures and meant no one any harm. He questioned her about Griffin Mountain and who Warren was but she had no idea of either. She threw an entire, hairy mammoth leg on the fire which quickly filled the tent with smoke but the rest of the crew returned to share the food once they realized the giant meant no harm.
Eventually she left and the party finished their butchery job. They all managed to drag the huge hide back to Dykene.
Durnfal meanwhile had recovered (mostly) from his funk but had continued seeing the fully recovered Atraxa.
13) (Early) Dark Season 1618 (With the
wind at my back...) (February 27, 1999)
The party continues serving as followers of King Skilfil of Dykene.
Early in Dark Season the long overdue Joh Mith, Trader of Issaries finally arrives at Dykene. He says that he was delayed due to poor weather in Dragon Pass. He aslo told the King that his caravan had passed the sight of a Tusk Rider ambush. King Skilfil declares a day of holiday in celebration of Joh Mith's safe arrival. Another group of guardsmen challenges the party to a game of javelins and hoops. The prize is that the losers have to take the winners next stint at guarding the pig pens. The group is reluctant to participate due to their lack of skill until the guardsmen offer to pit only three of their number against three of the party. Burning Willow, Tamerlan and Greystone volunteer their services. After nine throws from each side the party is defeated and has to pay the penalty.
Tamerlan, Greystone, Burning Willow, Durnfal and Hooman enter a foot race around the citadel against four of the locals. It was a long grueling race with most of the Balazarings doing quite well right from the start and Greystone and Burning Willow showing promise at first. Durnfal and Hooman definitely did not show much promise at the start but Durnfal did improve near the end of the race. Hooman managed not to place last. Showing an amazing burst of speed Tamerlan managed to win the race! Greystone managed to place third after one of the Balazarings.
The following week the party started their guard duty in the pig pens. The same day they started a two day ice storm hit Balazar grounding aerial reconnaissance and making conditions miserable. On their third day of guard duty Durnfal had drawn the short straw and was making the rounds when he ran into three Tusk Riders moving around the pen. They attacked him and he managed to drive them back. The party heard the fight and came out of their hut. Hooman was first out and he went over to help Durnfal. The rest didn't move as quickly so they were clumped in the centre of the pens when another 10 Tusk Riders in two groups of three and one of four moved in. Despite being demoralized Durnfal managed to hold the first three and then another three off for the whole fight finishing off four altogether. Hooman proved quite helpful finishing off one of them. Visibility was quite poor due to the blizzard only being about 10 meters.
The demoralized Gretta Killmany told her followers (the group of four) to join in the fight while she entered the pen holding the Red Boar. Another mysterious tall cloaked figure carrying a pole axe finally showed up and followed Gretta into the pen. Gretta emerged from the hut riding the Red Boar. She charged Hallelujah who didn't manage to get out of the way knocking her aside and crushing her arm in a trample attack. (She'd been staying at the hut of one of the Hearth Mother's followers when she heard the fighting).
Tamerlan was being attacked by two of the better fighters among the Tusk Riders and was surviving due to his iron shield and fairly heavy armour. Burning Willow threw a pair of javelins to negligible effect and was knocked down by one of the Tusk Riders. Greystone managed to demoralize the Tusk Rider's leader and used his flame blade to good effect taking out two by himself and one with the help of...a mysterious stranger who appeared out of the blizzard and attacked the Tusk Riders from behind slaying two with rapier and main gauche and helping Greystone kill the last.
After Gretta had fled the last two surviving Tusk Riders were captured and had their wounds bound. Through out the fight the Tusk Riders had done little damage, felling Tamerlan, Burning Willow and Hooman (momentarily) before all being killed except for the two taken alive. Durnfal took one of the bound Tusk Riders into a hut where he stripped off all his equipment. The Tusk Rider feared the worst but all he had planned was an attempt to disrupt the Tusk Rider for a power check which he got.
The citadel was finally notified and the king came out to survey the damage. He was most distressed that the Red Boar had been stolen and wanted to pursue right away. The Tusk Riders refused to tell where Gretta was headed but the mysterious stranger who said his name was Simon said he could take the king to where he had last seen the Tusk Riders camped since he had been tracking them. He insisted that he be allowed to look at the Tusk Rider's belongings to see if they had any of the possessions of his slaughtered friends. (They didn't).
Everyone quickly realized that it was pointless to pursue Gretta in the blizzard. The King offered his hospitality to the stranger and the party went back to their guarding. The next day the snow slowed down quite a bit and the following day dawned bright and clear. A quick survey of the hawk riders did not turn up any sign of the Tusk Riders but did spot a party of Broos digging a hole in the frozen ground some distance away. The party and Simon made preparations to track the Tusk Riders...
14) (Early) Dark Season 1618 (Gee, I wish
I hadn't done that...) (March 20, 1999)
Two days after Gretta had made off with the boar the above lot went in pursuit (well except for the sorceror who stayed put). Using Sylvanthi and Starnia as aerial reconnaissance they headed west (the most likely direction that Gretta had fled). Fairly quickly Starnia and her hawk spotted the boar at Taksmound, a nearby winter hearth of one of the tribes allied with Dykene. The hearth was about two days away and the party under Sylvanthi's guidance decided that half of the party would circle around the back to one entrance while the best riders attacked the front. (Simon refused to camp with the party saying he preferred to camp alone). This split the party into Hooman, Sylvanthi, Durnfal and three of the initiates (Cleptus, Manaicus, and Sleptus), attacking the front and Starnia, Simon, Greystone, Tamerlan, Burning Willow and the remaining initiate (Ineptus) attacking the back. (The acolyte and the herders were left to "guard" the hawks and any other mounts). As the back group approached Simon cast some sort of spell that allowed him to fly! The two groups positioned themselves and attacked!
Both sets of guards were quickly killed with the guards at the front fleeing and being cut down (but not killed) and the guards at the back being killed by a hail of javelins and crossbow quarrels. When the whole party entered the hearth they discovered tents and sleeping pigs. Very quickly the Tusk Riders awoke and leaping to their tuskers they fled up and over the sides of the hearth. The party realized the guards they had slain were all teenagers and the ones who had fled where all non-combatants. They wondered where Gretta and the rest of the warriors were. The party investigated the tents and found Balazaring remains tied to the standing stones and sacred hearth stone in the center of the hearth. Simon used his magic to fly higher to keep watch and spotted a group of Tusk Riders heading in the direction of the hearth. Starnia and her initiates kept watch over the boar. (Hooman kept calling for the boar to be killed but Starnia ignored him). The others remounted and prepared to fight. The Tusk Riders rode into the mouth and Gretta told the party they were going to die. Simon fired his heavy crossbow and killed her with his multi-missiled shot (the first shot impaled and the second criticalled). No one d.i.'d for her so she was out of the fight. The Tusk Riders were indecisive for a few seconds as Gretta's boy toy took over. The cavalry charged the Tuskers and engaged the elite Tuskers trying to hold the entrance. The rest of the party were watchful and Simon spotted the other Tusk Riders preparing to ride over the mound and attack (he neglected to warn anyone else but it didn't matter). (His flying angered Hooman who wanted to shoot him out of the air). He took the precaution of rising up into the air knowing that Tusk Riders rarely carry missile weapons. Unfortunately when they had lined up on top of the wall they started casting disrupts at Simon and came close to killing him. He quickly returned to the ground.
The combat did not go well for Durnfal and he was not his usual killing machine. Both sides at the front entrance spent a long time exchanging blows to little effect. Starnia charged in to help as well and didn't fare any better. The crowd of Tusk Riders on top of the wall charged down and engaged the infantry. They didn't have much effect and swept by to charge again. Fortunately most of the party were good at parrying and had large or iron shields. This reduced the effectiveness of the Tuskers' charge. (Though luck played a part as well because twice Yemalio initiates were knocked down by serious wounds only to avoid being trampled to death by being hit in the same location!) The Tusk Riders charged about three or four times. They knocked down and killed one of the initiates and lost three or four on their side altogether. During their last charge as Tamerlan swung back he rolled a critical (100), then he rolled a 92 (hit nearest friend for maximum rolled damage). Unfortunately Burning Willow was standing right behind him so his bastard sword went right into her (roll location-12, the chest). Maximum rolled damage= 18 points. Dead. Greystone and Hooman tried to d.i. for her but failed, Tamerlan said, "Gee, I wish I hadn't done that.", rolled a 02 and she was alive again. (But now she has a death rune scar between her breasts).
Things got a bit more serious when some of these attackers abandoned the infantry and attacked the cavalry from behind. This knocked Hooman down (he escaped by using his divine fly spell) and got Sylvanthi killed. He used his d.i. (10 points!) to escape and ended up on his hawk. Durnfal meanwhile was holding off three at once and slowly grinding them down. The two initiates guarding the boar made the mistake of heading to help Starnia on foot and they were run down by Tusk Riders. This left the boar unguarded and one of the Tusk Riders went over to try and control the boar. Hooman was using his bow to attack to little effect and Sylvanthi came swooping in on his hawk attacking and killing one of the Tusk Riders elites. The Tusk Rider finally got control of the boar and he attempted to ride it out of the hearth. Sylvanthi swooped down again and his hawk killed the Tusk Rider but the boar ran off into the woods.
The Tusk Riders broke off and went in pursuit and the party prepared to go after them...
15) (Early) Dark Season 1618 (April 10,
With Sleptus and Ineptus dead and the Tusk Riders fled the party searched for loot and cut down the defiled bodies of the dead Balazarings. Four items of a magical nature were found on the body of Gretta Killmany, three of the four were severed hands, two human, one troll while the other was an amulet of some sort. Greystone carefully wrapped up the amulet without touching it and stashed it in his clothes. The three hands were offered the Peaceful Cut and burnt. The Tusk Rider bodies were piled in the centre of the winter hearth and burnt along with their tents and food supply. The dead Balazarings were taken along for proper burial as was the Tusk Rider's metal armour and weapons. 150 lunars or so of silver coins were also found, mostly of southern Genertelan origin. Both Burning Willow and Tamerlan decided to carry long spears to help ward off the Tusk Riders.
The party gathered the swine priestess and the herders and moved off a ways to camp. The next day using the hawk riders the boar and the Tusk Riders who had regrouped were both located. The boar was heading south with the Tusk Riders in hot pursuit. The party followed. The next day the boar turned west and started heading out of Balazar. The party pursued him and caught up with him before the Tusk Riders did. The party spotted the boar and decided to try and get around him so he could be herded toward the priestess and the pig herders. The boar spotted them and fled. Pursuing the boar they caught up with him in a small clearing that was dominated by two translucent, four metre tall blue menhirs atop a low mound. The top of the mound was snow free, though the grass was dead. Greystone cast a detect magic and a woman appeared (or was revealed) standing between the two stones. She was wearing a short khiton in red with gold fire and spirit runes on its hem and seemed to be aware of the party. None of the Balazarings present knew anything about the origin of the stones or any myths about an imprisoned woman. The priestess and the herders approached the boar with a bag of barley and managed to get a lasso around its neck. They led it off and the party examined the woman a bit. Simon determined that she was not present on this plane but attempts to communicate with speech and spell failed. Durnfal was opposed to attempts to free her and the party eventually decided to come back on their own time.
Leading the boar the party debated whether they should head towards the plain or stay in the forest. They decided to stay in the forest where neither they nor the Tusk Riders could charge. They did decide to set an ambush for the Tusk Riders and choose the far side of a frozen creek where the Tusk Riders couldn't charge straight at them. They waited and eventually two scouts reached the creek edge. They spotted the hidden Simon who was keeping watch and turned back. The party prepared themselves and weren't surprised when the Tusk Riders came at them from the south instead of heading across. The Tusk Riders demanded the boar and when the party refused they cast demoralizes at the three most formidable foes (Durnfal, Sylvanthi and Starnia. The first two were affected but Sylvatni's allied spirit removed the spell). Then the Tusk Riders "charged" and A mighty battle ensued...
During the charge Simon fired his heavy crossbow disabling the arm of one of the elite Tusk Riders who dropped back to heal himself. The initial charge took out both Tamerlan and Sylvanthi Brighteyes (who was fighting two at once, one of them a Tusk Rider elite) and the party realized what a threat the boars were. Starnia was forced to use her d.i. to heal the pair which cost her 7 points of power (knocking her down to two points). The party parried and attacked the boars ignoring the Tusk Riders to their detriment (in Sylvanthi's and Tamerlan's cases). After three rounds none of them were left. The fight was the usual grind and the party slaughtered all the Tusk Riders within five rounds. Burning Willow positioned herself behind Durnfal and tried to use her long spear to no effect (other than to fumble and lose her next two attacks). Simon ran to suport the flank and Burning Willow stepped over Sylvanthi's body when he was knocked down again by a head shot. She was hit by one of the Tusk Rider elites in the abdomen and knocked down. Sylvanthi's giant hawk allied spirit, meanwhile had landed and cast a heal 6 on Sylvanthi's head which got him back into the fight. The hawk was unable to heal Burning Willow since the Tusk Rider was using a spear with a Seal Wound spell on it, but did keep her alive. Simon killed the average Tusk Rider. Durnfal was also hit by a spear with Seal Wound on it but only for a couple of points. He also gave in to impulse to fanaticize himself for the first time and had the benefit of two attacks. Once he did this and Simon was in the fight the Tusk Riders were swifly slain except for the one mounted average Tusk Rider (who had slain the initiate) who escaped.
The fight was made noteworthy by the number of times Sylvanthi was knocked down, the length of time people had their weapons stick in enemies. (Greystone had his flaming scimitar impaled in a foes leg for at least three rounds, Hooman had his stuck for a couple of rounds and Tamerlan had his bastard sword stuck for at least three rounds).
The Red Boar was taken away and the surviving tuskers and Tusk Riders were slain. The bodies were looted of metal armour and weapons and the party headed back to the citadel. They met a party of Balazaring hunters and with their help made it back unscathed to a rich reward.
16) (Early) Dark Season 1618 (June 05,
After returning to Dykene with the boar and their booty the party was rewarded by King Skilfil with the gift of their choice of either leather padding or curiboilli made out of the superior boar hide. Durnfal and Burning Willow were offered horses instead. Burning Willow turned down the horse and accepted a gold torc instead.
The party decided to tie up some of the loose threads. After listing the possibilities: 1) check into freeing the trapped woman(?) they'd found; or 2) check what the broos digging the hole* they'd heard about where up to they decided on the broos. (Hallelujah's refusal to "summon" Blueface using the Eubuck staff didn't hurt this decision! (They'd hoped to ask him about the woman)).
So taking a week's provisions (for the most part) the party set off. As usual Simon, Durnfal, and Hooman rode while Greystone, Tamerlan, and Burning Willow walked. Unusually Peracles the sorceror tagged along, riding pillion with Simon on his horse. The party travelled for almost two days without event to a spot where they decided to stop so they could spy out what the broos were up to. Unfortunately the next two days a storm blew up and snowed them in. The following day Peracles sent his projected vision out and spied that there were 13 broos all together, with one broo boss, four who seemed to be guarding the hole (which was about ten meters across and five meters deep) while the rest dug or hauled dirt. They seemed to be taking the removed dirt into the nearby forest and just dumping it there out of immediate sight of the hole. Two broos always seemed to be out of the hole lugging baskets of dirt into the trees. When a hawk rider flew over the broos outside of the hole ran and hid in the woods out of sight.
The party decided to split up, with Durnfal, Hooman and Peracles riding up while the rest snuck up close to hole through the forest. While the bulk of the party was sneaking through the woods the big boss broo went down into the hole to chew out one of the broos. The riders moved slowly towards the hole along the edge of the woods while the rest tried to sneak up on the diggers. They managed to get fairly close without alerting the broos but didn't manage to catch them in the woods. The broos heard them moving in the woods and didn't go back in. They waited near the hole trying to decide what to do. One of the guards was about to send them back in when the horsemen showed up. The pair started firing arrows (Hooman from horseback and Durnfal dismounted). The broos started returning fire from the long bows they were carrying (the dirt bearers used slings instead). When the broos started returning fire Peracles leapt off of the horse. MIssile fire proving ineffective the guard sent the flunkey broos to attack the skulkers in the woods instead while he followed them up. He was the victim of a sorcerous hinder spell which made him very ineffective. Simon's horse was wounded and ran off. The party in the woods engaged the broos and started a long drawn out fight. Simon impaled one of the broos in the head and couldn't get his dagger out right away. (He spent three rounds trying to pull it out and contracted a disease which turned out to be the sniffles, fortunately. He was lucky because there weren't any broos around to hit him, the slowed guard tried but he couldn't get at him). The broos tried to climb out of the hole to fight but Peracles unleashed a sylph on them which snatched three broos off the ladders and dropped them into the holes to their deaths before being wounded and running away.
Once all the broos were out of the hole the boss broo sent them en mass into the woods to attack the party and get out of sight of the archers. Durnfal and Hooman moved closer and Hooman kept shooting into close combat without regard for his friends!
The attackers were slaughtered with no real danger to the party, even Burning Willow managed to bloody her spear. (Tamerlan managed to trip over a dead broo but that's par for the course!) The boss broo and one flunky managed to escape, three of the good fighters were slain by missile fire near the pit while the other was shot down in the woods as he (slowly) tried to flee. The rest were cut down where they stood. The sylph was put to good use dumping broo bodies in the pit and then collecting wood to try and burn the corpses. (Burning Willow asked the wood spirits permission first, of course!) The party, minus their horses (which had either run off wounded or been killed outright (Hooman's had been hit in the chest by a lucky shot which necessitated his rapid dismounting). The party refused to take the horses and Durnfal saw that they didn't suffer needlessly.
They returned to the citadel where Simon was forced to camp outside until a priestess declared him clean of disease.
Last updated October 09, 2016
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