Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Breaking Balentyne: Part I

Dear, Constant Reader, this is for you. Going forward I will no longer be telling this from the perspective of a journal. I find myself time and time again wanting to retell the story. So going on this will be a story instead of a journal. I hope you will still enjoy what my players and I have to share with you. 

The Armory

10:15 P.M Day 117, Rova  17, 3042 AP (After Peace)

Day 7, 23 days remaining.

So it was decided. Drae, Kiliketz, Styx, and Maldrake's familiar Hellmare pressed on through the trap door of the storage room to further investigate the garrison. They left the storage area and found themselves in a circular room. An old stairway rose to an upper level while a strong wooden door exited to the west. There were a few old weapons laying around and a currently shutdown but recently used forge. The quartet scavenged slightly through the weaponry, perhaps to find masterwork or magical items and could find nothing.

Before proceeding through strong wooden door, Kiliketz listened for any sounds. The little mephit heard not one single iota of noise. He showed an affirmative to this and proceeded to open the door. This opened to a ten foot wide thirty foot long hall way that turned sharply north at the end. Hellmare reported telepathically back to Maldrake of the passages and safe passage at least thus far. Because of this, the rest of the group carefully came up through the trapped door. Grumblejack had a difficult time as he was very large.

Maldrake spoke, "We should check upstairs first before proceeding. We don't know what could be on those upper floors."

Kiliketz and Hellmare went up stairs. They found themselves in a large circular chamber to which this open room six large flags hang on the wall. Perhaps these could be hiding spots at a later point. Maldrake was not exactly ready to move upward, but knowing the upper floor was not occupied the hallway proved to be a better exploration point for now.

Stix went forward following Drae. They looked around the corner in the decently lit hallway. Raising a fist to tell the party to stop, he held his palm out in moved it to mimic a door opening and closing and held up five fingers on his right hand. He pointed to Kiliketz and motioned him to come forward.

Drae whispered to the mephit, "I need you to listen to each of these doors. Can you do that?"

Chuckling to himself Kiliketz laughed out, "Oh course I can grey one." He placed his ear against the first door on the right and could hear nothing.  Drae with aid of Stix, unlocked the door and pushed it open to find themselves in a well kept room. The clean L-shaped room contained a bed, a wardrobe, a desk and a chair here as well as other typical furnishings. The only thing of any value here was Captain Barhold’s medal of commendation, which had an inscription on the back. The inscription on the solid gold medal read:

"Sir Captain Barhold may the way of Mitra guide you ever forward."

Other than this small discovered the desk had some used writing utensils and blank parchment. The wardrobe also had some ratty boots. Drae recalled something odd about the name of this Captain. Before proceeding he went back to the group and said, "I believe this person has a relation to Bellam. His last name was Barhold as well."

The group shrugged this small discovery off and continued to clear rooms.  They switched to the left side and repeated again. Kiliketz placing his ear to the door, waiting for sounds and together they would unlock the door. This room was a slightly smaller room and was very well kept but clearly had not been occupied in a very long time. There was almost nothing of any value here save a few dusty clothes in the wardrobe which might fetch a few silver.  Stix closed the door behind him and they locked the room back up.

Moving northward to the next room on the left, the group found the jack pot of rooms. Clearly they must have stumbled onto the Captain's rooms. As before no sounds could be heard and they opened up the door to an amazingly clean and wealthy looking room. Searching the wardrobe revealed a small chest with nearly thirty pounds of assorted finery. There was also twenty pounds of mixed royal clothing. These items were snatched up as well. As Stix and Kiliketz began to move out of the room, Drae stopped them.

"Wait you two. I think there is a secret wardrobe with in the wardrobe. Interesting, what do we have here?" Drae inquired.

Pulling at a small slit in the back of the wardrobe revealed a hidden door that had a mix of envelopes and letters.  Motioning for Stix and Kiliketz they went back to the armory to go over the letters. He handed one to Kallista, Maldrake, and Urgeon. Urgeon began to read his out loud, "My dear Kaitlyn. Another night of unbearable tossing the turning has plagued me once more. I wish our love did not have to hide like a snake in a bush. I will be in town again tonight. When you husband leaves, signal me as such by leaving a leaf in your window."

Maldrake continued on with his given letter, "That was an amazing night Kaitlyn. Your body is as sweet as the autumn dawn on a Rova morning. I cannot stand being away from you. I wish your oaf of a husband wasn't in the way. We could then be together forever."

Kallista then finished with her letter, "My love of my life Zacharias, you make me feel like the women I was meant to be. I am torn that I must live in this prison of hate while looking onward to my palace of lust. I have a surprise for you next time we meet."

After returning the letters to Drae for safe keeping, Kallista said, "So the rumors were right. Maybe we could use these letters to our advantage. Drae keep those close to your chest."

They all returned back to the hall way keeping the louder of the bunch on the back but Kiliketz then listened to the final room before checking the far north door. This door was locked and no sound could be found. Upon opening the door there was only a bed and a tiny table with a parchment on it. The parchment was a route that surrounded the town of Aldencross. Drae put this info into his pouch as they locked the door behind them.

The tiny ice mephit listened to this door now. He reported that he could hear the clanking of armor and the footsteps of men getting louder as they moved from east back to west. There was clearly something or someone out there. The rag tag group backed off initially to discuss what they should do. They left Kiliketz at the door while they formulated a plan. In the next five to seven minutes or so he reported knew information.

He said, "These footsteps stay steady for only about thirty seconds when they pass the door going east. They take almost two minutes to return when they get back from the west."

Maldrake stepped up and sent Hellmare out once more. With only a few seconds Hellmare reported back telepathically to Maldrake what he could see.

"Master, this is a huge hallway. Twenty feet wide, easily one hundred fifty feet to the west and another twenty to the east. I can see two southern doors and three northern doors towards the end of the hallway. At each end are gigantic doors. Easily big enough to walk animals and wagons through. What shall I do master?" the invisible familiar explained..

Maldrake replied, "No, come back through if it is safe."

The familiar did as he was asked and the door was closed. 

"We should poison their water supply or food supply or something." Kallista advised.

"I concur, but we must find it." Maldrake replied.

There was a moment of confusion on the poison remaining. Drae was sure he used all of it but, Urgeon produced one more five pound bag of the arsenic. A collective smile graced everyone's faces. First though, they retreated back to the armory to begin their trek to the top of the tower.

The Archer's Strongpoint

10:30 P.M Day 117, Rova  17, 3042 AP (After Peace)

Day 7, 23 days remaining.

They passed though the flag room, ignoring the door leading to the west much like the hallway in the armory and continued upward. This level after a close inspection turned out to be a key archer’s strong point. Arrow slits adorn its entire outer wall. Wooden racks contain the watchtower’s store of arrows. Four thousand normal arrows neatly sorted into a two hundred quivers of twenty arrows each hang on the racks.

Maldrake commented that we should maybe snap them or destroy them but instead we moved along for fear of making too much noise and we were not sure where we were.  This did not dissuade Stryder from snatching up five quivers of arrows for himself. Kallista decided however to take a gander out some of the arrow slots.

What she saw left her gape-mouthed for a moment. Out of most of the slits the tower they were clearly in overlooked most of the landscape beyond. As she moved to the northern side of the wall, the gate house stood below and across the river. She could see two sets of bridges now. A wide sturdy one that was most likely the entrance to this place. It was large enough to accommodate two or three horses abreast.  One end went back towards the west and was not able to view due to the corner of the garrison obscuring vision. To the east was a draw bridge with the bridge up.

The others took a gander on by one as they saw the scale of fortress at which they were tasked with infiltrating. It looked so small to them from the city of Aldencross. To see it in person words could not do it justice. Filthy Mitra loving scum they may be, ignorant engineers be they not. Twenty-five feet above the large walkway they could also see the a smaller bridge that was no wider than perhaps ten feet. Equipped at staggered intervals were buckets or some sort of mechanical contraptions. Regardless of what the group was seeing, the purpose was clear: Punish enemies with whatever tricks this garrison had up their sleeve who dared opening walk along that lower walkway.

The Rookery

10:45 P.M Day 117, Rova  17, 3042 AP (After Peace)

Day 7, 23 days remaining.

At the next level a foul stench hit each nose with a force that if viewed carefully one could see them actually take a quarter of a step back. The Nessian Knot found themselves in twenty by ten foot room with two solid wood doors. Carefully, Maldrake placed an ear to the door and could hear a muffled scuffling.

Drae stepped to the door and gently tried to open it and it was firmly locked. He began to pick the lock and after only a few brief moments he had it open. He peeked inside to see almost no light except for a candle on the other side of the room. Drae closed the door carefully and turned to the party, "It is the rookery. I don't know if it is he, but from those rumors that just might be Mad Martin" Drae said.

Drae looked into the door once again and stepped in a bit more being very careful not to let any unneeded light.  With great stealth he examined the area. The stench was greater now. The floors were covered with an inch of raven droppings. To the right on Martin's desk was a signal horn. He took a mental note of this and returned to the group.

Stryder and Stix turned up their noses at the sight and smell of his boots.  They were covered to the laces. A plan was in order. It was agreed that a plan needed to be formulated. Drae was fairly confident that he could end this miserably little man's life and send him to Mitra thirty seconds before he knew he was there. After hearing about the signal horn, Maldrake was taking no chances.

"Hellmare will go in with you and grab the signal horn as you jump him. We will follow in after we get the signal from Hellmare." Maldrake advised.

Drae simply nodded and cracked the door slightly and entered. The stench of decaying bird shit was not as overtly a problem as walking on it. Squash, squish, squash. Closer now. He raised one of his rapiers up to strike the blow to Mad Martin. He watched Hellmare appear near Martin and disappear. Drae nodded to the infernal creature.

With a lunge Drae struck the studying man in the side of his back. He let out a howl of pain and quickly jumped up from the his chair and went to reach for his signal horn only to see it float away. Maldrake and Kallista plowed in first, followed by Stix and Styder. Grumblejack and Urgeon brought up the rear. The fight was over in only a few swift seconds but not before Martin was able to command one or two swarms of ravens to crash down on Drae. They pecked and scratched all over his body. Drae nearly lost an eye.

This proved to be futile as Drae plunged his rapiers first into his neck and then into his chest. The blood which proceeded to flow was sticky, as Martin's body with limp. Drae slid the sad sack off his weaponry and gave it a flick. The raven's aggression subsided. Drae handed Maldrake his wand that could cure lighter wounds and with in a few flourishes he was good as new again.

Standing at the stairway leading back down, it was discussed that the rookery may not be usable with out Mad Martin, but the ravens are still alive and well.

"How do you expect to deal with them all?" Kallista asked.

"Grumblejack can kill puny ravens." Grumblejack replied and went on into the door. Worried the party looked in at the sheer comedic sight. This nearly ten foot tall monstrosity is grabbing at the ravens. He snagged three or four out of the hundred flying around. They left him be for a few minutes while they continued to come up with a plan.

Stix spoke up first by raising a bomb and a flame about to lick the fuse, "I got a plan." Maldrake dismissed the small goblin.

Maldrake and Drae began discussing the idea of poisoning the water supply of these ravens. There was further debating on how much arsenic was left. While Maldrake, Drae, and Urgeon were calculating the poundage of the last small bag of arsenic an unbelievably loud explosion to which was followed by a brilliant flash of light. Stix cackled with glee as the flaming corpses of some three or four hundred raven's lay charred around Grumblejack's feet. Stix hopped up and down and all around.  Scuffing in sadistic circles as he kicked up bodies of dead raven's to and fro. A couple raven's even lay askew the cold stone walls. This proved to be quite a compliment of Stix's bomb making skills as the room 40 feet in diameter.

Kallista glared at the small alchemist and began rushing everyone back into the rookery as Maldrake listened for any reinforcements. Ten minutes passed as no one came to check on poor Martin and his dead ravens. Attempting to scold the young goblin proved to be futile. He only smiled.  They allowed him to continue his work. After the rookery was finished, Grumblejack ate what he could of Martin before the party had to move on.

Maldrake spoke up, "Shouldn't we do something with the remains?"

Urgeon simply replied, "The disgusting piece of unworthiness was eating his food up among the ravens. Look at the stacks of his dishes. The servants probably leave his meals at the door, knock and run away. I know I would."

So it was decided to be safe to move on. Before they could get completely out of the door, Grumblejack scooped up some charred bird and had himself a snack.

From Flag Room to Courtyard

11:15 P.M Day 117, Rova  17, 3042 AP (After Peace)

Day 7, 23 days remaining.

The door to the courtyard was unlocked. It was not well lit aside from torches near a building to a the north. The moonlight shined over the open yard as a large fountain was the first visual landmark. To the direct west and east of the door there were sets of stairs leading up.  The cobblestone pathway led northwest and was difficult to see where it would end as a smaller build to the west of the door was blocking the view. But not blocking enough to realize at the center of this courtyard was an inner tower that raised upwards of around another 70 feet.  The stairs leading upward had shown that the lay out was that of a typical garrison, high stone walls, guard perches that surround the courtyard though no troops could be see.

As if on schedule or secretly listening in a flicker of light could be see bouncing up and down along the walls as shadows changed shape. It was quickly identifiable as a bulls-eye lantern. Almost in perfect timing, the same light could be seen by looking up and to the east. The party and narrowly missed opening the door right as a guard was passing by. Instead, this guard was about to start his own rounds among the top level of the garrison. Maldrake took action first.

"Hellmare, I want you to fly up and out and please tell me what you can see." Maldrake telepathically commanded. And so the little creature went invisible and did as it was told.  Flying high into the air it could survey the large open area and massive walls. There were only two guards on duty that it could count of as their bulls-eye lanterns lit up massive expanses of area at a time. In only a few minutes there was enough area covered to report back a decent run down of the layout.

"Master, there are two guards that alternate. At all times there is one on the ground and one on the surrounding edges." Hellmare reminded. Maldrake patted his familiar on the head. They retreated back into the flag room and formulated a plan of attack.

Urgeon made the point that a surprise attack would be optimal but would need to look natural, "We know that each of these scum has a signal horn and isn't afraid to use it. We also do not know how the system of alarming each other is setup. This attack must look normal and thus I think I have the solution."

Maldrake and Kallista listened attentively.

"See what we do, is attack with a group of eagles that I can summon." Urgeon suggested.

Grumblejack spoke up next, "Why eagles? Grumblejack not afraid of eagles, why ug'ins be afraid of eagles?"

Urgeon looked upon the ogre with admiration of his question, "Because dear ogre, we can't very well summon a demon or other kind of unwordly being. Surely they would not be alarmed at being attacked by some stray eagles."

Grumblejack shrugged and sat down.

Drae commented, "What about the ground level guard?"

Urgeon replied, "Well, it seems that they have an order to what they do. If we take out one, the other can't signal while another attack is happening. We would probably make too much noise to go unheard but a pack of eagles could be just quite enough that the guard won't know what happened before it is too late."

"Then I want to help end that ones life, I'm stealthy enough to pull it off." Drae retorted confidently if not a bit arrogantly.

Maldrake sent hellmare out again to tell them when the guard was about to go to the top level of the courtyard. Once signal was given, the attack commenced. Urgeon summoned three eagles to attack the guard while Drae cast grease on the bulls-eye lantern. Naturally the guard lost grip on his lantern and was in extremely low light. Balentyne must not have cared too much about inner security as this guard dropped to his knees with in a few quick strokes from Drae and a couple pecks and bites from the eagles.

The lantern let out a brilliant burst of flames as the glass broke and the oil ignited. Drae motioned to the group to get to the other guard before he could see the flames. Quickly Maldrake, Kallista and Stix moved to the corner of the large inner tower to jump the unsuspecting guard from the left.  Stryder, Grumblejack, and the rest stayed close to the southern building to jump him from the right.

They could see him walking down the stairs after coming from the north west. His lantern gave him away easily. Forty feet, he walked absent-mindlessly to his death. Thirty feet, he stopped to lace his boot. Closer now. Drae came up behind Grumblejack, wand ready to cast grease. Twenty feet, he was close enough to see his tired eyes. His armor wasn't even properly put on. Ten feet, and appearing below his feet was a puddle of grease.  With out fail, the trooper fell flat on his ass and his signal horn, lantern, and a few arrows went flying. Maldrake and Stix were on top of him before he even knew what had happened. Like clockwork, the party swarmed the defenseless guard. Stryder put a couple shots into him as everyone else took their shots in turn. His limp body lay beaten and bloody. Grumblejack feasted a bit more but left most of the remains.

The Choir Hall

11:45 P.M Day 117, Rova  17, 3042 AP (After Peace)

Day 7, 23 days remaining.

Before entering the inner tower the party though it best to venture to the smaller buildings first. Listening closely there was no sign of activity beyond the ornate doors. Drae and Stix both confirmed that these doors were not locked, nor were they trapped. They opened the doors and before them was a magnificent choir hall.  Apart form the well made pews and Mitra inspired decor, it was only a mere church. They looked in just slightly to see around the edges of the ceilings, statutes of numerous saints of the Mitran faith. It is calmly lit and well maintained.

Maldrake wasn't interested in entering. Kallista felt the same way. There was nothing of importance in here. She mentioned the rumor about strange magical statues singing with the singers. It made them worried to enter. Though nothing seemed unusual. So, they left the church alone and moved on.

The Stables

11:55 P.M Day 117, Rova  17, 3042 AP (After Peace)

Day 7, 23 days remaining.

Moving directly south of the church, they came upon the smaller building to which was unidentified. Going around to the west of the building revealed the familiar doors of a stable. There were no animals inside. It looked as though it may have been empty for a while. Much like the church there was nothing of great interest here and to this group contained the same level of life as the church.

The Great Hall

12:05 P.M Day 118, Rova  18, 3042 AP (After Peace)

Day 8, 22 days remaining.

They could hear the footsteps. Unsure of how many, but plenty sure this snowball wasn't going to get any smaller, the burst in. The doors flew open and two shocked guards turned to see the sinister party baring down on them. They drew their weapons an prepared for a fight. If there were any question about something evil being afoot, it was made apparently clear when Stix let loose a bomb in the stone gathering place. The explosion rocked the walls and dust fluttered from the rafters. The blast ripped up the flesh of the approaching guards as the flames lit one of them a blaze. This enraged the solider further. He charged towards that party taking a swing.  The solider that was at the farther part of the great hall lifted his signal horn and let it blow.

"I knew we should have waited outside!" one of the guards yelled out.

The howling signal rippled through the room. For as tiny as the horn was the sound was magnificent. It was louder than the explosion.  Though as soon as the signal horn was finished, two more guards were already coming down the stairs.  Grumblejack advanced along side Kallista and exchanged blows with the first two guards. The latter warriors began their charge as well.  Urgeon summoned a mini armada of elementals to join the fray. Being lightning elementals they were able to fly about with great speed and agility. They thrashed at the guards with amazing power. The guards were clearly out numbered and were doomed or so it seemed. Styder let loose a flurry of arrows from across the room. Missing with frustration, the arrows flew off into the distance. Just as Maldrake began to close in on the right as Drae closed in on the left four more guards stormed down the stairs.

Stix was at it again. Letting another bomb fly over the party it landed perfectly positioned t cause immense damage. Immense damage was an understatement. It caught another two guards on fire and dropped another. Drae and Maldrake began their part in the fray dealing quite a bit of respectable injuries to the average armored troops. Their screams filled The Great Hall and echoed up the cold stone stairway. Grumblejack bashed down one of the guards as Kallista dispatched another guard. Her blackblade supercharged with a shocking grasp electrocuted the poor man to his knees.

Urgeon directed his lightning brutes to converge on their targets. With their powerful attacks the troops proved to be party tigers among a sea of scissors. The electrical bursts from each attack were amplified as the soldiers breastplates made for perfect conductors of the powerful strikes. Sizzling hair and boiling skin soon began to stink up the large room. What would normally give way to proud moments of rallying and perhaps even a banquet or two instead provided shelter to remarkable display of carnage.

Though the troops were no match for the group at hand, the numbers were getting worrisome. Two more guards came down the stairs only to be introduced to more bombs. These final two unlucky souls took the brunt of Grumblejack's fists and Kallista swift blade. In addition to that unlikely tag team Maldrake began to chill the breast plate of one of the troops. You could see the season of his face. A summer evening, calm and relaxing as he barley noticed a change. It was already closing in on winter in the north. Into fall where the poor boy was attempted to adjust his breastplate while trying to dodge attacks. When he then was succumbed to the winter blasts as his armor seized around him and caused great pains to strain against the frozen metal. He didn't last long before the party took him down.  There was still one final troop left standing as one more solider began his way down the stairs, though this was no mere solider like the other rift raft that Nessian Knot had been forging a path against.

Rushing down the stairway came a dashing knight adorned in brilliant plate armor. It shine so bright that it appeared to amplify from the torch lights in the area. An armor decorated with golden trim and holy symbols of Mitra. Through the open face plate one could see a black beard aging on the edge of gray. His wrinkled but handsome face peered with concern but also pity for his fallen comrades. He bellowed out to the heretics, "Lay low your weapons, less you risk endangering your mortal souls any further with this villainy!"

The reply came with a blotch of grease below his feet to which he shook off with ease and began by cutting Grumblejack down with ease only to turn and strike down one of the elementals. It looked dreary at first. This mammoth of a paladin was crushing our dear party with great ease. Stryder's aim became much better as he plunked a few arrow through the tough plate. Most of the melee struggled greatly and to quite a fault. The lightning elementals did score a few good blows and as Drae came in to get his share of the fun, Stix took this as an invitation to quite literally light up the party. The incoming explosive hit the knight square at his feet and set him a blaze. Sadly it also knocked Drae flat on his back and left him unconscious. Kallista unleashed a flurry of magic missiles against the holy man.

The lone knight renewed his mighty blows and struck Kallista down with a smite only the gods of old could resemble. It was as if she didn't exist. She was reduced to nothing. He turned with excellent agility to then clobber the other elemental and dispatch it to the whatever realm it came from.  Maldrake did revive the party only to have the Knight knock some of them back down once more.  The hero of the day was the psychotic pyromaniac of a goblin named Stix. The little green bastard kept the Knight lit on fire while everyone else was slowly pinging him away. The group fought long and hard. While the fight only took a couple minutes, it seemed like a life time.

So there the group stood, in The Great Hall panting over a pile of partially charred and bloody corpses. Maldrake took Draes wand to cure everyone to a healthy state and retrieved the magical armor and other great rewards from the dead. It felt like a turning point of immense triumph. Kallista was estatic to awaken to the dead Mitran scum. She plunged her Blackblade into the skulls of each body, feeling the surge of pleasing joy from herself to the blade and back again. After gathering their composure and realizing what their mission was, Kallista was ready for the action.

"Signal the Bugbears! We have taken out at least half of these troops!" she commanded.

Maldrake kneeled to pray and began to ask his god a question, "Is it time great one. Have we done enough? Will we bring glory to you and to Thorn?" Maldrake was quickly answered in the negative. "I'm afraid not Kallista. We have a lot of work to do."

They decided to move on and not rest. Drae and Maldrake both were concerned about leaving all those arrows left to use. Drae lifted a torch from one of the walls and motioned to Maldrake to head to the archer's room.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The Way to Balentyne

7:00 P.M - Day 116, Rova  16, 3042 AP (After Peace)

Day 6, 24 days remaining.

The Beginning

The Dalliance at night.

We spent most of our day gathering any tools we may need for this venture. We stocked up on what food we could gather from The Dalliance and began our trek. We knew it would take the rest of the day and most of the next. So we cleaned up the inn as best we could as to not raise suspicion about Bellam and Alicia being gone. 

Drae met up with us before we proceeded onward. We thanked him for his excellent work and welcomed him to go forward with us to take down Balentyne.  As I write this, the trip is unbelievably dull. Bellam must have really been hurting for money to want to make this trip by himself. We lugged our gear for miles with no real indication of how far we had traveled. It was starting to stink to high heavens as well. Grumblejack insisted on bring the bodies of Bellam and Alicia for snacks.  It didn't matter much. The stench was worth the moments of peace. 

12:00 A.M Day 117, Rova  17, 3042 AP (After Peace)

Day 7, 23 days remaining.

Faith in Grumblejack

Into the tunnel we go.

We had spent the last five hours traversing the dark and dank tunnel on our way to Balentyne. We finally decided to setup camp and rest. Maldrake and Stryder worked to get a small flame going, which left eerie shadows among the tunnel walls. Grumblejack sat down with us.

"Grumblejack has question." The ogre blurted out of almost no where. After all he had been deadly silent the entire trip thus far. 

Maldrake looked to the ogre and replied, "Yes Grumblejack. What question do you have?"

“Hmmm...” said the ogre suddenly suprising contemplative. “Grumblejack not know much about the gods. Men who wear Mitran suns always hated Grumblejack, so Grumblejack hate them back. What gods like ogres?”

Maldrake later confessed to us that he didn't know which gods gave two shits about ogres but he knew Grumblejack wasn't exactly privy to the information either. He told the ogre, "Asmodeus is the only god who does."

“So, Asmodeus likes ogres, eh? Can Grumblejack still fight and worship Asmodeus?” Grumblejack questioned.

Maldrake nodded.

“Can Grumblejack eat people and worship Asmodeus?”

Maldrake smiled and nodded. 

“Can Grumblejack get revenge on people who throw him in prison and worship Asmodeus?”

Maldrake nodded.

“Then Grumblejack worship Asmodeus.” His mood immediately shifted from contemplative to joyous. Grumblejack danced around with almost childlike glee. “Yay! Now Grumblejack have god too! Nobody stop Grumblejack with god on his side! Wait ... isn’t Asmodeus god of badness, devils and telling fibs? Does worshipping devil-god make Grumblejack bad person?”

Maldrake shook his head.

Grumblejack gently approached Kallista and placed his fingers around her holy symbol.  He inspected it carefully. Then he walked back to the bones of Bellam and Alicia. He began snapping bones and biting down to create fine details.  He bit down on a strand of rope to break up the threads and began weaving it around the bones. 

We looked upon these actions for about an hour as he worked on some sort of artwork or contraption we really were not sure what.  During that time we finished our little camp and setup our bedrooms. We downed a little mead and some bread.

Grumblejack stood up holding a mess of bones and string. He turned his back to us, put the string over his neck and turned back around. "Now Grumblejack have symbol too!"

An oversized symbol of Asmodeus is what he had created. He laughed out loud and pat him on the back.  Grumblejack had smiled and we went off to bed. 

10:00 P.M Day 117, Rova  17, 3042 AP (After Peace)

Day 7, 23 days remaining.

The Arrival

There was not much more to write about this day. We spent the entire day walking and finally made it to the end point. The storage area was above us. We pried open the secret door and it revealed that Bellam was telling us the truth. There was no way this place was used on any sign of a regular basis. Dirt, mold, and cobwebs were everywhere and on everything. We left the area and went back down into the tunnel to discuss what we needed to do.  

Our group was far to large to go together. We would be making too much noise. We picked out Stix and Drae to begin scouting. They were clearly our stealthiest members. We brought this up and they agreed. Grumblejack did not.

He stepped on and said, "Listen, Grumblejack be stealthy. Grumblejack is going."

We looked at each other nervously.

Grumblejack went on, “Grumblejack have no problem with plan. Grumblejack quiet as death! One time, Grumblejack sneak up on a farmer to steal sheep. The farmer turned around and look me straight in the eyes. He so scared, little man make water. Grumblejack asked him if he saw anything. Farmer say no. 

Grumblejack stopped and smiled.

“See...Grumblejack VERY stealthy.”

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Inn Trouble

6:00 A.M - Day 116, Rova  16, 3042 AP (After Peace)

Day 6, 24 days remaining.


There was a knock at the door. A hunched over old lady answered the door. 

"Mama, it's time again, lets get your stew up and out!" a solider gleefully exclaimed.
Drae gets to work.

"Oh deary me my boys. I don't think I can today. My back is all bad after making this last batch. Please though, take the stew to the hard working soldiers.  I will see you next month for the next batch." She croaked.

"Oh alright mama, it sure won't be the same with out you there. You get some rest mama." the soldiers said as they helped load the giant cauldron. 

As the door closed, Drae revealed himself and because to quickly pull up the floor boards once more so he could properly dispose of the body. The only place he could think to hide her was the tunnel below the Dalliance.

9:00 A.M - Day 116, Rova  16, 3042 AP (After Peace)

Day 6, 24 days remaining.

The Dalliance
The Dalliance still a mess.

We awoke today to pounding on the front door of The Lord's Dalliance. There was shouting as well. We all went down to the main area of the tavern. We peeked through the shutters and saw a crowd of about ten or eleven townsfolk and just as many soldiers.

"Come on Bellam! What is the hold up? We want our breakfast and coffee. You oversleep again you god damn lush! You were suppose to be opened three hours ago" a disgruntled solider bellowed.

Stix ran to Maldrake's room and pounded on the door. "Maldrake! Wake up." He pounded on the others door as well and they began to stumble out. "We have customers!"

Maldrake shook his head in disbelief and looked to Kallista who just stepped out of her own room. "Bellam is haunting us again. We killed him but we didn't think about his business." He put on his circlet and turned into a common chef. "Well, lets go we have customer's waiting."

Kallista, Urgeon, and Stix did the same. They let the few people in  and quickly apologized and tried their best to scrounge up some grits and pieces of meat.  The patrons scoffed at the obviously shoddy food and drink. They ate it none the less.  Maldrake could see Kallista's temper being tested with all the Mitra-loving scum.

Time was not on our side.  We also had to wonder what happened to Drea. Did he actually make it to Mama's house? Did we make a mistake trusting him? So many questions still left unanswered.  Or we so we thought. Almost as though a request for a response were surveyed among the tavern patrons we heard surprisingly great news all things considered.

"I need this pay, I can't be sent home because that damn priest thinks we might be coming down with something. Maybe if those soldiers who were sick would keep their pants up instead of in bed with whores I could be working right now!"

Curious Urgeon looking as a chef approached the young man and asked "What happened to the soldiers?"

"Some sickness. I'm not sure what, it happened about an hour ago. The troops were having a great time, they were enjoying Mama's soup, even though she couldn't make it because her back was ailing her." 

Urgeon replied, "Oh, how many? Is it serious?"

Smartly the soldier came back with, "How the hell should I know? I'm not a medic! All I know is about seven died and twenty-seven of them down and out with sickness!"

Urgeon walked away smiling once his back was turned. Clearly Drae succeeded. 

We shuffled on for about another hour and as the crowds died off but before the lunch hour could hit us, we decided to put up signs in The Lord's Dalliance advising patrons that they would be closed for at least three weeks because Bellam and his wife had to leave to go to Ghastenall to see about her parents. We had no idea if this is where the parents were or if they were alive but the chances were in our favor that the patrons don't know either.  Regardless, we were going to infiltrate Balentyne tonight. The clock had started for us. 

However at least for a few days if things go badly we know this place can be our refuge. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Bellam's Basement Adventure

11:15 P.M - Day 115, Rova  15, 3042 AP (After Peace)

Day 5, 25 days remaining.

The End

Back to the tunnel once more.
Urgeon, Stixx, and Grumblejack who was carried down by Stixx to be as quite as possible laid low in the basement of The Lord's Dalliance since around 9 P.M.  Maldrake waited for his familiar to signal him telepathically. With just a few moments after 11 P.M Maldrake got the signal. Sure as shit runs down a privy, with a careful gaze through a his cracked bedroom door Bellam was tip toeing down the flight of stairs to the lower level of the establishment.  Maldrake, Stryder, and Kallista moved only five feet at a time to ensure absolute silence while they followed him.

The ugly human is going down the stairs master. Same as before master.

Little one, tell the others this, they should be downstairs Warn them not to scare him away..

Master says to tell you the ugly human is coming. Run, hide, do not scare him away.

Grumblejack, Stixx, and Urgeon rushed back about two-hundred feet to stay out of immediate range. They could hear the large stone slab behind the false wall began to grind open and thus began prepared themselves. Bellam had either become careless or overly confident as he didn't even bother closing the secret door this time. He stepped carefully.

Maldrake, his familiar, Kiliketz, Kallista, and Stryder moved in and saw the door wide open. They saw the innkeeper just leaving their sight and closed in. With no regard to being quite or acknowledgement of stealth Maldrake and Stryder slammed the secret door shut.  Urgeon summoned earth elementals and they began to earth glide into the walls of the tunnel. They traveled inside the stone walls detecting the tremors made by the walking Bellam. Bellam has no idea he was being followed by the minions.

We could now see the look of terror on Bellam's face and he looked behind himself and began to walk further and faster down the tunnel. Uregon motioned to his minions to get ready and grab his legs to trip him and trip him they did.  Bellam quickly looked around with a confused but still horrified look as the elemental grabbed his legs and dropped him to the ground.  He howled and screamed. They surrounded the little man, holding him easily in place. 

"Shut up. No one can hear you down here. Make any more moves and my elementals will glide you into the walls and leave you in a prison of stone." Urgeon warned.
Bellam was not cut out for this life.

"Nu, nu, nooo. I, I, I, I, will give you what you want. I didn't think anyone needed the, th, the, wine." Bellam stuttered.

Maldrake and the rest closed in, "Oh no friend. We are here for more than wine." he said with a sadistic guffaw.  "You're going to tell us what you know about this tunnel and your going to tell us right now." He added with a small kick to the weak man's back as he was trying to get up from being tripped.

Bellam's situation began to become more and more real to him as his torch revealed the guests who had been staying in his inn. He nervously continued, "If this is about The Dalliance's service, I assure you, I can make sure you are handsomely refunded."

Silence and nothing but filled the barely lit tunnel. We look at each other and began to laugh.

"Get up." Urgeon commanded and lifted the scrawny man to his feet. Two streams of wet could be seen running down each pant leg.

Surrounding him, they all took off their circlets and began to transform. Bellam's eyes bulged with barley controlled chaos and bared his teeth in dismay. Shifting his eyes from a gnome one moment to a goblin the next. We could debate all day about what really caused him to shit his trousers, but we knew it was seeing a two foot tall ugly gnome transform into an almost ten foot tall ogre. Grumblejack smiled at Bellam.

"Oh no. What do you want from me?" Bellam asked.

"What are you doing down here?" Kallista asked.

Taking a huge and deep breathe, Bellam began, "Ok, Ok, Ok. I give in. Captain Barhold was going to put away at least a couple years worth of the finest wine this side of the watch wall. We're not even at war and supplies keep getting wasted on that blasted garrison!  It's not right! My family and generations before me have always supported the troops of this region and we get nothing for it. So about twenty months ago I chased a couple rats down here and saw this door open, and then I decided to go in and that's when I found the stash of food and such at the garrison and I and I and I though I should have some and."

Kallista slapped him, "Get a hold of yourself. Go on."

"It wasn't right to see it go to waste so I took it. I know it's a crime, please don't turn me in to Balentyne, they will send me to Branderscar. I can't live with filth like that." Bellam said.

Maldrake bent over and picked up the dropped torch and rolled up his sleeve. He stepped right up to Bellam and put the torch near his arm and showed him the forsaken brand. With a smirk Maldrake stated, "You already have been." Then he slugged him and caught him before he could go down.

"You've got a lot worse to worry about than Balentyne good buddy." Urgeon said.

"I'm bored with him. He's useless and worse he's weak. Feed him to Grumblejack." Kallista added nonchalantly.

"Wh, wha, what? No, no, not that. Ok, Let's see, the tunnel is roughly 50 miles long. It goes along the coast and heads all the way to Balentyne. No one knows about it, not even the high ranking officers, generals, or anyone!" Bellam exclaimed.

We all nodded and gestured for him to continue.

Kallista was done playing games.
"That storage they use is old and moldy. Only the iron rations are any good. Even still, they continue to stock it with new things every eight or nine months and I go up the tunnel about three weeks after and have what is deserved. It doesn't matter, like I said no one knows about this place. It used to be for whores and no one knows about it!" Bellam repeated.

Stixx lit a bomb and puts out the fuse, lights it again, and puts it out, while looking at Bellam and said "That's too bad for you, right Kallista? Right Maldrake? Right Urgeon?"

"Grumblejack, feast away." Kallista beckoned.

"No please wait!" Bellam begged.

Kallista motioned for Grumblejack to stop just as he was about to take off Bellam's hand. "Yes?"

What came next was mostly a mishmash of ramblings, whines, and cries. Kallista had heard enough and just as she was about to motion again Bellam spoke up with something so surprising and shocking to Kallista that she was momentarily speechless. A rare thing for Kallista mind you.

Bellam began, "Now, I don't mean to threaten you. This is not a threat. I am just stating something that I have no doubt clever individuals like yourselves have already figured out but as I am nearly to lose my arm to your big friend their it bears repeating. If I am killed, the local township will start to wonder where I went. I've been here for decades as has my father's father and his mother and wives before them. I do not know your plans for this town nor do I care at this point. I only know that prisoners like yourselves won't want and investigation around here."

Speaking as though anything past his first sentence didn't happen Kallista replied incredulity, "You don't mean to threaten us?" 

And those were the last words Bellam heard as she motioned for Grumblejack to take it to the bone and don't leave any meat on said bones. A bone shattering scream came out of Bellam as Grumblejack's rotten teeth buried into the warm flesh of the man. He tugged and pulled at his fresh arm meat and broke it off at the elbow. Bellam went crashing into Maldrake to whom he looked up at him before succumbing to the loss of the blood and certain shock and said, "You forgot about my wife, Alicia." Bellam smiled and passed out.

After the slaughter pieces of brain matter splattered the darkened walls. Pieces of splintered bones littered the tunnel floor. Tattered remnants of the weak man's clothing could be found haphazardly everywhere now. Maldrake then looked up from the mess with only timid concern, he spoke calmly and rationally now, "Lets get back upstairs, get cleaned up as best we can and prepare for tomorrow. I will handle his wife."

11:30 P.M - Day 115, Rova  15, 3042 AP (After Peace)

Dear Alicia

Maldrake slipped into Bellam bed looking as close as an Assimar can look to Bellam's appearance. It was dark and almost no moonlight was shining in. Alicia mumbled something about coming to bed and there was nothing else left to do but end her life. She was a loose end. Maldrake slipped a dagger into her throat and as she gurgled out her last dying breaths, Maldrake smiled into her eyes as the moonlight shined through the window.

The rest went off to sleep. Grumblejack slept in the tunnel and feasted greatly on Bellam and his wife Alcia. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Mama Giuseppe's Famous Stew

8:15 P.M - Day 115, Rova  15, 3042 AP (After Peace)

Day 4, 26 days remaining.

We knocked on the door.

"Ah yes?" a raspy but high pitched voice answered.

"Mama Giuseppe, we are volunteers, we want to help you in anyway for the big day at Balentyne tomorrow. The troops mean a lot to us and this town!" Drae bluffed.

Mama Giuseppe's home
"Ohhh, how nice of you." Mama Giuseppe exclaimed as she opened the door. "Oh and you even brought your little brother, how responsible of you!"

Stixx and Drae smirked and entered the the tiny home. It stunk of old woman and spices. The large cauldron was sitting over a stone fire pit boiling over hot coals. The smell was unbelievably delicious and enticing. The old woman had actually went back to stirring the pot humming merrily."Oh can you hand me that bowl of vegetables." Stixx shrugged helplessly as he couldn't reach it and Drae helped the old woman.

"How much allowance are you getting for being here little boy." Mama Giuseppe inquired about Stixx, but didn't look back to meet his gaze. "I'm sure you are a helpful boy."

Drae motioned to Stixx to get her to turn away and pointed at the four large containers of poison shoved in sacks. Stixx then reached for a spice knowing he couldn't reach it and as a result it was knocked off and crashed with clatter of broken class and a small plume of dill weed powder. She smiled warmly.

"Don't worry your pretty little head dear, I'll get it." Mama Giuseppe comforted.

As she bent over to clean up the clever mess, Drae dumped the poison into the cauldron, it bubbled with reaction but was over quickly and began stirring. The smell didn't change much at all. She stood up, winced at her back pain and saw Drae stirring the stew. She had hobbled over to the cauldron, took a wooden spoon from her table and spooned up a sip. Then another, and another. "Taste perfect! You boys have helped me so much!" she rejoiced.

"So how do you get this up to the fortress Mana?" Stixx asked.

"Oh the soldiers come and wheel it up there for me." Mana Giuseppe replied. "But right now I feel tired, this just needs to simmer over night."

Stixx and Drae helped her to bed and left the house to report back to the rest of the group about what had happened.

8:45 P.M - Day 115, Rova  15, 3042 AP (After Peace)

Back at The Dalliance

We gathered in the biggest of the rooms in The Dalliance. After today's craziness most of the drunkards that appeared at this time of night had decided to stay in doors in case of another ogre attack. Drae and Stixx came up to the room and rapped on the door.

"We got the stew all ready to go guys." Drae said. "But there was a  just a minor set back." he warned.

Maldrake and Kallista with a map of the area.
"What happened?" Maldrake asked.

"The old hag tried some of the poisoned batch. Three wooden spoonfuls." Drae explained.

Stixx chimed in, "It may not be enough to kill a normal person, but she is very old. I'd say she is around 80."

"Just in case, you should go check on her in a few Drae." Maldrake suggested. "We wouldn't want her to die on us."

"And you care if she does?" Drae replied surprised.

Scoffing at such a suggestion, Maldrake replied, "Of course not. But we have to plan for it."

"Even if she does, can't we just look like her anyway?" Urgeon said. "I mean, let Drae go baby sit the wrinkly bitch and if she dies, who cares? That off the clock drunkard Bellam might try to go down to the basement again and I want to be waiting for him."

Drae nodded in agreement. "I will head back over there. Go ahead and head down I can take care of any problems that arise. You aren't going to traverse the tunnel tonight though are you?"

Kallista replied, "Doubt it. We still don't know enough yet, the poison stew will help us dwindle down some of the troops, and we should bring all the numbers we can. That means you as well."

Urgeon, Grumblejack in a gnome form, and Kiliketz made their way to the basement after they heard Bellam head to bed. Urgeon had given his circlet to Drae in case things went south at the old woman's place. At first Urgeon almost got caught but passed it off as being drunk and went back to his room. A second attempt was good enough to make it to the basement. Maldrake's familiar was positioned perfectly to warn Urgeon when Bellam was coming down and to be ready.

9:15 P.M - Day 115, Rova  15, 3042 AP (After Peace)

Drae returns to Mama's house.

It was dusk. Drae arrived at the old woman's home. He knocked gently. He heard a faint moan. He opened the door and closed it very quietly. Drae made his way to the old woman's bedroom and found her laying down convulsing lightly with spatters of blood dripping down from her ears and thick mucus coming from her nose. The cauldron simmered calmly. Drae looked down at the old woman who was struggling in her sleep and shrugged.
Mama Guiseppe's final moments.

He said to himself in the lonely home, "Just great. Whelp, better take care of this." He picked up a pillow and pressed it over her head. She struggled only lightly, lets out a bit of gas, and just stopped. Drae decided he would just stay in the old woman's home and wait till morning. He pulled up the floorboards in her old rickety home and stuffed her down there and got some light rest. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Rumors and Recon

5:00 P.M - Day 115, Rova  15, 3042 AP (After Peace)

Day 4, 26 days remaining.

We stayed put in the Dalliance since the walk back. We were understandably on edge and wanted to regain all composure before we began investigating more options to taking down Balentyne. We have a loose cannon with Grumblejack, and a strange dark-skinned fellow with white hair who says he is with us. All in all, we didn't want to go and put all we worked for at risk and have to deal with Thorn. We all agreed it was best to leave Grumblejack upstairs it took a bit of explaining which left us with headaches and thus will not be in this journal again. Constant reader, if you feel this is lacking then maybe you are on the same level as the subject in question.

Another night in The Dalliance
We began the rumor search.  With the issues we had with Grumblejack quite a few people were in the Dalliance tonight gossiping:

  • Have you ever been to the choir hall of Balentyne? Amazing! The priests are such beautiful singers and sometimes the stone saints that adorn the place join in the chorus. Such a miracle! 

  • Lord Havelyn is a good soul but so grim and gloomy. For so great a lord to be unhappy, he must be guilty about something!

  • That Captain Zack Eddarly is a handsome one, isn’t he? Such a gallant! And still unmarried at his age. He’ll make some lady of proper breeding quite a catch won’t he?
  • Balentyne’s magister, that creepy Tacitus, has been spending a lot of time working on something in his tower! I don’t know what it is, but it’s said that something unnatural was recovered from the north.

  • Ye Merrie Men are coming to town and the handsome William Marcus Marlow is coming with them! Can you believe it? The Bard of Barrington! Here! They are doing the “Fall of Amberlyn”! Oh, I can’t wait!

  • Have you seen Kaitlyn Mott? She’s the most beautiful woman in town! How did an ugly lump of a man like Captain Franz Mott bag a looker like her? And how does he keep her, that’s what I want to know! 

  • Have you had any of Mama Guisseppe’s beef stew? Delicious! I hear she goes up to the Watchtower and cooks a big batch of it for the men every Monday! What a nice old lady.

  • Did you hear about prisoners escaping from Branderscar? Were they ever caught?

  • Here’s to the soldiers of Balentyne! One hundred of the finest fighting men it’s ever been my privilege to serve with.

  • I hear Captain Varning is leading another patrol out tomorrow. I wonder how long they’ll be gone this time? The last time they were gone for five days! If you ask me, these patrols are a waste of time. They’re just an excuse for Varning to get out of the tower and gallivant around the country side instead of doing his fair share of guard duty. 

We engaged some of the towns folk in friendly conversation that night. When they talked about the escaped prisoners of Branderscar, Maldrake bluffed and said that he thought they actually were caught again already!  Or when they talked about Mama Guisseppe’s soup and we inquired when.  It was Sunday and she was making a batch tonight for tomorrow on Moonday!  What luck we had.

With hearing the possibility of their being one hundred or more soldiers we knew this soup that is brought to the fort could easily be a vehicle for some nasty poisons. We found out that she was just down the road a piece.   We needed to get together and discuss  this right now because time was of the essence. Maldrake sent his familiar down to the basement where we knew Urgeon and Stixx were waiting for orders. 
Stixx, Stryder, Urgeon, and Drae blended in quite well.

Before we did, Urgeon was dead set on finding out what this tunnel was for and what Bellam knew about it. He tried to get the man drunk and talk his ears off. This proved to be very difficult as Bellam loved his wine and his booze never drank on the job. This of course did not stop Urgeon from trying. After the first few times he was polite but soon it was starting to get annoyed and Urgeon didn't want to press him any further. 

7:30 P.M - Day 115, Rova  15, 3042 AP (After Peace)

We gathered together in the larger of the rooms we stayed in and began to discuss the options at hand.
"Stixx, what kind of poisons do you think you can muster?" Maldrake inquired. 

Stixx returning from the tunnel.
Stixx shrugged and looked through is alchemist tools. After a bit of discussion hemlock and arsenic were the two final choices we thought about using. There is no way we would make enough to poison an entire brigade of troops or even part of them in time. We knew of the alchemist in town. It was late but we thought it was a good place to start. Urgeon volunteered to see what the local alchemist had, buy it and report back but was not finished with the inkeeper.  Stixx went along to appraise the quality of the stock. 

Urgeon continued to press the fact that we had a completely secret tunnel that as far as we all knew only Bellam the innkeeper actually knew of it and he had no idea we knew about it. "He's holding out, we need to catch him down in the tunnel." Urgeon advised.  "I'm done here, I'll go check out what the alchemist has."

When Urgeon and Stixx arrived the alchemist was about to close. They told us that the alchemist didn't want to let them in but Urgeon being sly as he was bluffed his way in. He told the alchemist he had a rabid dog that was a long time family pet and it was time to put it down and that they needed arsenic or hemlock. The alchemist suggested that there are other humane ways to do away with a family pet. Luckily for Urgeon this alchemist must have been quite dumb, gullible or both because he believed the summoner. The alchemist showed them a stock pile of 2 gallons of arsenic that Stixx appraised to be highly potent and could easily be confused for cholera. The alchemist didn't even bat an eye at the idea of needing 2 gallons of the stuff for his dog. Urgeon and Stixx took the poison and returned back to the inn and reported the findings. 

8:00 P.M - Day 115, Rova  15, 3042 AP (After Peace)
What fate does she await?

"We need to get to the old lady Guisseppe’s house tonight and poison that stew before it is too late." Urgeon said. "Stixx and I can easily dupe that old bat and get in tonight before she goes to bed."

"That sounds like a solid enough plan." Maldrake said approvingly. 

"No." Drae interrupted. "I'll go with Stixx."

"Fine, but when we do that can we please start planning for if Bellam goes below again?" Urgeon pleaded. "I've had it with this playing around."

"Patience young one, Asmodeus rewards those who succeed at his plans." Kallista praised motioning in an evil sadistic ritualistic signing.  Urgeon merely shook his head and sat down on the bed. 

"We're off to see the old lady now, it should not take long, expect us back in an hour." Drae told the party.

A New Found Friend

11:45 A.M - Day 115, Rova  15, 3042 AP (After Peace)

Day 4, 26 days remaining

Off the beaten path we realized it was time to have a real heart to heart.  We started to see that Grumblejack has been a follower, a lackey, a minion. He was here with us because we didn't tell him to leave.

Three miles away from Aldencross.
Kallista and Maldrake started to converse about the subject and Maldrake said we should kill him off. He has almost jeopardized our efforts.  We were lucky enough to be able to baby sit him with his circlet of disguise but the point of failure we encountered is not really teaching him how it works. Afraid of tipping off Grumblejack to such an awful turn of events they started to speak in Abyssal. Maldrake continued on with is his protests that the Ogre would ruin the mission but Kallista insisted that his muscle could come in handy.

Maldrake suggested that they take him in shackles straight to Balentyne and infiltrate the fort that way. Kallista scoffed at such an idea. She made remarks that while that idea has worked a few times in their travels she mentions that the drunkards down at the inn talk as if there are hundreds of soldiers and that Maldrake isn't being realistic.

This bickering went back and forth for a few minutes and Grumblejack interrupted them both, "Grumblejack would not have made it half as far as this without his friends. If not for you, Grumblejack might have died in filthy prison cell with great deeds undone! Now, together, we do great and terrible deeds! Grumblejack grateful that you friends share in his adventures!”

They looked at him with dumbfounded admiration and tried to explain what happened with him at the tavern. "These circlets can make you look like something else. You only need to think about it and concentrate but it only lasts ten minutes. Can you tell time?" Maldrake asked.

"I can tell time whatever Grumblejack is supposed to tell him. Who be time, he a friend?" Maldrake shakes his head.
Grumblejack mid change.

"Just try to think about looking like a human." Maldrake suggested.

"You want Grumblejack to look like 'ittl uns?" Grumblejack asked.

"You can look like that tasty dwarf on the ship." Maldrake replied.

Grumblejack smiled and closed his eyes and soon enough we were looking at Kargeld again. We all nodded in approval and began to walk back to Aldencross. Ten minutes later Grumblejack's form
changed back. We shook our heads.

"Grumblejack you need to watch your hands. If they look like they are changing, you need to think again about being that dwarf." Kallista mentioned.

Grumblejack turned back into the dwarf again and began to walk with one hand out in front of him. We sighed and tried to be patient with the beast. It seemed to work for him for now. We all agreed though that he could very well become a liability if we don't have a better way to keep him in check. There may be places he can roam free as himself but here it is far to dangerous. 

1:00 P.M - Day 115, Rova  15, 3042 AP (After Peace)

Along the way back he would lose his form a few times but he was slowly gaining it back again. We did finally make it back to the Inn and we got Grumblejack up to his room which had a door that had been barely repaired and clearly had been knocked off the hinges with ease.  We decide to bring the ogre drinks and food instead of letting him stay down with us while we listened to more rumors for the night.