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. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Loose Ogre in The Dalliance

10:30 A.M. - Day 115, Rova  15, 3042 AP (After Peace)

Day 4, 26 days remaining

We made our way back tediously as we did on the way to the cottage. After thirty minutes and getting back to the south eastern part of Aldencross we saw two soldiers charging from the south and getting ready to pass us. We were hidden enough to not be seen but Urgoen quickly disguised himself as one of the soldiers and jumped out to meet them.  
Urgoen changes quickly to get into the fray and investigate. 

"What is going on here, what is the ruckus about?!" Urgeon blurted out.

"There is no time for twenty questions solider, there is an Orge on the loose in The Lord's Dalliance." one of the men informed Urgoen.

"Well lets go, what are we waiting for?" , demanded Urgoen. 

Maldrake quickly ordered his familiar, "Little one, I need you to fly as fast as you can and get to Grumblejacks room and get that iron circlet right away!" The beast screeched, went invisible and off it went.

And so they went. Drae went slowly to the inn, while Maldrake disguised himself as Sir Balin, while Kallista, and Stryder adorned themselves as Knights of Alerion. Quickly Kallista and Maldrake go the rear of the Inn and find two guards blocking the door. 

"We are covered here, you cannot go in right now, there is a beast in there!" The scared soldiers warned. 

Kallista could feel her blackblade surging with a need to murder this worthless guard and she had to hold her composure. Thinking of it later we could not believe she was able to do it. Maldrake ordered the spineless men, "I Sir Balin, Captain of the Knights of Alerion command you to stand aside. This is the ogre that we have been following for months since he had escaped from Branderscar prison!"

Confused and worried the guards still stood their ground and said "I'm sorry Sir Balin, but our orders are from Balentyne, if we move it's our hides!"

Kallista had enough. She intimidated the worried men. "Get out of our way and that is an order! You have no idea what you are dealing with here and if your superiors knew of your incompetence and your impeding of catching a known dangerous monster like this you might find yourself in Branderscar with the beast!" The men move aside as Styder, Maldrake, and Kallista burst in. 

From the front Urgeon and Stixx also looking like normal guards burst in through the front to see Maldrake, Stryder, and Kallista come in from the back. There was Grumblejack, going absolutely crazy pounding his fist and scaring the barkeep as he sat cowering in a puddle of his own piss and it smelled like he may have shit himself as well.  A couple unlucky patrons remained in fear in the corner and two guards were already in the Inn trying to net the beast and failing. 
Dwarven solider attempts to tackle the ogre.

As soon as Urgeon entered he looked out the window to summon his eidolon to crash through it. "The beast has summoned a spawn of hell!" a commoner out side yelled. The eidolon ran to the basement as he commanded with a quick yelp in infernal. With all the commotion and yelling no one noticed. With this distraction Urgeon quickly moved to the basement to hide in the secret tunnel. Stixx came with him.  There they stayed. 

I have it master Maldrake. I have the circlet, what should I do?

Bring it down stairs we will need it for the ogre very quickly we think. 

Maldrake and Kallista pull off the guards, "Back off, we know how to handle his, we've dealt with him before." Maldrake ordered as Sir Balin. The guards backed off.  Grumblejack leaned over the counter panting. Kallista brought the guards to the other side of the room pretending to be concerned. 

Little one, tell this creature I am Maldrake and Grumblejack need not be afraid. 

Grumblejack this is Maldrake please calm down. The man you see next to you is not one of those it'l uns. It is me Maldrake. Your friend. Just calm down and walk with us we will get you out of this. 

Maldrake, Stryder, Kallista and the other guards walk the ogre out of town and towards Balentyne. After about 30 minutes of walking, we got far enough outside of town so incase we needed to kill some guards no one would hear them. Drae was stalking in the near by shrubs and trees staying out of sight.  

"You all should go back and protect the town, we can handle this mongrel." Maldrake suggested,

"With all due respect sir, we should get him to Balentyne." one of guards replied.

"There is still a beast loose in the inn, didn't you see it crash through the window? Townsfolk could be in danger!" Kallista balked.

Looking scared and shocked the guards nodded and started to double time it back to Aldencross. We all went to the side into some trees to lose our disguises for a bit to ease Grumblejack's mind and figure out what to do next. 

The Secret Laboratory

8:00 A.M. - Day 115, Rova  15, 3042 AP (After Peace)

Day 4, 26 days remaining

We checked on Grumblejack and of course he was passed out but still alive. We decided to leave him and move forward to the south east edge of town. We went together into the forest only about thirty yards so we could be unseen. Kallista attempted to go deeper into the forest while Maldrake and Stryder formulated a plan.  We didn't see her again for almost an hour. Maldrake commanded his familiar to fly above the tree line and see what he could see. The tree line at the highest was only about fifty feet. The familiar quickly reported that there was a clearing but it was around two-hundred yards away or so. 

Stryder advised us that he would climb to the top and so he did. It was child's play due to his catfolk heritage. At the top he said that he could see Balentyne across the bay. He could see no clearing. He attempted to jump to the next tree and succeeded easily. He tried again and failed and fell fifty feet below and almost broke both his legs if not for landing and rolling just right.  We shook our heads and told the cat man that at his rate it would take hours. Maldrake sent his familiar up with a long silk rope and with each others guidance they navigated their way through the forest. It took a couple tries to get off because we started to move to fast and the rope would get tangled and yanked out of his familiars mouth.  

Fiftieth time is a charm?

We proceeded slowly and carefully through the forest and just over twenty-five minutes later we arrives at a clearing in the woods. We saw a wooded cottage with only a single wooden door. We could see the start of a path back out of clearing and we were only about twenty yards off the path. Before we went in, Malrake ordered his familiar to find Kallista in town and help her guide her way here as well and so it was done. After nearly an hour total spent on getting everyone to this place it was time to investigate. 

9:00 A.M. - Day 115, Rova  15, 3042 AP (After Peace)

Strange place for a cottage.
We approached the cottage and Stryder could see that this path is heavily used and therefore we should proceed carefully. Stixx and Maldrake check out the door and while it was locked it is not trapped. Stixx picked the lock easily. Urgeon magically opened the door to be sure and it opened with ease. Maldrake looked in and all he saw was a twenty by thirty foot room with no furnishings and a slightly dusty floor and no windows. We could see quickly that this was actually a stone cottage with wooden exterior.  No matter though we all entered and to the left there was another door. It too was not trapped and it was not locked. Inside was a mess. Broken furniture, splintered planks of wood, and general dirt and mold were scattered all over. 

After about ten minutes eyeing over the place Kallista was getting very impatient. She rushed out the door only to fall flat on her rear and as she did, a small plume of dust arose from the opposite side of the front door she was about to exit and she notices pattering foot prints scurrying up more dust. She quickly alerted the party but before they could get any real track on what was going on she said it was gone. 

"There is something invisible out there." she said as she pointed in a non direct location. Stixx stayed indoors while Urgoen helped move some of the broken pieces to get a better look at the floors and walls.  While outside trying to figure out what we just encountered a voice broke the confusion.

"I am Drae. I followed you here. I over heard while you just entering the forest that you were looking for this place and though I am a bit of a local around these parts I've never seen any of you and I have to wonder what a group like this would be out in the middle of the day."

We did not know what to make of this strange dark skinned elf. He said that he knows that we followed Bellam into the tunnel and after he heard a couple rumors himself a week ago, he too said this would be a perfect opportunity for him to seek his revenge on Balentyne. It is the keepers of that place that eradicated his family years ago. We didn't question his motives and Maldrake's familiar detected no good on this elf and Kallista's Blackblade was remaining docile. Drae said that he heard the rumors about Bellam needing a stash of fine wine and a tunnel that may have been sealed years ago that lead to Balentyne.  So we agreed to move along with him and figure out if he was legitimate later. 

9:30 A.M. - Day 115, Rova  15, 3042 AP (After Peace)

Drae and Stixx went searching and found a small trap door in the corner. It was locked but only in the most basic form. Maldrake leaned over and didn't seem to concerned with the possibility of traps and slide the tiny bolt lock to the side and the door dropped open. There was a faint light coming from the right side of the room, mostly likely that of a candelabra as it was not a very bright light. Maldrake went down first and saw nothing of any danger. 

What in the hell is lab doing here?
"There is a huge dead body of some sort on a slab here, I think it's a golem. My little pet tells me it is active but don't worry it has straps around its legs and arms." Maldrake said up the ladder to the first floor.  He added, "Looks like wine cellar turned alchemist lab down here."

We all came down one by one and all agreed that we had nothing to fear from the golem and even Stixx chimed in with a comment about the quality, "Dat be the shittiest creation I could see."

Stryder seemed nervous. He stayed behind all of us and beads of sweat seemed to pour from his eye brows and dripping down over his fur. We thought nothing of it, as he is always quite and nervous most of the time. Kallista moved in to check out this creation and with out warning a giant fist swung and stuck her right in the face and she reeled back in pain. We all quickly looked at Stryder who in a faint voice murmured, "I don't think it's bindings are in tact."

The flesh golem rises.
So the fight with the nasty flesh golem began and was over almost as fast as it started. We closed in on it with fearsome disregard. Stryder watched his arrows bounce off its outer skin, while Urgeon cast a magic fang spell on his creation. Stixx quickly closed in and dropped one hell of a bomb on the beast and lit it a flame. Maldrake ordered Kiliketz to strike it with a cone of cold only to watch it's efforts be nullified with in an instant. Kallista struck the abomination with her blackblade and saw her shocking grasp similar dissipate into the beast.  Drae moved in to get closer and healed Kallista with a wand and she thanked him quickly. 

Maldrake closed in to strike the golem and missed, but Kallista, Drae, and Stixx most certainly didn't miss and the creature howled in anger. When it could respond again, it stood up and those close enough got a few cheap shots in. It however was not enough for the beast to protect whatever its master intended for and died in a burning pile of melted flesh, rivets, and bolts. 

There wasn't much to take from that place except some ointments and bindings. Stixx found a masterwork alchemist lab. Maldrake tore down all the surrounding permanent alchemist labs and could not find any secret doors or further traps. While this was concerning we had no idea what was in store for us later in the day.  We gathered our composure and head back the way we came, leaving no care for the way we left this strange building. Maybe our owner would get the hint that we weren't impressed.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Grumblejack and Mead

8:00 P.M - Day 114, Rova  14, 3042 AP (After Peace)

Day 4, 26 days remaining

So we decided to stick around the inn for a most of the day. We processed what this tunnel could mean for us and of course ate and drank ourselves into a tizzy. Not nearly as bad a Grumblejack however. Grumblejack approached Maldrake.

Another busy night in The Lord's Dalliance! 
"Grumblejack want coin. Grumblejack want big mutton and drink like them." He pointed to other drunkards in the Inn. "Grumblejack want coin." Maldrake, not in the least bit concerned gives him a gold piece and Grumblejack in his human form clumsily moves to the bar and tells the barkeep "Grumblejack want that." and points to another patron as he hands over his gold piece. 

"So you want a cup of Dwarven stout?" He takes the coins and gives Grumblejack change. Grumblejack in an angry tone replies back to the bar keep.

"Grumblejack no want to buy more coins, Grumblejack want Dwarven Snout!"

"Stout. Alright pal, take it is easy. It will be a moment this is a lot of stout."

A few moments went by and we see the bar keep bring Grumblejack a large bucket with the Dwarven Stout in it. Sure enough Grumblejack starts to down the bucket of stout rather quickly and making a mess of himself and the barroom floor. He soon finishes and lets out a roar of a belch and goes back to see Maldrake and asked again, "Grumblejack want coin. Grumblejack want more snout of dwarves."

It was time for Grumblejack to leave.
Maldrake hands him his share of the gold he has accumulated since escaping and tells him to go buy what he wants. This sum was easily over two-thousand gold pieces. Never the less, Grumblejack doing what he was told walked back to the barkeep and dumped the pouch of gold pieces on the counter and it went sprawling all over. Grumblejack recites as he did before, however the bar keep looks at him and simply put the coins back in the bag and tell him he is too drunk. He takes one coin and gives him another bucket and yells to Maldrake, "You need to get your friend to bed, he's going to drink himself to death and poverty!" 

So we did. We took him up to his room and with in almost a few seconds as if on cue dropped face first onto the floor and his circlet went rolling away. He turned to his normal self and we locked him in the room and went to discuss what we had planned for the next day. After a short discussion we thought it best to try and find out what was hiding at the south east part of town. Maldrake had a plan. 

"Get some sleep, we've got a long day tomorrow." Maldrake advises as we went back to our rooms for the night. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Weasel Among Us

12:30 P.M - Day 113, Rova  13, 3042 AP (After Peace)

Day 2, 28 remaining.

Maldrake awoke suddenly. He nudged Kallista, Stixx, and Ur'goen out of sleep. "I just heard something, someone is sneaking around. Are we all accounted for? " Kallista and Stixx looked about and nodded. We looked down over the small balcony moving as quietly as we could and we saw the innkeeper, Bellam Barhold owner of The Lord's Dalliance tip toeing from his room and down stairs and what appeared to be low lower level of the inn but not quite the basement. From his body movements Stixx nudged Maldrake.

"He be tryin' to hard to not be seen. He be tryin' to hard to not be heard. He be tryin' to hard to be perceived. He may be foolin' da drunks but he doan fool may." Styxx informed all of us. Maldrake nodded and sent his familiar to give chase. All his family could tell him was that he was going to the basement. Maldrake commanded his pet to follow Bellam but only to the basement and tell us what is happening. We lost contact. 

Who builds a secret tunnel?

So Stixx, Kallista, Ur'goen, Maldrake, Stryder and even Kiliketz went down stairs. Luckily our party was so large that we were able to take all available rooms. Went we got to the basement level, only Maldrake and Stixx went in first. No one was in there. Maldrake's familiar telepathically told him that Bellam went through the wall to the east, though we could see nothing. We waited just a few moments in case Bellam was on the other side of this wall and began to search.  Sure enough there was a secret door. 

Kallista was first to volunteer. "Let's go and catch him. He is on to us lets get him."  She said she went into the tunnel and only with the faintest glow she could see the shadowy report of a torch giving off its dim light through her dark vision. She motioned the rest of us to follow and Maldrake, Ur'goen, Stryder, and all of us, even Grumblejack eventually stumbled down to the basement and we began to move a little faster and could see us getting close to the light.  Only Maldrake, Kallista, and Stixx went on though. 

Just as we got close enough to see the silhouette of the man. Then the figure stops and tilts his head as though he is listening intently for something. We've only traveled about two-hundred feet at this point. The figure turned around and looked back at us. Of course it could not see us and only the darkvision capable among us could see him.  We stayed still for nearly ten minutes in complete silence. After this time we could see his foot steps begin again and he slowly moved on.   We were able to keep a steady pace with him for about another three-hundred forty feet before the quite stone tunnel was filled with an abrupt howling.

Dank and dreary we are but leery of this chapel eerie.
"Who goes there?" Bellam yelled out. Goes, goes, goes, there, ther,the is what we heard as the echoes of his terrified presence broke down any semblance of silence.  We all froze in our tracks suddenly. "Come on out now, I won't hurt you and you have nothing to be afraid of." He was terrified and his voice was on edge. Little did the little weasel know what could be waiting for him should he push us further. This time the wait was even more unbearable. He stood looking back at us for nearly twenty-five more minutes.

12:50 P.M - Day 113, Rova  13, 3042 AP (After Peace)

Styxx beckoned Maldrake down to his level and whispered to the tiefling cleric "You all be too loud up in har. You nad to get buck while you inviseeeahhble pet and me go check this out." Maldrake simply nodded and gestured Kallista and Kiliketz to hold back and motion on Styxx and his invisible beast.  

Kallista quickly whispers, "We'll stay with in darkvision distance of you, but you keep on him."  She motions them on.  And on they went.

Styxx slowly advanced on the trembling man in the dark. Both of our parties had easily exceeded half a mile now and we kept in pursuit. A few times the farthest party made noise that Styxx could hear but he was clearly too far behind the innkeeper for it to mean much of anything. We followed Bellam until we got to a corner and made our way around it only to lose him for just a few seconds. This part of the tunnel got a bit curvy but soon straighten itself again. We have been down here for over an hour now and have walked nearly a mile and then the unlikely happened. Styxx who was getting a bit ahead of his feet kicked a pebble down a small incline in the tunnel and of course Bellam had to hear it and a blood curdling howl was let out.

"HA! I KNEW IT. I KNEW SOME BASTARD WAS FOLLOWING ME, IT'S TOO LATE FOR YOU NOW, HERE I COME." Bellam screamed and gave chase into the darkness. Styxx bolted backwards toward the way he came and when the rest of us saw him we drew our weapons.  Styxx simply waved us back and we all began to run at full speed. Looking back over our shoulder Bellam began to slow, he could not match our constitutions and was easily losing his breath and stumbled and fell down. Once we got of the secret door and back up to our rooms Maldrake formed a plan. 
How long does this go on?

2:30 P.M - Day 113, Rova  13, 3042 AP (After Peace)

"Kiliketz, this is your chance to redeem yourself. You need to go with my little beast, I want you to go back down there tonight, watch for Bellam, and travel the length of that tunnel and report back. It cannot be a long tunnel if he was willing to travel it on foot in the dead of night, return back and let us know. Do this and forever cement yourself in our loyalty to you and you to us."  There was not much to it and mephit and the familar went about their way and the rest of us went to back to sleep. Before we did, Maldrake ordered his familiar to inspect the tunnel to see where it goes and come back with a report. 

7:00 A.M - Day 114, Rova  14, 3042 AP (After Peace)

Day 3, 27 remaining.

We spent the rest of the next twenty-four hours exploring more of Aldencross learning the area a bit better. Maldrake was getting worried because it had been over twenty four hours before we saw his familiar and Kiliketz again and began to fear the worst. It wasn't until we awoke from the next nights sleep that his familiar returned and Kiliketz drearly reported that the reason it took so long is that the trip was almost one-hundred and ten miles total. In a sad and whiny voice Kiliketz informed, "We ended up in what I believe was a storage area in a very fortified area. I believe that tunnel goes to Balentyne."

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Exploring Aldencross

You are close now. Just a few miles from here sits the small market town of Aldencross and less than a mile from there is the watchtower of Balentyne – your goal. Already Sakkarot’s horde gathers and prepares to move. Within two weeks, they will be in a small valley north of the lake awaiting your signal. Fire the rocket into the air at just the right moment and you will take the first step towards claiming vengeance against Talingarde. Destiny has taken you here. Destiny has given you a mission. There is no doubt that the future of this green and pleasant land lies in your hands. You could go to that town right now and warn them of the plots of the sinister Cardinal Thorn. You could give yourself up and face the justice you deserve. You could turn back from the horror and the slaughter that you are going to inflict upon these Mitran sheep. This is that moment. This is the turning point. After this, there is no going back. Any one eager for redemption? I thought not. Come, my friends. We have work to do.

We must burn Balentyne. 

5:00 A.M - Day 112, Rova  12, 3042 AP (After Peace)

Unloading the goods.

Sleep. When will sleep come? As I'm writing this we are trying to find a place to quickly unload the furs, tusks, and ivory. Luckily the general store was just opening, the owner was very happy to see us. When I say us, I mean what we wanted to look like. Those circlets came in handy.  Sure Grumblejack as  a human was awkward but he got around. We still got a few looks from people about Kiliketz.  Maldrake's monstrosity of a familiar thankfully could be kept invisible as to know rile up any would be townsfolks. We made a nice killing on the ivory and tusks. It is too early to tell because we are all too tired but I'd say we made over three or four thousand gold, plus what we raided from sad Kargeld.

Not a bad little shop, after Balentyne  maybe we can loot it.
6:00 A.M - Day 112, Rova  12, 3042 AP (After Peace)

Aldencross begins to bustle.
We spent most of this day exploring and found a few places.  The town center which was a place for a market of some sort but no one was here. 
Stixx reported back his lone adventure. He decided to go check out the local graveyard. We don't know why. We don't know what goes on in that goblins head most of the time. We figured as long as he isn't trying to light something on fire our cover will be fine.  Here's what he told us:
An evil deception?

I went to the graveyard. First thing I saw was two nasty corpse hands coming around of a grave in the back part of the yard. Moments later a series of small children holding hands began weaving in and out of the gravestones. The corpse's head, arms and torso were up out of the ground now. The little children were playing and laughing tapping the hideous creature on the head then they ran off into forest and I gave chase. I looped back to the same graveyard and the corpse was gone but the laughing was still going on. I walked away and heard a little girl crying and when I turned around everything was back to normal. 

8:00 A.M - Day 112, Rova  12, 3042 AP (After Peace)

The rest of us found a few fancy manors and Maldrake was desperate to find some magical items. He knew what was being asked of us and we needed some real fire power. The only place open was a scroll shop -- The Illuminated Scroll. The shop owner said when asked about magical items of such caliber only said he might know someone and to come back in three days. We continued on and scouted out a fair bit of the city, but over all pretty boring place. We spend an hour trying to investigate a path in the south east part of the town that looked like it could go somewhere but no matter how hard we tried we would end up somewhere else in the town. 
Stixx was a kid in a candy store at the alchemist.

11:00 A.M - Day 112, Rova  12, 3042 AP (After Peace)

We passed on the graveyard after Stixx tales and ignore a few abandoned buildings, a warehouse and farmhouse. Timon's Meadery might be a nice place to stop after we are done by we have to stay on task. The cities only watch tower is at the far east side of town and that road will lead to Balentyne. The smithy shop owned by Erasmus VonKraig was pretty average we restocked a bit but nothing of real value for us there.  

3:00 P.M - Day 112, Rova  12, 3042 AP (After Peace)

Then there was The Lord's Dalliance Inn, which turned out to be a great place to gather information. While we are here we should probably jot those down and so after a few drunken hours we picked up a bit as soldiers would come from Balentyne and citizens would flood in for late afternoon food and drink:
Rumors everywhere!

  • Bellam Barhold is such a lush. He does enjoy his wine. He’s always complaining about how he can’t get any of the good stuff here in the borderlands.
  • I hear a raven arrived at the rookery last night! I bet it carried important news though I know not about what.
  • Those dwarves are a thieving lot! I heard one of them was caught picking a man’s pocket.
  • Soldiers today! A worthless, shiftless lot! Balentyne is in total disarray. Soldiers today are too lazy – not like in my day.
8:00 P.M - Day 112, Rova  12, 3042 AP (After Peace)

Day 1, 29 remaining.

 Nothing else to record, we are all on the brink of extreme fatigue and we need a good night sleep.