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.