This site is an online accumulation of the Post Reports for my current ongoing D&D Campaign - for anyone who might be interested in reading them.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Addon, Adv 4, Dargan's 2

This was the 2nd book I had handed out and the party devoured it after reading the 1st, trying to put all the pieces together:

This is the second book of four of the accounting of Sir Dargan Cooperson and his discovery of the abandoned dwarven halls where he erected keep and wall to protect the people of his land away from the open fields of Ponyboro as told by me, Cyric Mulholland, gentleman, sword swinger, scribe, and squire to the selfsame Sir Dargan.

* * *

The finished walls of Caer Dargan were finally ready to house those who would need to stay there – a simple fact of truth that Sir Dargan has sort of glossed over during the entire period spent building his edifice.

Over a cup of kvass we spoke on this and he let me know that he felt the troubles and wars that were still north were going to come further and further south and in time threaten the barony of Umbaria and even Ponyboro.

My initial response was to bark with disbelief but the truth of the matter was that two baronies had already fallen and a third was in danger of sliding next. The weather was warming up and the tales from the refugees and teamsters coming south was that the greenskins were on the move.

How far south would they be come the fall?

* * *

The biggest problem with Caer Dargan was the fact it was three solid days from Ponyboro – which made its effectiveness as a fall back defendable point useless. This fact was glaringly maddening to Sir Dargan who bemoaned the issue almost daily.

* * *

Finally! King Daro has committed twenty-five thousand troops from the heart of the kingdom to march north under his own banner to help shore up the battlefront beyond. With the fresh call for able bodied troops the Steward Thandar Marron has sent out this spring, I am hoping, as are many of us, that there will be little need for keeps such as Caer Dargan.

* * *

A dovecote has been established at the keep. Frankly the flying rats make good porridge and nothing else.

* * *

Sir Dargan has been reading those strange books he took from the dwarven tunnels again. He’s been rather engrossed in them, flipping the pages one at a time, the blocky script of the dwarven language interspersed with odd spidery symbols that made my eyes ache to look at while I glanced over his shoulders.

I know my liege has seen me watching him, but so far has said nothing about or against his reading material.

* * *

I finally asked him and he went into a convoluted tale about the dwarven warrens we had came upon and the mountain dwarves who lived there. Proud people who were skilled and touched and blessed with the power of Odin and Thor. And how they were given a glimpse of what was to befall their people and the mighty magics they called and the artifacts they created and the riches they amassed.

And according to the books that all went on here a long time ago.

I wondered, what if this was a tale from history past and the riches that were here had been taken away when the dwarves left?

And Sir Dargan told me that he had found gold and silver. Lots of gold and silver. And the bags that he had brought out and used to pay off all the debts were just a portion of what was still under the floor tiles of Caer Dargan.

Sweet Frigga’s Asscheeks.

* * *

Sir Dargan was forthcoming on some of the stories and mysteries under the keep, but he kept his counsel and his lips sealed. He admitted he had accidentally found the cache of coins on the layer below the one the surface. He wouldn’t say where, and I for my own place, didn’t ask or badger him – although I was burning with curiosity.

I asked him why he has not gathered a team today and gone after the riches and he smiled, telling me that the treasures of the long departed dwarves has been hidden and safe from the eyes of men for a century or more and with the uncertainty and conflict going on above why risk having such treasures taken out and possibly stolen?

I couldn’t fault his reasoning.

* * *

The church of Odin has been given a sizeable donation to erect a circle of menhirs around the base of the hill that Caer Dargan sits on. Obviously it’s not going to be a continuous encirclement, but a fifteen count of stones all with the raven of Odin on their faces. For their efforts, I understand that Sir Dargan is going to also set aside a portion of the keep’s interior for Odin’s clergy should they want it.

* * *

The rent moneys are coming in from Caer Dargan, as well as the stipend Sir Dargan is getting from the brewers, traders, teamsters, and other services he has established. It’s a far cry from making the place liquid, but it’s nice to see the “throwing of money” into the hole that is Caer Dargan so far is finally coming to a stop.

* * *

Expedition time!

Sir Dargan is mounting a twenty person team to explore the upper level of the dwarven tunnels and maybe map it. There will be much cleaning needed to happen and retrofitting some of the more dangerous sections (I still remember the suddenness of Indath’s passing), but it is good work. Plus the interior can double as a final fallback position should the walls of Caer Dargan fail during a siege.

Perish the thought!

* * *

Some of these rooms can be worked better. Lots of wasted space.

* * *

Stone masons are ecstatic with what they’ve seen so far and are anxious for the chance to ply their trade on the long abandoned tunnels.

* * *

We are commissioning barrelmakers to make some special sized casks and cisterns and Sir Dargan is going to place them along many of the large rooms as back up water sources. He assured me in private that there is a natural spring somewhere else down below (which we still haven’t gotten to yet), but he would rather the people have a closer and safer water source at their behest.

* * *

There is a map here. It’s not much and somewhat simplistic, but it shows 4 layers of the warren with the third being the largest and most cavernous. Is that the ancient dwarven city? What was it called? How far is it from here? I would like to see it very much.

* * *

Two of the men are sick. Their eyes are rheumy and they have been hacking up phlegm all night (at least I assume it’s night. Who can tell?). When they started to get the shakes Sir Dargan decided that we should go back topside and at least start work on what we’ve learned so far.

Sounds good to me.

* * *

All of us are feeling a bit poorly. Just a general weariness. I think it’s from being under the ground for so long. It’s fine for dwarves and gnomes, but men weren’t meant to be away from the sun for so long.

* * *

We’ve got our strength back. Caer Dargan is growing. Over four hundred make the keep and the nearby lands their home now. The dairymaids have been churning the milk into butter and I for one am happy to have a proper meal of nut bread, sage and butter again with my stews and soups.

* * *

Sir Dargan returned from Ponyboro with some posts, news, and another fifteen count of artisans and architects and stoneworkers. The greenskin army is now assaulting the Sanward Barony, striking at Castle Blackstone with a number that according to reports is closer to thirty thousand strong.

A man can reach the Sanward Barony in two weeks on a stalwart horse.

Odin help us.

* * *

Some representatives from the Steward’s offices came today to see Caer Dargan. They had some conversation with my liege and when they were done, Sir Dargan was furious. He spoke with his men at arms and guards and this evening, thirty of them were drafted into the latest muster and gathered their gear to report to Cymbarton before marching north.

Thandar Marron is a twit. He’s bleeding the duchy dry of able bodied men. Whatever tactics they are using to blunt the greenskin assault isn’t working.

* * *

Well, we’ve moved another two hundred people from the Cooperson Demesne in Ponyboro to Caer Dargan to work the land around the keep as well as replace the men that the Steward’s representatives drafted.

I also learned that Sir Dargan passed control of the Demesne to his cousin Sir Nathanial Cooperson, instructing the younger man to not neglect the defenseworks of the ancestral family home as well as to be fair and equitable to the serfs and tradesmen working the acres.

I was in shock and wondered why until I remembered the untouched riches and ancient mighty dwarven magics under our feet and realized that this was the better choice and solution.

* * *

The work in the tunnels is proceeding apace. Sir Dargan has taken to calling this area of the former dwarven vaults, The Stronghold. He’s got his own vision of how it should be set up and I know it is at odds sometimes with the men working for him, but they know which side their bread is buttered on and do his bidding.

Speaking of butter, I think the last batch went bad as not only I, but a good thirty or forty of us have gotten the runs and cramps.

* * *

Sir Dargan yelled at a child today. Was a pure accident, but the young girl was running through the halls being chased by her brother when she slammed into the nobleman as he was walking and reading his ever present tome. The book hit the ground and at that instant Sir Dargan was in the girl’s face shouting his head off at her, hands flying like some wild banshee.

The girl was flustered and upset (no surprise) and she fled hysterical while Sir Dargan picked up his book and carefully examined its battered state with a critical eye. I told him it was an accident but the look he shot me was so venomous I was afraid he was going to yell at me next.

* * *

A wolf got into the henhouse. Blood and feathers were everywhere. No holes were in the wire and the fence was sound. The young man in charge was given five lashes for not latching the door closed but even as the last leather strap struck him, he swore his innocence.

Sir Dargan didn’t care and instructed the trader to bring another twenty-five count of hens back with him on his next visit.

* * *

Something’s going on here. I don’t know what it is, but it’s not sitting well with me. Too many people are always sick, and there have been too many flare ups of tempers from everyone as of late.

Sir Dargan is the worst of the lot. I wish he’d stop reading his book long enough to build up some morale and help lead the people who are here.

* * *

The artisans have established a number of rooms capable to double as living quarters in the Stronghold which has Sir Dargan smiling for the first time in weeks. He paid the men in more of that smooth gold and silver coinage which struck me as unfair as he must have gone into the deeper portions of the dwarven tunnels to visit the hidden vaults to get the treasures.

I was hoping he’d have brought me.

* * *

The men had a scare today. A small party of orcs, no more than eight, came out of the woods. Ballistas fired and long bows were bent and I know the men mounted up and gave chase and the orcs were slain to a man, a fact of which Sir Dargan was most pleased. He paid a bounty of 6 silvers per pair of ears to the men who did their jobs.

The orcs were geared up for long range travel and scouting which made us feel better as there was no army following right behind. But it was disheartening to know that the greenskins have come so far and so deep into our homeland.

* * *

We’ve another expedition planned. This time we are going to explore and catalog the last of the Stronghold level which will take us throughout the large and sprawling vaults at long last. This should fetch us near the stairs I found Sir Dargan at long ago and from there, once we are finished, we can go to the next area where the mountain dwarves lived.

And hid their treasures and magics.

* * *

Damn the dwarves were really good at what they did.

A section of the floor we were cleaning and scouring actually shifted under some of the worker’s ministrations which had me frantic in the half remembered instance with the long forgotten trap that did in Indath. But in this regard is was not another pit threatening to swallow some of us whole, but a hidden cache of weapons and armor!

Admittedly some of the leather had cracked and turned brittle over the century or so, but the metal work was astounding and the sheer detail and work that went into each piece was enough to make any man who owned a set treasure such an heirloom for generations to come.

We have no dwarves in our party and I am hard pressed to remember where an enclave of the current denizens might live, but I know there are some skilled smiths and armorers who make their trade in Cymbarton and they can incorporate some of our findings into a proper suit for any of us.

* * *

I think we’ve done all we could down here. There will be months of work still to do to get the Stronghold to 100% of Sir Dargan’s specifications, maybe more if the hostilities to the north continue to get closer.

As for Sir Dargan, he’s preoccupied with his books and has been only paying half attention to us and our prattlings.

I wonder…is there more to the tomes he has spent months reviewing than he has told me? Normally I would believe Sir Dargan without fail, but lately I don’t know.

Maybe it’s the oppressive nature of the under ground chambers again getting to me. I look forward to getting some sun on my skin by tomorrow.

* * *

A dairymaid has gone missing. She was supposed to report for milking duties and failed to show up. Her room had been slept in but the shutters were open and there was some signs of dishevelment in her bedchambers.

A search has gone out. I am hoping that she was a victim of young lust and a midnight tryst instead of anything more foul.

* * *

The body of the young woman was discovered today in the Stronghold itself. She was in one of the side chambers and her body had been beaten and battered most cruelly. Her nose had been broken, cheek bones shattered, fingers twisted and joints bent the wrong way. From the purpling bruises across her throat she was also throttled.

But her clothing was not disturbed and according to the Deathspeaker she was not violated.

What happened? Who did this? Sir Dargan is livid and has ordered the guards doubled. I am been appointed to finding the culprit and settling justice upon them.

* * *

The dairymaid was buried as per accordance but the Deathspeaker spoke to me in private afterwards, telling me that the girl’s spirit was not at rest.

In fact the girl’s spirit was strangely not near her body nor on its way to its final reward.

When I pressed him for an answer he claimed frustration and said that his skills were not up to the task, as only the adepts of his order could truly know the secrets of the departed souls.

You know. Adepts. Like Earl Marron brought with him on the Third Crusade up north before he and every other manjake and skilled personage disappeared off the face of the earth.

This is not going to go over well.

* * *

The dairymaid rose from the dead this evening and attacked two other people here in Caer Dargan. It took four men at arms to put her down and it was only after she had been carved up like so much beef steak that her mortal coil finally slumped over and remained dead.

* * *

Sir Dargan seemed of good spirits this day, most unusual considering the mood around Caer Dargan as of late and the string of foul luck affecting us. Some of the men have made a few benedictions to Loki, asking the trickster to turn his attention elsewhere for a while.

Me? I give all the gods their due, but no more so than they deserve. When the All Father comes to visit me personally and answer a few of my questions, then I’ll give him more than a hasty prayer and a tossed coin at Almsfest and Yuletide.

* * *

Today I signed for a strange delivery for Sir Dargan who was exploring the deeper halls and depths of the dwarven vaults below. A score of solid leaded glass balls, each one roughly the size of a closed fist.

When Sir Dargan came out at supper I asked him about the odd spheres and he assured me that there was nothing to be concerned about. I didn’t say I was concerned, only curious as to their purpose.

He grew evasive but not until he said that if all went well, they might just help turn aside any threat of orc or ogre or giant that would dare to array itself against us here at Caer Dargan.

Sounds like good news to me.

* * *

This ends the second part of my tale of Dargan’s Folly, the Dungeon of Sir Dargan. I will be continuing this tale in the next book.

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