After the last meeting, I tried to keep the group together this time, and they did a decent job staying as one group for me. This was their 2nd day in town so they did a lot of investigating and walking about, piecing together what they know with what they are learning - and getting closer to the discovery of what they were up against.
Wasn't much combat or fighting in this - but the group was happy to let the 20's relax for a while.
Write up follows:
After listening to Inokis and Flora chat away over breakfast, the party discussed their plans and objectives for the day. It was simple (they usually start off like that): Visit Thadar's family and return the bronze medallion to them (we have the address), Pay a visit to the Lycos Suns Office here in town (they are listed/chartered as a teamstering organization), Pay a visit to the Wolverton Estate.
What was to be accomplished at each was still more fluid, but as for destinations – this was our itinerary for the day.
We cleaned off the last of our plates while Inokis went back to the Hall of Records as per Puck's order – and Zoltan grabbed the young man and asked him try and find a copy of a map of the town if at all possible. He promised to try. It was time to leave, and dressed in street clothes (for the most part), weapons either left here or sheathed, we checked the address to Thadar's family house and left. Zoltan volunteered to stay behind – uninterested in the slaver's family and a bit preoccupied. Instead, he sent Flora out to the bakers to get a dozen honey buns if possible. The buxom girl agreed and left.
Thadar's family has a nice 2 story thin home near the candlemakers outside the Gunnarson Demesne. The yard is fenced in and is grown with ivy, trellises, and a rather impressive if small herb garden. Two children were playing in the yard – a 9 year old boy with tousled brownish/black hair and a cute 5-year old blond girl clutching a corn husk doll – both of them were kicking a grass stuffed leather ball. A woman was tending to the garden, roughly 28, shoulder length brown hair, attractive and happy. She watched the group approach warily, ordering her children onto the porch and asked who the group was and what they wanted.
Karis spoke politely, saying that they were travelers from Orihalcus and wanted to talk with her about her husband. She said Thadar hadn't been home for 3 months plus now and the group said that was alright, wanted to talk about him. She paused and debated with herself and let the group in – children following. While Deidra went about getting water, bread and cheese from the kitchen, the party sat down in the living room and looked around. House was nice, cluttered, and had a definitive woman's touch. In fact, little if anything of Thadar's presence was seen in the home.
Hani, the 5 year old, crawled into Gwyn's lap and showed him her doll named Mister Spoon and asked him some pointed questions about why he was short and his beard. Then she began to braid the dwarf's beard and laughing while he spoke with her. Gregor, the 9 year old, was a rather fast talker and volunteered much info like his dad is real strong and can pick up and ox and mom works at the orphanarium and Hani is a brat sometimes and he doesn't like schooling because they teach him how to write letters and all that. Karis and Detheron then impressed Gregor with their own strength and the family seemed nice.
Deidra brought in some refreshments and started to chat when the group suggested that she send her children upstairs. She did so and the kids thanked the party and when she came back down, you could tell she knew something was up. Karis handed her the bronze medallion and Deidra said little at all for a while. Then the group told the newly made widow of her husband being captured by kobolds and was imprisoned there and that they were there and freed him, but he had been badly wounded by them…And now sadly he had died but his thoughts were always with his family and their well being.
The kids were still listening at the top of the stairs and Gregor raced down in full tantrum mode, yelling and crying that kobolds and bandits couldn't kill his dad because he was so strong and whatnot. Deidra tried to bring the wild boy upstairs and his flailing feet kicked holes in the plaster walls – while Hani was sobbing softly on the top stair. The mother got them both in their room and quieted down a bit before coming back to chat with the group some more. She was in shock and answered some questions. Gumrid (Thadar's friend who had escaped the kobold's/set free) came through town 3 weeks ago, but left immediately which was not like him; saying nothing to her or mentioning Thadar's whereabouts. She admitted she hated the house and was at a loss on what to do. She works at the Blessed Children of the Wilted Leaf, an orphanage sponsored by the Temple of Frey, and didn't need the party's offer for coinage. Mentioned Vanir by name as Thadar's boss. She was doing her best to keep it together but was failing to maintain her composure and the party wished her well and she thanked them for their generosity and kindness – as most people would have kept the medallion – and then the group left.
It took them a few minutes to compose themselves after the emotional visit. They then decided to go back to the house and get Zoltan to bring him with them to the Lycos Suns office. Met Flora who said that stew would be ready later, and she was off to pick up the fork/knife for the bear – and that Zoltan was eating lots of honey buns in his room. Zoltan opted not to go with the party to the Lycos Suns, saying that if he had to make a "private" visit later – would be better if the Lycos Suns had no idea what he looked like.
Group went. Lycos Suns was almost across the street from the Twisted Forelock Tavern and about 4 buildings down from the Sheriff's office (damn – real close!). It had an enclosed yard that could house about 20 cattle - was set up like a two story warehouse along the rear part and a single story office in the front. Group went in. Waiting room, large and nice – office beyond with three people in it – two women, one man – all human.
Man identified himself as Meir and offered to help. Group said they were looking for work. Some bantering back and forth. Thadar mentioned – as well as Orihalcus, Principia – and F Keep. Then another guy came out of a nearby office and took over. 6' tall, 190 lbs, brown hair, handsome, nice clothes, orange/brown silk scarf like a cravat around his neck. Said he was Iohanas.
Detheron remembered him from the journals – and Karis remembered his face – this guy was driving the 2nd wagon – equivalent in rank to Thadar – on the trip they were all enslaved for. Various sized gorillas came out – but no 500 lb ones this time (I referred to them as Rhesus Monkeys) so a wrangler came in identified as Gunther and asked if there was any help needed – Iohanas said no – and the group was figuring to leave – when the watch came in – a 4 count of guards, asking if all was ok as one of the cowhands motioned for them to come in as some trouble maybe at front desk. Group was courteous and left.
We wandered away from the Office and headed back to house for lunch – giving the encounter lots of thought. Met up with Zoltan, group grabbed armor and weapons this time – as well as Fodder and Smokey (who was apparently eating or had recently eaten lots of honey buns) and the group filled the bard/thief on what happened and wandered on their way towards the Wolverton Estate.
Went back and forth on merits of going to check out the woods out back – or front door to confront Lornwylf. If there were caravans of slavers coming in – they had to come in the back way as driving through town would cause problems. Woods were large and very thick and was decided any slaver signs of holding places or whatnot would be there. Afterwards they would go to front door and talk to Lornwylf (and Puck would charm the heck out of the Steward at that time).
Took the road to Seneshia until they were far from town and wandered off the road into the thickening woods. It was pretty overgrown and there were signs that some of the forest had been replanted in the past. Group was making some good headway and walking along and then Flora stuck her head around the corner of the kitchen wall and said, "I repeat, are you hungry again now? Because the stew won't be done for another 2 hours!"
It was now 20 after two and there was at least a half hour gap of time between us walking in the woods and now - back at the house. Flora said that we just sort of wandered in the front door, went to the main room, sat down and ignored her questions and calls the first time or two.
Ok.. what happened? Lots of discussion and it was figured that the woods were warded somehow and we stumbled into it. Were we ensorcelled? Doubtful. And not teleported home – as it takes about a half hour to walk back from where we were. We rechecked our stuff and went back to the Wolverton Estate. This time we went further up the road – a good ¼ mile before wandering off the path and looking around. Detheron was using most of his woodlore and Speak With Animals – having Fodder scent the area – and they found old horse spore AND an area where there was a flattened bit of underbrush and some old ruts.
Ok – this was better. Zoltan took point about 60'-70' ahead of group (max distance the party trusted things in the dense woods) and still keep some LOS (line of sight) with the thief. And we went in. Detheron heard lots of the forest creatures chattering – something wanted to fuck, something was hiding from the group, and some birds were discussing the benefits of thermal pockets and air speed and whatnot.
And then Zoltan sort of stopped, turned around and wandered back towards the party with a blank expression on his face. Karis picked him off the ground and held him, shaking him and Zoltan snapped out of it. Ok – sort of found out where the border was. Puck fired up a detect magic and wandered slowly in that direction – saying that he didn't see it.
Until he said suddenly, "Hey!" and then stopped, turned around, and wandered back towards the party a blank expression on his face. Stopped him and woke him up too. The ward was triggered when he passed into or over an area and it was large – but can't be seen until he passes into it. So it was not a glyph – but definitely a ward. Glyphs do damage – wards protect a larger area.
Ok – now what? Group wanted to get in. Zoltan tried to "cloak" his way in – but even at 50' in, he turned around and walked out and had to be stopped. Then it was – what about Fodder/Smokey? Speak was still up – so the companions were sent in one by one – and the ward didn't affect them at all. Ahha! Ok – how to use that?
Group decided to make Karis go to sleep and have Smokey drag the ogre in to a landmark tree (two oaks growing into an "x" shape). So Zoltan fired up his violin and sang a song of sleep and Karis – AND Gwyn both passed out! Alright! Carefully Smokey grabbed Karis by the back of his armor/underpadding and dragged the unconscious half-ogre into the warded woods to the tree. Then he licked Karis' face until he woke up.
And the group watched as the knight wandered out of the woods with a blank expression. Damn. They woke him up and it was now what? Dwarf was still asleep – so it was – what if it was the ground that did it? So they had Smokey CARRY the dwarf into the same area – and the bear put the dwarf in the tree. And then the dwarf's enchanted sleep wore off and he stepped out of the tree and twisted the hell out of his ankle and limped out of the woods with a blank expression and he was woken up.
Damn damn. One idea left. Just have Smokey drag Zoltan in as far as he could. Hmmm – not our best plan, but group was getting desperate. Zoltan lied down, and Smokey grabbed the back of his armor in his teeth and dragged the thief in. Once over the ward, expression went blank and he was leaping and jumping to be let go.
Zoltan tried everything and Smokey kept stopping him. Eventually it got violent with claws and even a knife drawn and emotionlessly stabbing at the bear to let him go. But it didn't work and Smokey followed the thief out – surly and pissed. Bear down 6 hp – Zoltan mauled for 11. It was 4:30 about now and we decided to just leave the area and go back to talk to Lornwylf (charm his ass) and rethink on the wards – as it was obviously nothing we could do – and we would need someone to show us, or learn a secret way in.
Detheron healed most of Zoltan's wounds and the group went up to the Wolverton Estate. One guard at gate, two at the manor house. We were told Lord Ulric Wolverton and his wife Gretchen were at business in the south and party should come back. Group was willing to talk with Lornwylf who came to the door.
Steward spoke to party who made up some story that they wanted 20 wagons of timber dressed and cut sent in some time to environs west of Orihalcus. Lornwylf said there was an outstanding order already and nothing could be taken for 7-8 weeks for first delivery. Some sort of figure of 1500 crowns for half up front with 1/20th for each successive wagon – but should talk to Lord Ulric. And then Puck tried a Charm spell but it seemed to fizzle (Lornwylf suddenly developed a headache and looked around suspiciously – but Puck had cast his spell from behind Karis/Detheron's back so was not seen). Group figured it was ok to leave – feeling the Steward was a bit greasy for their tastes and didn't trust him. And then they went back to house for dinner.
While eating, Zoltan went to the Twisted Forelock where he grabbed a chair by the window facing the Lycos Suns Office and watched the place carefully. Rest of group hung out and had a good time chatting and getting frisky with Flora (mostly Gwyn) – and then there was a knock at the door. It was Deidra – with an apple pie. Wanted to come by and thank the party personally for their kindness. Her sister Ingrid was watching the children now – Hani was asleep and Gregor had calmed down.
She was invited to dinner and Deidra spent most of her time next to Detheron and they chatted about Frey and orhpanage and the mood at the table was light and friendly and fun and the party was having a genuinely great time.
Meanwhile, Zoltan watched the two secretaries and the front man leave – each of them carrying a wooden box of paperwork with them. Then 4 stablehands/cowhands left awhile later. And around 6ish a burly looking guy left – most likely the guy identified as Gunter. But no one matching Iohanas' description. Yet.
While Detheron was sitting at the table, his noticed that Deidra was wearing an herbalistic mixture most likely as some sort of low level acting aphrodisiac and it was affecting her and him to a lesser degree. The pie she brought over was delicious and about 7:30 Flora announced that she wanted to go and see the play at the Rampant griffon, The Damsel of Daggerdale – and the group should take her since she's been waiting on them for the last two days. She told Detheron he didn't have to come – and to stay with Deidra to keep her company.
Party got the hint and left Deth and Deidra alone in the house – and within a short time, the two of them were engaged in one another's arms and she was relieving herself some pent up frustrations and Detheron was happy to be a part of it – having some connection and attachment to his new friend and lover. Conversation followed and Deth learned more about Deidra and her marriage to Thadar. Was rarely home, and he made too much money as a teamster. She asked him point blank if he was a bad man – and Deth had to think on it before saying no – deep down he wasn't a bad man.
They spent time alone with one another and chatted and she asked when he was leaving and he said in a day or two – but he would be coming back – and she was happy and wanted him to. Then she said she should be getting home as it was after 8:30 and late and Ingrid would be wondering about her.
Zoltan spoke to Eydis and told the thief lass/bartender to let Gilof and Hrod know that if he needed to go and pay a visit to the office across the street – would there be a way to make sure that the watch was diverted and not paying attention? She said tentatively sure – but would be at best for 15-25 minutes tops. Zoltan said he'd tell her when that was needed.
Then he wandered out – walked the perimeter of the office. It was dark. He then timed when the streets were most bare and guessing on the distance and elevation – cloaked himself into the Lycos Sun's Office. He waited, senses tingling – it was quiet – except for what he guessed to be one..no…make that two guard dogs somewhere not too far away inside the place. Fuck damn fuck. This was NOT something he wanted to face now. Zoltan cloaked himself OUT of the office (this was the third time today – and cloak still worked) surprising some guy who was on the way to the Forelock, and then wandered back home.
He got home in time to see Deidra leave and Detheron at the front door with only a cloak wrapped around himself and a loincloth on. The two men joked for a while and Zoltan was told the group was at the Rampant Griffon watching the play – and they shared some info for a bit when around 9ish there was a frantic knock at the door.
Deidra was back, eyes covered in tears and screaming that someone had broken into her house, sister was badly wounded, and kids were missing, and if Detheron would PLEASE come to help. The two adventurers grabbed their gear and bear and wolf and ran out of the house and through town, Zoltan snagging two guards and getting them to follow.
They got to the house and front door had been staved in and lower floor was a wreck. A woman, a few years older than Deidra was on the floor, a bloody blanket wrapped around her midsection – pulse weak and face pale. The guards took a good look and one went off to get more help and a physician, one stayed and checked for clues on the lower floor and outside. Zoltan went upstairs- no kids – all three bedrooms were ransacked and wrecked.
Detheron checked over Ingrid who was hanging onto life weakly. He called to Frey and healed her – she had a dislocated jaw and a sword thrust to her gut. She had a bloody rag clutched in her hands and she regained consciousness and Deidra was amazed that Detheron was a healing priest! They spoke to Ingrid who said 4 or 5 bestial men burst in and she tried to fight them off but there were too many and too strong. Said they wanted the medallion but she didn't know what it was. The two kids were brought down and stuffed in bags and she was stabbed while fighting with the boss, some tall man, snatching a bit of cloth from him as they left her bleeding to death in the living room. Detheron looked at the bloody rag she was holding and in the parts that she was holding protected under her hands – it was some sort of orange and brown silky material.
Zoltan was told to check in Gregor's room for a box he keeps under his bed – as most likely medallion the party dropped off before would be in there. He looked – box found – medallion not.
Detheron told Deidra to stay with sister. Deidra begged Detheron to please find her children. Detheron swore he would do so, Zoltan agreed. She looked at the two men and asked if they knew something about where her kids might be? They told her her husband's former employer Lycos Suns might be involved. Her eyes grew fierce and she ransacked her kitchen and came back with a thin key ring – saying it was her husband's copy of the keys to the fucking Lycos fucking Suns fucking Office.
Detheron and Deidra shared a fierce kiss and then the two adventurers left – Detheron running to the Rampant Griffon – Zoltan to the Twisted Forelock. Deth got the group out of the play and explained swiftly what happened. Party was aghast and ran back to home to get their gear and move it fast to Lycos Suns Office. Zoltan went to Eydis and told her he needed that favor/diversion from Gilof and Herod NOW. She told him five minutes and wished him luck.
And the group gathered in the shadows just shy of the Lycos Suns Office with purpose burning bright, a mission to perform, and vengeance in their eyes.
It is 9:30 PM on Workmonth the 2nd when we called it quits for the night. The next meeting is the 15th and as the party made noises about – it's time to start rolling the d20 and dishing out some payback.