This marked the official start of the 12th adventure and with all new beginnings, we had a formalization of the leadership and direction fo the party. Detheron, our druid, has opted to take over once more (especially now that his personal problem are solved as well) and was very clear in the statement of which direction the group was to go and how we would get there. I hope it works out for them.
And this also brought them to Flatrock, a place mentioned a few times before on the nebulous frontier. A place under seige by a plague. A place where Vanir (from SOOOOOOOOOO long ago) and his men are and doing something nefarious.
And they are in for a good time. :)
Write up follows:
Norris and Hammerhand had left about 6 days earlier for Darkwaters and Kurtsville and the group’s members had completed their training and guild responsibilities when it was a bright morning and crisp fall day. Detheron had asked Gwyn, Guyus, Mebali, and the two new members Thurin and Havic to join him for conversation after breakfast in the common room of the Rampant Griffin Hotel.
It seems that the druid and dwarf had had numerous conversations over the last few days about the state of the party and our standing. It seems that no one was happy over our upsetting the Count and being removed from Cymbarton. There was much disgruntled feelings over Rahyk and what had gone on. But also there was a feeling over the last ¾ of a year that as a party we had lost our way. And that was to stop.
No longer would we act a pile of separate people with separate agendas. It was group first and best for the party before selfish needs would come to the forefront. No more are we going to be kicked out of town after town. No more would we piss off the populace and under no circumstances would there be any issues group wise that would put the party in jeopardy.
Havic seemed pleased over this but Thurin had a few questions that were answered and eventually accepted. Detheron had gotten a charter from Lord Artis Dearnhorse, the elder lord willing to sponsor our party. We talked about the name of our group and decided to go back to the original Sundered Chains as that name did have some local notoriety and approval in the two smaller towns of Orihalcus and Ponyboro. He had Norris sign the charter before he had left, the bard very happy to have done so and be a part of the party. As for the others around the table – he asked Thurin and Havic to hold off on signing for a few weeks so that we could suss out if we are a good fit for one another.
Once the document was signed it was brought to the Daernhorse Demesne where we talked about where to go next. The party had a bug in their bonnet to finish off Vanir as soon as possible – and that meant going to Flatrock, the current town under some plague. We did not want to risk going through Cymbarton and Brokenhills or Eider, so opted instead to go through Orihalcus and then take the unused and ill repaired ancient dwarven traderoad northward till we drew near Dragonhole. We would then avoid that city (Lord Vergadain would surely remember us) and then go to Northedge and refill our provisions before settling in towards Flatrock.
Lord Daernhorse was willing to help out part of our journey. He gifted us a 4 horse team and wagon so that we could taken them to Orihalcus and avoid the walk that far. From that point on, it was up to us. We thanked the lord for his generosity and wasted no time, leaving shortly after that.
Mebali teamstered our horses for us and he did a more than admirable job, getting us through the lowlands of the Dusty Mountains within record time and arriving at Orihalcus around 11 o’clock. The gate guards let us in and were surprised to hear the name Detheron, Gwyn, and the Sundered Chains as it had been rumored that we had died. We turned the horses and wagons in at the stablery while the Sheriff Kalarig was roused and told of our return.
We went to our home, unused for 9 months now, and were met by the brigand turned archer turned guardsman turned sheriff who let us in to our home with a copy of the key. Much back slapping and welcome homes were traded and a ready skin of the local mead soothed our dusty throats. Windows were opened and dust was scattered. Detheron used a couple of anti-vermin barriers to clean the straw mattresses in the long dormant rooms or lice and mites and we had much conversation with the Sheriff.
Kalarig reminded Detheron of Deidra and the druid was going to take a trip to the Children of the Wilted Leaf Orphanage meanwhile the rest of the party should get some sleep as it was a long day and most likely Sir Walter Slaine would want to meet with the group in the AM. Detheron went to the Orphanage where he was met by Brother Dougan and then roused Deidra. She was upset as he had said he would be back soon and it was now about 9 months later. But the ire was ended swiftly and the two lovers reconnected on a more primal level for the remainder of the night.
The next day Detheron was awoke by Gregor and Hani, Deidra’s children, excited to see him returned. They had a great breakfast and Detheron broke the news that he was going with the party to Flatrock to help out with the plague and hopefully take out Vanir while up there. Deidra let Detheron know that according to local rumor, Flatrock was under quarantine and no one was getting out. Suggested he stay safe and take no unnecessary chances and to come back soon.
We regrouped and then met up with Sir Walter. He was also dismayed at the length of time since our visit and that we need to come home more often. Let us know that Karis had come, turned in his bondsman ring, and told everyone that he had escaped death and the rest of the group did not. Joined a party known as the Red Clouds and then left for other places unknown. There was some rumor they had gone to Dragonhole and raided the armory there for a shield and some other gear. There was also talk according to Sir Walter that they were maybe near Huntington, but no one was sure anymore.
He promised to talk on our behalf at the Council of Lords but asked us for a favor. Offering us a 600 crown bounty if we could eventually find Karis of Melbourne and give him three stripes across the face for the dishonor the one time knight had shown him. One stripe for each insult. Do we kill him? No – not necessary – just mark him – a mark that he’ll carry for the rest of his days. Detheron accepted for the party and Sir Walter was pleased.
So pleased that he gifted us with 6 horses (admittedly fairly poor specimens, but viable) as well as bridles, braces, saddles, bags, and enough food to last us and our mounts for seven days. We took our old cart out of storage at the Teamster’s office and Mebali spent a few minutes getting it up to snuff as well as hooking up one of the nags to it. Guyus, Thurin, and Detheron would all ride while the rest of us would take the cart – and we would lead the last two horses, trading them out to keep all of them as fresh as possible.
We left with a song in our heart and smiles on our faces, tracking towards the road to Ironcamp and then onward through the Dusty Mountains and the old dwarven trade roads. We met up with Flarg briefly and entertained taking the barbaric bugbear with us, but wiser heads prevailed and we left him behind with a promise to get him if we were to take out any local kobolds.
We rode on. Travelling through the wildlands, rain and wind driving at us for 4 days straight. We ended up on the crossroads just east of Dragonhole where we avoided the city and rode around until we found the road northward to Northedge – a trading town situated within 20 miles of the Windy Peaks and the no man’s land that was once time dwarven lands – now orcish controlled. The gate guards took our name and were distrustful of us – but we reequipped on another 2 weeks of food and slept for the night – eventually heading off eastward towards Flatrock.
It was about 2 days later when we arrived. The grasslands had faded away, leaving only briar bushes, scraggly brown weeds, lichen, and stubbly course pale yellow grasses. Scrublands as far as we could see. A single mesa rose up, some 300’ with an almost 600’ plateau on top. A keep of some sort was on top of the mesa and at the base of the slope was a walled town.
A haze rose over the city, low and gritty. There were few fields outside the wall and what was there were stunted, unkempt, and untended. There was also a lack of sounds from behind the wall, much softer that what we would expect from a small city this size. A trio of outriders wearing thick masks rode towards us with their arms outstretched and calling for us to stop.
We spoke with the men, promising that we know of the quarantine and that we came here willingly and with the desire to help. They were surprised but happy at the fact and were anxious to take us to the Grey Raven Hospice and meet with Father Timon Beerdrinker. Beerdinker???
It seems that over the last 6 months, most of the town’s upper echelons had suffered greatly – and Father Timon was currently the highest member of the ecclesiastic order of Odin worshippers – originally he was around 11th in line. Even the town’s ruler, Lord Harold Bork, had suffered with the death of his eldest son.
At the east end of town we did find the cemetery and a charnel pit near a lime pit where bodies were coated and left to rot. Everywhere we went we saw people with herb filled masks walking about as if in a daze. At the Hospice we were given masks and introduced to Father Timon Beerdrinker. He was a heavyset man just about 5’10”, eyes were red and puffy and he looked like he had not gotten much rest in the recent days. He took us to the terminal patients so that our clerics could do what they could to help.
It was then that we learned that in the town of normally 2000 people, now down to about 1200 over the last 6 months, that there was in fact only ONE touched priest here, a Halfling priest of Freya named Ludwig of Principia. He was harried and happy to see us and we spent time learning what we could of the situation and what we could do to help.
There was a alchemist who was trying to work up a cure with the town’s herbalist, but the distillate of blood from the existing plague victims was not sufficient enough to come up with a cure – we would need to find the source of the plague. Thurin suggested it might be the mineral water that the town was known for, but that was quickly squashed. The mineral water actually retarded the acceleration of the plague, those who did not drink it got sick sooner and faster.
Why did they not just burn the bodies? The plague was still virulent even in the dead bodies and burning them outright only hastened its spread to those anywhere near the smoke. The best way was to lime the bodies for a few days to hasten the decay process and after three days, the bodies could be safely burned. We cured disease on two of the terminal cases in here but there were still at least 18 others – and that doesn’t count those who would grown to this level of sickness tomorrow. The tide was too great.
Ludwig had been here 43 days to date and had no chance to even search for where the original infection might have come from. There was one other organization here helping out according to Father Timon – a slaving organization named Lycos Suns, headed by a man named Iohannes. They had arrived about 4-5 weeks ago and even though they had lost their stock and two of their men, they were helping out with whatever needs the people of Flatrock could do to help. According to Ludwig, a few of them had thought about maybe finding some sign of infection at a nearby trading location about a mile or two from here on the other side of the Mesa called Kreladale.
We decided to spend some time and try to work with the local healers to see if we can help improve their abilities to keep the sick from getting sicker as well as check out some of the rumors that the plague might have started in Sinner’s Tower (an open aired 60’ donjon where some of the town’s criminal types are placed).