The party decided to follow the breadcrumbs and go to Castle Sterling in the Helmian Lands and get the magical items that the former Tower Master (Cornelius for those keeping score at home) had commissioned. It's been made and stored up to 13 years ago by someone called Wizard-Lord Erazmus and was at Castle Sterling in the Vault.
Sounds like a cakewalk! It's about 11 days travel (without issue) from where we are and instead of hand waving the travel, I like to play it our day by day. You never know what's going to happen or who'll you run into.
Write up follows:
Flimflam spoke with Baron Taugis about reinstituting the harvest festival to the gods that used to be done prior to the Goblinwars and the Baron agreed, opening the coffers to help facilitate it. Meanwhile, our druid had been preparing a number of items of esoterica for his planting of the dryad acorns around Shakun. He had the surveyors travel with him to an unseen oval around the town and lands 4 miles by 8 miles. Once it was mapped out, the land was cleared on the perimeter of these circles in seven distinct spots of 100’ in diameter each. The earth was turned and churned and stripped clear of plants and grasses.
Then he gathered Castus Woodwalker and some of his former group to go with him to these locations where he performed a deeply moving and religious ceremony in which the acorns were planted along with a seven count of other items that would be considered holy to the 7 chief gods of the area. In addition, a charged Olympian Crystal was also put in place under the ground to empower the soon to be dryad and the landscape. A number of plant growths were cast which not only spurred on the growth of the acorn, but also the dozen plus other trees planted in the area, as well as all the grains that were put in place.
One by one, each day Flimflam encircled the area around Shakun with the seedlings of Davers the dryad, fertilized with his own seed, blessed by each of the seven gods, and hit with a number of consecrations and growths to cement their presence as well as spur their growth. At the end of each ceremony, he was able to lead the young dryads out of their trees where he made their acquaintance as well as those who came with him. And then he left them to get their sister planted.
And on the 8th day, Flimflam rested. We will see what his efforts would yield in time. For now, it was the start of winter, the growing season was over, and there were 7 dryads planted along an 8 mile oval encircling Shakun, bolstered with a number of other immature trees and fueled by the blessed Olympian Crystals of Demeter.
As the rains fell like sleet and the first few flakes dropped from the sky, the weather plunged to the mid 30’s and stayed there. Eventually Marcus returned from Woodhelven, exhausted and happy to be home once again. At his tower he was met by Geld who took the time to inform him of everything that had transpired to date as well as the increasing righting and cleaning of the tower. Marcus informed his henchwoman that the Council informed him he would eventually need to choose an apprentice and he had some 6-12 months to find and take one.
He released the orc warrior back to where he came from (he admitted he was a beet farmer from somewhere else) and then changed his summoning a few times until a skeleton appeared. He gave it orders to guard his tower and then went to the Hall of Heroes to meet with the rest of the group.
The work at the Hall was still progressing along, most of the 1st basement was in place and the miners were sinking shafts for the 2nd sub floor. Support beams were in place and the entire Hall had a look of barely controlled chaos about it. Everyone shared their news with one another and then we got down to discussion. We wanted to go to the Helmian Lands and this Castle Sterling as it had been identified by the Wizard-Lord Erazmus almost 2 months ago when we finished clearing Cornelius’ Tower. There were supposedly magical items just sitting there, waiting to be claimed by the tower master here – and that was Marcus.
In addition, closer to Heatherfield on the way to Brewersbridge was an area where Roderick’s Skull (a totem sought after by the mage’s guild) was lost and we had some sort of map of the area. Given how things were going to be, we might look for the cave on the way back and try to get the skull if we could.
So we made arrangements, sent missives to Heatherfield to have Liscinia and Vestanus (shieldbearer and porter) ready to join us if they were interested, and were going to leave the next day on Deathmonth the 17th at the start of the new year 183.
We had a large group as we left: Flimflam, Marcus, Erd, Avidius, Tranis, Steiner, plus Taulib, Geld, Horace, Viridia, Fermius, PLUS Whosea, Hugin, Princess, Brutus, and Ringer. The thought was that no one was going to mess with a large and well-armed and armored group. Our first stop was right after nightfall at the Roaring Treant Inn where we rested in large comfortable rooms and partook of the nights song and revelry.
The 18th had us on the road without issue where we arrived at Timberton just before sunset. Once again we procured space at the inn and grabbed another night’s sleep – this time making sure that some of our members had bedrolls, blankets, and warmer clothing for the trip.
The 19th had us travel south, out of the Ponar Woods and in the lush rolling fields that brought us to Dairymeade. The Thorpe was lively and we were made welcome at the Laughing Cow in and had the pleasure to see Mayor Cokinstock who introduced the party to fermented alcoholic milk called Kvass. It was a bit…solid…but had about 15% alcohol in it and Steiner was brave enough to try it. We were invited to stop back on the way home and get shitfaced.
The 20th had us up early and we travelled in the gentle misting rain south some more, passing the abandoned estate homes north of Heatherfield and eventually making it to the town proper. We gathered rooms at the inn closest to the Temple of Demeter and then ate, eventually meeting with Vestanus and Liscinia. Both agreed to come with us. Vestanus took a reduced payment for the next 6 days (expected travel time until we get where we need to be) but was able to get it all up front – which he gave to his wife. The goal is to earn at least 50 nobles to help pay for the last of the moving costs to bring his family to Shakun and get them situated so they look for work. Liscinia had good memories at the way we handled things and was looking forward to joining us on our way out the next day.