Thursday, 14 February 2013

Dragon Warriors - Session 3

Session 3: Arboreal Adventures (13th February 2013)

The Dragon Warriors
Aethelfrith – Thane
Sir Erich of Barton – Knight
Solaran – Elementalist (absent)
The Silent Man - Assassin

The Village of Worsted, Glissom (19th Day - Noon)

At noon three days after the Silent Man left the village of Worsted on his own searches for the mayor there was a knock at the door of the chapel. Solaran had risen early and disappeared to who knew where, and Sir Erich had stepped out to try to rustle up some lunch, so only Aethelfrith was in to answer it. Standing at the door was a young girl dressed in clothing more suited for a boy. She asked whether she could accompany the adventurers on their mission as she hated the village and its dreary day-to-day grind of chores and back-breaking work. She longed for adventure. Not one to turn down a pretty face or to curb anyone’s freedom, Aethelfrith agreed to her accompanying them when they had healed up. Arrangements were made so that she could drop off her travelling gear over the next few days so that her mum did not notice and they pre-arranged a meeting point should the adventurers have to leave in a hurry.

Meanwhile, Sir Erich had called into the blacksmith’s to see if his sword was ready – perhaps in another few days was the blacksmith’s answer. Continuing on with his chores he headed towards the tavern to pick up some broth for the afternoon meal. He spotted three well-armed travellers striding through the door, so decided to follow them in.

He chose a table close enough to overhear their conversation and realised that they were talking about his companion, the Silent Man. He casually walked over, introduced himself and joined in their conversation. The three newcomers introduced themselves as Jarus, Councillor of Glissom, Sir Connor, Marshall of Glissom, and Michael his squire. They had only had to travel a few miles after leaving the Silent Man and had come looking for his compatriots. They asked where the rest of the party had got to, so Sir Erich led them from the tavern and took them to the temple to introduce them to Aethelfrith.

After a brief introduction, the newcomers seemed to know quite a bit about the party already, Jarus healed the pair of them fully and led them back to the tavern for an afternoon of drinking and talking – most of which involved their hunt for the grey creatures that were raiding the caravans to and from Glissom. Sir Erich and Aethelfrith agreed to keep them informed of any sightings they had of the grey beings before the newcomers headed for the trail again. The two companions returned to the church to rest up for an early start the following day.

Just as they were preparing their weapons and equipment for the following day, the pair of adventurers heard a commotion outside. They poked their heads out of the door to the chapel and spotted their companion, the Silent man, returning to the village with another person leaning heavily against him. The villagers had congregated around the pair and were cheering the return of their mayor. The Silent Man accompanied the mayor to his fortified manor house and was paid a gold crown for his troubles. The other two party members joined him at the gateway to the manor and corroborated their stories with the mayor. They asked about the large cat that accompanied him but the mayor said that it would be fine and they would not be attacked on their travels. They asked if they could help him in any other way as they still had to repay their debts to the traders but he replied only if they could rid the area of the Reivers once and for all. A little more coaxing got the mayor to reveal that he was on his own quest and would be leaving the village soon anyway, so ridding the area of bandits would save him the job and he could get on with his quest much quicker. Aethelfrith puzzled over the answer and asked if his quest was to rid himself of a curse. The mayor was truly puzzled as to how he figured this out but said that his quest did indeed involve a curse being lifted.

Encounters in the Forest (Day 20 to Day 26)

The party left early the following day, with the young girl Mary in tow. Sir Erich was not completely happy that she was tagging along with them and feared for her safety. He thought that it might perhaps stand them in poor light should they leave the village with her. Her mother would not be best pleased to say the least, especially if she was returned in a casket. Aethelfrith, as blunt as ever, thought no more of it and carried on walking out of the village. Sir Erich and the Silent Man quickly called in on the mayor to explain the situation and as they left his manor, bore the brunt of Mary’s mother and sisters’ wrath for trying to take their beloved sister away from them. Whilst a big family argument carried on around them, the two warriors quickly slipped away to join Aethelfrith at the meeting point they had agreed the day before.

The forest was remarkably quiet for the first few days. The third day could have turned out more dangerous for the party, but rather than risk injury the three adventurers climbed a tree to avoid being attacked by a large pack of wolves as they made camp.

Whilst travelling on through the forest on the fourth day unease fell upon the travellers. They couldn’t quite put their fingers on it, but there was a tension in the air. All three felt as if they were being watched and readied their weapons in preparation for a surprise attack. Suddenly, from ahead of them the bushes started to rustle as if something very large was moving through them. A loud, booming voice called for them to “Hold” and two very large mastiffs burst from the undergrowth before them.

A huge pale skinned man followed the dogs out of the forest. Standing at around five metres tall, wielding a large battle axe and wearing a chain hauberk with a huge white cat pelt around his shoulders the Frost Giant approached them. His large purse of coin, elaborate hunting horn and lushly decorated human-sized hammer amulet tucked into his belt jingled as he came to a halt. He asked them what they were doing in the forest and fearing the worst they decided to tell the truth. They mentioned that the three of them were hunting down a community of about twenty bandits called Reivers. This impressed the giant and he fell into an easy conversation with the party. He said that he was hunting a huge “fire cat” that he had spotted in the forest a few weeks ago. The party deemed it wise not to mention that this was most likely the mayor’s cat but said that they would give word to him at his steading in the east if they heard any news of it. In return he gave them the location of the wise woman of the woods they were looking for; she was located just north of Worsted in the foothills to the mountains. He bade them a merry “Farewell” and continued on his quest.

Around noon the following day the party surprised a large bear attempting to feast on the grubs from a bee-hive he had knocked down from a tree. He didn’t take kindly to the intrusion and charged them with an almighty roar. The Silent Man slipped away into the bushes whilst Aethelfrith charged headlong into the fray. His attack drew the bear’s attention whilst Sir Erich stabbed it with his spear and the Silent Man hit it from a distance with his arrows. A couple more blows from the stalwart warriors had the bear turn tail, allowing them to bring it down from the rear. Sir Erich and Aethelfrith then argued over who should have the bearskin and as a result, they spoilt the pelt a little with their squabbling over what it was to be used for thus reducing its trade value.

On the seventh day in the woods (the 26th day since they had been magically summoned to the kingdom) they bumped into Sir Connor and his cohorts again. As it was approaching evening and they were due to make camp for the day, they decided to share food, ale and tales of the last week or so. Whilst they swapped news of their encounters and lack of success in their own missions, the squire Michael sensed that something was not quite right. The glade in which they had camped seemed ordinary enough; a soft green sward surrounded by large protective trees. However, he noticed that there was no breeze in the clearing but some of the trees were creaking and swaying. First one would creak on one side of the glade, and then several minutes later another would begin to creak on the other side. This to-ing and fro-ing lasted for several minutes but nothing else happened. It was only when Sir Erich climbed one of the trees whilst it creaked that all sounds ceased completely. They spent an uneasy evening around their camp fire but nothing else happened that night.

Orcs! (Day 27)

The two parties split again early the following day to pursue their own goals. The marshal and his followers headed north whilst the adventurers changed direction for the first time since leaving the village. The decided to head east instead of carrying on with the south-easterly direction they had been sticking to until then.

After a few hours of walking, the trees began to thin out and the undergrowth started to become a little thicker. Just before noon, as they made their way through the undergrowth, they heard gruff voices arguing in Vasic, the common tongue of the party. They crept closer to the commotion, concealed by the bushes and tall grasses, and spotted two ugly creatures arguing over a pot of honey in front of an upturned cart with no sign of any draft animals. The whole scene was covered in footprints of man-sized creatures who had only been there maybe an hour or so previously. Both of the arguing creatures had sharp teeth and long talons but were of different colours; one grey with yellow eyes and the other black with golden eyes. They were definitely of the same species but not something anyone had encountered before. As the party thrust their way into the clearing the argumentative pair looked up, puzzled looks came over their faces due to the interruption, but they soon carried on arguing over the pot of honey again. Aethelfrith grabbed another pot of honey from the cart and gave it to them and said that they now had one each. Again, this brought a puzzled expression to their faces but they seemed pleased that they had one pot of honey each.

Sir Erich and the Silent Man started to check over the cart to see what was on it and Aethelfrith sat watching the little critters with a smile on his face. Suddenly, they heard a movement coming from the undergrowth ahead of them. Before they could retreat into cover, a war-band of man-sized grey creatures burst from the bushes. The well-armed and armoured beings spotted the party looting their cart and charged towards them. The little creatures looked up at Aethelfrith as he and Sir Erich formed a small shield wall flanked by the cart and asked if there was going to be a fight. Aethelfrith answered in the affirmative and braced himself for the first impact. The Silent Man, meanwhile had headed back towards the nearest cover, but he had been seen too. The orcs screamed war cries at the party and charged home across the clearing.

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