Back In the Hall of the Trickster (12th June 2013)
The Dragon Warriors
Aethelfrith – Thane
Sir Erich of Barton – Knight
Hillson – Warlock
Nazir al Khalid – Barbarian (NPC’d)
Solaran – Elementalist (NPC’d)
Karban Telos – Sorcerer (NPC’d)
The Hunt (Days 34-35 (114-5))
Sir Erich, Karban the sorcerer, and Aethelfrith returned to the ship to find the mad man still gibbering on in his own language and no sense had been made from his ramblings so far by the rest of the crew. They reported their story to the rest of their companions and discussed what they had found. They decided that the following day they would try to appease the Trickster with sacrifices and then settled down for a good night’s rest.
The following morning the party rose early – there still hadn’t been any sign of the Bloody Bitch or her pirate companions. This time, Sir Erich, Aethelfrith and Hillson the Warlock decided to go hunting for the fresh meat that would be used as an offering at the Trickster’s table. They spent all day hunting but came back with only a handful of shellfish and some edible lichens.
The next day they decided to try extending their search for meat a little further away from the ship but, as luck would have it, a small herd of caribou turned up for a drink at the fresh water pool below the waterfall in the cove where they had anchored the ship. The three companions decided to trail the herd as it left and after about two hours travel, they finally caught up with it. They stalked up on a trailing member of the herd, a magnificent stag, and got to within the distance of an easy bow shot.
Sir Erich and Aethelfrith let loose their shafts at the beast. Aethelfrith’s arrow flew true and struck the caribou square in the flank. This startled the creature and it started to run, but as it was unaware where the shaft had come from it fortuitously headed straight past the party. Hillson was able to jump out from his hiding place and scare the animal back towards the warriors, thus enabling them both to put another arrow into its flank. This frightened the stag even more but shock and loss of blood had by now slowed it enough for Hillson to catch it and deliver the killing blow. They skinned and gutted the beast and returned to the ship with the hefty haunches of fresh meat.
The Trickster’s Hall
The adventurers quickly collected the other offerings from the ship and headed back towards the hall under the mountain. Once within the illusory confines of the feasting hall, the party headed to the central fire and roasted the caribou meat. This took a while, but they waited patiently until it was properly roasted.
Once the meat was cooked they made their way to the end of the hall where the main seats were. Once there, they presented the cooked meat and some mead to all of the places that were set. They also took a quick look at the water offering they had made a few days before. It did not look like it had been touched since their departure, so they poured it away and replaced it with mead.
They waited for a while but nothing seemed to happen. Feeling a little foolish they decided to start singing a few feast hall songs and attempted to entertain what they hoped were their invisible hosts. Again, nothing seemed to happen. As it had been a few hours now since they had last eaten and the smells from the roasted caribou had permeated their senses, they decided to eat what was left of the offerings. They took the remaining part of the meal that had not been used for the offering and walked to what they recognised as the human table and plonked themselves on the mead bench set at it. As soon as they arrived within the vicinity of the table they could hear the faint sounds of merriment and feasting. They decided to try joining the feast with their own food and drink but touched nothing of what was on offer; the sounds of the party did not become any clearer. They discussed who should start to eat and drink from the table offerings and it was quickly realised that Hillson would be the best to do so as he had a sharper wit to avoid the Trickster’s illusions and the two warriors were strong enough to drag him away from the table should another elf or similar appear to attack them.
Hillson began by drinking some of the mead from the table and instantaneously heard the feast in full swing. The shadowy figures around him came into full vision and he became a member of the drinking and feasting fraternity at the table. He felt the magical tug of the illusion but would not be drawn into its clutches. The two warriors asked him how he felt and what he could see and he responded to them with clarity. They prompted him to try the food and see what happened then. He did so. The pull of the illusion became stronger but he was still able to resist its allure and report back to his companions what he observed. He could understand all that the feasting warriors were saying even though it was not his native language, and even got involved in a few bragging and drinking games with them.
The warlock kept up the feasting and drinking for an hour or so, but as nothing unusual had happened he decided to slowly wean himself off of the illusory victuals to see if the sounds of merriment faded again; it didn’t.
As the night wore on, Aethelfrith and Sir Erich started to become a little bored watching their companion enjoying himself so decided to call a halt to the proceedings. The illusion hadn’t worn off for Hillson even though he had stopped eating a good few hours before. The party decided that around midnight they would get Hillson away from the table if nothing happened at that hour.
The hour of midnight came and went with no change to the pace of the feasting, so Hillson stood up to leave the mead bench. As soon as he stood up, the merrymakers at the table fell fast asleep and a booming voice sounded out from behind him (that only he could hear). A huge, ugly man stood up in the distance and started yelling for everyone to be quiet whilst holding onto his ears as if in pain. The ogre of a man locked his eyes on the warlock and charged at him yelling a war-cry.
Hillson had the presence of mind to cast a defensive spell upon himself before the creature got to him. However, Sir Erich and Aethelfrith were closer and struck the brute with their magical weapons; neither seemed to have any effect. Hillson swung his weapon at the troll but missed just as Aethelfrith remembered some of his ancient lore. He yelled at everyone to strike the brute with their fists rather than weapons as it looked like Grendel had come back from the dead. The two warriors made their blows connect solidly but the ogre struck Hillson regardless, ignoring the hits from the two stalwart companions. The blow startled Hillson but did not penetrate his thick mail armour. Hillson cast another defensive spell and then threw himself into the brawl. All the while Grendel was pummelling Hillson, the two companion warriors struck at the ogre with their fists. Finally, the man-troll could take no more of the punishment, staggered a little and then fell to the ground where his body dissipated to a smoky haze.
Other Worlds (Day 36 – the early hours)
After their encounter with the Grendel being, the party decided to take a breather and headed back to the main table at the end of the hall as they could not work out exactly what was going on at the feasting tables.
Time was running out quickly now so they decided to be a little hastier in trying to work out what was going on. Hillson, now wanting to get back to his bed on the ship for a good sleep, asked his companions to watch out for him and promptly sat himself upon the chair with the well sigil carved upon it. His thinking was that it may be something to do with knowledge and who better to sit upon it than someone versed in the arcane arts? As soon as he touched the seat he disappeared backwards into it, far too quickly for either of his companions to stop him. Sir Erich grabbed hold of the end of Aethelfrith’s spear and sat upon the same chair. He too was whipped backwards through the chair; a hapless Aethelfrith was dragged through on the end of the spear he was still holding onto tightly.
Hillson and Sir Erich found themselves sat upon a log with Aethlfrith stood in front of them still holding his spear. He quickly whipped around to make sure nothing was behind him and saw that they had all appeared in a glade within a forest. In front of them was a well with two small pails beside it. Stood beside the well was an old man dressed in good quality clothes; obviously some kind of wizard or wise man thought Hillson. The warlock hailed the man in the language of the feast hall (somehow he could speak it fluently) and said that he was lost. The man replied that the party were indeed lost as the woods carried on forever in every direction. He said that they had to make a decision - They could either give him an eye each or answer his riddle to get out of there and back to their own world. Sir Erich managed to recall something he had heard when he was a child from the tales his mother told him at his bedside. He asked whether the old man’s name was Mimir, the Wise One. The wise man chuckled but only repeated his offer.
The party decided they would try to answer his riddle. Mimir pointed to the two small buckets beside the well and said that one has a capacity of three pints and the other a capacity of five. He wanted them to give him exactly four pints of water from the well. Whilst Hillson and Aethelfrith scratched their heads and tried to get their minds in focus for the challenge, Sir Erich was already there with the answer – those fairy tales told to him upon his mother’s knee were at last coming in useful for something other than as cautionary tales. He immediately took up the five pint pail, filled it to the brim with water and poured it into the three pint bucket which he then tipped away. Then he took the two pints left in the five pint bucket and poured that into the three pint bucket. He then refilled the five pint bucket, tipped out one pint to fill the three pint bucket again, leaving exactly four pints in the five pint bucket.
Mimir was impressed at the speed with which the knight solved the puzzle and placed a small vellum-wrapped package into his hand and asked the three companions to sit back down upon the log. The party complied with his request and were instantaneously transported back to the chair in the Trickster’s Hall, somehow not falling on top of each other. Sir Erich’s curiosity got the better of him, and he un-wrapped the vellum package despite Aethelfrith’s warnings. Inside the package was an eye.