A Job Offer (31st July 2013)
The Dragon Warriors
Aethelfrith – Thane
Sir Erich of Barton – Knight
Hillson – Warlock
Nazir al Khalid – Barbarian (NPC)
Solaran – Elementalist
Karban Telos – Sorcerer (NPC)
A Pirate Raid (Days 60-61 (140-141))
After the prospective buyer had left the ship, the party split up to take up their usual carousing. The sorcerer, Karban Telos; the knight, Sir Erich; and the warlock, Hillson made up the group that elected to stay on board the following day, whilst the other three decided to head into town for a bit of fun.
Unfortunately, this left the crew aboard rather thin on the ground. The mad-man picked up outside the Halls of Loki was untied and left to his own devices - he decided to leap overboard and disappear into the dark, twisting alleyways of the town. Not a lot happened until much later that day when six men approached the ship.
They enquired about buying the boat and were welcomed aboard. As soon as they stepped aboard, however, their tone changed and they started questioning the knight and sorcerer as to how they came by the ship. Sir Erich explained that they had bought it and that they owned it legitimately but the leader of the six men who boarded disagreed and said that they had come by it through stealth and subterfuge, and that it wasn’t theirs really as they knew who the real owners were. They drew their blades and a fight ensued.
Sir Erich was the only one near to the boarders, so he readied himself to fight them all. From what they had said he now realised that they were representatives of the Bloody Bitch who had come to try to reclaim what they thought was their property – the irony of the situation seemed lost on the pirates.
Karban made ready a spell and blasted one of the pirates before he could reach him on the upper wheel deck. He fell to the deck dead. Sir Erich raised his battle axe and made a swing for the leader. The blow thudded into the shoulder of the pirate with a satisfying crunch. The raiders spread out to surround Sir Erich in order to bring him down quickly. They did not factor in that Hillson was still below decks and could see the entire goings on from his vantage point below the main grate in the centre of the deck. This gave him line of sight which enabled him to make his phantom warrior appear behind the leader and strike him down dead.
The loss of two of their companions did not stop the irate boarders, so Sir Erich and Karban carried on with their attacks. Karban cast a command spell onto the pirate nearest to himself and ordered him to turn around and attack his own companions. Sir Erich started to take on the second in command. Hillson’s magical phantom warrior appeared beside the second in command and struck him a mighty blow whilst the pirates massed their attacks against Sir Erich which caused him a wound or two.
Another magical blast from the sorcerer killed a third pirate and the commanded minion hit his new leader which caused the last two boarders to turn and run for the gang plank.
As they leaped onto the wharf, they were stopped by a line of about a dozen town guardsmen. They were ordered to drop their weapons, which they did do. The leader of the guards mounted the gang plank and asked the knight and his companion to accompany him to the guard tower. They were to disarm and come quietly. Sir Erich and Karban agreed to this, knowing that Hillson remained safely hidden below decks.
Bar Room Brawl
Meanwhile, Aethelfrith, Nazir and Solaran had found a tavern in which to party the day away. The boastful nature of the thane finally got to annoy some of the patrons and the ownership of the cog was again questioned. The patrons of the bar quickly made for the out of the way corners of the tavern whilst the antagonist drew his sword and leapt upon the thane. Aethelfrith, always ready for a fight, quickly drew his own sword now that the means had been stated with naked steel.
The assailant drew first blood, but Aethelfrith returned the favour in spades. As the combat went on the patrons of the tavern began to cast their wagers on who would be victorious. The thug managed to hit Aethelfrith again, but the thane, his blood now up, began to carve a bloody swathe upon the assailant’s body. This proved too much for the assailant and he backed away from the fight swearing vengeance. Unconcerned, Aethelfrith returned to his beer and inspected the two minor wounds he had picked up; two new scars to add to his already not insignificant collection. The barbarian and elementalist however decided that the heat had grown a little too much for them and they made sure that Aethelfrith could annoy no-one else by bundling him out of the tavern and back to the ship after they had collected their winnings. The rumours that they had heard whilst the fight was going on was that the assailant was a high up member of the local crime lord’s gang and would exact retribution, especially as he knew exactly where they had moored their ship.
The rest of the day was spent on the ship. They chatted to Hillson about what had gone on for both parties during the day. Sir Erich and Karban returned to the ship later that afternoon and they mentioned that they may have a job and a buyer for the ship.
An Offer of Employment (evening)
The dust had settled and defensive preparations had been made just in case the pirates or the criminal assailant’s associates decided to pay them a visit.
Members of the city guard approached the ship at the allotted time and gave the appropriate password. The six adventurers left their ship and accompanied the guards to the town mayor’s quarters – more guards were left to protect their property. Upon arrival they noticed a grand feast had been prepared for them.
After the pleasantries had been completed, and the feast was begun, the town representative got down to business. He said that there were rumours coming from the East Marches on the border with Albion that an Old Ways druid had arisen and was stirring up unrest. At the same time, a dark knight had also appeared, blocking passage over bridges and through certain passes. The King wanted to use this unrest to his advantage so that he could reclaim the borderlands from the grasping Albion monarch.
King Aldred had sent men to investigate these rumours and to bolster defences on the border but aid was still needed for the more subtle border clashes. The party would be paid well for their participation but they must not reveal who their paymasters were. They were to be utilised to create chaos in the hope that it would help the cause of King Aldred in returning the East Marches into his hands from the duplicitous Albion land grabbers. Sir Erich thought that this was rather distasteful as he thought that Albion owned those lands fairly by right of conquest, but he decided to keep his lips sealed as they now had potential gainful employment and freedom, to a degree, to do as they wish.
Negotiations for the payment went on throughout the night, accompanied by plenty of food and drink, much to Aethelfrith’s delight; he even managed to avoid having a fight amidst his boasting. The party were able to be rid of the ship for a very good price of 100 gold crowns and a fine riding horse each, along with a large pile of magical accoutrements that consisted of a magical battle axe for Sir Erich, a healing potion, a love philtre, a potion of Dexterity, and a scroll of some sort. They also had their other potions from previous adventures identified (Dexterity, Healing, Strength and Replenishment), as well as Hillson gaining an apprentice warlock.
The party ended the evening on a high and returned to sleep at their ship for a final night before starting on their new quest.
Things that go Bump in the Night (Days 62-63)
The following morning, the adventurers headed back to meet with the representatives of the town to collect their payment and formally hand over their ship. This day also happened to be the same day that Sir Erich’s plate armour would be ready for him. They collected up all of their new equipment and some trail rations and headed out of the town gates in the direction of the East Marches on the borders with Albion.
The first day’s travel was completely uneventful, as was the second day, but things took a turn for the worse on the first watch change during the night. Shortly after midnight, as the first watch was handing over to the second watch, the sorcerer spotted rapid movement from the trees.
He warned the rest of the party of the not so stealthy approach of maybe three or four raiders. The members of the party who were awake readied themselves for the onslaught. Aethelfrith and Sir Erich made their way towards the approaching warriors whilst the others tried to awaken the last three members of the party. The sorcerer and elementalist threw a couple of offensive spells at the rapidly approaching assailants but they both failed to find their mark.
The pale yellow-skinned creatures made their way amongst the party, swinging their weapons as they did so. Aethelfrith caught a mighty blow for his troubles but this gave time for the last few members to awaken from their slumber. Solaran, the elementalist, cast a fireball at one and it erupted in a gout of flame; it fell to the floor before it could take another step forward. The warriors’ blows began to take their toll on the three remaining undead assailants, and a flurry of blows from Nazir’s magical morning star managed to bring down a second undead warrior. Aethelfrith took a few more wounds before his companions were able to finally destroy the last two ghouls; Sir Erich’s new magical battle axe accounting for one and the warlock’s phantom warrior the final one.