Thursday, 5 December 2013

Doggerland Session 2:12 (The Iron Ring)

Resurrection – (4th December 2013)

The Adventurers
Bow – Ranger
Hallan – Fighter (Raised from the Dead)
Johan - Cleric
Paulix – Thief
Vox – Magic User
Spugnoir – Magic User (NPC)

Last Orders - Tirsday 16th Quattrober (Day 21)

As the adventures quaffed fine ales from pewter goblets and tore chunks of the finest beef, pork and venison from the bone, a shadowy figure rose from one of the nearby mead benches and glided out into the night. The adventurers tried to follow where he might have gone, but what with their proximity to The Wynde and the dark, overcast sky dropping its contents in a steady stream, they were unable to see where the person went to. Again, this man seemed familiar, but no-one could put their finger on where they had seen him before.

Raised from the Dead - Wodensday 17th Quattrober (Day 22) – mid-day

Used without permission - WotC
The rain still fell the following morning bringing a gloom to the day that should have been one filled with happiness; they were to get their companion back from the other side.

Bow, the ranger, rose early and joined the tanner in the Artisan’s Quarter at work on the wolf pelts in the hope of getting them finished a little more quickly. Spugnoir had also risen early but no-one saw him go. The rest of the party killed time by idling in the Tale Hanger’s common room until they were due to leave to see about the resurrection of their companion Hallan.

Johan, Paulix and Vox headed up towards the great Temple of Sol Invictus and introduced themselves to the deacon on door duty. The cleric announced their arrival to the rest of the priests and showed them into the sanctuary where the final incantations of the ceremony were being extolled by the High Priest Ralph. Hallan’s body began to take on a better colour and his wounds closed as each word was spoken and finally his eyelids fluttered. Then everything stopped. A few moments went by until finally Hallan drew in a ragged breath; he had returned to life!

The High Priest warned that Hallan would be very weak for several days if not weeks and he needed to be cared for gently until he regained his strength. Paulix thanked the High Priest for all he had done but Vox and Johan merely mumbled a few niceties whilst muttering under their breath that Sol Invictus could have restored their companion to full health and that maybe if he was so powerful he might do something about the wretched weather. Hallan beamed his gratitude to the High Priest and promised to live a life in the light of Sol Invictus. He was loaded gently onto a cart and was driven by a few acolytes back to the inn.

Once the party left the confines of the church, Johan said to Hallan that he would finish the job that the churchmen had failed to do and plied him with a couple of healing spells and orisons to make him feel better. As they walked down the Market Place they heard a shout of triumph from a young scoundrel. The party turned to see him run off into The Wynde carrying something in his hand. They all patted themselves down and it was then that Johan discovered his purse was missing. He wondered aloud why it was always him that was robbed. They returned to the Tale Hanger’s Inn to collect Hallan’s weaponry, muttered their thanks to the cart drivers, and then proceeded to the Artisan’s Quarter where they met with Bow who was just putting the final touches to five wolf-pelt mantles.

Tavern Crawl – afternoon

The party decided that they would like to find out what was going on in this town. They were aware that there was a shadowy figure tailing them, they wanted to find out more about the symbols on the wooden amulets, and also wished to contact young Tom’s associates who should recognise the iron ring Paulix had been given. As they were hungry, especially Hallan, they headed for an inn on the edge of The Wynde to ask around and make their presence felt.

The first inn they came to, “The Fox and Toad”, seemed as likely a place as any. The party entered the gloomy interior and spotted a few empty tables. Bow went to the bar and sat alone but the rest of the party took a table and watched the proceedings whilst Paulix tried to make his iron ring obvious. Johan, upset by the loss of his purse and the fact it was Sol Invictus that brought his friend back from the dead, drank himself into a stupor. The bar wenches were interested in Bow, but slapped his hand away when they realised he was carving a symbol onto the bar top. The wenches chatted to all and sundry within the bar, taking orders and making bawdy jests, and the rest of the tavern populace turned over at a fairly rapid rate; some looked at the party and made comments to their compatriots before leaving to go on elsewhere.

The adventurers realised they were getting nowhere in this tavern, but may have made an impression on some of the bar’s denizens so they decided to head back to their main base to freshen up before the evening’s entertainment. They would need to do something about Johan’s black mood too. Paulix though couldn’t shake off the feeling that he should have been contacted by Tom’s associates by now.

Ambush in the Alley – early evening

Fresh and clean, the party strode out of the Tale Hanger’s Inn and made their way towards the merchant Robert’s manse for their dinner date. Johan was still drunk, but was at least steady again on his feet. A short distance from the turning into the Merchant’s Quarter a shout went up from ahead. A young lad shook Johan’s purse and taunted him. Johan took after him at top speed and was led down a short dark alley with a couple of side turnings. Not thinking of anything but his silver, the cleric of Balder chased the scallywag down the twists and turns only to be confronted by three ruffians who struck him a blow. Bow was also quick off the mark however and joined his friend shortly only to find that four more ruffians closed the net around them.

A few quick blows from the ranger, a few shots from Paulix’s bow from the end of the alley, the sight of a hulking brute in metal armour, and a Holding spell from Johan quickly turned the tide of battle in the party’s favour and the two surviving ruffians ran off quickly. Four of the ruffians lay dead on the ground but the final one that was Held by Johan’s magic was questioned. The escapee ruffian who looked like he was in charge of the ambush, vaulted over several fences and scrambled over a rooftop with such nimbleness that both Paulix and Bow were impressed.

Paulix warned the captured ruffian about confronting them again and, showing him the iron ring, stressed that he was sure he should have been contacted by his fellow gang members by now. He gave him a final cuff around the ear and sent him on his way without his purse and weapons. The party quickly stripped the rest of the brigands of their wealth and noticed that each wore an iron ring on the index finger of their right hand. The party took the rings too and placed them upon their own fingers in the same fashion.

Robert’s Soiree - evening

When the party arrived at their host’s home they were ushered into a side room and asked by the porter to get cleaned up as they were in a bit of a mess after their foray. They explained that they had been attacked on the way over by a gang who were all wearing iron rings on their fingers. The porter was able to tell them that they had had a run in with The Iron Ring; a band of cut-throats, pick-pockets, vagabonds and ne’er-do-wells that ran The Wynde and all of the underworld activities in Castleford.

The adventurers were ushered into the merchant Robert’s reception room where they were greeted warmly by their host and his friend Ernest. Spugnoir was also there, as well as several other dignitaries who all wanted to hear the tales of derring-do from the guests’ own lips. Over several courses of sweetmeats and other dainties, washed down with the finest of wines, the conversation went on long into the night and the party discovered more about the mysteries of the attacked caravans from Robert and Ernest; who were now the only people to survive a caravan attack. They had been captured by men in black cloaks bearing the yellow symbol carved on the amulets that the party had seen and owned. These men were often accompanied by strange creatures; an ogre (whom the party had killed when they rescued the merchants), strange 9’ tall hairy beasts, other equally strange humanoids with heads like dogs and a man that could cast divine magiks dedicated to some demon from the Abyss. They mentioned that they had also told all of this to Sir Tancred, the castellan of Castleford Keep.

Then things took a turn to the more recent past. The merchants and their noble guests told them a little more about the Iron Ring and what they controlled (mostly all trade and commerce within The Wynde as well as some other parts of town less travelled by the city guard), and also about an even more ominous but altogether more secretive group called the Hemlock Glove that made people disappear in the night. Johan and Vox voiced their opinions that the Thuringians could not be all that high and mighty if they could not control law and order within their own town walls, but Paulix made excuses for them so as not to upset their hosts.

The evening ended on a high with some fine entertainers brought in from the city of Dyvers on the coast of The Silver Lake far away to the east, and the party were escorted to the inn by several of Robert’s guards to make sure they got home safely.

Another Spell for Vox - Thunorsday 18th Quattrober (Day 23) – morning

Bow and Vox were the first to rise in the morning. Johan nursed a heavy hang-over but he used his last orison to cure himself of the ill feeling. Paulix looked in on Hallan to make sure he was alright and the three of them went downstairs to sit in the common room to await the return of their companions. After a short while, they realised that their companions may be some time, so they headed out to buy some more weaponry and armour for Hallan, as well as a cloak with many internal pockets and hideaways for Paulix to keep his treasures in.

Bow returned to the edge of The Wynde and found another small tavern, “The Hidden Dirk”, where he started to ask a few more questions. The tavern was quite empty at that time of the day, so the bar-keep was more loose-tongued than he ordinarily would have been if the ale house was full of customers. The gold coin that Bow twirled through his fingers also meant that he had his full attention. Bow asked him about The Iron Ring and the nimble thief they had met the night before in the dark alley. The bar-keep told Bow that the man he was looking for was a rat-faced rapscallion called Gauk, who plied his trade from Castleford to High Beeches. He was always stirring up trouble for his mentor, Silk; a man who was itching to take over the running of the Iron Ring from the current leader Davron. Bow thanked him for the information and the bar-keep said he would deny all knowledge if questioned about this meeting – Bow agreed with a wry smile.

Meanwhile, Vox had wandered through the Artisan’s Quarter looking for another thaumaturge to learn another spell from; the silver in his pockets always burnt a hole in its bid to escape his clutches. He tracked down another mage called Nextor. He mentioned the type of spell he was looking for (the spell that he failed to learn back in Darenth, namely Identify) and was able to swap one of his own (Spider Climb) plus a hundred silver for Nextor’s time to teach him. Nextor warned him that he may feel a bit faint after casting it.

Around lunchtime, they all returned to the Tale Hanger’s Inn for some sustenance and told each other what they had purchased or found out. They retired to Vox’s room where he cast his spell to identify their magical items. They were already aware that the shield was better at protecting them and the arrows were most likely to fly more truly than others so they did not bother identifying those, but the two potions and the cloak were the main mysteries to solve. Vox rolled the incantation off of his tongue very smoothly and he was able to make out for certain that one of the potions would control beings that were undead and the cloak would allow somebody to pass through the wilderness and shadowy places as if they were not there. He was about to identify the final potion when he fell into a deep swoon.

The adventurers tucked him away into bed, locked his door and left him to sleep things off. They returned to the common room to plan their next moves. A short while later, Spugnoir returned to the inn to let his companions know that he would no longer be accompanying them. He had learned a few spells in their company and earned some treasure as a reward but he felt it was just too dangerous out in the world at the moment what with all the strange creatures, cultists and demons out there. He wished them all the best of luck and left them to their drinks.

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