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gwangi32

Swords against Chaos

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OTTO Though a careful search is made there is no direct evidence as to where the elf who came ashore with you has gotten off to. With minimal wood craft he could have drifted off and would be untrackable. However, he was chance met and may have some other business.

 

And so you are the conqueror's of the glade. The two unlovely corpses have begun to draw flies. Two enemies have escaped and one friend has disappeared, but not under suspicious circumstances.

 

There is some forest noises going on, squirrels in the trees running about and three or four different bird types calling to one another. And so...what will you do next?

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"Let's work toward our rendezvous, downwind of these churls, and try to at least snare a few squirrels. I'm hungry, and I imagine you must be...."

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"Ron-dey-voo? What's that, some kind of elf talk?" Ragnar mumbles as he stalks through the underbrush, moving with surprising grace. Then, louder so the human can hear, he says "Mmmmm, squirrel. Let's get a move on!"

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Your passage through the forest, along an obviously well cared for path is relatively uneventful. You are able to capture two squirels while stopped for a brief rest. There are a few herbs, roots and some berries to be gathered as well. Within three hours of your encounter with the four men in the woods you come out on the main road.

 

Like roads throughout the Empire this one is maintained by taxes levied by the local nobility. And it appears that this noble takes the responsibility seriously. The road is wide and well maintained. There is a clearing nearby, obviously set up for travellers to camp. You have two hours before the sun goes down. Will you camp or continue on?

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"Ragnar, I think this is as good a time and place as any to camp and cook." Otto points to the clearing. "If you will gather some dry wood, I'll start cleaning the game for our dinner."

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As you are setting up camp a farmer with cart drawn by an ox passes. Three soldiers obviously off duty also pass. The squirrels are prepared and the herbs roots and berries are cleaned up. You are waiting for the fire to get hot enough for cooking.

 

At this point a wagon drawn by two ponies draws up. A halfling is driving the wagon and hails you, "A break for food, what a wonderful Idea." He smiles and continues "Would you care to share with me and my two friends? We've a cooking pot, herbs, wolf peaches and a few other items."

 

The two friends appear walking their horses up the road. A dancing girl and a musician carrying a Tilean guitar. The halfling says "We are entertainers on our way from here to there," he gestures at the side of the wagon which is painted to show the three of them dancing, juggling and singing. "Well, shall we make a traveler's stew and share a fire?"

 

Though there is plenty of room to set up individual camps it is common for bands of travelers to make a slumgullion feast, a stew of whatever they have and bread and cheese. And this is a halfling, which means that he is probably a fair hand with cooking. Also there is a fresh water creek on the edge of the clearing

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"I wouldn't mind at all, though we have little enough to add to the stew. Game has been scarce here....."Otto rises to greet the three newcomers.

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Ragnar comes back from gathering firewood and is surprised to find Otto conversing with the halfling and the humans. "Who're these?" he asks as he starts laying the fire. "You folks'r dressed funny. Got any beer?"

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Otto rises and looks for an appropriate rock or log for the dancing girl to sit upon.

He smiles inwardly at the thought "maybe Ragnar CAN be immortalized in song...or learn axe juggling from the halfling..."

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Ragnar finishes laying the fire and gets it going, then asks Otto "Got 'em cleaned yet, lad?" He then flashes a stern look at the newcomers and says "Y'all'll have ta get yer own squirrel. These're ours."

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Laughing heartily the Halfling produces a small keg of fine dark beer. “Halfast Dark, a passable brew, even by dwarf standards. I’ll share it out if you’ll share some of that wine,” he points an a bottle tucked into one of Otto’s pockets.

 

The meal moves along lubricated with some fine drink. The musician brings in water and the dancer breaks out a small table and eating utensils. The halfling attends to the cooking chores. On the entertainers side of the fire a small kettle is cooking potatoes in wine with mushrooms, spices and venison. A larger pan is frying bacon and flatbread. And another small kettle is heating water for tea.

 

The halfling looks up and says, “Tell me sirs, are you open to some storytelling of an irreverant nature or are you pure souls not wishing to damage your sensibilities with flippant nonsence?”

 

“Before you answer let me say that I am Gulder Bogwinkle, our musician is Nerthin Vine and our dancer and sometime storyteller is Zara,” here he pauses looking for introductions.

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Otto gently tosses the bottle to Guldar, figuring it's a good trade for the meal being prepared. "I am Otto Johanson,woodsman and trapper. Flippant nonsense would be a wonderful change-of-pace. For me, at least......"

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"Name's Ragnar. I kill things." states the dwarf as he helps himself to the halfling's brew. He drains his tankard in one long gulp, belches, then adds "Not bad, not bad at all. What'dya call this stuff again? Half-assed Dark?"

 

Not waiting for an answer, he fills his tankard again and seats himself on a log he has pulled near the fire. "I don't care what kind of stories ya tell, Shorty, whatever makes you happy just tickles me plumb to death." he says as he takes out his axe and begins to sharpen it.

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Gulder turns out to be a superior cook, a reflection of the halfling stereotype. The sun has sunk by the time the meal is finished. A meal that the travelling entertainers added two more bottles of wine to.

 

"We are happy to share our fire with capable warriors," says Zara. "I have a bit of a tale to tell and then perhaps you will share some story of the road."

 

"In the not so distant past in this county there was a merchant family with a fine reputation. They dealt in wood products and made paper for the University. Well one of the family married into a noble family and a fine country home was built for the couple that had all the benefits of new and old wealth. The nobleman was called to a task by his order of knights and he travelled away from his bride for two long years."

 

"When he returned he came with more wealth. Gold from Lustria or perhaps from the Tombs of Nehkara. But this gold brought no happiness. Within a fortnight the nobleman and his wife had dissappeared. And then the servants at the manor ran away. Terrified by some unseen menace in the Manor."

 

The manor was swathed in brambles and choked into hidding behind pine trees of the deep forest variety within six months. The remote manor was lost and occasionally a woodsman will find it and sell a map to the location. BUt, only a madman would go into this accursed place. After all there is only trunks of gold in the place, magic weapons."

 

Here Zara smiles and indicates that her story is done, unless there are questions.

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