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Swords against Chaos


gwangi32
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Zara laughs and Gulder smiles at your reaction to the story.

 

Nerthin Vine says "No my fine friends, we are not trying to gull you into buying a map to riches undreamed of...We are passing along some of the news of the area. There is a small mercenary band camped south of Frakstein, across the Stir River. They are the madmen and women who search for accursed gold. We entertained them for a few days and are now heading for Nuln by way of Voun. You appeared to be headed for Frakstein and so Zara's story. These mercenaries may be looking to hire but we question their judgement."

 

Nerthin brings out a small three stringed instrument, not a lute or guitar, but similar in general form. He plucks a gentle and pleasant background for Zara's next story. This story is of a princess who is cursed to take the form of an eagle during the day and is herself only at night. It has a happy ending for the princess and a daring farmer lad.

 

When the story is completed Nerthin and Zara bid you goodnight. Gulder brings out a small crossbow and says, "I'll be taking a watch on top of the wagon. You may sleep well tonight."

 

The forest is not quiet. There are insect noises and night bird calls. A wolf howls.

 

Will you set a watch, tend the fire or just go to sleep? Or will you decide on some other course of action?

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Gulder calls back "I am taking the watch for my little band. If you wish to keep a watch as well that is a choice I can welcome. More eyes brings fewer surprises or so my grand daddy used to say."

 

The evening progresses... Stars blaze in the sky above the clearing. There are no moons to be seen this evening. Insect noises and night bird calls interweave with the light whispering of a breeze through the leaves.

 

Then, to those watching, comes the drumming of hooves down the road from Frakstein. Horses dangerously at the gallop are drawing closer.

 

Ragnar-Did you keep the fire going or allow it to die down? and What is your reaction to the noise?

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(Ragnar kept the fire going.)

Ragnar, hearing the thundering hooves of the horses, moves to the sleeping Otto and kicks him awake. "Looks like we got comp'ny, lad." he says before he moves to the side of the road and stands with feet apart, axe at the ready, awaiting whatever is coming down the road.

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Ragnar Standing at the roadside you can see the approaching horses slowing, their riders are gesturing at the fire you have left burning. Seeing more clearly in the night than any of your companions you can see that there are three riders each has a drawn saber and one wears a plumed helmut that reminds you of the self important and irritating road wardens that have harassed you for fees ever since you entered the Empire or was it tax collectors, humans have such odd customs.

 

Otto Your crossbow loaded and your nightvision as good as it will be you peer in the direction of the noise. You can hear that the horses have slowed down and make out vague bulks in the starlight.

 

"Hello the camp," a voice booms out from one of the riders, "We are not a threat. I am Captain Fidelien, Road Warder from Frakstein. We have been attacked and believe that we are being followed. I and my men would like to share the protection of your fire until daybreak."

 

Gulder calls to Ragnar, "Slayer, I believe that it would be a good idea. Unless you have a different turn of mind I will invite these fellows to join us."

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Ragnar and Otto pass by the road wardens almost unseen.

 

But Captain Fidelien turns in his saddle as he sees the glimmer of light on the axblade. "Sirs, the dead that walk are behind us. We were ambushed but managed to break through. It's odd but it seemed the ... things ... were all after me." The Captain's voice breaks. Then firmly he says, "We are carrying posts for Frakstein, I will deputize each of you to help me hold off any attack. Here," he points at the now blazing fire, "and I will pay five gold coins in the morning if I am able to depart, that's five gold coins each."

 

The wandering entertainers grasp weappons and agree readily enough.

 

Captain Fidelien looks at Otto and Ragnar, "And what of you?"

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Ragnar stops and turns around, "Undead? Bah!" he says, and spits. "I'll wait with ya. I'm not gonna be trampsin' around lookin' fer skinny skeletons and foul zomie-types that smell like a midden heap! I'll let 'em come ta me!", he says with an evil grin. "What were ya runnin' from 'em fer? Why didn't ya just bash 'em?"

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