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Captain Gavis 16th of June, 2011 21:03

Episode 1: Hammorsford
Hammorsford, a small nestled snugly on the very northern fringes of civility. Population 928 give or take a few depending on the aggressiveness of the natives. An ideal place for the rugged, the bold, the outlawed and the plain stupid (namely so-called adventurers) mostly due to its extreme distance from what one might call “society” and its severe proximity to the lonely wood and the wilderness that lay beyond it. Hammorsford is often the resting point for many an adventurer seeking fame and lured by rumors of treasure guarded by the monsters that inhabit the wild lands. Constant raiding by the locals has made the citizens of Hammorsford a hardy group, ready to switch from wood chopping to cleaving goblin skulls in seconds to defend their town, however, without proper training the “militia” is often defeated and the town ransacked leaving mostly women and children (those that aren't carried of by beastly invaders).

Hammorsford is about to have a boom of population growth in the form of a band of adventurers fresh from training (recently kicked out of their town) and ready for a bit of adventure. Two clerics of God's name here answering the town's one temple's call for a new operator after their last occupant lost his head (literally) in the last raid. A thief with itchy fingers that made life in his last town less than desirable and a life on the border a more comfortable option. Lastly, a user of magics, his motives shrouded in mystery as deep as the arcane power he possesses. After weeks of travel they have arrived in the town and find themselves on the main strip of shops with the words of the gate guard still fresh in their mids “You should be able to find lodging at the Wayfarer's Rest...and don't make any trouble or we'll throw ye to the goblins.” At the end of the lane they could just make out a large building with a sign creaking in the breeze with a portrait of a man in rags in the fetal position with a large Z over his head, this must be the Wayfarer's Rest.

As they entered, the adventurers saw a moderately-lit tavern. Directly to the right of the group stood a bar with a man wearing an apron standing behind it cleaning a glass with a towel. He had an upturned nose and a long scar running from his forehead across his nose and down his jaw. He looked at them wordlessly as they entered. There were several tables laid out in a haphazard manner. Sitting at the table in the rear was a man with a thick beard and dirty clothes nursing a pint of ale. A sign above the bar read “Ask us about our potions”. In the rear right back corner of the room is a staircase leading up. As the adventurers watched, a man hurriedly comes down the stairs and quickly brushes past you and out the door.

zachol 18th of June, 2011 10:22

One of the clerics, the one female of the group, scanned the room, feeling a little out of her depth. The last week had been... interesting. Certainly, she'd always expected she would do some cleaning out of various beasties, and perhaps even some day go questing, but she'd never imagined it would've all started... quite that way.
Also this group was sort of odd... a rather suspicious shadowy slinker and an overly smug (yet undeniably awesome) wizard-warrior, as well as a fellow cleric who managed to be not quite as bright as herself... somehow. She'd always been honest, to herself and others, that she didn't quite grasp things too quickly, but the way this other man acted was more than a little worrysome. In fact, she seemed to be the most reasonable member of the group. Or at least the most normal.

She glanced back at the group, looked around the tavern, considering her options, then ambled over to the bar, sat, and flicked some bronze onto the counter.
"Mead please."
She drank, then stared blankly at the barkeep. She spoke after something of a pause.
"So. What about your potions."

Captain Gavis 18th of June, 2011 11:29

As she drew close to the barkeep the cleric noticed he was not exactly human, with a snubbed pig-like nose, a thick brow, and above average muscle structure one would guess a distant orcish "relative". She also noticed that the scars on his face weren't the only signs of permanent damage, a false eye inhabited the man's left eye socket.

He spoke with a gruff voice to answer her, "Right now I have a limited stock. My friend Harold brews the potions and delivers them once a week, but I haven't seen him in almost three weeks now. He lives in a cottage out in the lonely wood a couple of days ride from here. I talked to the sheriff about checking on ‘im, but he says his authority don’t reach past the outl’in’ farms. I'd go m'self but I'm not the fighter I used to be if there is trouble. Them yer companions over there?”

As he finished speaking a young blond woman entered the tavern and headed straight for the bar and addressed the barkeep.
“Korec, have you heard from my uncle yet?”

“No Lora I aint”

“He has never gone this long before. My mother and I are worried something terrible has happened. You know, a party of travelers was attacked by something while traveling through the pass in the forest.”

“I know but there aint anything I can do.” Korec looked helplessly at Lora with his one good eye a touch of regret on his face.

zachol 18th of June, 2011 17:26

The cleric's face flushed, and her heart pounded in her ears as a feeling of divine elation suffused her body. So this was why they had been sent here!

Ever so casually, she smiled mildly, thanked the man for the mead, stood, turned, and advanced to the group, unable to stop her smile from breaking into a grin of joy.
She leaned forward, whispering. "Guys guys, we just got a quest!"

Mercutio 18th of June, 2011 20:49

"A quest? We're going to wandering off into the woods and hurting some bandits, I'll bet. I was kind of hoping for something bigger, like cleaning out a goblin lair, but I'll bet that guy talked up the attack on travelers and it's really just a bunch of thieves on the road."

Gulvin wasn't a village idiot, by any stretch, but people didn't exactly come to him for advice either. Despite working as a cleric, he had been duped enough by people that he was on the path to distrusting most strangers. He'd still help them if they needed help, as much as he was able, but he was getting tired of mediating fights between two people that were usually good. What he really wanted was to forget out the struggles between two good people and find some real evil. It was less taxing to puzzle out who was right when one person was actually bad, and the less puzzling involved, the happier Gulvin the Dunce was.

zachol 18th of June, 2011 21:04

"There's a fellow in the woods who brews potion, the barkeep hasn't heard from him coming on three weeks now. No idea on why, but I know this is why we're here, I can feel it."
She paused. "Although the fellow is likely dead by now. Still, whatever or whoever did cause this needs stopping."

AbidingDude 19th of June, 2011 13:02

"Stopping people sounds like fun to me." Aerius commented from over his mug. "There's almost always a reward for stopping 'bad' people... even if it's just what they left. That's not even counting gratitude from the people you save. I say we head on our way as soon as we have directions!"

Mercutio 19th of June, 2011 22:33

"Here's to hoping they have a lot of loot and don't put up much of a fight." Gulvin added. "I may not be the brightest candle in the crypt, but I'm not itching to die."

Captain Gavis 20th of June, 2011 22:39

From across the bar Korec cleared his throat, "Don't mean to intrude on your little conversation over there, but if it be about Lora's father, Harold, just know I'll pay each of ya twenty-five gold each to go look in on him plus a room for the night. What say you?"

Ergonomic Cat 22nd of June, 2011 12:20


Originally Posted by Mercutio (Post 397621)
"Here's to hoping they have a lot of loot and don't put up much of a fight." Gulvin added. "I may not be the brightest candle in the crypt, but I'm not itching to die."

Kragin's tread on the stairs sounded slightly irregular, but controlled. The sort of sound a pair of dwarvish boots might make if the owner of said boots were slightly more intoxicated than he had a right to be at this hour of the morning, but significantly less than he'd like to be. As he muttered to himself about the brightness of the Ik'tembosh sun at this disreputable hour, he caught the end of Gulvin's quote.

He laughed loudly and grinned at the lad. "Ain't seen a fella around here willing to give up a lot of gold withou' much of a fight. Even the K'vkted squirrels look like they'd consider flayin' the skin from your bone rather than give up a nut."

As he walked to the table, he spied the half-elf lady cleric. He nodded cordially to her. "Ma'am. I seem to recall you were travellin' with the caravan I came in on, eh. Don't think we were ever properly met. Name's Kragin. Called Kragin the Bastard by those that knows me, Kragin the Fair by those that mocks me, and Kragin the Last Thing I Ever Saw by those that oppose me." He winks at her as he speaks, taking a bit of the pompacity (it's a word. Look it up. If your dictionary lacks it, get a better one) out of the statement. "I wonder if you fine folks are planning to cause a bit of a ruckus in the name of good deeds? I find that I seem to have spent all the gold I earned on the trip here on...local delicacies...and I might could use a bit of a payin' job that involved helping a few folks out as well...."

He made his way to the bar as he waited for an answer, and gestured at a sword that stood in the corner that was almost 3/4 his height. "If I could get my sword, and my armor, I'd consider it a kindness, good 'keep."

Captain Gavis 24th of June, 2011 10:43

Korec eyed Kragin as if to ascertain the relative sobriety of the dwarf then retrieved the sword and armor from behind the bar. He then set the armor pieces on a stool and the sword on the bar with a firm hand on the middle to prevent it from being picked up. "I'm givin' this back to you with a warning. Any more of that drunken "dwarven strip dancing" and not only will I hide you armor after you pass out but i'll put you out to sleep with the goats." His gruff demeanor broke for an instant and he laughed uproariously and removed his hand from the sword. "But boy you should have seen the mayor's face the whole while purple as a grape it was." Resuming a serious tone he added "If yer looking for work I just offered the group over there twenty-five coins to go out and look after Harold the potion maker, they have yet to take me up on the offer so I'll pass it on to you. What do you say?"

Ergonomic Cat 25th of June, 2011 13:30

Kragin grinned. "Thanks, mate. And the mayor may not have liked it, but I reckon his wife found it a fair sight better than she's seen late." He considered the group. "I certainly wouldn't turn down a few coins, times being what they are. I'd hate ta jump on their claim, though. I'll give them a chance to tag along, eh?" He winked at the bartender, speaking as he turned, "Thanks for tha chance. You might just be quarter orc, rather'n half, eh?"

He turned to the group, and approached them hopefully, holding our his hand.

zachol 25th of June, 2011 15:21

The rather cheerful half-elf leaned forward, taking Kragin's hand. Apparently she was the leader?
"Yes, of course. The more the merrier."
Or maybe she was just prone to jumping ahead.
She leaned past Kragin, addressing Korec. "Don't worry, we'll be sure to work out what's happened."
Then she focused on the dwarf again. "Come on, I'll fill you in on the way."

That seemed to have decided things, at least in her mind, and she spun on her heel and walked briskly out of the tavern.

Ergonomic Cat 29th of June, 2011 10:47

Kragin laughed again - his foul mood from the hangover seemed to have warn off. Or perhaps it was the fact that there was a prospect of money. What was that old joke? "Dwarves don't love money. They just say that to get it in to bed."

He'd never gotten that joke.

He watched the Half-Elf stride purposefully out of the bar. She was no dwarf, clearly. But then again, he was barely a dwarf - he'd spent most of his early years bumping his head against the ceiling, and trying to find clothes that fit. Still, half-elf meant half-human, and that was right out. Didn't hurt to watch, though.

He winked at the others at the table. "Hey, lads, I'll take your shares if you're not coming along, eh?" He returned to the bar, grabbed his gear, and followed her outside. Hopefully she'd stop long enough for him to put on his armor....

Mercutio 29th of June, 2011 10:59

"No, I'm coming, too. I know she's a true believer, but if it's as dark as all that, it might take two lights to send away the darkness."

Gulvin finished the drink he had and followed Kragin out the door.

AbidingDude 30th of June, 2011 02:04

"What? Hey! Wait! You can't take my share." Aerius jumped from the table, scooping up his pack and reaching the door in record time. "My skills are valuable! There might be locks, or traps, or things that need to be stabbed in sneaky manners! I mean... you'll all be safer if I'm along to protect you from hidden threats." He continued to make a case for his value, whether or not anyone paid him any mind.

Captain Gavis 4th of July, 2011 08:58

And so, the would-be adventurers set out on their grand voyage to check in on Harold the potion maker. They were armed only with their skills, a crudely drawn map of the area and the path to Harold's cottage, and Korec's very last potion said to cure only the minorest of wounds. The journey would take them two days out from the town and into the Lonely wood. Nearing the end of the first day of their trip the party came upon a small stone building long abandoned and overrun by the wood. Judging by the interior the building had once been a guard outpost but the roof had caved in on the second floor leaving only the ground floor still serviceable as a campsite despite the lack of a functional door.
The party set about making a fire and cooked a small dinner from the provisions they had acquired at the general store in Hammorsford. Night had come in full by the time they finished their repast and each was seeking his or her own bedroll. Sleep was just beginning to steal over them when the sound of baying wolves brought each to an abrupt state of wakefulness. The howling sounded like that of a normal wolf yet each felt a sense of malice hidden in the sound as its maker drew closer. The horses outside began to wicker nervously.

Ergonomic Cat 5th of July, 2011 05:42

Kragin sat up abruptly. "Your brother's back from hunting, lass, and I fear I must be ...." He blinked his eyes, and looked about in muzzy confusion.

"Oh? Oh. OH!" He reached beside his bedroll, feeling about until his hand found the hilt of his sword. He cocked his head to the side, trying to determine whether the howls were far enough away for him to put on his armor as he looked to the fire.

"Build the fire up, lads. And lasses. It might keep 'em away."

Captain Gavis 8th of July, 2011 05:18

Kragin's companions barely even stirred from their slumber seemingly deaf to his call to arms against the encroaching lupine beast. As he hastily put on his armor he heard one of the horses emit a scream in terror that was cut off abruptly with a wet gurgling sound.

Mercutio 8th of July, 2011 07:09

Gulvin stood up as quickly as he could. Although he wished he had time to get his armor on, he was pretty sure he did not. Gulvin grabbed up his shield and flail and hoped for the best.

AbidingDude 8th of July, 2011 11:32

Roused from his sleep, Aerius' hand was on the pommel of the longsword that slept next to him even before his eyes opened. Standing, he looks around for the cause of the problem, hoping the bandits had come to them and brought some loot with them.

zachol 8th of July, 2011 14:05

The female cleric is still asleep, mumbling into the spare, rolled up shirt that serves as a pillow. "Yes Father Micheal I understand, but aren't there some people that really just deserve a good smackuh what?"
She sits up, blinking, obviously confused. Another howl breaks her fully out of her slumber, and she jumps up.
"Alright, finally!"
She leans down for her mace and shield, and comes up, glancing around, quite eager to hit something.

AbidingDude 13th of July, 2011 22:52

Having moved silently to the door, Aerius peered out carefully to see what he can see. Excerising his race's keen eyesight, and their ability to see through the darkness, he returned to a position near the party to report. Poor humans, they'd have to toss a fiery log out there to see.

Captain Gavis 13th of July, 2011 23:10

Outside of the shelter Aerius could sense the heat signatures of the still living horses milling around in a state of panic. Nearby was a rapidly cooling lump on the ground, presumably the recently deceased horse. Off in the trees Aerius caught a quick flash of heat from the corner of his eye coming back for another kill as it lunged at a second horse. Aerius could not tell what exactly it was but it was definitely larger than an average wolf.

AbidingDude 20th of July, 2011 23:34

Moving back to the fire to report what he'd seen, Aerius looks to the party. "Well, we going out there or are we just going to stay in here near the fire and walk the rest of the way?"

After a moment of consideration he adds, "Before you ask, walking's not my favorite thing, and it might be a pain to bring back any wounded people without horses, so I'm all in favor of charging forth to do battle... I just didn't want to make any of you look bad by charging out first while you stood by the fire."

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