Sax

Evander's Tale - Fourth Session 4th Oct 2009

Arriving back at the Crescent Lake, Vianna is still ill but she is alive at least and able to conduct the required ceremonies. We set out from the Crescent Lake the following morning after I have made the sacrifice to attune the moonstone without which our mission cannot succeed leaving the injured Aeric with Vianna.

Following the river upstream for several days, we follow it past several confluences with my intuition guiding us. Otherwise, the journey is largely uneventful but for the strange purple stain disfiguring Veein’s face which we have noticed for a few days now.

Eventually we arrive at what appears to be the head of the river, it trickles out of the rocks but doesn’t appear to enter them from anywhere the other side although Calladin is convinced he can hear a waterfall, Marcus can’t and I trust his woodcraft skills so I stay with him while Calladin investigates his strange sounds. Maybe the Fae influence hasn’t entirely left us. After investigating the head of one of the other spurs we return to the original outcrop and Calladin redeems himself finding some markings around one of the small holes we had seen. He ventures into the hole having placed an entertaining wager with Marcus and, once again curbing Holien’s rash behaviour, we tie a rope to one of Calladin’s ankles, not both, so we can pull him back out if he encountered danger.

He ventured down and found that it opened up into a small cavern with a large stone slap in place in the floor at the other exit. I suggest to him that this may well be the stone we are looking for and that it would be unwise for him to venture further, so we trade places and I proceed past the stone down a corridor which ends in a blank door.

I try valiantly to open the door and then exercise all my other skills to persuade any resident on the other side to open it, but to no avail. With the torch burning low I return back along the corridor to the stone whereupon I discover a faint mist arising from a small tunnel that passes under it.

Thinking this may be the well, I drop a moonstone in but when nothing happens I decide that there is nothing for it but to venture down. Calladin has, at this point, rejoined me but stays firmly on the other side of the stone; Holien is nowhere to be seen, probably off sulking at having lost the wager.

I squeeze down the tight passage, just as well I’m not as fond of the beer as Marcus I’m not sure he would have fitted, eventually emerging into an enormous cavern to the sound of a mighty gong, the like of which I have heard once before when we first entered the realm of the Fae. It is an amazing place. For, although it is clearly underground, it is also illuminated as if by faint moonlight. In the centre is a wondrous large pool, or well, but I can also see movement faintly although at this stage I cannot make out what is there.

As I approach the pool a venomous snake slithers out from darkness and attacks me, fortunately, although it looks like the one we saw in the Crescent Lake it is not as large and I manage to fend it off with my torch and soon dispatch it but not before it strikes my leg. Thank the goddess for armour!

As I continue my approach to the pool I feel my mind being assaulted but successfully fend off the onslaught but after a second encounter realise this may be the guardian of the well and, risking all, drop my mental defences allowing the spirit to touch my mind. Once again my intuition proves reliable and the spirit proves to be friendly and, after a short but fascinating conversation, I convince her that I am here to help.

When I reach the lake I see a large rotting carcass floating and manage to grapple it and remove it from the water and then throw the moonstone in whereupon I see the purple stain in the water, similar to that on Veein’s face, slowly fade. Upon returning up the passage that I came down I encounter a small problem. Calladin has foolishly attempted to pass the stone without having been properly attuned and has been rendered unconscious by the magic that protects this place. This means he is completely blocking passage and I have to struggle to push his dead weight, he is a larger man than I am, up and out of the passage. When I finally emerge I discover the reason for Calladin’s rash behaviour. It seems that, while I have only been gone a short while time has passed much faster for them and he came looking for me out of concern.

By the end of this I am thoroughly exhausted and rest up a while waiting for Calladin to regain consciousness. We eventually manage to get Holien’s attention and he hauls Calladin up into the fresh air and I then attempt to pull on the rope to haul the rotting snake’s head out from the cavern that had been fouling the well to remove all trace of the corruption that I can but the barrier between the worlds prevents me from this so I am forced to return and haul it out directly.

As we journey back to the Crescent Lake we see that the stain on the face of Veein has disappeared and can take comfort in the knowledge that we have been successful in this quest. Whatever evil is plotting the corruption of the goddesses has been defeated in this battle at least.

We arrive back at the lake to find Aeric in better health and rest up for the night with some of us having various conversations with Vianna who seems in much better spirits herself too. Whilst preparing to return from the Crescent Lake the following morning we hear news that Valerian is dead so we rush back to the ferry. Marcus takes the first ferry across; Valerian was his responsibility so he needs to return with all haste. Accepting this I arrive at the pub slightly later as the ferry can only take a few of us at a time. I get to Valerian’s room to find a stranger there with Calladin outside the door, they seem to be having a somewhat aggressive standoff but I manage to get past them and into the room. Valerian is lying there with his skin looking a very unnatural green. At this point the stranger starts making a lot of fuss so eventually Marcus demands to talk with him privately. Of course we agree and a while later they emerge having from the room having come to some kind of friendly arrangement.

It appears that the stranger, who answers to the name of Brutin, what an unfortunate name, is a member of the Imperial Watch, or something. I wasn’t completely convinced by this, he just doesn’t look, or dress, like a guard, however Marcus is happy with him so that’s good enough for me, for now at least. It’s not entirely clear exactly what he’s doing here but he has some business and he may be handy in a fight, which I suspect we are due to have a few more of. We finally get round to an investigation of the room and discover a note from Valerian asking us to continue with his quest to avert the emperor’s doom.

After various discussions with the staff at the pub (red stag inn) we get a description of the man probably responsible for Valerian’s murder. Marcus arranges with the landlord to have Valerian’s body sent back home with his personal affects while we make plans to do as he requested. We eventually agree to set off the following morning, so that Holien can sink a few beers, he seems to be developing quite a thirst recently, I am a little concerned, maybe I’ll have a word with Evie when we get back. Ah how I do look forward to that reunion. To feel her sweet caress again; to walk in the meadows on a summer’s evening under the stars with her. I feel that she is perhaps the one for me, maybe I will even be able to settle down, or better still perhaps we could explore this incredible world together. But my past worries me. What if I am in fact already married? I feel an irresistible pull towards the world of the Fae. Maybe I will find some answers there. My soul is restless with this not knowing. But I digress, she does move so …

The following morning we set of across the river and around the Shadow Bog towards Sherfield on Vaugh. Not far from the town we hear a noise which I persuade the others warrants investigation. As we approach the source of the incredible sound the others all hang back leaving me to approach what appears to be some kind of very tall tree of a species I am not familiar. We later discover this to be a Dreaming Tree, a Fae creature perhaps, which are marked on our partially burnt map, giving us hope that we are indeed on the right path to the Vale of Mists that we seek. Even when I approach and touch the wondrous being it remains unaware of our existence. Perhaps we are to small and swift to impinge upon it alien consciousness.

The rest of the journey passes uneventfully, sleeping under the stars – a beautiful experience as always – and we arrive just after sundown and get passage across the river with a local who recommends a local tavern on the waterfront so he takes us directly there. We spend a while talking to the regulars and I entertain them with my lute, unfortunately it’s one of the poorer establishments so my cup only gets a few coppers, but they are pleasant enough. We do however get some luck with the name of Hailheart. It appears a woodsman by that name stops by here from time to time and they kindly give us a description.

The following morning we set off to find this jolly fellow in the forests outside of town. Eventually we spy smoke rising above the trees and venture into the forest to see if this is our woodsman. When we meet him he fits the description perfectly though, strangely, he declines to concede that he is indeed Hailheart however, a financial arrangement is eventually arrived at, curbing Holien’s desire to do the man a disservice, and he agrees to act as a guide for us to the fort.

He does indeed guide us along the road entertaining us with a few of the local stories until at length we arrive at a causeway through some swampland wherein we spy some foul-looking creatures that resemble nothing more than impossibly large slugs. I don’t fancy putting one of them on a line to feed the fishes with. I fancy the fish, or possibly even the fisher, would wind up the tasty morsel. This land is most certainly full of strange things.

Our conversations with this gentleman, whom I will call Hailheart even though he declined the appellation, did reveal a few more of the features of this landscape which I was able to locate on Valerian’s map. He pointed out the roads to Rox Tor and Low Vale and High Vale. All this gives us great hope for the success of our heroic endeavour.

Where and away we come by the town of Low Vale with Hailheart assuring us of a welcome from Sgt Storey; however the man is not to be found at this late hour so we acquaint ourselves with several taverns, Holien and Brutin electing to reside separately from myself and Calladin. It vexes me how he can be related to such a charming creature as Evie for he appears to have no appreciation for the finer points of life. Maybe it’s a soldier’s thing. But I feel sure that I must have met military folks before and found them to be greatly appreciative of my arts, albeit the coarser end of selection. Maybe he is weighed down with the responsibility of our quest.

Nevertheless, I manage to entertain the good folk of the Blue Orchid Tavern and turn a reasonable profit for my troubles. The following day we meet up again and Hailheart introduces us to a young lad who turns out to be the good Sergeant’s son; and a cocky sort he be truly, but likeable enough. He is to be our guide it transpires. As we journey on from the fort towards Low Vale he engages us with tales of some of the goings on around these parts; of how some folk claim to have felt eyes upon them on the road but most memorably of how the Swordmaster of Wingan Fort bested a mighty giant although, so it would seem, he may have had a hand from one stout sergeant. A mighty battle it must have been, and worthy of a bard’s tale. Ah, the stories this quest shall provide, I fancy I’ll dine on them for many a year to come.

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Third Session 21st June 2009 Holien's View

So we are at this Stink hole and I am fed up and very tired. My nights sleep was disturbed by this damned snake which nearly eats me alive. It took all my skill in parry and dodge to keep out of its way while lover boy and Eric finished off.

At day break I had enough and wanted beer. We needed to get back to the Tavern to report our discovery and we headed back as quickly as we could despite several stops for lover boy to play with mushrooms and look at plants. His mind should be on better things….

At the Tavern Valerian was very interested in the Stink hole and what we had found on the other side. He wanted to go there straight away. He introduced us to another bloody singer!!! What on earth do we need with another dandy boy who has a rapier and sharp words but no brawn!!! The beer drowned out their orrible singing and I slept well that night.

In the morning there was a bit of fuss with some local woman falling ill but we need to press on and I remind the new chirper that we had better get going. After some time we find the stink hole but the snake is gone!!! The stone is back in place and the gateway to the fairies is closed. Well that was a waste. While the two flutist’s go down the hole together I find the trail of who has been doing all this work. Not fairies but folks from this side and eventually I persuade the party we need to be following them.

We follow the tracks and find that two folks have taken a boat somewhere and the other two split. It is getting late as we follow the tracks of one to a hamlet of some 6 hovels. We spend the night there but the talkers fail to find anything useful as to who might have mended the stone. Talking is not getting us anywhere.

So we walk back to where the tracks split and I pick up the trail again to a sheepherders cottage. I leave mouthy to do the talking while I have a poke around the back to see who might be around. I only see a small boy in the hut and he is not big enough to do much snake and stone shifting so it has to be the chap who is running rings around lover boy. Anyway I jump on the slippery bugger and give him a good talking to and he finally spills the beans on what and who has been moving the stone and snake. It sounds like he was doing it for good reasons so I leave his throat intact and gives him some money for his troubles.

We look at the map and realise that we really do now have to travel down the river. Lover boy wants to walk it and after explaining the facts of life to him we decide the tavern and beer while we wait for the next boat is the best course of action. Of course lover boy can go walking ahead of us if he likes but I and Valerian will be waiting for the next boat and we can pick him up and sort out his sore feet at the same time.

At the tavern I was looking forward to a nice kip and some more of the local brew but would you believe it we were needed to sort out some foul creature at the lake where the lady has been poisoned. Well we have to cross the river and while the boat is being prepared I sink a few brews and we get on the road again.

At the shrine the two song thrushes try to gather information and between them make a right merry song and dance of it. One forgets what he has been told and the other feathers his own nest. I will be watching out for him from now on. Eric and I will cover the lake with our bows while the two singers try and get the Taverns owners wife to the shrine so she can prey. We know the beast in the lake spits poison so they hide behind our sleeping blankets made into a wall, behind which they can shelter their pretty little heads…

Well just as they get near the shrine a sodding snake like creature pops its ugly head out of the water and me and Eric let rip. I land a first arrow on it but it seems to do little, Eric misses and with my second shot a pull back as far as I can to ensure I land a massive blow on it. I whoop with joy as the arrow thuds into the snake just as it lets out a wad of spit that misses the poets…

Anyway it does not come back to the surface and I need to make sure it is not skulking and healing itself in the mud so I draw my sword and go charging into the lake to cut the head off it. After some slipping I find the creature and go to work with my sword and drag the foul creature out so I can make a trophy of it.

Meanwhile the poets are messing around with the shrine and I go off and get a fire going to warm myself and have a little sleep as the beer and the fighting has made me a tad sleepy…

The next I knew we were at the quarry and looking for more stones to help cleanse the spring. I sensed trouble when we saw no-one working and I climbed a pile of rocks to get a good view and drew my bow. There seemed to be two dead people and then as the others went to investigate the corpses another two people started to shamble towards the group. I shouted out a warning as they were walking funny and did not respond to my greetings. It soon became apparent that they were living dead as there bodies were foul and smelly.

I let loose two arrows into the one that was swinging at lover boy and hit both it’s arms with such force that should have put paid to it!! Yet it still continued as if nothing had happened to it. I drew my sword and charged over as I could see lover boys staff was doing nought but tickle the creature. Upon my arrival Eric had taken two mighty blows on him and the party were about to flee. I threw myself at lover boy’s beast and knocked it to the ground. Then as I sprung back up I swung my sword down on its leg and hamstrung the bugger. It was still trying to fight but now it was an easier target. As it failed around I bided my time to ensure I could cleanly smite its head and dealt it such a blow that it stopped all efforts against us apart from it was still moving in an odd manner.

Out the corner of my eye I could see that Eric was badly wounded and another blow upon him would surely kill him. The new poet was playing pin a donkey with the creature and doing nought to it!!! So I left my stuck sword in the head of lover boy’s dance partner and dove onto Eric’s foe. This one was wilier but after some tricks I had learnt from my Da I had it on the floor. It was a strong bugger and we needed to finish it off quickly. I shouted to lover boy to kick its maul away so that it could not re-arm and I went for my sword. Eric was out of the fight and went to work on sorting his wounds while lover boy took a swipe with his quarter staff and tickled the creature. I got my sword to work but this bugger was dodging my blows. It managed to land some blows on my legs and I have never heard my shins crack as much with its second blow that nearly knocked me to the ground. Meanwhile lover boy not wanting a real fight went back to the immobile creature I had finished and started tickling it again with his quarter staff. What a bloody fool!!! He would be better as court jester!!

Anyway after a bit of encouragement from me he rejoined the fray and I finally managed to land a decent blow to its head that finally put paid to its attempts to harm us. We all stepped back and regained our breath while we watched these two living dead still jiggle and jaggle on the floor.

Up at the huts we found another dead body and after I decided to note any marks on the bodies so we can let their families know their fates we found two moonstones. This is what we need for the purification but again the damned poets had forgotten what quantity was needed to do the magic. Lover boy had been too busy getting a rune into him to remember the words spoken to him. How they remember the words to the songs they maul is beyond me!! So off we go with some mined stones and these new ones back to the lake to find out what they should have known!!

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Second Session

Second session starting on the hill side, with some footprints to follow from the remains of a large bonfire, with footprints ‘dancing’ round it

Encounter fellow in woods, knocked on head by something in the night

Standing stones, mushrooms, frosty woodland area, scree slopes and lots of tracking

Over the ridge line, onto a open hill top, very misty, walk walk around edge of inner ridge, 2 standing stones and 1 knocked over stone, stream running in to a sink hole.

Examine, climb down the sink hole, find freshly cut log over well like cave dropping straight down, walk over the log bridge, hear voices, climb back up rocky tunnel to see bright sunlight shining through a waterfall.

Heads through the waterfall, chime of (church) bell and into bright glaring sunlight 1/2 way up a cliff with a waterfall crashing over the top. Climb through and down the cliff side to the base of a long ridge line. Wood land stretching away on the lower side of the cliff, a thin plume of smoke can be seen rising in the distance.

Following the footprints, along the base of the cliff a short distance and then climb up the cliff. At the top more woodland heading away from the ridge line.

Reach another cliff over looking the ‘sea’, down on the beach are a number of netted stacks of crates and sacks, with a sole figure sitting near them.

Down on to the beach, sneak up on the figure, grab it, scuffle, some pain, Hobb caught and interrogated. It spoke no Sax, and little progress was made. It was dragged off the beach and back up to the cliff side, all signs of the struggle and passage removed from beach. The netted crates and sacks checked out; cheese wheel stolen, some black sticky stuff in barrels and lots of fish.

TBC?? Hobb killed executed somewhere??

Sat on cliff top watching sea, lovely warm afternoon, as sun sets 2 boats appear on horizon and move swiftly towards the beach (no sails, no rowing). A number of hobbs get of each boat, accompanied by a couple of larger people (and obviously leader). They dig a number of shallow holes and fill with something from a barrel, which they set light to and start roasting fish.

The group retire away from the cliff, on the footprint path and camp is made for the night. Shortly, a large crashing through undergrowth sounds are heard of to one side around dusk. Some skulking up to the cliff edge happens, to see what is happening.

A very tall man (twice the size of the ape man, and three times the hobbs)and an ape like man, are moving down the beach towards the hobbs where the larger men are shouting orders at the hobbs. The very tall man approaches the group, and a ‘discussion’ follows. A number of things are brought from the camp to the discussion, and then a few more things are brought over.

They then appear to move together to the camp and sit down, some drums strike up. Dark flames burn around the edge of the camp, and a few hobbs seem to dance around.

Back to the group, stay on the path until dawn, no sign of the lone hobb expected to arrives from the waterfall. At dawn, a reccy of the beach shows that the tall man and ape man are gone, and the hobbs are packing everything on to the boats, and they leave shortly after dawn with netting thrown up the side of the boats.

Back through the woods, down the cliff, to the base of the waterfall. Climb up to the cave entrance, one or two falls back to the deep water splash pool at the bottom, eventually everyone in to the tunnel. Dark, cold and damp compared to the warm summery morning beyond the waterfall.

Back through the tunnel, attempted to push the log in to the well, although only managed to wedge it. Heard voices again.

Climb back out of the sink hole, in to dreary misty evening. The area is searched, a number of footprints surround the fallen stone.

Camp made, watch set and very dark misty night.

Slithering sounds heard by Marcus, others woken. Marcus charged around the edge of the sink hole to engage with a huge serpent which was sliding out of the sink hole. Aeric dons his chainmail shirt, and Evander grabs his staff. Luckily avoiding falling in to the sink hole, the serpents is fought.

Fighting in the dark, near the sink hole with a giant serpent could have been a fairly lethal experience. A few good blows were landed on the massive snake, fangs snagged on armour or parried by blades or dodged effectively. No damage done to players, a Aeric landed a brutal slashing blow to the snake’s mid section, opening the body up with innards sliding out. The great serpent fell heavily to the ground, dead.

Guard’s reset, and the rest of the night past peacefully…

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First Session

Starting in the Wild Moor Inn at the edge of the Annish forest south of St Waughen

Tried to get in to library at the university, failed to get past the guards.

Met Valerian, introduced to each other and outlined initial journey.

First light, met at the dock to board the XXX TBC ship with 2 barges in tow. 3 paid passengers and 1 rowing for his passage.

Off to sea, calm spring day, mist banks on horizon, followed coast line for whole day mostly under sail. Set anchor for the night.

2nd day at sea, quiet sailing and a little backbreaking rowing…

3rd day, quiet morning, some wreckage spotted during afternoon. As ship approached, a large silver object was spotted in the water. A huge sea serpent attached itself to the middle of the barges. Lots of arrows fired from the ships in to the water, and some spear jabbing saw the serpent off. Although some damage was done to the barge, and repairs were required. In the water, a piece of wooden ship paneling was recovered, with the word Eagle still visible painted on it.

Further along the coast, in to the estuary of the Vaugh, and on to Crudley. As dusk fell, the ship moved in towards the Red Stag Inn. A small fire was spotted on a hillside overlooking the Inn.

As the ship prepared to dock, fire was spotted behind the building.

Fighting

Fire Creature

Up the hill

The Inn

The PTG contact Redwine – map and PTG

Drinks all round

Early morning up the hill

TBC

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