Saturday, January 22, 2005

Shark Bait

The remainder of the party, Ferrethryn, Linneaus and Malthus recover from the betrayal of Selazen, and take stock of the situation. Though Selazan is mere bones from the Terrana attack, his gear appears in good condition. They realize that he had the Instant Water (Sponge Spores) so Linneaus bravely races to the pack and drags it back to camp. After a short rest they decide to press on and see if they can find the lost tribe even without a guide. They survey the area seeing rough hard packed dirt, sandy dunes, and a forboding malpais of an ancient lava flow. They choose the malpais. After a half day's walk they spot a strange sight in the lava. A thrashing creature half shark half armadillo, Ferrethryn recognizes it as a dreaded bulette, or land shark, moving slowing through the tough lava rock. Linneaus tries to dance past the beast and score a blow, but is nearly snapped in half by its mighty jaws. The party eased away, but then as they did the thing leapt into the air coming down all claws on Ferrethryn rending her flesh from bone. The party was in dire straights. The magics of Malthus saved the day in this fight. First he blasted the beast with cold, which it shrugged off, then he slowed it, and delayed it with a conjured energy ape. This gave the others time to launch missile and spell attacks of their own. In the end, the creature fell just before being able to flee to the relative safety of the sands.
The rest of their journey was less dramatic. They faced three days of travel in the barren wastes. After two, the desert erupted into a sandstorm and forced them to make shelter in the night. Then with the malpais covered with sand, they had to use their natural (though magically enhanced) abilities to guide themselves to the creche where the Litorians were esconced. The last day of their journey was not without peril. They were attacked first by a huge horror heron, which used its massive jaws to try to swallow the party members whole. They made relatively short work of this bird though, but as they savored rending its meat as a prize, the scent attracted a pack of juvenille sand sharks (medium sized). These, though much less dangerous than the adult, proved a potent foe. Using tactics and teamwork they eventually succeeded in killing the six sharks and making it to the creche.
One Hero Point for Ferrethryn, Linneaus, and Malthus for teamwork, and creativity.
At the rocky outcropping they were welcomed by the litorians abandoned in the desert by Selazen. One, Sharaez, was an old friend of Ferrethryn and was pleased to see her. They spoke hopefully of some warriors they sent to bring help, and were saddened to hear that they had not summoned them. But still they celebrated the arrival of the party.
There was dancing and singing and general celebrations. They readily agree to be led from the desert to more hospitable climes and more welcoming people.
During the celebrations the tribe makes clear it owes the party a Life Debt, something considered sacred among them. They will swear allegiance to Ar-Ensul and its people if that is what is asked of them by their saviors.

The party stays a few days at the creche to gather supplies and water for the journey directly from there to Ar-Ensul overland. They plan to cross the rocky plain, pass the Lightning Dunes, skirt the Sea of Sparks and return to Ar-Ensul. It is a dangerous and wonderous journey, but eventually they make it safely with all hands accounted for to Ar-Ensul. The tribe under the leadership of Taeros, offers its services to Graal. They vow to train in arms and defend the city and keep against all enemies or serve it in whatever capacity the lord demands. Even the children begin to train in arms for the day they are asked to serve in the Lions Guard of Ar-Ensul. In the distant future, people may remember the origin of Ar-Ensul's mighty and feared honorguard made up of all Litorian Warriors, but its noble begnnings will remain with this tribe forever.

So ends this chapter of the Arsenal Adventures.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Snake in the Sands

Malthus and Ferrethryn arrange for Orrik, the playboy, the keep an eye on events in the courts of De Shamod, then the party hops the next barge for Me Theron. From there, they take the road to Gahanis. They note the great swaths of savanna eaten to the ground by vast herds of cattle. They arrive at Gahanis and find themselves in a region with some hostility aimed at Litorians. At least two tribes seem to harrass the outskirts of the town, and Ferrethryn does her best to impress upon the town guard that she is no threat. The party takes the guard's advice and stay at the Desert Sails Inn, an immense tavern and inn topped by great sails, and visible for miles. They observe the trading and negotiations going on in the tavern, and let the people know that Ferrethryn is in town.
A short while later a Snake Totem Warrior, by the name of Selazen appears and they negotiate his services to guide them to the last known location of Ferrethryn's tribe. They also learn that Selazen was also contacted, apparantly by the same giant with the darkwood pearl topped staff. Since neither know the magister, there was some concern over what his interest is and why he brought them together.
The party heads off, and travels a week west up the Gravel Spill. They estimate traveling around 120 miles. After that they leave the trail and head into the open desert, they move through the arid land for a full day (traveling between 10 and 15 miles). That night, to no one's surprise, Selazen shows his true scales and attacks Malthus in snake form. Malthus raises the alarm and short battle ensues. The party acting in concert dispatches the snake totem warrior and retrieves his Devanian Long Sword, and Quiver of Poison arrows. On their way back to their rocky out cropping, Ferrethryn and Linneaus are attacked by a swarm of Terranas (sand pirannas). They eventually elude those creatures and rest for the remaining night.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Bright Lights Big City

The party travels to De Shamod to look at some maps, and escort Ferrethryn part way to Gahanis. They arrive and are met by a Sibeccai Noblewoman who nervously greets them. She explains that the Lord Chancellor Osara-Monn has instituted an audit of several families holdings, including Graal's. He has a group of thugs he has culled from the prisons to help enforce his audit. These 'Green Cloaks' are the worst of the worst, and have put the city in a state of fear. The party decides to stay at an inn on the far side of town in the Spicer District which is nefarious for low life, but relatively easy to keep hidden from the city's officials.
Malthus travels to the college of the Sodalicium Arcanus to research a little about the alchemical uses of the cockatrice. He discovers that the college has fallen into even worse repair, and the Sodalicium has been left with one main hall. The rest of the great college is now either storage or being used as a sort of gymnasium. He also met a foreign Magister by the name of Linder who was apparantly a refugee from the far North.

Elidia met a Verrick Runethane who asked her about her origins and offered her entrance into a secret society. She decided to meet with him later.

Ferrethryn attracted the attention of a Courtier who offered to show her the nightlife of De Shamod. He seemed to be a bit of a playboy, but definitely seemed to have an in to the upper levels of society. She was sorely tempted to join him.

Linneaus took a message to Arsenal House in the Noble ring to appraise Aslowen of recent events. They learned of Dondo's carrousing and increased monetary needs, as well as Aslowen's progress with potential settlers, many lesser families seeking refuge from the Audits. On a second visit, he ran afoul of Dondo who chased him away from the House not knowing about his disguise.

Later that night Elidia went with the Verrik (tailed by Ferrethryn) to a cellar a short distance away. He and an allied warrior ambushed her and demanded her items. She screamed for help, and together she and Ferrthryn were able to defeat the pair. After exhausting her spell in the fight Ferrethryn decided to not go out with her playboy.

The next day. A page arrived with a letter for Ferrethryn. And Graal made plans to return to ArEnsul in advance of any possible group of Green Cloaks. He bid the rest of the party head to Gahanis with all haste to liberate Ferrethryn's people and return as soon as possible.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

Events of 4/14 - 5/5

The spring arrives in Ar-Ensul and the people of the keep and village are kept very busy. Graal orders an extensive mission to scout out and eradicate any hostile beasts in a large radius of the keep. The party spends a couple weeks doing so. THey appear successful in rousting a small group of hippogriffs, and a couple of chorim (barbaric giants). There is some concern that the Chorim may be advanced scouts looking for easy prey among the local villages. They will probably think twice before coming down to the valley.
The larders and kitchens of the keep are being stocked, and the repairs completed.
The doors are re-hung, and a rudimentary bridge is assembled over the Diamond Run.
The villagers have split into three groups: miners who spend most of their time in the minds returning to town to resupply to sell their diggings; household staff who live in the keep, these include the town guard, the valets, cooks, cleaners, sewers, and other people who manage the castle; and the largest group, the villagers who do everything else. There is yet to be extensive farming or ranching. The giant yaks seem to ranch themselves, but the villagers keep a few sheep and goats. More livestock would be of benefit to the Keep.

Training of the guard has continued and they seem reasonably well prepared to defend the castle. It is still uncertain whether they could hold it against a large force or one of powerful monsters. Still, the keep itself should provide some protection against that.

Taru continues to push for a full examination of the door and any other part of the keep. But for now he appears to be obeying the rules laid down from Graal.

Falgrod the furrier has contracted with many of the villagers to construct him a large house. He has been paying people lavishly and also recruiting many people to hunt for him. He has contracted several local hunters to procure large game. He has not been thrilled with your efforts to make safe the area, since he is looking for big game, but he has accepted it grudgingly, not that he had much choice. Malthus has made efforts to make friends with his assistant, the Faen tanner, known as Cippi. Cippi is pretty shy, but Malthus has managed to gain his confidence. He is quite knowledgeable about dangerous beasts, and creatures of all sorts.

After the valley was cleared and appears safe, Graal gave Ferrethryn leave to find her tribesmen. She headed to Gahanis to see what she could find. The party decided to accompany her as far as De Shamod, where Graal wanted to examine the Queen's maps to determine the actual extant of his lands. It would also be a good opportunity to buy some needed equipment, and get a change of surroundings.