Parts 12 & 13: Drums of War

A great Harn campaign with the esteemed Patrick Nilsson, AKA "The Dongmaster" as GM.

Parts 12 & 13: Drums of War

Postby Matt » Thu May 12, 2016 10:37 am

LITTLE PAMESHLU (session 12, Mogger PC) ...

Smoke rose from the large hearth choking much of the illuminated great hall. It was crowded with men and women of various breed, and their laughter and foul words echoed between the solid stone walls. Most of the men were either knights or soldiers, and amongst the women most could be acknowledged as girls paid for pleasure. Except for a woman on a large throne. Her raven black hair and silk gown sparkled in the torch light making her appearance look almost divine. But to Mogger she wasn't divine or beautiful even. She was evil personified. Earlier during the night she had ordered the brutal killing of a merchant and his wife. For what reason Mogger had no idea, but standing naked before these people armed with only their hands and bound feet knowing death would soon come, was not a way to die. Or at least not how Mogger wanted to die. Especially when dozens of people laughed at the couple's feeble attempts to ward of a twelve year old lordling whose test to manhood, or in this case squirehood, was to slay these two with a sword. A sword too heavy for his hands. The boy wasn't good at killing and it took some time for the merchant and his spouse to die. Much to the amusement of the gathered crowd. The lady on the throne was Miriam Bisidril, niece to Klyrdes and heiress to his vast estates. She reeked with power and never seemed to smile.

Sitting at the edge of the great trestle tables with Bhurt, who was more interested in the great wolf hounds by the hearth than his food, Mogger felt uncomfortable. He had been forced to come. Sent for by Zaurial the knight, younger brother to Miriam, Mogger knew that declining an invitation like this would be equal to Morgathian suicide. But so far the knight had paid him no attention and seemed more interested in the young squire who had proved himself so "valiantly" earlier during the evening by killing the hapless couple. The little midget felt sick. He normally enjoyed working for Agrikans because they usually paid well. This however was too much. Zaurial was too much. Mogger cursed under his breath. His prayers to Naveh to dispose of the lord has been for naught. Zaurial still lived. Having finished his meal, he hoped that the knight would say his piece and then let the midget and his guard leave Vinarsa manor. Unfortunately it wasn't until midnight when Zaurial told Mogger to follow him into the cool summer night outside. He was drunk but not as much as he swaggered. Finishing his goblet and then throwing the piece in the face of a maid who fell to her knees howling with pain, he turned around to face the midget. "Scum... I have a task for you." There it was. Mogger was once again forced to do something for this man. He felt like a cottar. Zaurial burped and wiped his mouth with his sleeve before he continued. "I want a few men dead, men you know..."

The midget's eyes gave away his feigned cool. Zaurial laughed and lifted Mogger up in the air. Bhurt didn't react. Before coming to Vinarsa Mogger has instructed the slow bodyguard that no matter what, to keep his hands of his sword and not strike no matter what happened. It seemed that Bhurt had some intelligence left because he giggled insanely seeing his master dangle in the air before him. Zaurial dropped Mogger as he started to walk away forcing the midget and his guard to keep up. "The men I want dead are not berries. I would loose too many knights trying to take them out head on. Besides they are really no enemies of mine. But... My uncle has ordered me so I must obey." Mogger was intrigued. Slakka would help him no doubt. His cousin the master killer. But the midget's heart sank like a stone when Zaurial told him what to do. The knight ended his order coldly. "You know the premises of their house and how to enter without getting slaughtered. I want you to drug them with or without the help of your hoodlum friends, and let me know when you have. You know where my house is in Golotha. Seek me there. I will then enter the building doing what I do best. Take this trinket as payment. But do not linger too long piss-head or I will pick the flesh from your body with my dull flaying knife..." With those words Zaurial returned, grabbed the injured maid, and dragged her to his quarters. Probably to share the woman with his knights. From what Mogger have heard that was what a commander did with his men when he was finished. If she even lived when Zaurial was done.

Having slept only little during that night in a overcrowded hayloft, Mogger and Bhurt departed for Golotha early the next morning. His mind was clouded and his mood lower than it had been for a long time. Even lower than when the Golothan stalker had been killing off Naveh worshippers a few months earlier, or when a representative of the Innkeepers' guild had arrived to inspect the premises and Mogger's "lost" guild credentials. Arriving in the perfidious city, Mogger entered his tavern by the back door. He had to drink three ales to shake off the nervous twitch in his hands. The midget needed to talk to Slakka. Or talk to the others of the small gang. Either that or he would have to buy sleeping draught. Shaking his head, he feed Bhurt with some old bones taking most of the meat for himself. When he was done he sat muttering to himself to the cracking sound of his guard devouring hard bones in the back. "The House of Ak-Syt... The knights in the house... I must be raving mad not even considering how the weather is like in Aleath this time of the year..." Mogger shook his head. Was he going mad or was Zaurial driving him towards personal ruin? "This may kill me Bhurt... I may die trying to drug these knights... Who will take care of you?" The midget looked at the ring Zaurial had given him the night before. It was made of gold and had a nice and round pearl at the top. Mogger made a disgusted face. This was a ring that had been taken from the unknown merchant who had died in the great hall of Vinarsa manor...

A MURDER MOST LOVELY (session 12, Slakka PC) ...

Slakka gulped down the quality brandy enjoying the burning sensation in his throat and the numb feel deep in the bowels of his stomach. The Blood Raven did have the best drink in town, if not the best clientele. Borana had left Golotha with two of her guards and her apprentice, leaving her business in the hands of her competent journeyman Dygel. With only one guard left in the house and two servants, Slakka had moved his daughter Jezibella to his grandfather Gordiz prior to escorting her mother to Techen before returning. His reason was twofold. First his offspring would be protected there, and second it would give his grandfather peace if only for a moment. Slakka hoped it would quench Silverdagger's thirst to go to the streets of Kamil. Something the ailing elderly man talked about constantly these days. The assassin felt a sting in his heart, something that occurred very seldom. His lovemaking with Borana had been fierce before she left on her journey. He didn't want her to leave but reason always won in the end. She had to go or her business would falter and falter badly. But no matter how hard he tried to deny it, he missed her. Jezibella and his spouse had saved his life from the Golothan Stalker a few months earlier. The assassin had been lucky. Very lucky. Without them he would be just another victim. Slakka also thought of his once so mighty grandfather who was rumored to have done a great many deeds in his youth. But what deeds and when?

Looking up from his table he saw three men enter through the ironbound door. One was much shorter than the other two but he was clearly the one in charge. Dressed in cloaks with hoods the men approached Slakka who held his loaded crossbow under the table. Though their meeting was planned ahead, the assassin trusted very few. The three men were neither of these. "Good evening master Slakka." The short fellow sat down without hesitating. He didn't bother hiding his face for the assassin. The other two men, guards by their demeanor, stood observing the rest of the guests. The newcomer smiled under his hood showing off white and healthy teeth and a round face quite merry. Harald of Lorjan, younger brother to Largo had arrived. Slakka filled the bondmaster's cup with brandy. Harald sniffed at the rim of the cup shaking his head. "One can never be too careful eh master assassin?" Slakka smiled and nodded towards under the table. Harald bowed and looked beneath. Straightening up he laughed. "Indeed one can't". Both men drank slowly before continuing their conversation. It was Slakka who began. "Master Harald, I am quite surprised to see you this evening. Though I must say I first feared you would roam in here without a disguise." The short bondmaster shook his head, a devilish smile on his lips. "Well I didn't want people to get the wrong idea that I missed my medication and ended up in the wrong tavern. With an arrow or knife in my back... He he..."

Harald wiped tears from his eyes, sat down his cup, and put on a serious face. brother's recommendations were not taken from the thin air. Your employer was very pleased." He let the last words sink in. Slakka raised an eyebrow. So it had been the Lorjan brothers who had recommended him to the Agrikans. Well it was a job well paid, and it did add respect to the assassin from the people who knew what he had done. And getting the respect from the two mercantylers was indeed something boastful. Slakka felt proud. In truth he liked the Lorjan brothers better than he did Jarop. The master of the Lia- Kavair was violent while the two brothers were discreet. But they were as deadly as the chandler. Unlike him however Harald knew how to progress with style leaving out the boorish method Jarop used. Slakka was certain, the Lorjan brothers were a better treat and he preferred them. "Well Harald, as much as I thank you for that one, things of the past is something we shouldn't linger with. I suspect you are here for a job no?" The short man licked his lips, his eyes narrowing in the dark. "True Slakka, very true." Refilling both cups he continued. "Indeed I would rather get to the point myself. I am not accustomed to be in such... How to put it? Such dangerous territory." He eyed the surroundings. "I want a man killed and a letter he carries returned to me or my brother."

Of course they wanted someone dead. Why else contact Slakka? The assassin nodded. "And the payment Harald? What do you offer me?" The younger Lorjan leaned on the table. "I could pay you in silver but a robin whispered in my ear that you might want to see to your family these days." Slakka was not amused. Involving his family was not wise. As seeing his distress Harald shook his head and raised his palms upwards. "You misunderstand assassin. I want to pay you in service instead of goods. Help us with this kill and Borana will have very little to pay the next time the tax collector, a man paid by my hand, comes to her store. In fact if he will appear at her doorstep at all the coming years. She will save money. A lot of money. Of course my man will inform her of the repaid debts you settled..." Slakka smiled. The Lorjan brothers were slick, he had to admit that. They were masters at what they did. Indeed this was a very generous offer. Seeing the assassin pleased Harald continued. "The man we want dead is named Horztan and should be entering Golotha through the Northaven Wharf in less than a tenday. He must die and his body must never be found afterwards. Steal whatever you want from this man but hand us the letter. Sealed intact." Slakka nodded. Harald rose draining his cup. Before leaving he warned. "And assassin, there is a storm brewing. You should make up your mind if you want to ride on it, or be buried beneath its waves..."

STEALING FROM THINGS STOLEN (session 12, Jeremiz PC) ...

The early evening was dark, quite dark for a summer month like Nolus. Still Alvaro never spared his candles and his table was as always filled with various sweetmeats, stout, brandywine, and applejack. Jeremiz however was sipping on a tankard of mead, a favorite of Alvaro. The old master smiled when one of his lads entered with a bowl of steaming pottage. Another favorite of the master thief. Offering his guest some Alvaro began his tale. "You see Jeremiz, the Golothan Stalker has crippled our organization. And crippled it badly. The guildmaster wants us to take precautions of any future events that may spring to our demise. However unlikely as it may seem." The younger of the two nodded. "So master Alvaro, what would you have me do?" The older man smiled and wiped his mouth on his greasy sleeve. Alvaro was odd looking. Old, wrinkled, with a long pipe beard, a crooked nose, and he was tall. Very tall. And skinny. But his most interesting trait was his blue eyes. Young and energetic in their grace, those eyes could match the sea. Those eyes brought respect from the thieves. And why shouldn't they? The Master of Archives had almost a dozen swindlers and con-men in his pay and he was very popular. It was said if there ever was a loyal thief, he would be in the hands of Alvaro. Jeremiz also liked his old master, and paid him the credit for his own success. Indeed the thief had learned a lot from the old man sitting across the table.

"Oh... I think I would like for you to do something for little old me and master Jarop my dear Jeremiz. Some stealing and scheming..." He chuckled at his own wit. Jeremiz couldn't hold back his smile either. The old man was up to something, something that would make the people around him rich, and those he swindled poor and dumbstruck. The old master continued. "In a handful of days someone will come to Golotha. A trader with two sparkling diamonds in his possession. These diamonds are almost invaluable or so my sources tell me. And they are seldom wrong in their reports." Jeremiz frowned but Alvaro cut him off with his hand. "I know what you are thinking young one, but I assure you, it will not be as easy as it sounds. You wonder why I want you to steal them?" The thief nodded. "Well it is quite simple my friend. Three of my best thieves are dead. And I trust very few. You are one of these. In fact when I retire I am thinking of putting my vote in Jarop's ears that you should be the one to take over..." Jeremiz sat wide-eyed. Alvaro simply smiled. "Come on my friend. You must have wondered why I let Jarop take you from my hand so easily. It was a simple decision to make to be honest. You craved more than I could teach you and well, Jarop agreed to add more meat to your bones until I was unfit to rule Sewer Town. But I still have a few years left in my bones and I intend to spend them here in this house doing what I do best. To trick with the fools whose money shouldn't have been in their purses in the first place."

Jeremiz was stunned. He a master? "Well, well..." He wondered what Mogger would have thought about seeing Jeremiz as one of the four master, something the midget often dreamt about himself. As if probing his mind Alvaro chuckled once again. "Of course this is a secret best kept between you and me for now. So moving on..." He filled his tankard with more mead as Jeremiz added brandywine to a goblet. It was tasty indeed. "In any case this merchant hails from Aleath but as soon as he cross the border, he will switch his garb to those of a Morgath pilgrim. Be wary because he does not travel alone. A few armed servants, their skills matching soldiers from what I have heard, will be guarding his back. The merchant, named Tibel of Mered, will probably stay at the Noose and the Jester or rent a building. I have bribed the guards at the gate this week to keep an eye for Morgathian pilgrims and inform me as soon as they have arrived. When they do, I will send a message to you. You must act with haste. They will not be staying in Golotha for long. I do not know what they intend to do with the two stones but from what I have gathered their destination is Shostim. The diamonds must never leave the city." Jeremiz nodded. But how to go about? "I will do as you ask master Alvaro but I sense there is more." The old man winced. "There is no way of fooling you is there?"

He emptied his tankard and continued. "Yes there is more. The two stones should be located in his plain looking traveling cloak, stitched in heavy fabric to go unattended from the greedy eyes of any thief sniffing at his purse. And to make it more interesting I have written a letter forging the style and signature of one Asor Cyndella, second son to a manorlord who is a vassal to the Earl of Techen. Oh don't look so surprised Jeremiz. Sir Asor is a frequent to the market here in the city and he haunts the Bridge Tower Inn often. Stealing one of his innocent letters meant for his brother was easy. And forging it was easier. The knight is innocent but I have a score to settle with Evil Erol and it will get the nobleman and his men interested in the Morgathian pilgrim. You should then have no problem with stealing the cloak." Both men laughed. "And... Make sure you tell Erol that you stole a purse from a nobleman at the market and that his purse contained the letter. Because you have the skill of reading, you will have broken the seal and read the content. That is why you contacted the perverted swine afterwards." Jeremiz was intrigued and exited. After having read the forged letter he gulped down the last of the brandywine and picked up the thirty shillings he would get for the deed. Plus of course all other loot he could find. Thanking his former master and bidding him good night, Jeremiz headed for home. It took some hours to sleep but he was content. Evil Erol would act quickly and help him get the diamonds from the mercantyler. The herald wouldn't even know that he was made a fool of which suited Jeremiz fine...

BORN WITH COINS IN HANDS (session 12, Erol PC) ...

Erol felt annoyed. He was never good at games and loosing all the bets this evening was even worse, even if it was a mere hundred pence. The lord opposite the table was not great at what he did but he was better than the herald obviously. "The game is boring my lord. I rather speak of things more interesting." Erol had been instructed by his master, the powerful Earl of Techen, to make room for Sir Hempe Skardaen. The knight was a manorlord under the constable of Senun and was one of the earl's most loyal men. He had arrived a tenday after Erol with a large chest, now confined in the secret apartment back behind the dungeon cell. No doubt filled with coins and jewelry. The knight had arrived with five of the earl's men-at-arms, veterans paid for both their skills and loyalty. Sir Hempe had told Erol that he would spend a month in the city guarding the house and the chest, and make sure that no one got the idea of committing burglary. He had graciously accepted meager accommodations and used the herald's room as sleeping quarters. "Erol come now. You are not pissed because I stole the luck from your hands are you? I mean what is a hundred pence to people like us?" He snapped his fingers and one of Erol's maids refilled his silver goblet with wine. The herald shook his head and waiting for the maid to depart the room he answered the knight. "Of course not. But I am curious about your mission."

Sir Hempe nodded. "Well it is no secret really. Earl Revi told me that I could confide in you to keep it a secret. In truth you have redeemed yourself much of late Erol. The deed you did in Tharda has been beneficial to us all. Of course it will not change much when the earl is concerned. He will not provide troops to the king, nor will he openly support his claim to destroy Earl Lynneaus. But..." The knight smiled evilly. "That does not mean he won't help the king in stabilizing the kingdom proper." Erol shrugged not knowing what to expect next. He was quite surprised when he found out. "Are you telling me that my cousin is paying a full share of his feudal obligation as well as aids for the king's growing army?" Sir Hempe nodded. The herald shook his head as not believing what he heard. "That will change things into the king's favor my lord. I can only imagine how much money that large chest you arrived with contains." Sir Hempe laughed and drank greedily. "Enough coins for you and me to buy an island and build us a manor or three on it, and live on the sum alone for the rest of our lives. In unfathomed luxury." Both men sat silently thinking about how powerful men like Earl Revi could change the fate of the kingdom. Below in the hall under Erol's room, originally the guest room, the laughter and sound of slamming tankards and rolling of dice could be heard. It seemed as the men-at-arms were winning coins from Erol's stableboy as well as from Sir Klyrdes' yeoman.

"You see after considering the choices the earl wanted to repay the king with something for providing him with the means to get rid of Jithias, and from what I've heard, the Cohorts soon as well. Besides, the earl is the uncle to young prince Puril and he would be damned if he didn't acknowledge that. In spite his obvious dislike of the queen." The mention of the queen got Erol edgy. He had failed her once and she had not forgotten about it. There must be a way to redeem himself to her. Queen Erela had been a great ally when he had fallen out of grace with the rest of his clan. And who could vouch that he wouldn't again? No Erol had to make sure that he won her back. But how and to what end? Pondering upon the deed he was suddenly aware that Sir Hempe was eyeballing him with a puzzled face. "Ahem... Sorry about that my lord, I was a bit distracted by the news that is all. So what do you intend to do?" Erol hoped the knight wouldn't think him a fop for daydreaming as he had. The knight eased and answered the herald. "The king has summoned all his lords, including Earl Lynneaus who won't come of course, to Caer Chaftar on the twentieth of this month. Your cousin will come as well though he deemed it wise to send the money with me first. I will deliver the money to the king before the arrival of the great lords."

Sir Hempe rose from the chair and walked over to the chest Erol was sitting on. He opened his purse and handed the herald a small stick with odd markings on it. "Uh... My lord?" The knight returned to his seat. "The earl also ordered me to tell you that you need to deliver this stick to the bedroom of the constable of Weseda keep without him seeing anyone enter or leave. Do not look so alarmed Erol. The constable will be staying at the Bridge Tower Inn and will represent Earl Lynneaus. No doubt to tell the king once again to give up his claim on the throne." The herald was insulted. He was a nobleman of magnitude, not some skulk in the night. Sir Hempe chuckled. "The earl didn't mean for you to deliver it personally though he did mention your connections with the underworld of this foul city. Discretion is the key." The knight rose to leave the room. "And remember herald. You are in the pay of the earl..." With those words Sir Hempe left the chamber and Erol to his thoughts. So he had to perform his master's bidding once again. Well no matter. There were plenty of fools like Mogger and Jeremiz to help him out. They would have to deliver the stick to the constable's chamber. But what to do? Put it on the bed? The chest? Erol had to think about how to proceed. Though before he fell asleep, he wondered what the markings meant. It wasn't until midnight when sleep took him. Dreams of young boys were sweet...

RIPE MEAT FROM THE BONE (sess. 13, Erol, Mogger, Jeremiz PCs) ...

streets of the city. The summer was hot, quite hot actually and those wearing armours and heavy garments had itches in places no one cared to address. The dead man had been skinned bare of whatever thin coat protected his sorry meat and his corpse had been strung on a pole on Chafin Square Bridge. He wore nothing but a bloody helmet now dried from the heat. A large sign, hanged over the limp neck, read "The Larani bitch did not save him, the Black Knight did." Of those who passed under it, most holding their nose avoiding to choke on the fumes, few could read and those who could made disgusted faces. If it was because of Larani or the skinned man no one knew. In the shadows by a corner of the busy square, four men and a dwarf stood cooling in the summer heat with ale bought from the Noose and the Jester. Jeremiz the thief, Mogger and Bhurt, and last but not least Erol and his loyal stableboy, the middle-aged Vente. Slakka had disappeared in hunt of someone. No one knew where he were or when he would return. The herald spit on the streets. "Zaurial, psychotic Zaurial, the Black Knight. I wonder what gave the crazed warrior the idea of using that term? Whatever it was his presence is choking this city and I need my air..." Mogger eyed Erol up and down with a disapproving frown. "You are lucky to be alive milord, the knight is not known for his leniency. Indeed I doubt he knows the word."

    Sidebar:
    Cohort Knights:
    Mace 90
    Broadsword 80 Kiteshield 85
    Dagger 75
    Initiative 80
    Dodge 75
    Riding 70
    Enc 15
    Attributes Average 14
    GAC 3
    Weapons +2

    Horztan:
    Broadsword 75
    Buckler 75
    Dagger 65
    Initiative 65
    Dodge 70
    Enc 13
    Attributes Average 12
    GAC 1
    Weapons +3

    The Laumaks:
    Mace 85
    Roundshield 85
    Dagger 70
    Initiative 75
    Dodge 75
    Enc 14
    Attributes Average 13
    GAC 2
    Weapons +1

    Tibel of Mered:
    Club 65
    Knife 55
    Initiative 70
    Dodge 60
    Enc 12
    Attributes Average 11
    GAC 1

    Tibel's Mercenary:
    Spear 75
    Roundshield 80
    Falchion 65
    Dagger 60
    Shortbow 70
    Initiative 70
    Dodge 65
    Enc 13
    Attributes Average 12
    GAC 2
    Weapons +1

    Tibel's Three Servants:
    Staff 70
    Knife 60
    Club 65
    Initiative 55
    Dodge 65
    Enc 12
    Attributes Average 11
    GAC 1
    Weapons +0

    Sir Asor Cyndella:
    Broadsword 80
    Knightshield 75
    Dagger 65
    Mace 75
    Initiative 75
    Dodge 70
    Riding 75
    Enc 14
    Attributes Average 13
    GAC 3
    Weapons +2

    Sir Asor's Retainer:
    Staff 75
    Club 70
    Crossbow 70
    Dodge 55
    Enc 12
    Attributes Average 11
    GAC 2
    Weapons +1

    Constable Guards:
    Spear 70
    Roundshield 75
    Falchion 70
    Knife 65
    Shortbow 55
    Initiative 70
    Dodge 65
    Enc 13
    Attributes Average 12
    GAC 2
    Weapons +0

Erol ignored the midget and turned his gaze towards the slaves neatly rowed by the mercantylers and slavers on the market's stage. There were a few interesting specimen amongst those being presented. Mogger who saw the fading interest in the herald changed topic. "So what are we doing here anyway? My fine tavern needs my attention. There are kings and lords to serve. He he..." Erol cut him off by pulling hard on the midget's cloak, much to the annoyance of Bhurt who waved his sword threateningly in the air. The herald ignored the retard and nodded towards three men in mail armour, most of their personality cloaked in heavy but worn red cloaks, hoods pulled over their heads. They suddenly stopped eyeing the corpse on the pole. A corpse who had been defending a merchant from Kanday and then had the misfortune of ending up in Zaurial's torture chamber. Jeremiz scratched his beardless chin. "So who are those Erol?" The herald shook his head signaling for the thief to keep quiet. The warriors left the scene and moved towards a boy selling meat pies. Mogger who was unable to see anything of value snapped his finger. Bhurt lifted the midget to his shoulder. "So herald, you seem to have a interest in these men, but lack the capability to say anything of the matter." Erol tapped the right side of his nose with his finger. Mogger smiled. "It seems that these are enemies eh?" The herald shrugged not knowing what to believe or who to trust.

Erol ignored the armoured men as soon as he saw the livery of the king delicately displayed on their chests. He returned his gaze to the market and swore under his breath. "Curse of Djekesis on the man. There is that traitor again. Sir Asor indeed. A man market for the deepest bowels of Ak-Syt." The herald pointed a little discreet towards a knight with a wide trimmed hat, a thin cloak and who wore long black hair in a pony tail. He was accompanied by an elderly veteran in ringmail holding a reinforced quarterstaff in his hands. The guard was eyeing the surroundings with shifty eyes and with thin lips. Sir Asor was more interested in the many commodities on display here, oblivious to anything dangerous. Either that or he was bold indeed. Erol suspected the latter and was not holding anything back either. "I bet he is here to spend the money he got from his new master. The conniving bastard. My earl will have his head." Everyone in the group was checking out the knight and his guard with keen interest. It seemed true that Sir Asor had more money than was good for his character. He bought silk, much wine and even paid for a lute. The knight was spending pounds on the market. Unlike many of the others buying and selling, the knight still wore much of his money in his purse. It seemed that he didn't care that he had lost important letters, Sir Asor was too brave of a man to get scared of anyone. The men eyeing their future prey didn't like the sound of that...

RESTING WILL ONLY BRING DEATH ...

There is are much happening in Golotha in the year of 722Tr. This adventure is divided into two sections; the first contains the four missions the PCs have been assigned to complete and the second contains rumors, kingdom events and more to push the campaign further. It is also a very free formed adventure with much player planning and very little GM railroading. A large portion of GM discretion is advised. Each mission is detailed below:

    • Mogger has been forced to drug the knights in the House of Ak-Syt. The primate and the bishop wants the Eight Demons and their fighting order Cohorts of Gashang destroyed. There are complications however. Largo of Lorjan who is a friend of the primate, and rents the building to the Cohorts is not amused about the sudden turn of events and the future death of his tenants. However, Sir Klyrdes has promised the mercantyler that he will make a full recovery of the funds lost by promising Largo a portion of his harvest this coming fall. What Mogger needs to do is to try to enter the building (in whatever way he deem fit) and drug the knights so that they are out of their wits when Zaurial enters the house to slay the lot. What neither the knight or Mogger knows is that Largo, even though he is a friend of the primate, sends a warning to the knights that they should watch their back. The mercantyler or Klyrdes does not know however that both the demons and the cohorts have been ordered to move their base of operations to the Thardic republic sooner than later. The Senesharil has found out that their former parent order is staging a secret war for her demise and she does not want her forces divided, especially not as far away as Golotha where her forces will indeed be slaughtered if the primate and the bishop has joined forces. So within three days of Mogger's order the Cohorts and the Eight Demons will flee the city by two river vessels bound for Shiran. They will leave in the middle of the night and be seen by spies of the primate and the bishop. However it will take too long for either Agrikan power to gather the needed forces to take them out and their quarry will be able to flee east. Zaurial will rendezvous with Mogger if this happens but he will be sober and not too sorry to see them go. If Mogger succeed in drugging the knights (he has been performing as a jester for them before and knows their mascot well), Zaurial has enough knights and soldiers to kill the lot. If that is to happen, a war on Rusu Island will turn the Eight Demons' temple into ruins...
    • Slakka's prey is a herald from Shostim who is constantly doing business with both mercantylers, lords, and whomever has the funds to pay him. It has come to the Lorjans' attention that Horztan has been selling information of their whereabouts and doings, and they suspect him of being the source of the one who wanted Largo dead earlier. They also know that he is carrying a letter of some magnitude meant for someone who has the funds to pay him (and they suspect it is meant for the undoing of Largo). The Lorjan brothers does not know that the letter Horztan is carrying is for the Teregan Commander of the Roving Doom sent by his Grandmaster up in Arketh. The letter is coded and includes orders not to intervene to aid the Hooks against the Shields unless pressed into a corner or the threat of loosing Hyen to Kanday. And that as soon as the primate calls for aid, send half the force to do his bidding by the order of the king. Horztan is also unaware of the content but knows it to be very important. He is guarded by two experienced Laumaks and all three have disguised themselves as armed guildsmen traveling south. They will be staying at the Noose and Jester for three days before leaving south. The herald will contact his employers in the city; Jarop, Scarlet Dak, his cousin and clanleader Borana (he he... But she will be out of town), The sheriff of Chakta, the courtesan's guild, and spend quite the time gambling at the Hand and Fist. Horztan will be guarded at all times by the two very wary Laumaks and carry his letter at all times. The two Laumaks have, hidden on their body, a silver pendant in a leather cord depicting the Pillar of Fire with the words (the motto of the Roving Doom): Live Bold and Prosper. Killing Horztan and his guards for the letter will be a challenge...
    • The two letters Jeremiz receives shows that one is written by Sir Asor (letter 1) and the other (letter 2) a masterly forgery by Alvaro. The content of the first is a certification that Sir Asor is making it good on his own, his new financier is in fact the Baron of Omnis (but this is unknown to Alvaro and the baron just likes Asor and thinks him a good knight), and does not need the funds of his brother as eagerly as before. The second letter is written in such style that Sir Asor and some "mighty friends" are plotting against Erol and his clan. The mercantyler arriving in Golotha is the second son of a powerful and influential guildsman from Aleath. He has been trading with the Shostim merchants for a long time now and has agreed to sell them two of his most precious stones, one 6 carat diamond and one 5 carat diamond. Fearing that someone knows his son is in the possession of the stones, the merchant sows the stones into a sturdy and secret compartment of his son's cloak and let him pass through the perfidious city with three armed servants and one mercenary (see left). They will do exactly what Alvaro tells Jeremiz. What no one knows is that Alvaro has a spy in the household of clan Mered, in the form of a former friend now a mercantyler journeyman named Hoss. This man sent words to Alvaro when he heard about his master's plans. Though seldom in contact anymore, Hoss knows that Alvaro will pay handsomely for the information of the two diamonds in spite being a full kingdom away. When Tibel arrives in Golotha he will find himself liking the city quite much in spite that people have claimed it to be dangerous. There are plenty of women, he feels safe with so many guards, and he decides to spend four days instead of the planned two. Stealing the cloak will not be easy because the mercantyler will have it on him at all times, and will have added a guard to the house they rent (close to Hand and Fist) from the Heptarch of the Mangai. The rest of the men follows the Tibel wherever he goes. Jeremiz will have to act fast because they will not linger too long though far longer than originally planned. Of course Tibel does not know any Asor nor does the latter know anything about the second letter. Sir Asor has a house west of the southern gate and lives with a servant and one old retainer guard. The coins found in the purses of Tibel will be Aleath...
    1. "Brother! In times like this when war is brewing on the horizon I can gladly inform you that I have been seen as beneficial to a certain major lord who probably share our interest. Hence it is with great pride that I am finally making it on my own. You do not need to send more funds this year as I am well into my own boots at the moment. Though I would urge you to save the money for later needs should our estates need the defense aid from the coming war. I will inform you more of my new patron as soon as I am certain that his words were truthful. From your loyal younger brother Asor."
    2. "My liege! I have finally been able to track down the culprit who is behind the evil to constantly step into our plans. His name is Erol Lenesque, a cousin to the Earl of Techen, the very soul of our plans. Known as Evil Erol in the streets of Golotha, his seed is tainted and he spreads his cloak far and wide with the city scum such as thieves and assassins. I agree that we must thread carefully so that our scheme in the east will not be for naught. In a few days I will meet with a few acquaintances of mine who will be arriving in the city disguised as Morgath pilgrims. After our meeting I will make sure that the last breath Evil Erol takes, will be the plead for his doomed cousin to help him. Yours loyally, Sir Asor Cyndella."

    • Erol has been given the task of sneaking in an odd stick with unknown markings to the room where the constable of Weseda is staying. The constable is in Golotha to plead to the king (in truth just to suck up any rumor) to make peace with the Earl of Tormau. This is a vain attempt since both the king and the constable knows that even if the former would love to, the earl would not so easily comply. It is a game of cat and mouse. The constable will be staying with a servant, his squire and two guards in a lavish room at the BridgeTower Inn. The rest of his four guards will spend their free time in the Noose and Jester. The constable, his servant and squire, and the four guards at the Noose will spend their daily time up in the castle, while the room is guarded by one soldier at all times (the other may be at the inn, 30% chance, otherwise he can be found at the Noose or the local brothels). The soldiers wear the livery of the constable, a blue and white shield with a yellow Fleur- de-lis. Sneaking into the room will not work, at least not when the guard is standing where he is. And trying to kill him outright will be even harder since the inn is crowded with knights, guildsmen of power, and servants with good eyes on the rooms. One way will be to drug the man and act quickly. Snooping about for too long in the room will be dangerous since people come and go often in this fine and large inn. Also suspicious looking characters will not last long at the inn and will be thrown out (or worse depending on what they are caught doing). The stick is written in a coded lettering the Earl of Tormau is using to send messages to his southern vassals. Sir Hempe who is a double dealer, working for both the Earl of Techen and the king, though he is loyal to both, has been given the orders to deliver the stick to the constable by the commander of the king's royal guard. None of the two knights know what the stick says (it is a hidden message that the two vassal barons in the south has turned against the Earl of Tormau, a scheme by the king and his advisors to make the earl nervous). Note that Sir Hempe and the earl's guards can not help Erol under any circumstances even after they have delivered the chest to the king (they will head home). The Earl of Techen will arrive with a large entourage a few days before the meeting with the king and he will be an asshole as usual...

A SHAKY PEACE WILL BE UNDONE ...

The king has called for his vassals to attend him in Caer Chaftar and the tournament he will host outside Chakta. In truth the city swells with knights, squires, soldiers, servants and more during the five days the tournament commences. Inside the castle the king wants assurance by his vassals and knights that they are loyal to him. Indeed the king puts up a show of absolute power that will encourage the Agrikans who will see him once again as the strong leader that he is. It will also make the spies of the Earl of Tormau nervous. During the meetings that commence at dusk after the tournament glory has faded are done with much mystique and power-mongering. During the days the war drums of Rethem will sound as they once did during the Ezar's War. This will spark the rumours that the war between the Earl and the King has begun (though not true there is nothing as spectacular as war gossiping...).

During these five days most of the thieves in the city will be active cutting purses, and though a few a caught, and a few of them killed, the profit far outweighs the chance of getting caught in the act. The inns will be filled to the brim and there is much fighting and even some "unfortunate" killings to be had. Most of the people arriving in Golotha are here for some fun and are not truly aware of what is happening in the castle. Rumor also speaks of the queen being pregnant again and that the north is a place of chaotic rivalry between powerful magnates. Most of the minor rumors are no more than that, simple rumors about this lord and that lady, who has bedded whom, and about spies here and there. The next adventure will be the first signal that the king has finally been able to muster enough men and funds to move against the earl in the north. But in this one, the drums of war in Caer Chaftar will once again be heard in the city of Golotha.

CAMPAIGN ADDS ...

This mix and match of several mission during the same timeline was far more fun than the last adventure we games. Taking two sessions it had most of the elements that makes a thieves' campaign so exiting. I almost feared that the PCs would turn on each other, nothing unusual when it comes to corrupted thieves, but with the cunning skills of some of them, they managed to keep it together. A very detailed description of what took place is detailed below. We also decided to return to the house rules pro that makes HM3 more like HM1 and HMG but with the core being HM3. The major change is the combat tables and the combat resolving itself. If you want the rules go to Lythia.com and download them from there. Only time will tell if I will enjoy these for what they are. Or will they bog down fighting with miniatures?!?

Time: 3rd Nolus Golotha
Days: 3rd - 12th & 13th - 30th (27 days all in all)
Characters: (Slakka), Jeremiz, Erol, Mogger, and Bhurt
Players: (Dan), Jonny, Lars and Darius
Date: Saturday 15th & Thursday 20th May 2004
Length: 16:00 - 02:30 (groan...) & 15:00 - 01:00 (there is no escape...)

Notes: Where to begin? These two sessions were probably the most painstaking sessions I have ever run as a Hârn GM. They were both extremely fun to run but there was so much to keep in my meager mind, that at times it felt overwhelming. Now except for Dan skipping session 13, most of the missions above went as I had hoped they would. In fact they proved that I know my players better than they know themselves. Not only did Erol fall for the scheme, the other players never suspected Jeremiz (played by Darius) or the Lia-Kavair. They were so bent on the guilt of Sir Asor that it wasn't until the very end that they knew that something was not right. But by then Erol had lost everything and was forced to flee from his powerful cousin, who is not only known to be a cold man, but who also sees failure as unforgivable (unless that is you have something he needs).

Mogger's mission was doomed to fail from the start. He didn't know how to proceed and he didn't have the guts to enter the house and drug the knights. The key to this quest was not to complete it gallantly but to make the midget sweat his ass off. He had been cocky, too cocky, the past sessions and I as a devilish GM wanted the rat to sweat. And sweat he did. Now he was getting more and more desperate and tried to persuade the others in the group to help him out. Of course the others knew of the reputation of the insane knights and the name of their building didn't ring a happy bell in their ears. Mogger was left to fend for himself. The Cohorts and their priests left Golotha in the dark before the midget could act further and though he was scared of the inhabitants of the House of Ak-Syt, he was scared shitless of what Zaurial would do. Oddly enough the knight just shrugged and told Mogger that the Cohorts had fled to Shiran, which suited the knight fine since he had other plans...

Now to the gem of the sessions... The scheme set up by Alvaro and executed by Jeremiz. The thief presented the letters to Mogger who is known to meddle well between the Herald and the rest of the group (indeed without his scheme the assassin in Erol's household would never had been exposed, even if it was pure luck). The midget was not fully trusted by Jarop because he has been meddling too much and snooping around in affairs the guildmaster didn't want him to know about. Alvaro's plan was known to two people except for himself; Jeremiz and Jarop. Now Mogger didn't trust Jeremiz totally but was coaxed into believing the tale himself. In fact he was even more sure than Erol at times that the culprit was the Morgathian pilgrims and the lord named Sir Asor. The herald immediately began spying on Asor's house together with the rest of the people in the group. The knight just went along as nothing had happened which confused everyone (except Jeremiz who told the group that from what he had heard, Sir Asor was a bad ass MF).

Erol also paid a lot of guards at the gates to keep a look out for any Morgath Pilgrims heading towards the city and he armoured himself with his stableboy and the yeoman he had borrowed from Sir Klyrdes (as well as paying the rest of the PCs to stay close in case someone struck out). The herald was so sure that he was a doomed man that he spend way too much money to keep himself safe. And not once did he even care to check the liability of the letters even though as a herald he had access to people who could verify that the letters were valid. As I knew he would (he he...). When the Pilgrims arrived to the city Erol was notified (as was Jeremiz by Alvaro who told the thief that the merchant and his men had hired a house owned by Parqu) about their presence. The herald told the rest of the group that they needed to stakeout the newcomers and their whereabouts. Jeremiz suggested that it was better to strike against the pilgrims before they contacted the knight "to show that no one messes with Erol Lenesque and lives through the day...". Erol fell for it.

Later the same day, as the merchant and his men arrived at the house of their choosing, the PCs decided to send a faked message from Sir Asor together with Jeremiz dressed as a cook with food and drink as a gift. The thief acted and changed the letter that Erol had written with a similar one but from Parqu (Jeremiz can read and write and wrote that one himself). The merchant was suspicious about the food and drink but when he saw the note from Parqu he changed his mind and took the goods. Little did he know that the drink was mixed with a sleeping draught. Everyone in the household fell asleep except for the mercenary who was guarding the locked door. After a while, the PCs decided to attack the house and break in. Jeremiz opened the door with his lock picks, and Erol stormed the house with sword in hand and his yeoman by his side. The guard was ready for them but was scared shitless when he couldn't wake his his buddies and his master. The yeoman fell from the mercenary's blows and it took some time before Slakka could enter with his crossbow. That sight and being overpowered by many made the mercenary give up.

Darius who plays Jeremiz had sent me a note earlier that as soon as he was alone and had found the cloak with the stones he would take it. Searching the house the PCs found a lot of goodies such as silver and nice clothes but nothing that could verify that the party was the killers coming to steal the light from Erol's eyes. Jeremiz was able to steal the plain cloak and put it in his bag, and Erol was shocked when he wasn't able to get any information from the guard that verified the strangers as killers. He was stunned when the mercenary told him that they were but men serving a merchant who was destined for Shostim (and even more so when he saw proof that the young man sleeping above was indeed a mercantyler). Unfortunately for Erol, he was unable to find out anything more because neighbors had heard of the battle and shouted for the city guards. Now normally this wouldn't matter but since the building the merchant rented was close to Nemiran square, the Mamakas thought to check out the screams and maybe they hoped for a fight?

In any case, Erol always forgetting who his allies are (he is horrible at it), forgot that he was a "friend" of the Mamakas' master and was forced to open the door. They saw what had happened but fortunately for Erol, he was able to persuade the two knights that the people they had fought against was Larani worshippers (the mercenary had a Larani medallion). Paying the Mamakas with two purses bought him some time. But he was unable to learn more from the guard, and was forced to leave the premises when Zaurial and a few more Mamakas arrived to pick up the Laranians and take them to their house. The knight who is not fond of Erol because of the slip with the Pillar of Fire, learned from the tortured merchant that he had been traveling by Golotha to sell two valuable diamonds to a buyer in Shostim and had been "tricked by Parqu" (But Zaurial suspect that Erol had tricked the merchant). Erol returned home confounded and the rest had gone home to bed (except Jeremiz who went to Alvaro to deliver the stones). The PCs decided to keep an eye on Sir Asor the next couple of days to no avail.

As soon as Zaurial learned that the merchant had lost his stones to "Parqu", he decided to pay Erol a visit. Telling the herald that he had underestimated him, Zaurial left the confused herald with the words "Erol, master thief and king of crooks". Erol then started to put one and one together but he was unable to find the connection between the words of Zaurial and the Morgath pilgrims (not to mention Sir Asor). He decided to wait and present the two letters to his master the Earl of Techen who was soon to arrive to the city. When he did, the herald showed the two letters (which was even cornier because of the casual demeanor of Sir Asor, the words of Zaurial, and the pilgrims who were anything but assassins) to Earl Revi who always quick to take action, arrested both Sir Asor and his elder brother Sir Jonsor (who was traveling with the earl) and put them in the dungeon of the house. They both claimed innocence and when Erol showed them the letters through the prison bars Sir Asor told the earl and the herald that he hadn't written letter nr. 2., which made Erol uncomfortable.

The earl told Erol that he hoped that the herald hadn't been so foolish to let him imprison two knights of a clan that provided him with many men should war arise. Men Earl Revi is dependent on if he wants to secure his border. Erol scared shitless went to seek an audience with Sir Brunis, Lord Master Herald, against the advice of Mogger and Jeremiz (by now Dan, who plays Slakka was out of the game). Mogger had previously almost guessed right that Jeremiz had done something in the house when no one had been watching and was about to tell Erol. The thief told Jarop and Alvaro about Mogger's suspicions and they summoned the midget to meet with them. Jarop used his younger brother and a gulmorvin to scare Mogger out of his wits that he should do well "to ignore Jeremiz and what he had done or join the stinking corpse beside him". Taking the hint (and being told of the scheme) the midget decided to persuade the herald that it was better if he lied to his master and pretended that the letters were real, leaving the Cyndella knights to their destiny. Erol didn't and went back to his master knowing that one of the letters were a clever forgery (according to Sir Brunis).

What happened next was that Erol got until dawn next day to flee the city before Sir Jonsor and Sir Asor could have their revenge for being so humiliated in the dungeon for a full day and night (the earl promised more land from his pockets to leave him off the hook; and not have two pissed vassals on his lands). Why did the earl simply not pay Erol of the hook? Well Sir Jonsor is a man of honor (as Agrikans can be) and would not have been content with money that he already had. The earl had to sell Erol to save his face with both the Cyndellas and the other vassals in the party. The other knights and lords accompaning Earl Revi, soon learned what had happened to the Cyndella knights. Erol fled the house and went to the gate house and paid to find out if anyone else had asked for the Morgath Pilgrims. The answer he got was "the family of the city, the family without surname...". He also went to see Zaurial again who told him about the two stones that the merchant had lost (though Zaurial didn't believe that Erol didn't have them). Erol knew then that he had been set up and suspected Jarop and the rest of the PCs.

Erol however was tricked again by the master of the thieves who had told him, very convincingly, that Shostim thieves with connections with the royal bureaucracy had set them both up. Jarop even showed the two corpses of two Shostim thieves (two poor in Sewer Town who had been unable to pay for their protection, now dressed with weapons and armour looking like thugs) who had died, and a wounded Alvaro (who faked to had been hit by a crossbow bolt). He told Erol that one of the thieves had gotten away with something valuable (but Jarop didn't know what it was) and was last seen on a boat heading for the royal town (and that Erol better ignore following because the Shostim thieves had connections making them as powerful as knights in the royal guard; royal assassins...). Erol then had to pay Jarop to hide him for a long time and stage his death which, for now, the guildmaster of the Lia- Kavair did. For six months Erol will stay in a safe-house somewhere in the city and he paid £20 for disappearing. The herald was never able to deliver the stick.

What happened to Slakka will be detailed in the next session...
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