Parts 17, 18, 19, & 20: Ancient Devilry

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

Parts 17, 18, 19, & 20: Ancient Devilry

Postby Matt » Fri May 20, 2016 11:05 am

UNEXPECTED PASSENGERS (session 17, Jeremiz, Boros, Mogger PCs) ...

The ship had taken the handful passengers safe past the smokes of Weseda keep, a reminder that Rethem was deep struggling in a civil war, and closing at the gull infested docks of Selvos was like coming to another world. Gone were the foul smells of Golotha, the incense, and the aura of the dead. Selvos was a well-patrolled town with an impressive castle. Unlike the perfidious city where the handful made their home, this place would probably have their left hands cut off for stepping on the wrong foot, and a public hanging if they stepped on both feet. Whatever dangers lay ahead they needed to thread carefully. The captain thanked them for the journey as they descended down from the plank to the docks. The ship, a massive Dak named Worang, had originated from eastern Hârn. The ride had been pleasant even if a few of the hoodlums had been emptying their bellies over the reeling. Boros who was the first off the docks and into the muddy streets, checked his equipment as he spoke to the other three. "Land crabs, make sure your gear is hidden well and do not fiddle with any weapons in the open unless you want the earl's soldiers up in that castle to have their fun with you. I say we head over to that barber Vastyl's place. I know him slightly from before having been smuggling twice in this town in the past. He is a small man with a nasty temper. Well?" Jeremiz nodded as did Flargo, but Mogger just stood caressing his chin, his eyes resting upon the many soldiers and knights that could be seen riding and patrolling the settlement. This place was surely dangerous.

"This won't be a simple task to perform gents. To steal the map from the physician in a town like this I mean. And this Vastyl fellow, how much do we know about him? You say you like him Boros but then again you are named The Butcher for a reason." The bearded smuggler smiled maliciously. "Indeed you freak, indeed I am. Well I like Vastyl because he would cut your throat and lick the blood from his razor just because he was thirsty. But that is not why we are here. I intend to get rich and if that means digging your graves so be it. In the meantime keep yer yapper shut and..." He never finished his sentence. Jeremiz had noticed something and he put his finger to his lips and pointed towards what seemed to be an inn. "We are being followed. Let's move to that inn over there and see if we can get a hang on who it is. Don't look! Just move." Normally Jeremiz was never a man to command anyone but this time they obeyed. Jarop had promised half the treasure and if the tales were right, that was enough to make all rich beyond words. As they entered the Safe Harbour Inn they knew they had come to the right place. Though Selvos may not have been Golotha, this little inn surely reeked of it. The dregs, crooks, and piss-poor all made their temporary home here. Jeremiz took Boros by his cloak. "The one who follows us came from the ship as well. He wears a red cloak but has his hood up so I can not make out his features. He must have spent the entire time in the cabins while we slept in the storage." The bearded murderer nodded as he made a seat by himself at the far end and the rest moved to a table close to the counter.

Mogger who had been eyed by the rest of the local born losers, dried some sweat from his brow. He was clearly uncomfortable. "Damn this whole business Jeremiz." He waved to the barkeep to get him four tankards which he did. A penny later he continued. "No offense Flargo but our master never made a desperate move before. This seems like it. We are too few..." The crossbowman didn't flinch with his pale face and seemed more interested in the clientele than what Mogger said. The dwarf snorted and was about to continue when their follower entered the inn. Boros had also noticed the stranger and took a defensive position behind their stalker. The man was dressed in a long red cloak and had his hood pulled up over his face. He slowly walked with confidence towards the group. Jeremiz shook his head. "I know that posture, I know that walk." As the man closed in so did the others. Pulling down his cowl Evil Erol eyed the men sitting in front of him. "You maggots didn't think you could have your fun without me did you? And Boros you insult me by sneaking behind my back like Jeremiz. Don't tell me you have become weak just like that filthy gypsy." Boros just chuckled and shook his head while lowering his voice. "Why should we let you come with us herald? Why share with another?" The stronger Erol took the tankard from Jeremiz' hand and emptied it in a single draught. Wiping his mouth with his sleeve he answered. "Because you have no choice butcher. The queen wants something from the treasure and I am here to fetch it for her." He leaned over the table and looked Mogger straight in the eyes. "And you midget, you owe me thousands of pennies because of your last stunt. Take a wild guess if I want it back..."

SURPRISING THE FOOLS (session 17, Erol PC) ...

Erol counted the money in his purse while sitting in a private cabin on the Dak named Worang. There were five small pouches with a hundred pence each. Aleath coins handed to him from the queen to nurture his ego while he was on a wild goose chase after some old treasure. The queen hadn't thought this through that was for sure but Erol was in no position to argue. Queen Erela had bought him a slave and she had told him to do well with a promise that he would be freed eventually. He laughed drily at his own lack of luck. Sent here into Kanday yet again at the request of his queen. It was almost hilarious. This time he was looking for a small piece of brimstone with odd markings. What? What would be next? Hunting for a golden stag? Damn the religious freaks of the north. What possibly could a small piece of rock have for the future of their kingdom? He cursed under his breath for ever meeting up with the lowlife scum that he spent his days with. Still even while cursing he realized these were the only friends he had. True they were friends who would plunge a dagger into his back but they were still the closest friends he could ever hope for. And what about that wool merchant Juren? Erol didn't know if he hated or loved the man for presenting him to the queen as he had done. Being a slave under the protection of the queen was far better than being the hang-around to local thieves even if he enjoyed their company. At least now he wasn't at the mercy of Jarop and that accounted for everything. If Erol could only find a way back to his fop of a cousin somehow. That was were the money and power were. He sighed realizing that it seemed like impossible odds. The herald was interrupted by the captain telling his crew to lower their sails. They had reached Selvos.

Packing his mail, sword and shield, Erol wrapped his red new cloak around his shoulders and pulled the massive hood over his head. He knew that the rest of Jarop's men sent on the same mission were on the ship and he made a grim face as he saw Mogger with his floppy hat and Jeremiz with his floppy ears, descend down the plank to the docks below. Arrogant bastards! They would pay with a little back stabbing of their own soon enough. The herald waited until the deck had almost emptied of people before he left his cabin. Shaking the hand of the captain he left quietly into town. Selvos was a bustling place with merchants coming and going, people walking safely from here to there, as well as the center of a large noisy church and castle. But what caught the herald's eyes was the many soldiers and knights patrolling the settlement. He had to be careful and the queen had not exaggerated when she had told him of the "old fool of an earl and his many men". Erol then searched for the thieves he knew would probably go to a place where they would be safe from the manacles of the powers that be. He was rather surprised that they left towards an inn. Surely they must have planned better than that? Or was Jarop too greedy and desperate? If that was the case then, bless his lost balls, by Djekesis, Erol would play them all for fools. He caressed his aching scar on his face with his hand as he contemplated what to do. Better not to linger for too long or he might loose the Golothans to a basement where no one knew where they were. No it was better to approach them now head on and tell them that they were at his command. If they refused he would have to take other measures. Checking his sword by the hip Erol walked over to the shoddy looking building named the Safe Harbour Inn.

Well inside he knew he had come to the right place. The inn was a filthy hangout and the small gang of thugs from Golotha would fit right in. Eying the premises it didn't take him long to see that he had been spotted. Boros was trying to hide himself in a corner and the rest of the group was seated by the far side of the drinking hall. Erol smiled to himself wondering if they knew it was he or someone else. He suspected the latter. Grabbing the hilt of the sword Erol eased his way through scared poor and sour looking lowlife scum, pushing them aside with his gloved hands. He heard Jeremiz mumbled something as he closed in and saw the thief shook his head. Pulling down his cowl Evil Erol eyed the men sitting in front of him. He decided to act with confidence and didn't waste any time doing so. "You maggots didn't think you could have your fun without me did you? And Boros you insult me by sneaking behind my back like Jeremiz. Don't tell me you have become weak just like that filthy gypsy." Boros just chuckled and shook his head while lowering his voice. "Why should we let you come with us herald? Why share with another?" The stronger Erol took the tankard from Jeremiz' hand and emptied it in a single draught. Wiping his mouth with his sleeve he answered. "Because you have no choice butcher. The queen wants something from the treasure and I am here to fetch it for her." He leaned over the table and looked Mogger straight in the eyes. "And you midget, you owe me thousands of pennies because of your last stunt. Take a wild guess if I want it back..."

TAKING ACTION (session 18, Erol, Mogger, Boros, Jeremiz PCs) ...

Flargo was never a man of much words. A loyal man to Jarop he had been his contact in Coranan and the one who provided him with information from the east. Here in Selvos, enemy territory, he had returned with some vital clues. The rest of the Golothan thugs and thieves had been unable to plow ahead and get any further in their search for the missing map piece. They knew that the thief who had stolen the ledger from the physician was held captive by the local bailiff awaiting trial, and from the rumors of this ruthless officer of the crown, a certain hanging too. Unless he would squeal to his hangman of the heist. Flargo stood by the rest of the gang just outside the rim of town away from prying eyes and ears. "Well from what I have heard from sneaky sources in the settlement is that both Taris and Oltan had been hanging with around someone they knew from the past, a miner obviously, also from the south. His name is Berem and can be found at one of the two iron mines north of a place named Ilikur." Erol who was chewing on a salted onion made sneered and spat. "Foul thing, I'll kill that innkeeper for luring me to eat one of these uncooked. Now isn't that something lads. I mean here we are with two options all of a sudden. We have Oltan locked up by a bailiff who, by rumors anyway, would easily sell me someone who has stained the cloak of my clan. And then we have this miner. I say we split up and take two heads. No need for us all to end in Sir Cledan's cellars should he be lucky and find out the real reason why we are here." The rest of the group nodded knowing fully well what the bailiff would do if he did find out.

Erol continued. "All I have to do is trick him into believing I come from a clan who wish to remain secret, looking for someone fitting his prisoner by looks and clothes. I just pray that he does not look through my pose. From what I have heard people are hanged for less at his hundred table." Boros who was quite tired of not getting anywhere joined in. "All right, Erol you go with Flargo to the bailiff while the rest of us check out who this Berem fellow is. Jeremiz since you are already posing as the servant of Erol, Mogger and I will accompany you to the miner's camp and let you take the lead. That way no one will suspect anything foolishly. Should they ask, we can always claim we are doing the bidding of our master, and are looking for a man who has last been seen chatting with the culprit who has wronged Erol's fake clan's honor. We are here to question him. They may not agree of course but at least we have some cover to hide under. Yes Mogger, do speak..." The midget had been trying to get the attention from the others and was almost waving his arms in the air like a little lad hoping to get alms from a passing lord. "What should we do if Erol is exposed as a trickster? I do not want to end up in a noose here on this soil without getting the chance of escape." Boros shook his head but it was Jeremiz who cut in. "Well Mogger, I think we have no real option to decline. Imagine what your master would do with you should you return empty handed fleeing from the first hint of danger. My question however is, do you wish to accompany this herald Flargo or should we send someone else?"

The pale faced thief just shook his head at the direction towards Erol showing that he would follow the blonde queen's man to the bailiff at Kesethy manor. Of course he would. With Flargo joining one end and Jeremiz another, Jarop would have two loyal men amongst evil doers he did not fully trust. The crossbowman spoke for the last time. "Beware the mines however. They are guarded by a mercenary company named Fruke's Angels, and from what I have heard they do not take fools lightly. Watch your backs." Boros who was beginning to see a new light in the eyes of the crossbowman slapped his hands together caressing them greedily. "Great, now we're talking. Flargo you and I should have a small talk about the future later eh? In the meantime keep cool and be ready for anything. Erol do not fuck up this time. And keep your yapper shut about being related to a mighty earl for once. Mogger has told me all about your side tracking, and the last thing I would like is to have my neck decorated with a rope just because you forgot to think." The last comment made the herald's eye darken as he stared at the midget who conveniently kicked some pebbles on the ground nervously. Erol grabbed the hilt of his sword and turned towards the road that lead to Kesethy. "Do not fear you bearded no-good loser, I am fully capable of dealing with a man such as Sir Cledan. You just make sure you talk to this miner and do it well. And for the love of all that is holy in the shadows, make sure you do not get sidetracked by this little weasel. After all I am his usurer and my interest rate of the money he stole increases by the watch. Let's go stiff..." Boros, Mogger, and Jeremiz watched as Erol took the lead towards the bailiff, with Flargo hanging after him like a slave to his master. Sending the herald to the bailiff was to gamble with Agrik and winning, you would get rich but not live long enough to enjoy it...

DARK HERMIT (session 19, Erol, Mogger, Boros, Jeremiz PCs) ...

The rain kept pouring down on Mogger's head and he eyed the sky with a sneer. "Damn weather, this is getting on my nerves." He was not alone in his thoughts. Since the Golothan hoodlums had left Dunir, the muddy trail named Elos was more of a nuisance than an aid, and each step made a sucking sound as worn boots got stuck in the slimy underground. At least they thought, Sorka was soon in their grasp as they closed in on what the locals called a mountain. To the five men it was more a small peak in a land of hills. Erol who was leading the way raised a hand as they crossed the small stream. He stood in the middle of the water and was turning his head both ways pulling his sword slowly. "Faggets, there is something not right here." The others imitated the herald and held their weapons ready. The only sound was the rain and Flargo's crossbow clicking. The landscape was twisting with small hills, woodlands, steep cliffs, and everywhere they looked it all seemed still. Boros his hands gripping both sword and shield stepped up next to Erol. "You sure you heard something? It could have been anything..." He was interrupted by Erol who pointed towards a grove of trees. A crouched man, dressed in what looked like rags was pulling something from the ground. The herald eyed the rest with a troubled frown and started moving forward away from the stream. The man in the grove paid them no attention, not even when they had surrounded him.

He was dressed in gray clothing loose with tears and dirt at the edges. His long brown hair was stained gray by the temples and he was moaning and hissing as the pulled what seemed to be a root of some kind. Boros who tired of the man ignoring them stepped forward and was about to grab him when a hand flew up and caught his wrist. The ragged man spoke. "If you have come to rob me I have nothing valuable. Instead of using those strong arms on someone as old as me, why don't you help me pull this root free instead?" The bearded smuggler was often not someone to command but to the astonishment of his fellow thugs, Boros helped the old man. After they had pulled the root free and the man put it in a filthy sack did he raise his head to eye the five men. To their surprise he had a hexagon tattooed around his left eye, the mark of a Save-K'nor priest. "Well, you wanted something?" Jeremiz who had kept his distance with both his dagger drawn leaned against a tree as he spoke. "Yes we may just want something cleric. It is highly unusual to see one of your kind outside city walls let alone outside your own quarters. We are looking for someone." They old man lifted an eyebrow as Erol took over the conversation. "Priest we are looking for... Uh... How shall I say this? Someone who calls himself the Falcon Master." The Knorran snorted as he slung his sack across the shoulder and made himself ready to depart. "Hmph! That name was given to me during one of the fairs in Dunir. It is not my fault the birds like me. It has always been like that. Animals has been quite easy to deal with. Even dangerous ones. And large..."

Pushing past the men he called for them to follow. After ascending the peak, did they finally reach a cave, mostly hidden by twisted trees and sharp rocks. As they entered behind the man their weapon shielded them from any potential threats. Well inside the cave was huge. A fire was cooking something in a cauldron in the middle and the smoke was rising slowly to a small hole in ceiling. Close to the fireplace there was a few crude tables with all kinds of items on them; books, pots, jars, and the gods knew what else. Behind them two pallets was neatly stored, sleeping place for the priest and someone else. A young man in his late teens stood nervously close to the wall of the cave eyeing the newcomers with a troubled frown. He was copying strange markings in the cave into a book and tried to remain calm. But the weapons from the five men made him nervous even to the most oblivious. "Jorek my lad, your work is admirable but for the sake of our guests and my belly, you need to stir the pot fervently. It will ruin the stew otherwise. Lord of Puzzles, will he ever mend to my will?" While raising his arms as speaking to Save-K'nor himself the old priest turned around to face the thugs with devious smile. "You have come to barter with master Erind no?" Boros who had been disinterested in the cave as whole went to the stew and eyed the content. "Yes maybe so old man. How about your life for some information? Or the boy's?" Erind chuckled. "Do as you may mercenary. My life is almost at an end anyway. If you want something from me you have to pay, and pay good. If you have come all the way here from the north, into this dangerous territory, then what you want is either valuable or of dire need for your own safety. Now what will it be?" Boros smiled at the shrewd priest. "Then let us barter old fool..."

SHOWDOWN IN DUNIR (sess. 20, Jeremiz, Boros, Mogger, Erol PCs) ...

The small town of Dunir laid silent in the morning mist. A dog barked in the distance which was followed by a man shouting. Three guards were patrolling the other side of the settlement from where the four men stood watching. They had lost a companion in the catacombs of The Place of Bones but what they had lost in flesh they had gained in coins. Touching his purse Erol faced Boros with a bitter look. "You better ease that ass of yours and give me what I want." Boros who was sweating ignored the herald. He had trouble focusing on anything but the pain in his behind. The smuggler had swallowed two precious gems and had kept them within him ever since they had left Tesien three days ago. Like a nine month old baby in his mother's womb they wanted out and Boros eyed the inn knowing that a private lavatory was at hand within. Both Mogger and Jeremiz was laughing at the herald's comment. This annoyed Erol further. "Look smuggler do not think that you can escape the inevitable. I will follow you to the shitter and dig it out of I have to but make no mistake, the stones are not yours to carry." Boros just waved him away with his hand as he cautiously staggered slowly to the inn, his face spoke of great pain. "Damn that rabbit stew Mogger. I could almost swear you....Oh... Tha... That you added spices just to see me suffer." This made the two Lia- Kavair laugh even harder. But they were cut short of the sight at the inn.

Three familiar men stood by a loaded wagon talking to each other. There was no mistake about the presence of Vastyl and one of his men. The other was a stranger but his armour spoke of a soldier. Hiding behind a village cottage the Golothan thugs placed themselves comfortably to eye the scene even further. Well all except Boros who couldn't stand it anymore. He let his pants drop and emptied his bowels on the ground. A scruffy looking dog picked up the scent and sniffed with keen vigor Boros in the ass. The smuggler hit the furry little creature which made him yelp and flee the scene. Erol who had first been interested in the Selvos barber had turned his attention to Boros as soon as he heard the first fart. He was now digging with a stick in the feces while the smuggler dried himself against the grass. A smile spread across the herald's face when he had found the two stones. But his happiness was short lived as a thought hit him. "By Djekesis' cut balls, they have him, the sons of whores have him..." The other three watched their companion with troubled frowns. Mogger closed in. "What do you mean they have him. Who has who?" Erol shook his head and grabbed the midget by his tunic. "Vastyl has you freak, the barber has taken the priest and has probably locked him in one of the barrels." Jeremiz who had not left his eyes of the three men turned his head and walked over to the others. "Well it looks like they are heading for that ship in the bay. No wonder with our maps."

Erol grabbed the hilt of his sword but was cut off by Boros who grabbed his wrist. "Are you daft? If anyone finds out that there is a priest in the barrel they will question anyone who has a connection to the maps. And from what I have heard about Dunir we will be as easily roasted alive for blasphemy as we will be from having everything we got, like the stones for instance, taken from us so called out-of-town thieves..." He let the words sink in. The other three nodded. It was Jeremiz who cut in. "Well if they have the priest then what has happened to his apprentice? And what if the priest haven't told them anything, or tricked them?" Mogger who was shaking his head disgusted by the stink of Boros dung heap, turned his head towards the eastern cliffs and hills. "There is only one way to find out isn't there?. I say we find out where that ship is heading and when we have, stay cool and ride out the storm. If we have lost the treasure so be it. I do not want to gamble with what we have amassed so far. Agreed?" Boros who had only paid the two stones any attention took command. "Before we do anything I want these stones washed, my ass washed, and have some food taken to my belly. If I know Vastyl right, he will believe that no one is smart enough to find out that he has taken the priest or that we have seen him. My take is that it will be easy to find out where they have gone. Now Erol if you would be so kind to take the stones from my shit..."

A MAP COMES WITH GOLD AND SILVER ...

The map of Captain Aralthor has been partially found by Juren and by the physician in Selvos. Jarop bought the original half from Juren (who made a copy for himself secretly) and has decided to send the PCs to reclaim the other part from the physician (according to the letter found in the Blood for Blood adventure). What he doesn't know, nor the PCs for that matter, is that the Queen of Rethem has found out about this treasure hunt and has an agenda of her own. According to some old scrolls from a long gone and mad priest named Arzula, once a chaplain to Saurach, hints that "the path to the ring of our fiery lord", lies carved in a brimstone locked in a ivory box of many flames. Queen Erila is not sure what the whole message means but she is certain that this stone is actually a map or similar to Saurach's ring. A ring that could make her husband powerful beyond dreams. And it would make for a nice birthday present (of the irony of women...). So when she finds out that Captain Aralthor had such a box in his possession she is thrilled to hear about Jarop's little expedition. Juren of course thinks her daft but tells her all he knows about the map and who has what. Naturally she sends Erol to find the stone for her. He knows the thieves, and is the only one she can spare. Of course her promise to make it known that he still lives should the herald fail is a carrot for a mule who wants to survive. Besides the other PCs thinks him dead, well so does the master of thieves as well, and Erol can not wait to get into their face again.

Captain Aralthor did have the box that held the brimstone but since he didn't trust his men enough to keep it he buried it in the reefs in Agrik's Cauldron near Sarkum where it lies to the present day. The map in the possession of Jarop and the physician tells of this location. The only problem is, the map is unreadable unless the reader is fluent with old Corani military code. Few people are; most of these are priests of the Save-K'nor who has specialized in Corani history. A handful exists in Golotha but there is one who can help the PCs without them fearing they will be back-stabbed by information hungry clerics in a city where trust comes as easily as gold crowns from a beggar. This man is named Erind and can be located in a cave east off Dunir in a peak named Sorka (more of him later). Jarop decides to send a handful of his men (the PCs) to Selvos to try to steal the map from the physician. He charters a few seats in a Dak heading for eastern Hârn and sends the PCs to do his bidding and retrieve the map for him. The queen does likewise and hires a cabin seat for Erol. What no one knows is that the local Lia-Kavair in Selvos also knows of the map and their leader, the deranged Vastyl the Barber, is a friend of Kenner, the double dealing wool provider to Juren. Vastyl bought the information from Kenner and has plans of his own to find out where this map leads or what end. He hires two thieves who just arrived from Aleath to steal the map from the physician.

Taris and his younger brother Oltan are two thieves who fled Aleath after mugging a friend of the mayor. Arriving in Selvos it took them little time to get acquainted with Vastyl and his men. The barber offered them a full membership and his protection if they could steal a valuable map from the local physician without getting caught. Nearing desperation, and fearing they were pursued, both brothers agreed. They almost made it. Faking to be a wealthy trader from the south, using clothes stolen from a previous heist, Clarlan the physician agreed to let one of the brothers stay at his hostel for a hefty fee paid by Vastyl. Taris drank a mild dose of Fanosel which made him sweat and become delirious. The greedy physician accepted the money although he didn't find anything obvious he thought it better if his patient rested for a while at his hostel (the cost is quite high...). During the night Taris opened the door for his sure handed brother. Opening the lock of the physician's bedroom, they were able to find the map in one of his chest but that is when everything went wrong. Clarlan woke up. There was a fight and the physician got stabbed in the arm and leg. His screams woke the rest of the household and the two thieves, who had gotten hold of the map, fled the house. Unfortunately they got separated when the night watch saw them fleeing from the scene. Taris made it to Vastyl unhindered but the map was with Oltan who fled north. He was able to hide it under a boulder before being captured by the earl's men and taken to the local bailiff. When the PCs arrive, Taris hides in Vastyl's house and Oltan is in the dungeon of the bailiff.

A MOST POWERFUL BAILIFF AND HIS JAIL ...

The PCs would do best if they didn't tell Vastyl why they are in Selvos or else they might get their throat cut while they sleep. Though the barber acknowledge the power of the Lia-Kavair in Golotha, he is not ready to let go of the treasure he himself seeks. When the PCs arrive in Selvos they should keep low. The Queen has provided Erol with false documents depicting the herald as a meddler from the area of Heroth, who has been working near the Rethem border in Tharda to calm the situation. The rest of the group are posing as a scribe (Jeremiz), marine (Boros), and a jester (Mogger). None of Jarop's men knows that Erol is on the boat and they will probably get the surprise of their life time when they see him (all think him dead). Boros knows Vastyl since previously and will have no trouble to get room and board as long as they stick to the plan of "assassinating a thorn in Jarop's side who resides in Dunir". If Vastyl gets too curious Boros has the order to play rough (which will work) and tell the barber to mind his business. In Vastyl's home they will meet Taris who is reluctant to talk to anyone since he has been threatened by the barber's men to keep quiet. His brother's imminent hanging in a tenday is also a black spot on his mood. He won't speak to any of the PCs and will try to avoid them as much as possible. If the group decides to snoop around they will find out about the assault on the Physician (and any other rumor the Selvos expansion can detail). They will in the end also find out, though not from the Physician but some poor sod (a beggar or minor trader who pays Vastyl for protection), that the captured thief had a bigger brother (or so people assume who has seen them because both looked the same).

Talking to Clarlan will spell disaster because he is reluctant to tell anyone that he has lost a valuable old map, nor is he in any position to. The wounds he got are painful and he is bed-taken most of the time. And he is not interested in any visitors, not even local ones, and pushing their luck will make the physician call for the guards. There are two ways to find out what happened; one is to actually bribe (hefty...) someone in Clarlan's household to tell the group what really happened. The other is less obvious but it may work. Since the PCs will spend their time using Vastyl's house as a hideout, they may befriend Taris if they speak ill of the barber, or look rough enough to make him fear them (which in a way Vastyl does). That will make thief from Aleath less reluctant to talk to them. If this does not work, there is always the chance of sneaking into Kesethy manor and talk to Oltan (though that would require careful planning). The PCs can also talk to the guards (better handed by Erol) and what happened the night of the assault on the Physician. For some ale and pennies the night watch will tell the group that there was two thieves and the captured one was a southerner, probably "city folk" from Aleath. Keen ears will notice that Taris too has the tongue of a southerner and that may lead the PCs to the conclusion that he is the elder brother who got away. Whatever happens they key is to play it low and keep Vastyl out of the game.

Should the PCs find out that Taris indeed is the second brother they may either threaten him to tell them (may attract Vastyl), or befriend him. The latter works best. He will tell the group that he and his brother was hired by Vastyl to retrieve the map from the Physican in return for protection. He will not tell them anymore unless they promise to protect him from the barber. If they do he will also tell them that his brother was able to flee for a few hours before he was caught. He is positive that his younger sibling has hidden the map somewhere. Taris will also describe Kenner to the group as someone who told Vastyl about the map (the two brothers overheard the discussion). This Kenner fellow is located at the White Gold Inn. What the PCs decide to do from here is what will define this adventure. The best way to find out where Oltan hid the map is to actually to sneak into the manor dungeon and question him. That will however not be as easy as it may sound. Sir Cledan is a smart man and very dangerous. The best way is to bring gifts and use sweet words. The PCs can even be so bold as to ask to buy the thief from the bailiff since he is someone who is wanted by their own lord for stealing a precious heirloom (though this part has to be extremely well-planned or Sir Cledan may become suspicious). Of course the PCs can also wait for the bailiff to return to his own manors (the ones he has inherited) and steal into the lightly guarded Kesethy and free the imprisoned thief. The only way to get Oltan to talk is to free him in one way or another.

THE MAP IS FOUND AT LAST ...

Should the PCs rescue Oltan (well they need to if the adventure is to continue for them) he will ask for protection as much as Taris would from Vastyl. If they invites them to Golotha they will agree and show the map to the group. The two Aleath brothers will also mention that Kenner hinted to Vastyl about someone named the Falcon Master near Dunir was a seer who might be able to decrypt the map and the information found within. If the PCs takes the maps to the priests of Save-K'nor in Golotha they will copy it and send a well-armed expedition of their own. If they take it to Dunir to see who this Falcon Master is they will have to charter a ship (this may take some days as Selvos is not the busy port Golotha is). Whatever they do they would do best to leave Selvos as quickly as possible. Two reasons for this: The bailiff will not tolerate anyone rescuing his prisoners, nor will Vastyl be happy to know that his plan has been foiled.

If the PCs travel to Dunir and ignores the Knorrans in Golotha, they will eventually notice the harsh climate of this little settlement. Even the Peoni monks are suspicious of outsiders who does not come with a range of goods to sell or inclination to buy. They group from Golotha will feel the sting of untrustworthy eyes to the prying questions from the lords, soldiers, and common man. If they play their cards right they will be able to enter and leave the settlement fairly quietly. The Falcon Master is a Save K'nor priest by the name of Erind who is living as a Hermit studying odd carvings in a cave near Sorka (east of Dunir, see new CGI atlas map). He got his name by the locals who distrust the "mad hermit in the east" when he visited the local festival the previous year. Erind is plagued by various psionic abilities and one of these makes all animals around him friendly. The falcons of the baron made sure to keep this "tradition" alive and landed comfortably on the poor Erind, who luckily wasn't burned at the stake for witchcraft. However he has been marked as the Falcon Master ever since then. Erind himself prefers to be called the mad hermit and has not visited the conservative Dunir much since.

When the PCs find the priest in his cave they will notice that he is not afraid of them, not even under threats. Torturing this middle-aged cleric of the god of sages will do them no good. According to Erind the map needs time to be decrypted and he wants payment for doing it. Not money or goods but two small items that can be found in Tesien. One of these items are a rod of silver and the other is a bracelet of copper. They can be found "in the tallest building with the domed roof". Should the PCs agree to travel to Tesien and what Erind calls "The Place of Bones" he will provide them with a guide he knows (a former brigand named Yankil who is nowadays a shepherd). In the meantime he promised to deal with the map and translate it for the PCs. That is the only way he will do decrypt it. Should the PCs agree he will urge them to make haste. Traveling to the Place of Bones with Yankil will be easy. The tricky part is when they arrive (their guide will tell the PCs all kinds of stories...).

Tesien is a wretched place. Beside the smell, the insects, and the soft sucking ground, there are other dangers to be had. Ghosts, swamp creatures, brigands and the like all seek refuge in this forgotten location, and The Place of Bones is no exception. The brigands are not a bunch who would welcome visitors to their location and if they can not fool them (as presented in the article) they will kill them. Then there is the fenland stalker to worry about (a Nolah). This beast will probably be the most dangerous element in the whole vicinity. The two items Erind wants are located in the secret compartment in Workol's chambers (along with old coins and jewels and the like worth over £200). The only way in there (at least in this adventure) is through the Nolah's lair and the Earthmaster tunnels and the hand made ones. This is no easy task and the deal is to make it alien and dangerous.

ALL IS LOST UNLESS THUGS ACT QUICKLY ...

If the PCs decided to take the map to the Save-K'norrans in Golotha they will have to deal with two priests and six armed mercenaries heading for Selvos and Agrik's Cauldron where the treasure is located. That would mean tough opposition and probably failure. The small box with the brimstone is located in a grove of twisted trees under three stones. It will be easy to find once the PCs have the map translated but unfortunately for them, if they do not move in haste, the box will have been removed once they arrive on the set. Even if they do make it before the priests, there is a 50% chance they will get caught. Unless they fight their way out of it (doubtful since the only thing in the treasure is a stinking piece of rock...). Whatever happens the priests are only interested in the stone not the PCs but they will not let them get away with it. The brimstone is actually a cant/invocation that will when used be able to show the way to the ring should anyone good enough in Agrikan ritual ML with enough Piety Points (the priests of Save-K'nor would move it to a safe location or similar) decide to do so. Whatever the brimstone holds it may or may not lead to the true location of the ring (see future adventures if this happens).

If the group decides to follow the lead of the Falcon Master and agree to his quest, and succeed, on their return they will find the hermit's cave empty. Tracks of a fight and footprints of several men can be found within. They lead towards Dunir. Well in Dunir the PCs will see Vastyl and his men, together with a few armed seamen. They are loading barrels and crates onto a Nivik (the kidnapped Erind can be found within one of these drugged and gagged). Approaching Vastyl will be met with taunts at the least. That he is "a friend" with some of the more suspect guards won't do the PCs any good either. The only way this can end in a good positive way is to let Vastyl and his crew leave the village as they head off south to Sarkum (this info will be easy to find). There is no other ship at the moment. If the PCs wait a few days a new ship will arrive and they can buy a ticket to Sarkum. If the group doesn't seek this route they can, a few hours, be contacted telepathically by Erind with weak words such as "...They head for south... I am captured... Thugs like you...". But only use this as a last resort. Vastyl has for once been smart enough to be subtle.

Should the PCs head down south in hot pursuit of the thieves from Selvos there will be several clues once they reach a busy Sarkum. The earl has begun expanding his domains to the rich Anfla Island and the port is busier than in years. The PCs will not have any trouble blending in. If they ask the right questions at the inns and the brothel, with enough silver, they will find out that someone like Vastyl and his men has been in Sarkum but left two days ago. According to the locals they met with a villager from Loza a place the Sarkum villagers advice the PCs not to visit without the earl's arms. The village is the home of settled scum and villany, and according to some less frightened people, a tool for the earl to use against the sheriff's snoopy foresters. All in all Loza is a village consisting of former brigands, ruffians, fenlanders and what not (even some soldiers from the Ezar's War). The earl has allowed them to stay in the village as long as they behave and pay their taxes. Getting to Loza is easiest done by renting a fishing boat in Sarkum.

Well outside Loza village (the fishermen or whomever helped the PCs to arrive) will not approach the location and stop within a quarter of a mile from the place. After that the PCs are on their own (information about the size and such of Loza can be found in 2nd ed. of Kanday). The village consists of some plots of grain fields, hovels, and a long beach with several fishing boats. Walking into the village will be foolish as the "reeve" a former soldier who is the self-appointed leader of the village, knows Vastyl from previously and would probably help the barber in disposing of the Golotha adventurers. Erind has not told Vastyl what the map contains or where the treasure is hidden. And because of it he has been beaten almost to the point of death. Erind is being kept bound in a barn close to the outskirts. Vastyl does not suspect anyone of following him and thus the place is lightly guarded. That being said if the PCs are seen an alarm will be raised and instead of just Vastyl and his two thugs, there will also be a dozen armed villagers who aren't scared serfs. The best way to get to Erind is to create a diversion or enter using stealth. If the PCs snoop around they will come to notice that the villagers are mostly fishermen so it will be easiest to strike during daylight when most of the able men are out in the open sea.

Vastyl will defend Erind and the map with his life. His two thugs will not and as soon as any of them goes down or gets too injured, they will try to flee. Notice that several of the women may aid Vastyl with whatever weapon they have got. If the PCs strike fast and reach Erind he will tell them that "... Forget the map for it will... Ugh... Lead to the dark one... Fire will smother the land... And all you hold dear will be for naught.... It leads to the Lord of the Fiery Wings himself... Save yourselves while you can... Argh... Destroy the map..." Afterwards Erind will die from his wounds. The PCs needs to move fast or face a dozen angry fishermen with weapons who would want their revenge for having their homes attacked. Of course should the group be able to sneak into the village they will be able to talk to Erind but not get a hold of the map. Not that it will do anything for a while. Vastyl will be unable to decrypt the map and should he in the future succeed he will be pissed at only finding a small piece of ancient brimstone. Jarop too will be pissed if the PCs arrive back empty handed but if Jeremiz and Flargo tells the truth he will be content at that and take whatever share that is his from any treasure they may have found in Tesien.

CAMPAIGN ADDS ...

Time: 2nd Nolus Selvos
Days: 2nd Nolus - 12th Agrazhar (70 days all in all)
Characters: Jeremiz, Erol, Boros, and Mogger
Players: Dan, Jonny, Lars, and Darius
Date: Sat. 26th September, Sat. 10th & 24th October, Sat. 6th November 2004
Length: 17:00 - 01:30 & 19:30 - 01:00 & 18:30 - 02:00 & 16:00 - 01:00

Notes: Uh... Long adventure written in haste. I hope it made sense reading it because I wrote much of it without double-checking. What started as a simple get-a-map quest evolved into a large treasure hunt. I am not too happy with the story but the adventure was rather fun to game anyway and the players enjoyed the dungeon crawl and sea travel. I am quite tired as I write this so the summary will be brief.

The group managed to free Oltan and escape the wrath of both Vastyl and Sir Cledan. Sending Taris and his younger brother to Golotha, the PCs headed south with the map towards Dunir to meet with the Falcon Master. Well there they agreed to his quest and headed towards Tesien. Flargo was killed by the Nolah when he was keeping watch as the PCs went down into the depths of the tunnels. They were able to avoid the brigands and found the secret compartment (they were quite frightened) of Workol. Besides the two items and the money, they also found a magic sword that ended up in Boros possession. Leaving Tesien they headed for Dunir where they found out about Vastyl. They decided to pursue the man.

In Sarkum they found out where Vastyl had headed and was able to reach Loza by boat. The PCs waited until most of the men in the village had left for sea before the struck. Attacking quickly, killing of Vastyl was a success though Erol became seriously injured. They were able to reach Erind, hear what he had to say, and burn the map (even Erol who had promised to deliver it to the queen was not interested in what the priest told them). Then they fled back north.

Well back in Golotha they planned what to tell Jarop. With Flargo dead, Jeremiz was persuaded to keep most of the jewelry within the group and only leave a fraction to Jarop (this has given the thief serious regrets and feelings of guilt). If it hadn't been for the words of Jeremiz the guildmaster wouldn't have believed them. In spite this they told him that there was almost a hundred pounds of old Corani silver coins left in Tesien that he could get. They had been unable to carry much with them. Erol decided that the queen wasn't where he wanted to head to, now that he had failed her for a second time, so he wrote her a letter. Of course he had to hide with Jeremiz to be able to escape her wrath....
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Matt
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