Players: Daniel Coleman (Amman), Malcolm Campbell (Baron Faith), Neil McClean (Gellis Tarn), Graham Reynolds (Bruce)
Date: 22 July 2008
Sunday, 21 Geomyr 1082 PS
The party moves toward the lagoon stealthily. Amman crouches down in the long grass painfully aware that what meagre talents he has do not lie in stealth. The hairs on the back of his neck prick up and he turns his head slowly to discover someone else squatting in the grass about three feet from him. That someone else has also turned his head and is regarding Amman coldly.
It is a black dragonborn. Not only a noble, but evidently a member of the royal family. He is dressed extremely well, although the his clothes are ripped and stained by the detritus of the swamp. It isn’t clear whether this dragonborn was on the vessel that the undead are trying to raise, or whether he is another interloper in this affair. The dragonborn holds a clawing finger to where his lips would be if he had lips. He then gestures Amman to retreat with him to a discrete distance.
Amman stands slowly and moves back through the swamp to the cover of the trees. Gellis and Bruce quickly join him. The dragonborn introduces himself as Baron Helman Faith of the Royal House of Mhor. He is young, but what he lacks in experience, he makes up for in confidence and arrogance. He gestures to the boat. “I would like you to help me recover my property,” he says.
The trio look at one another. Their mission is to return the package to Sarlan, but they’re all thinking the same thing: Baron Faith doesn’t need to know this until after the battle; and four is a better number to go up against the undead with than three. Gellis introduces them and holds out is hand in friendship. The baron regards it as one might a dead rat. He says they need a strategy.
The plan is a simple one. Gellis will leave his companions and creep around the lagoon to the east. Hopefully he can shoot and remain hidden. Bruce and Amman will attack from the centre by taking the fight to their enemies. Meanwhile Baron Faith will skirt around the western side of the lagoon and attempt to get behind the two undead overseers. Obviously, the plan won’t survive six seconds when they start fighting, but it’s nice to have a plan nonetheless.
Parts of the plan work better than others. Gellis fires his arrows, but is unable to regain cover. The wights in charge of the operation let fly with bolts of necrotic force, while the host of zombies abandon their task and groan their way across the water toward Gellis and Bruce. Meanwhile, Baron Faith uses the powers granted by his pact with the Summer Queen to great effect. He manages to remain hidden in the trees while cursing one of the wights. He attacks and turns invisible at the same time. Handy chap to have in a fight, Gellis thinks.
The battle is not easy. Amman uses his powers to shoot back at the wights, who quickly concentrate their firepower on the cleric. Bruce once more finds himself standing over Amman’s unconscious form, defending it from a surrounding horde of villains. Gellis manages to take down most of the zombies before they can reach him, and then uses his superior speed to stay out of harm’s way. He doubles back after baron faith with the intention of helping him. One wight eventually falls, but it revived by the second. However, with tenacity and skill (and a little luck as some of the undead fall foul of a rather deep portion of the lagoon) they are victorious. The boat and the prize are theirs.
Gellis heads into the boat and comes out with the package they seek. It is a chest with the coat of arms of the Royal House of Mhor on it. However, it’s not the shape that Gellis was expecting. It’s about five feet long and only six inches wide. It seems that they have recovered a royal fishing rod. Faith asks him to hand it over.
Gellis scratches his head. “You see Mr F, we may have a problem with that,” he says in what he thinks is a diplomatic manner, but just comes across as irritating. Gellis is open and he explains to Faith that they have been employed to recover the box. As members of the Mercenaries Guild they are honour bound to fulfil the contract. If Faith has a problem with that, they he’ll have to take it up with their employer.
Faith asks who their employer is. Amman and the others are rather reticent on this point. They want to protect the anonymity of their client. Faith is growing bored with this stand-off. He says that he thinks he knows who their employer is. If they will tell him then he can confirm it. Gellis refuses. If Faith thinks he knows then should say. Faith won’t say in case he’s wrong. They glower at each other.
“What about a word game?” Gellis suggests. The mercenaries could tell Faith the first letter of the name of their employer. If that’s the same as name that Faith is thinking of then it would be something of a coincidence. Gellis stresses that he has no desire to be on the wrong side of a member of the royal family. In addition to not being paid enough for that, it wouldn’t be healthy either. It’s all about client confidentiality. Faith understands that, surely.
Eventually, Faith agrees with one small exception. He will suggest the letter and Gellis will guess. The elf shrugs. Seems all right to him. Faith says “S”, and Gellis confirms the identity of the employer as Sarlan. Faith that he is also working with Baron Sarlan to recover this item. When pressed he won’t say whether he was on the boat, or part of a previous attempt to enter the swamp and recover the box. However, it is a relief that they all seem to be working to the same ends.
Faith is also glad, but due to his rank confiscates the magic items recovered from the wights which includes a magic pact dagger, magic boots that let him walk on water and a cloak of protection. Bloody royalty.
Taking the box, which no-one has any inclination to open, the four head back across the swamp to where they left the boat. Fortunately, they are able to find it again. They move some distance away from the fight and find a good spot to camp for the night.
Morday, 22 Geomyr 1082 PS
At dawn, the group press off across the swamp in the direction of Karris’Mhor. Gellis is confident that he knows the way, and they manage to retrace their steps back to the dry land, where they start to carry the boat. This time there are no dinosaurs. There is a massive poisonous viper that attacks the party from concealment.
No-one sees the snake, not even Gellis who is forced to draw his swords and engage it in mêlée combat. Not a place where he is particularly comfortable. Eventually Gellis retreats and draws his bow. Between the four of them, they manage to kill the creature, although it does prove surprisingly resilient to their attacks.
After the battle they launch the boat back into the swamp and continue with their journey. Any questions directed at Baron Faith concerning his mission or his relationship with Sarlan are met with a stony silence. As the afternoon wears on into evening, and it is evident that they should have returned to Karris’Mhor by now, all eyes turn to Gellis. The ranger claims he is going the long way round to stay out of danger. No-one believes him.
Tyrsday, 23 Geomyr 1082 PS
After double-backing to a point that Gellis can remember, the elf is now confident that he can find his way back to the city. He points out that it was an honest mistake that anyone could have made, that one bit of swamp looks very much like every other bit of swamp and if anyone else thinks they could do a better job than him they should he’ll let them navigate. He has no takers.
As they near the swamp city, talk turns to how they will get the box to Baron Sarlan. Faith says that he doesn’t think it’s a good idea that they just walk into the city with it. Eyes will be watching. Plus the box has the royal crest emblazoned on it. Chances are it will be nicked before they’re half way through Bartertown. Amman suggests wrapping it in a cheap carpet, for the trip to the Mercenaries Guild. Of course, that would mean sending someone on ahead to buy a carpet.
Gellis swims a little over a quarter of a mile to Bartertown and goes to buy a rather tasteful throw rug, that he intends to keep for his room at the Mercenaries Guild. He waits at the dock for the rest of the group to arrive and they surreptitiously conceal the box. The group then returns the boat to its owner, and heads nonchalantly across Bartertown. From there it’s a short trip to the Arms District.
Faith leaves his companions with the box while he goes to summon Baron Sarlan (and get changed). Gellis, Bruce and Amman immediately head to the bar in the Mercenaries Guild. Alcohol is ridiculously expensive, but drugs are not. Gellis looks at the large jar full of toads on the shelf, and has one squeezed into a drink. He makes him quite merry. He does like his toad. The barkeep, a dwarf called Brunt Bverantbørn (who is also the guild’s quartermaster) suggests that Gellis take it easy until after he has finished his mission.
At length the three and reunited with Faith and present their prize to Sarlan. He is pleased, and doubly pleased that no-one opened the box. He pays the mercenaries the agreed amount. Sarlan tells Faith that the group have agreed to enter the Undercity and recover the “other item” that they are searching for. As this is also Faith’s mission, he suggests that Faith works with the mercenaries. Obviously, he will be in charge. Baron Faith agrees, and says that he will meet Amman, Bruce and Gellis at the Mercenaries Guild the following morning.
Once the hired help have gone, Faith and Sarlan open the box. Inside is ancient scabbard designed to hold a longsword. There is an inscription on the side of the scabbard that reads “Shield of honour, holder of faith”. If Sarlan was expecting to find a sword inside the scabbard, he doesn’t reveal it to Faith.
Sarlan explains that this is the scabbard that once held the fabled Sword of Mhor. Legends says that the sword was wielded by the champion of Queen Fanitha, but was lost at some point during her reign. The sword itself had great magical powers. The scabbard less so. Sarlan allows Faith to keep the item, but warns him that the descent into the undercity will be perilous. They might want to get more help. Faith says that he knows where he can find just that.