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Part 1 New friends
I am Errathor Lichengrove ‘Errath’ to my friends a bard of the Old Ways. A half elf from Ghael now in Greymoor in search of the great Druid Bard Donn, as part of a vision quest given when I was trying to meditate on the Old Ways, this was also when Lewanna, my pet Nightjar, came to me. I hope, as does my teacher, druidic bard Oakenthorne, that the experience of interacting with other cultures and professions will help me mature and that may tutor me in channelling the power of the Old Ways in the many forms he knows. My Father Oldof would have liked me to remain with the tribe but can see the advantages of me broadening my experience. He can also see that I take after my mother Aurae. He hopes I will come back and help in the struggle with Caldraza. I was born under the Watchman and have a birthmark on my right palm, it is said that those born with a birthmark are marked out as being special. This is the story of those travels and those I meet.
Merday 3rd week Month of the Watchman, deep winter, I see this advert and then I receive a message from the Druid council to go and see Silva the Wise at the Mage Guild to answer his need for adventurers. They want along to make sure that nature is respected when Silva’s party go into the forest. Also for the good experience it will be for me to work with others and possibly gain a new story. When I get to the mages guild there are others who have answered this call from Silva most are turned away but some get to see Silva like I do. He asks us to introduce ourselves and I start. A gnome called Gnoman goes next he says he is local coming from the South Borough of Greymoor. He says he likes long bows, yes he likes long bows and his clothes mark him out as an Illusionist. He was asked by the Arch-mage Lady Rivers to come along. Next a Dwarf call Thorn, a squire who is learning to be a mamber of the cult of Hombel, who is not set in the normal dwarven ways and was asked by the Cleric Wenlas a friend of Silva to help with his fighter skills. Then there is James a young high Elf warrior mage from Shallenoi doing the tour to explore and check the truth of the history books he has read. He also was asked by Lady Rivers to bring his magic along to help, he also has a animal with him a old dog. Three of us have birthmarks of our star sign upon us James a Satyr on his upper arm, Thorn the mark of the Reaper on his left shoulder. SP maybe its right about us being special, I wonder if James has one as well.
Silva speaks; “well you come recommended and seem the best of the lot so you four will do, I am looking for research information on various things and have learned of a old Elf Memorial deep in the Runewood forest. Bring back any records you find there and I will pay you 100gp. I have found out that the library is in the north of the Runewood forest. This ancient forest, long ago the seat of a old Elven empire, radiates a faint aura of magic even to this day, it’s origin unknown. However, many believe the answers lay in the numerous Elven ruins, deep in their crumbling, vine choked remains. The Forest is also the domain of many magical and fantastic beasts. To get there you need to follow the main Dragon road from Greymoor North along the edge of the forest and then turn right going North East. Once you are 60 miles into the deep forest, after the first way station, on this road go left where you see two very old battered 12′ statues of Elven warriors. This I know for sure and the main road is patrolled and so safe. Once you find the turning head north for around 3 days I have found that you are looking for a large very old oak circle on a hill. There should be a track, at the end of which you will find a craggy hill and somewhere a entrance to the memorial. You will need to avoid the monsters of the forest and whatever the memorial throws at you although as far as Silva the Wise knows it used to be a tourist site for elf’s to meditate at so shouldn’t be hazardous. Any questions?”
James wonders if he has more knowledge from his long childhood of learning and I try to inspire him in his recall, unfortunately he seems to know nothing. We ask for a mule and supplies and then go and buy the few extras we need with the small amount of sliver we have between us. A lantern and oil, first aid kit, flint and tinder, poncho’s and a wood axe.
Next day, ‘Woday’, we leave Greymoor city along the ‘Dragon Road’ – This road is made from liquefied rock, liquefied by dragon breath. It curves slightly from the crown for run off to a curved drain on each side with a soak away. This makes the edges of the road firm but the area around soft and wet. The road is older than any can remember, it has always been. The edges are overgrown but the forest has not been able to penetrate the road itself. The road is patrolled by mounted guards from Greymoor city; Volstad; Thale and the River Run with 3 way stations, one at each junction and half way between, along the road. Also rangers patrol along the area of the road keeping threats down. Each 10 man patrol takes 1sp per person or wagon as a road tax, travellers tend to met one every 30 miles, so 8 times on our journey. The road journey is around 240 miles and the time taken will depend on transport mode. Even though it is cold the road has its own warmth which stops ice forming on it. The day is over cast with a light wind swirling snow flurries around. As they leave the city James and Gnoman cast the cantrip ‘warmth’ on the four of us, to enable us to ignore the cold. The day goes well and we travel with others along the Dragon road.
At evening we find a place to stop and camp at the edge of the forest amongst the thin trees. We make a fire and have our supper and then trusing in the patrols we all lie around the fire as the warm spell fails once we can not keep it up which James and Gnoman can’t do while asleep. I wake in the morning covered in sores. This shocks me and my partners, I try to diagnose what is wrong using my healing skill but fail so I call on the Old Ways to guide me. I experience a waking dream, I am back in my village with roofs on fire and people with sores and warts running around. While I am dreaming Gnoman searches his mind for any clues of a arcane sort but again draws a blank. Thorn tries to recall from his survival lessons about any natural source. James also tries to remember anything from his arcane and his lore teachings but also comes up a blank. With no immediate answer and it not seeming to slow me down we pack up and get onto the road again. As the day goes past the power of the old ways makes all the sores disapear.
Evening of Yoday again we camp by the dragon road with a fire. In the morning of Homday I awake covered with warts. What is going on?. Again we can discern no reason for them and again they have faded away by midday. This night when we camp we set up a guard, with James going first then me then Thorn and lastly Gnoman. I stay hidden on my watch and see footprints appear in the snow, I throw my javelin at the point I think a body might be and shout loudly. The Javelin hits the ground without hitting anything. Once the others are awake they look at the footprints and James says he has heard of invisible snow monsters that only leave tracks. However he know little else.
Bleday 4, I wake with nothing wrong with me, which is wonderful. The guard must have made a difference although we do not know how. As we travel today James and Thorn both notice that we are being followed by a half orc, who appears to be in the livery of the Greymoor city guard. It does not go past us which it could as it is faster then our average speed not does he fall back or turn off. We discuss whether he is working for the thieves guild wanting a cut of what we find or our employer keeping an eye on us. Gnoman uses the cantrip ‘magnify’ to get a closer look at him. He is armed with a long bow and halberd and wearing the armour of the city guard. Thorn thinks it might just be an illusion and tries to disbelieve it, however the orc stays there.
When evening comes we again camp and set a guard, while Gnoman turns himself invisible and moves back to see what the orc is doing. The Half Orc has camped as well and Gnoman sees a girl talking to it, he uses a spell to magnifies the girl so he can describe her as he does she disappears. She appeared to be a Ghael native wearing bard markings with red hair. He goes back to the others tells what he say and heads for bed to recover his magical power. While he sleeps I explain about Brigid who this girl could be. She is young and very tall around 6′ 6″ and of a big build for a girl, she became a arcane bard while I followed the traditional druid path. However with her warped outlook she used her abilities to torment others. By lighting fires in their hay, putting out the family hearth fire, causing them to grow warts, sores or become dirty. Anything for a laugh at someone else’s expense. I was her favourite target, and the one she blamed when the tribe found out and threw her out. It could well be her who is behind this. There is much amusement at my expense that a ex, she is not or ever was a girl friend, has her new bow following us. After a while we head to bed or guard.
While on was on guard again keeping out of sight, I receive a arrow in my chest, luckily missing anything vital. I quickly see the half orc using my infravision. So I throw my javelin at him getting a very lucky good hit in his right arm, as I throw I shout loudly. By the time the others have stirred and come to me the orc has disappeared into the trees. Gnoman comes to apply first aid, firstly removing the arrow and then tending the wound. That is the last we see of that orc, I hope that is also the last of my sores and warts.
Firday 4, we report the incident to the first patrol we meet, showing the hole in my armour, my wound and the arrow one of the cities. Just so we are not later blamed for attacking a city guard. The patrol laughs it off as a domestic when told about Brigid as well. That evening we get Gnoman to set a trap once James has chosen a one access point camp site. Herday to Merday all stays quite and the journey is one of getting to know about each other with James and Gnoman keeping us warm in the snowy chill wind. During Merday we come across the two Elvin statues and find the faint track to the left. With me singing to inspire them Gnoman conceals our tracks as we exit the dragon road.
Woday 4 nine days after setting out, we strike out into the forest, with Thorn navigating for us. By mid morning we seem to be a little lost as we are struggling through a swamp. Then 90′ ahead we see a patrol of ten goblins, who have also seen us. Gnoman at the front reacts fast and starts to cast a spell, waving his hands and mumbling to himself. I am the next fastest but am not sure what to do. Then the goblins lose there arrows at Gnoman, all ten of them. Due to the distance and his small size they all miss and do not put him off his casting, which is taking longer than normal due to the armour he is wearing. Thorn lets lose with a Dwarven war cry and James also starts to cast a spell while moving behind Thorn.
Gnoman’s spell finishes and we can all hear the sound of a patrol of soldiers coming from behind us. I start to sing to inspire my allies just as the goblins turn and run back into the trees, we decide not to follow and they have soon disappeared. Soon after Gnoman finds his way again and we leave the swamp area. As evening draws in we camp for 12 hours so we can three recover our magical energies. We do keep a watch but the night is relatively quite other than the night noises.
Yoday 4, James tells Thorn in a very patronizing way how he needs to make sure they are heading in the right direction, after all it is his job and what else is he good for. Now I do not know if Thorn decided to lead us back into swamp land due to James attitude or not but that is where we ended up again. Not long after we hit the swamp we came across a very very large frog 55′ away, we decided to take a different route and backed up slowly. After our midday meal again James had a go at Thorn on his ability to direct us in the forest. However this time it seemed to work as we seemed to be going in the right direction, or so I hoped. That evening we got Gnoman to set up a trip wire and set up a guard. While James was on watch before midnight he suddenly saw foot prints appear and then four parcels one by each bedroll. Waking us I tracked the footprints and found others of Reindeers which did not either arrive or go but are just there. Thorn realises that his deity Hombel has brought gifts for the year end. Each is wrapped in fancy paper with a bow.
Thorn – A box of 10 dry mushroom pieces and a Scroll of Dispel Magic Lv 2 Divine
Gnoman – A box of 10 dry Pears pieces
James – A box of 10 dry Apple pieces
Errath – A box of 10 dry Orange pieces
Thorn prays and gives 2 mushrooms to the mule who becomes more energised. It looks like the fruit aids with fatigue recovery. We all wonder why it was thought we might need dispel magic, we will see.