The Stories of Errath the Bard Chapter 5 The Missing Part 6


The Missing

Part 6

Longreed

Earlier Chapters here

 As we leave Three Roads village Guido tells us more about Longreed, after all he and Arnost have lived there for a while and we hardly had time to look around before we were off on this rescue. Longreed is an un-walled fishing town in the duchy of Betheny, with the Sheriff’s walled manor at the centre of the town. The small Troutrun River enters the sea by the harbour. The harbour is a smallish affair within a tidal bay on the Sea of Dragons. Dues – all visitors need to pay1sp per day tax to the Sheriff.

Population: around 200 families; Aspects: Sleepy, Moderately wealthy;  Primary Economy: Fishing, Trading, Agriculture;  Common Building Materials: Wood long houses, recovered stone and wood fencing, reed and grass thatching, rough glass or horn windows with wood shutters

Governance: Sheriff Sir Viktor Haag with an advisory council of 7 guild masters; Farmers, Seaman’s; Merchant, Fishers, Holy, Mage, Fighter under the mayor Esmerelda Godwin chosen by the guilds as there spokeswoman.

All guilds require a yearly membership fee of 5-20gp to join plus 5% of wealth per year paid twice yearly.

Sir Haag also requires a 5% of wealth per year tithe paid twice yearly.

 

Wards: Manor; Harbour; Merchant; Odoriferous Crafts – messy & smelly; Basic Crafts; Market;
Town Watch
– There is a small town watch of 10 formed from the sheriff’s personal retinue, supported by guild militia help when needed. During the day there are three patrols of 2 around the town one normally by the main road in and the other by the sea harbour the last wanders around the streets. At night there are two patrols of 2 patrolling the harbour and main town area. The other ten of the retinue take turns to man the manor gate and walls 4 at a time.

 

Militia the town and countryside can provide up to 200 or so militia. The farmers supply 100 skirmishers, the Merchant’s supply 50 spear, the seaman and fishers supply 50 marines, while the fighters guild supply unit commanders with the holy and mage guilds supplying limited support functions.

 

Merchants all also have family land to farm.

Trimble’s  – Mr Trimble – sells basic household and farming goods

Smithy – Mr Iron Hand Smith – Makes and sell all basic iron goods

Crafts – Various tradesmen shops selling basic stuff. Cobblers; Furniture maker; Weavers; Leatherworkers; Rope makers; Launderer’s; Carvers; etc.

Sword & Mail  – Mr John Sharp–Weapons and armour seller/repairer

Diana’s Quiver – Volga – All types of arrow, bolts, Javelin and shot

Harbour storesMrs Salmon – can buy all boating and fishing needs as well as small boats for sell or hire.

Wanda’s Shop of Wonder – Miss Wanda Blue a seller of potions, oils, elixirs, Arcane and Divine scrolls.

Riverside Finery – Urg a male half-orc.

Farmers Markets – Food every day, Livestock weekly,

 

Temples:

One main temple, with a 4 story tower, to the Avillon Pantheon in Market ward with small shrines to all its gods.

Each ward has a small temple to the deity of the ward, with an Initiate of that deity working in it.

Manor ward ‘Aranu’

Harbour ‘Old Heakun’

Merchant ward ‘Hombel’

Craft wards ‘Yosa’.

 

Mage Guild – a tower house of 3 floors higher than all but the main temple and manor keep. This houses Ardal the Green an old Mage, Jo Alter a Journeyman and 4 Apprentices.

 

Fighter Guild – based in the manor under the sheriff’s master of arms Sir Alastair a one armed elderly human fighter. Membership cost is 20gp a year or two month’s work. Arnost and Guido are helping the guard as their two month work fee; this is just about done now. Arnost also works part time as a ceric for the sheriff.

 

Accommodation:

Based in the harbour ward you can find the one Inn in town, The River Bed, which has one common room for up to 20 people; five large rooms for up to 4 people, 5 double/single rooms and one royal suite for two plus servants.

Costs daily 1sp B&B for the common; 10sp for B&B for a large; 15 for a double and 30 for the Royal with food delivered to room up to two servants supplied if wanted.

Serves a 3 course Dinner at a cost of 2sp a person, wine at 2-4sp an evening can sit 50

 

Taverns – The Muddy Bottom Tavern is by the harbour; as well as The River Bed inn near the harbour and the Troutrun River. You can find more small taverns in the other non-manor wards where you can get simple food and drink.  Cost Food 0.5sp a meal Drink 0.5-2sp an evening and can doss down on the floor for nothing if drunk enough. These are small family run places in their homes.

 

Information: – Seaman, tell tales of attacks by strangely large octopus on full moon nights.

The town used to trade regularly with a small town out on the Crescent Islands, but nobody from their small settlement has visited this year; it is hoped that they’re not taking their trade over to Thale instead.

It’s a bad idea to stray off the paths in the Salt Marsh during the wet season when the marsh is full; the Marsh is very dangerous and there is a creature that lives there that will drag you down to drown and eat you.

The previous mayor killed off some hags who used to terrorise the swamp road, even though it cost a lot of local men to do so.

The main reason this valley is so peaceful is thanks to the mountains that frame it north-east and south-west. There’s only four ways to get into this valley in numbers: the two roads that lead south (one south through the mountain passes, and one south-west along the coast), by sea, and if you’re a dwarf – the great dwarven kingdoms have lots of mountain outposts up in the throat of this valley.

The coast road leads to Thale the neighbouring barony under Countess Margaretta, it isn’t the nicest place to live as she keeps the people under control by magical means.

Lord Alwin from Thale was killed by the person he hired to protect him some years or so back.

The Goblins in the hills raid for sheep and sliver every so often.

The wolves in the hills can get very big and get hungry in the winter so take a few sheep

If you need to replace a good tool, or get some fine cloth, at a decent price, you can trust Trimble, to have what you need. If you bring something valuable to trade with you, he’s not averse to barter, either.

This valley was part of the Duchy of Bethany’s war against the orc’s. In fact, a famous battle
was fought near a big Salt Marsh just the other side of the Spiny Mountains, and some say that the fallen haunt that Marsh to this day.

There is a local tale about dragons and their dragon men living in this area in the past.

The Esmerelda, before she was mayor, killed some raiding Trolls a year or so back all that was left was a few charred bones.

Greymoor is a long way away and the Baron is our only ruler even if he is loyal to the king unlike others around us.

Some local’s grandparents talk of the hill giants who live in the hills close to the mountains.

 

So there seems to be plenty for us to find out here and add to all of this is the strange deaths over the last year and the disappearance of the mayor’s wife to sort out so it seems we might have lots of investigating to do. Guido tells us that the local guards are getting fed up searching for Thalia Mayor Esmerelda’s wife around the town and environment as it’s more work than they normally have to do.

 

As we reach the town two guards standing by the road challenge us, as they see Arnost and Guido they welcome them and wave them in. However they say to us that it’s one silver coin a day tax for all visitors, James starts to argue but then flips back the other way and gives them a silver piece and receives a wooden token to show that he has paid this day. The guard winks at Guido and says ‘this is a neat way of keeping track Guido of who has paid or not’. Although I think he would rather not have the tax so well monitored. After receiving the token James gets a gold coin out and flips it to the guard who gives him another different token, ‘now I have paid for 11 days’ he says. ‘Right O!’ the guard replies. As James passes by the guards turn on Thorn, ‘ah a dwarf another group like elves who like to hold on to their gold and silver he can pay up as well.’ Thorn tries to explain that they are working for the sheriff but the guards do not care, ‘if you are then he will sort it out later, it’s not worth my job to let it pass.’ So thorn in a bit of a huff pays up his one sliver. Then then turn to me so I beat them to the dig and pay 3 gold and 3 silvers for me, Gnoman and Alice to enter for 11 days. We each have to say where we are staying as well, another of Guido’s ideas it turns out. James says he and Gnoman will be at the mages guild, Thorn says the temple, I say, ’the River Bed’ they all break out in laughter, ‘best place for a bard and his wolf’ they say. It appears the taverns name is a big joke to play on strangers here, with people always telling people to go to the river bed. Later I will find out that the Muddy Bottom is another joke to play on newcomers.

 

Guido and Arnsot tell the guards that they will escort the goblin prisoners to the Manor to see Sir Viktor Haag.  The two guards on the gatehouse welcome them and say ‘so not just prisoners but spare parts to show how many you dealt with! That is bureaucracy gone mad even by your standards Guido.’ We all laugh as we pass through into the courtyard where a one armed elderly Fighter is instructing the manor guards in a very load and stern voice, Guido introduces Sir Alastair, the master of arms and watch commander, who smiles at him and goes back to drilling the four men. We enter the manor house and led to the great hall. We arrive just as the Sherriff is about to have supper so he asks us to join him and tell him how the rescue went. He calls to his servants to bring benches and extra food and drink. We tell him the tale of the goblins and how we rescued Jonno even though the goblins tried to kill him while we tried to talk. ‘The prisoners are in the prison’, we tell him, ‘taken by Sir Alastair’s men’.

 

‘Well done a good job by you all’ Sir Viktor says, ‘I will mention you to the mayor, she might want you to help find her wife’. ‘I am sure she will contact you when and if she wants to’ he says. ‘Now it’s getting late and I need to retire as do you all, good night.’ Dismissed we leave the manor, except Guido who lives here and head to find beds for the night.

 

James takes Gnoman and heads to the big three story building that is the Mages guild here and knocks on the door. After a while a voice comes from the other side, ‘Yes’ James says that they are two Mages needing shelter in the guild building. The door opens and a young human female stands at the door, ‘I am Jo Alter, you are welcome to stay here we have some spare room, however only the first night is free after that we ask that you cover the cost of food etc. for the length of your stay’ she says. You can see that Joe is a Journeyman Mage, ‘I look after the place for Mage Ardal the Green who is old and shy. I also train as best I can the four apprentices who will serve your needs while you are here.’ James says that maybe he could help train them for her as well while he is here. ‘That would be very kind of you’ Jo says. However we have no space for a mule so you will have to put it elsewhere.’ James realised that he had forgotten that Gnoman was still leading his mule around, so after unloading it he heads to the River Bottom to put it there, as Jo say’s that is the only place which keeps animals.

 

Meanwhile Arnost has settled back into his room at the smithy knowing he will get a good home cooked breakfast in the morning and Thorn has found the temple of Hombel in the merchant ward and after being told by the Initiate Bob that food is taken at the main temple in the market ward and could Thorn lead the daily prayers as he is of higher standing he places all his gear down and heads to the Muddy Bottom. I have found the River Bed, and find that I can have a 4 person room which I pay 3gold for 3 nights for also Athena Falton the innkeeper, a female Halfling, says that she could put Alice up in the dog pens round the back as long as I sort out its food. Beside the stables is a area for dogs, the pens are a little small for Alice but by pulling a movable wall out she can have access to two pens which will be ok overnight.

 

Just as I am coming back to the main Inn James comes up, pushes the lead for the mule into my head and says ‘Gnoman says can you take care of Mule as nowhere at guild for it! Thanks’ then he turns and walks away. I call forcibly after him but he ignores me and walks into the dusk. So it costs me another 3 silver to but Mule up for 3 days, this time it comes with food and water. Fuming about James I head for bed as well.

 

Thorn finds the Muddy Bottom in the harbour and gets talking to the owner Old Coop, who turns out to be a former bard who lost a hand in battle years ago. Over a few drinks Thorn manages to get him to talk about the Major and her wife and the odd deaths. Saul a male Halfling drunk fisherman also joins in and also has things to share. Old Coop, is a lifelong resident of Longreed. He loves his hometown and the new mayor, but something about Thalia made him uncomfortable.  He is soon persuaded to discuss Thalia’s occasional visits to the Muddy Bottom, where he says she sang some very mysterious ditties that he’d never heard before. That’s a little unusual, seeing as how Old Coop was trained as a bard. He remembers a snippet of a song that went like this:

My wife is a handsome old lass,
She’s lusty and busty and crass.
But my mother wishes
The wife swam with the fishes,
And what she wishes comes true, alas!

 

He knows little about the deaths other than that they are strange in that most were healthy and in some cases whole families died and others only the odd one. When asked when the last one was he thinks and says ‘since just before Thalia disappeared I think.’ Saul swears that the night Thalia disappeared; he caught a fish so big it nearly broke his boat. It was over five feet long with giant eyes—the moon was bright that night, and he it saw plain as day.  Ultimately, the fish got away. Saul thinks the fish must’ve bitten through the net and swum off. After telling his story, Saul passes out in his ale. Thorn heads back to the temple and sleep knowing something more than the others do of the mysteries of this town.

 

Next morning we all awake in our different area’s Thorn goes to the main temple for breakfast while I eat at the Inn and the others with the manor troops or mage guild. We had agreed to meet up in the market area in the morning I talk with Falton and she like others seem to love the mayor. I see to Alice first thing then go to the market area to look for some scrolls and treats for Alice before I met with the others. Gnoman looks for the guild of thieves; he follows the various signs around town which lead him to Trimble’s. He enters and in thief chant asks if he is in the right place. Trimble welcomes him and they talk guild work and such. Trimble does order him to find out what has happened to his contact, Rudy the Red, with the offshore traders, smugglers. He gave Rudy a down payment for the next shipment but not heard from him for some days. They agree that Gnoman has to return Trimble’s goods and gold along with 15% of anything else he finds. He like Arnost, Guido and James also spend some time contemplating their adventure and learning from it.

 

Around midday we meet up and have lunch together, catching each other up with news. We see a two-horse carriage being driven along one of the larger streets. Its curtains are fully closed.
The carriage is small, meant to hold just one or two people. It’s fairly simple, too—much less ornate than carriages I’ve seen racing along the grand avenues of larger cities. Still, everyone in the street stops and bows as it moves by. Clearly, they know someone important is riding inside. Suddenly, the driver of the carriage brings his two horses to a stop. A few moments later, a gloved hand emerges from the curtain at the side of the carriage, holding a note. The driver hops down from his perch, takes the note, listens at the curtain for a moment, then walks over and hands the note to James, who has put his hand out. There’s a loud knock from inside the carriage. The driver climbs back to his seat, takes the reins, and continues down the street, out of sight. The crowd eyes you with a mix of emotions—suspicion? Jealousy? curiosity? then continue on their way. The mayor’s coach says Arnost and Guido.


The note reads

You are hereby summoned to dine

at the home of Mayor Godwin

this evening at eight o’clock,

Smart Casual attire.

Looks like we have time to prepare says James just make sure you look your best. I am going to look in the guilds library about walking octopi and then instruct the pupils. He finds nothing. Gnoman goes to ask questions about Rudy around the market. I join Gnoman and we notice that Guido is watching us. Has he seen what we are up to? Does he know we know he knows? Turns out that is yes to all. Rudy is known by many he was seen entering the town some days ago and leaving later the same day by the guards and a farmer saw him on the coast road a day or two back [This could be fun as Guido works for the law and Gnoman wants to help the local thief’s guild and the smugglers]

 

With some time to shop we continue to look around the town while Thorn goes off to lead mid-afternoon prayers to Hombel in the merchant ward.

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