The Stories of Errath the Bard Chapter 5 The Missing Part 8


The Missing

Part 8

Investigating the Manor

Earlier Chapters here

Thorn asks Marta if he can take the book Thalia is reading, The Clan of the Owlbear, to study, she says he can. James picks up the two vials and sniffs the Light Blue one first, after all it showed up as magical. This reeks of brackish, dirty water, so he is not sure what it is or what it does. There’s less than a drop of liquid left in the other vial, however it smells to James just like healing potions do. So maybe this is all what remains of a healing potion, this vial didn’t show as magical so must be all herbal. We also ask Marta if you can take the recipe book and the cloth as part of investigating, we have ways of tracking which we might be able to use on these. Again she lets us take them.

 

Next we are taken to the guest rooms that Thalia is converting for her use. The guest bedrooms being renovated are on the second floor, across the hall from Esmerelda and Thalia’s rooms.

These two rooms are located on the opposite side of the hallway from Esmerelda and Thalia’s bedchambers. The furniture has been removed from both rooms, and new shelving has been installed in one of them. Where there was once a solid wooden wall between the two bedrooms, a door has been installed to connect them.


Thalia told everyone that she needed more space for her studies and planned to use these rooms for that purpose. Neither she nor Esmerelda ever hosted visitors, so the loss of two guest rooms wasn’t a big deal. She’d sent for her books and her supplies, intending to make one room a library the one with shelves and the other a workroom. No one can seem to recall what, exactly, Thalia studied, though the books in her bedroom would suggest that she was an herbalist of some kind. The furniture for these rooms is being stored elsewhere in Longreed. The shutters are open and there is an obvious wet floor, Marta explains that the servants have tried to dry this out but without success they thought it might be a leak or the builders had left the windows shutters open or even that they had a leak. However all those do not explain why the wet keeps coming back. They are quite sure there is no leak. Gnoman has a look around and confirms that there is no sign of leaking water from the ceiling or through the wall.

 

We ask if we can look under the floorboards Marta says yes as long as we do not do to much damage. Arnost stamps his foot snaps a floorboard and picks the parts up. James looks at it and then casts magnify on himself to get a better look. He can make out small algae on the wood which seem to ooze water. Arnost says that he thinks it means a sea creature has been here and left the algae which try to create their own environment. Maybe the story of walking Octopi isn’t so farfetched after all. Thorn gives the rooms a good looking over looking for hidey holes but finds nothing but unfinished work on walls doors and shelving.

 

James then starts some sort of demand of payment and contract of hire which Marta turns around and says as you say we are mates so how about around half the going rate for mercenaries and I pay you 2gp a day for the group. Guido takes over and agrees but also gets permission to use his knowledge of tax and such to get supplies from the merchants in lieu of taxes. Marta also agrees that would be fine within reason. James is not happy as being a young elf who likes to flash others money wanted much more. We leave the mayor with a job and lots of mysteries to solve and earning around 3sp each a day.

 

As we talk before heading to bed Arnost suggests we go and see Harold the hedge mage a friend of a friend who might be able to tell us more about what’s on the plank and in the vials. Arnost tells us that Harold is a retired wizard who has become a druid. I agree as I want to spent some time in meditation of ‘The Old Ways’ and Harold follows those ways. The others agree except James who agrees eventually. We decide we ought to bring him some presents and will buy two bottles of brandy, some sweetmeats and things like collars for any of his companion animals. Gnoman also agrees to write out the two recipes in the back of the book in Common, Gnomish and Thieves Chant to make them easier to follow.

 

Next morning we get the things we need for the trip, including wrapping the plank parts in seaweed to keep them most. We bring some seawater with us to refresh them with if needed. We join a caravan that is going that way, we wanted to be paid as guards but they would only do that if we went the whole way into Mystamyr and the borderlands. We didn’t want to go that far so just tagged along being allowed to use some spare waggon space to carry our stuff on. It is a three day journey and with such a large party it is uneventful.  We arrive at the staging village of Rashtan late afternoon and Arnost gives us a quick rundown on it.

 

Rashtan is a small wooden walled village surrounded by farmland and fortified farms on the main trail from Whitesand to Mystamyr and the Borderlands. This is one of the places that Aaron of clan Kujala stays for months at a time when he is in the area as he and Harold are good friends. It is also on the way to the Poldark manor. Arnost has heard that some months ago a skeleton was seen walking near Harold house, what’s worse he spoke out loud. He has also heard that Harold has a large stash of powerful magic hidden somewhere in the forest. As we enter the palisaded village we see it is only a small stop point, on the road, with only seven main buildings laid out neatly on either side of the main street, running through village, surrounded by a few dozen or so small cottages around the sides. It is however also the main urban area in this area serving all the local farms.

 

 

The largest is the first building on the right a fortified two storey stone building and above the door hangs a sign that reads “Wayfarers Place”. There are a handful of people walking beside the street going into the various buildings. Arnost tells us that the Wayfarers Place is the local inn and tavern this is the only place for visitors to get a room and meal. It is run by Korec a half-orc ex adventurer.  He does not speak much but we get on well. It is also where Harold sells his potions to passing travellers. Next up the road is Jord’s Forge a small stone building where Jord runs his blacksmith shop, this is another of Harold’s friends in the village says Arnost.

 

Then there is a shop I have never been in says Arnost, Minter’s marvellous Maps and Things.  Then there is the small stone tower fortified house which is the administration centre of the village Sometime home to Sir Rashtan or his bailiff Talon. The other side has a small cottage where there is Istan’s Extraordinary Elixirs another place I have not been Arnost says. Finally there is the Temple of Hernun qa long single story dark wooden building with a wooden statue in front of a beautiful man wearing a tunic and wielding a bow. The priest Cariwin is a friend of Harold’s and mine says Arnost we have some interesting discussions.

 

Gnoman quickly dashes off to visit the Istan’s, he enter a dingy and dimly lit room with the smell of burnt hair lingering in the air. At the back of the room is a man in grey robes working at a long table with bubbling beakers and jars. As Gnoman enter he turns and he see a short, thin, middle-aged man with greasy black hair and a pointed downturned nose. He gives you a crooked smile and says “Welcome to my shop. How may I help you traveller? Perhaps you would be interested in an elixir to cure your ills.” Gnoman asks about Harold and gets an earful of how that harebrain can’t make a decent potion. “My elixirs are ten-times what his are. He has convinced all the others in town to tell passers-through to go to the inn and buy his junk. He is conning everyone. He is nothing more than a two-bit hedge mage. I don’t know what has happened to him a frankly I don’t care. As you can see I am also a mage like you and Harold is a failed mage trying to con everyone.” Gnoman than asks more about Harold but gets more bile he then asks about Istan’s potions and is told that Istan’s Wondrous Elixir only 4 in stock will heal a person’s wounds and it’s only 5gp. Istan’s Elixir of Anti-Venom Cost: 25 gp only 3 left in stock this potion will stop any and all natural poisons for up to a week after drinking. Gnoman declines for now but says they sound very good. He then head back to the rest of us. As Gnoman leaves he reflects on all Istan has said and how he acted and decides that part of what he said was lies and bull.

 

[So Harold is missing? Where has he gone or is it just Istan saying so? Is this yet another missing person in the area?]

The Stories of Errath the Bard Chapter 5 The Missing Part 7


The Missing

Part 7

The Mayor

Earlier Chapters here

 

I, Errarth, head off to Wanda’s Shop of Wonder to see if I can get a scroll of Speak with Animals, so I can instruct Alice in not eating the local’s sheep. Miss Wanda Blue turns out to be an elderly human female with blue hair and a squint; I have a nice chat with her. Interestingly she knew my name and seems to have good insights into whom I am. Lucky for me she did have one Scroll of Speak with Animals at 90 gold, a little high but as it was her last I bought it without haggling. While I was there James arrived and wanted to buy some healing potions, but Wanda only had 3 Basic healing potions in stock and no Water Breathing potions at all. James also strikes up a conversation in which Wanda say’s the Mayor is supposed to some great wizard I don’t believe it. However she cannot tell us why, it’s just her gut instinct she says.

 

Gnoman heads to the training grounds by the manor and takes out his longbow at the butts and starts shooting. Sir Allister is not amused and leads his men in mocking Gnoman who just carries on his shooting practice, he is doing this to increase his strength and fulfil his ambition to be a longbow archer. Thorn having gone to the temple in the market area spends his time praying for worshipers and collecting stories from them. One seaman says to his idea that there are walking octopi ‘HA’ ‘They do not come on land they are big but are at sea, where did you get such a daft idea from? Walking Octopi now that’s funny.’

 

Arnost heads to the River Finery to see his friend Urg the owner. Arnsot has learnt much about Urg over the months he has been here over a mug or three. He is a male half-orc, 40ish a fine goods merchant and owner of Riverside Finery sellers of fine clothes. Urg has worked hard to overcome his rough, hardscrabble upbringing. His mother and father were both nomadic barbarians belonging to the Tribe of the War Claw. Urg left home once he gained adulthood at 14 and apprenticed with a variety of merchants to learn the trade. After arriving in Longreed two decades ago, after the swamp hags had been dealt with, he met Carn who owned the Riverside Finery. Eventually they wed, and when she died after a short illness, Urg became the sole proprietor. Unlike a lot of half orcs Urg has no interest in violence or the military life, he is a member of the militia of course but nothing more. He does have a lot to share about the area though. He knows that the swamp is a dangerous place with 100’ alligators which can eat a black bear whole, not somewhere he would go thank you. About the strange deaths he finds them inconvenient as he has lost some good customers before they paid for ordered goods, they are not natural by all accounts. The mayor is a good person and loved by all for dealing with the trolls. Arnost likes coming here to see all the pretty buttons Urg has.

 

Early evening we all get dressed up, as best we can. James casts Perfume on Arnost and himself when we gather. This was not a good idea as Arnost does not like arcane magic around him at all. This time Arnost managed to keep his cool and his gave James a severe look and a cuff around the head. ‘You really need to get used to this’ says James to another ugly look.

 

When we arrive at Mayor Godwin’s house, we are greeted at the door by Claude Hopper, the mayor’s butler, a dwavern male around 300 who seems to be blind in his right eye. He shows us to the small but nicely appointed dining room. Oil paintings of previous mayors line the walls male and female, mostly human, but with a few dwarves and half-elves sprinkled about. There’s a table set for the meal, with one additional seat at the head of the table presumably for the mayor. The mayor, however, doesn’t appear during dinner and when ask where she is Hopper says she is busy and will come as soon as she can. All four courses beet soup, pickle salad, mushroom souffle, and wine-poached pears for dessert are served by three servants Grace, Hope, and Charity Blurm. Three homely sisters in their 30’s who seem to be triplets. I am wary and cast a prayer over each course and drink as they come, Purify Food & Drink, which gets raised eyebrows from Hopper and the girls. Arnst and Guido both ask about the meat course and get silence. When the dessert plates are cleared and Claude pours after dinner drinks, a distant bell chimes, and the servants immediately depart. Thorn takes that time to cast Detect Magic but only are own items show up as magic along with the drink in front of me. That is because of my spell I hope.

After they’ve gone, a wooden panel slides aside, revealing a small, hidden door. Out steps a woman in a beautiful brocade robe, this is open to reveal well-polished leather armour. This must be Mayor Godwin.
However, James already knows this woman not as Mayor Esmerelda Godwin, but as a crass, bloodthirsty adventurer named Marta Glump.  The last time James saw her was about four years ago, when she sailed off to work as a guard for a wealthy client and he headed to Greymoor city. Marta carries her own plate of food, sits down at the table after greeting everyone warmly, and starts bringing the us up to speed as she eats.

“So, James de Gil-sthind the last I saw you, I was heading out to serve Lord Alwin from Thale. He was one of them paranoids—you know, always thinking that somebody was out to get him? He got it in his head that he was being hunted by vampires, and that’s when he hired me. I thought it was the dumbest thing I ever heard, but… well, as it turns out, there were a few vampires. So, long story short, Lord Alwin got bit, and we had to kill him. After that, Lady Alwin wasn’t so happy with me, and I can’t say as I blame her. She was the highest ranking priestess in town, so she had to drive the stake into her husband’s heart, the poor thing. She wanted me executed for negligence, but luckily, I bribed a footman, got out of the castle, and ran until I got here. Obviously, I couldn’t tell anyone who I was, seeing as how Alwin was known far and wide and news about his death was all the talk at the time.

 

So, I put on airs and said I was a great wizard, I knew how you acted, James, so copied that, called myself Esmerelda Godwin. Unfortunately, they wanted me to prove myself by killing a couple of trolls that were bothering the townsfolk; the Sheriff was away at that time. So, there I was at the edge of town in the middle the night during a raging thunderstorm, with these two mean, ugly trolls barrelling toward me. I couldn’t even move, I was scared outta my pants! Praying like mad to as many gods I could remember. Then, all of a sudden, there was a huge flash of light and the loudest clap of thunder you ever heard, and when I could see again, there were the trolls: burnt to a crisp, not twenty feet from where I stood. Everybody loved me after that. When Mayor Durnish kicked the bucket last year, the town’s guilds chose me to take his place. And now, here I am, living the dream!”


Afterward, Marta and the party swap stories. She wants to know everything that James and the group have been up to and how pleased she is that they have already helped the locals. When there’s a lull in the conversation, Marta explains that the group is welcome to stay in Longreed for as long as they like. However, she has a problem that she’d like their help in resolving. As it turns out, Marta’s wife has gone missing:

“I know I never seemed like the marrying type, but then I met someone a traveling scholar who was passing through town on her way to…well, I forget where she was heading. Blonde and buxom pretty as an apple in summer, she was. Her name was Thalia. I fell for her like a dead hill giant off a cliff. We got hitched a few months back, and everything’s been pretty good since then or well, it had been. Over the winter, we received reports that some folks in town had succumbed to some sort of swamp fever about ten in all. I checked their bodies myself, and if it were fever, it weren’t no fever I ever seen. With all the blood they vomited up and the black welts on their bodies, I think they was poisoned.
Then, four weeks ago, things got really bad: I woke to the sound of Thalia screaming. I ran down the hall to her bedchamber I know, its weird sleeping apart like that, but Thalia’s old-fashioned that way and she was gone. Vanished. Window open, curtains blowing in the breeze, no signs of struggle or anything. The town guards have searched for her high and low, but nothing’s turned up. I’ve promised the townsfolk that I’m working up a big ol’ complicated spell to find Thalia and protect Longreed from plague, but I can’t keep up that lie much longer. I ain’t got no one to talk to about this because everyone thinks I’m some great wizard. You’ve got to help me out of this. Find Thalia, figure out what kind of disease has been killing people, and I’ll give you anything I can.”


Marta explains that in Thalia’s part of the world, many couples maintain separate beds. It’s an old custom, stemming from the days when food was scarce, and the population had to be kept low to prevent starvation. It doesn’t make much sense in Marta and Thalia’s case, but then, traditions aren’t known for being sensible.

 

Thorn asks about the dead and for their names and addresses, the mayor answers, ‘their addresses are the graveyard and I am sure we can get you their names’. This brings a light laugh from all but Thorn. James says anything for an old companion and so agrees that we will help her, the mayor says let me show you her bedroom. Like all the rooms in the mayor’s house, this one is decorated simply. The wooden ceiling, walls, and floors are unadorned, except for a large burgundy rug covering much of the floor. Matching heavy burgundy curtains flutter in the open window across from the door. A large bed is positioned beside the window, with a small table next to it. A wardrobe stands on left wall, and a vanity table and mirror sit to the right. You see a small tray of cosmetics atop the vanity table, and a small bookshelf attached to the wall nearby. Thalia’s bedroom contains little more than clothing and other common accoutrements.

 

We look at the books on the bookshelf first it contains 12 tomes on healing and herbalism. All are common and fairly basic, the kind of thing that magic-users have seen many, many times over. However, in one of the books ‘Tara’s Tome of Rustic Remedies’ there are two cards which what look like recipes glued inside the back cover. The language is not one any of us know so Gnoman casts Read Languages on them and reads them out to us. First he tells us that they are written in Abyssal he then reads out the list and instructions. One we think is for some sort of healing potion the other we have no real idea about what it is, but I think it might be some sort of poison. Thorn looked through the wardrobe and found clothes but he thinks there is a false bottom as well. Gnoman agrees and opens it. Inside we find a bolt of silky green fabric and an empty vial. Upon close inspection we see that the fabric has gotten wet and the colour has run in some places. Also, there are small bits of algae and twigs stuck to it. Arnost says these bits come from the swamp nearby. The clear glass vial seems to have a drop of liquid left in it.

 

Thorn also looks at the bedside table where there is another book a popular novel called The Clan of the Owlbear by Octavian Thrumsinger other than some bent pages there is no idea where Thalia has got to in reading it, Thorn flips through it but finds nothing hidden there. The vanity table holds some knickknacks and a light blue glass bottle of what we assume is perfume. Thorn casts detect magic on the area and the cloth and perfume bottle both resister as some sort of Charm magic.

 

While we are doing this I ask the mayor about the last mayor and the hags and she tells me this story, some of which I already knew. Over the last 100 years, Longreed had grown and early on, parents in Longreed frightened their children with stories of evil marsh-witches, but everyone assumed those were just fairy tales meant to keep young ones on the straight and narrow. As the children grew into adults, and as disappearances and other strange events continued to plague the region beyond the river, the stories became something more. Calls for action grew louder. Twenty years ago, the town council finally decided to act. On a fine fall morning, Mayor Durnish himself and a dozen hired adventurers strode out of the gates, hoisting their shiny swords to the cheering crowds and promising to make the countryside safe.

 

For three days, they searched the marsh, finding little more than fox paths through the underbrush, but on the fourth day, they discovered the ‘Cave’. Quietly inching past mounds of skeletons the
unfortunate victims of the hags’ labours Durnish and his team made their way into the lair, which glittered with the Hags ill-gotten gewgaws. There, the party surprised the hags as they feasted on the remains of a poor spice merchant who’d made the mistake of traveling the river alone. In the blink of a basilisk’s eye, one of the mercenaries fired three bolts from her repeating crossbow, leaving one hag dead on the ground. A second hag, vanquished several of Durnish’s do-gooders
with her sharp claws and fearsome death glare, but she soon fell, too. In the end, only Durnish and Aunt Lobelia were left alive, she told him her name as she taunted him. Both were battered and bruised, but Lobelia wasn’t as helpless as she let on. When the mayor stumbled toward her to deal a death blow, Lobelia unleashed a powerful spell. A short time later, Durnish awoke to a grim sight: Aunt Lobelia was gone, as were the bodies of his 12 companions and the two dead hags. All he could see were 14 severed heads, which had been arranged in a circle around him. Their eyes were
sewn open, as though they watched him while he slept. Durnish himself had been stripped naked
and was badly scarred. Far worse, he was paralyzed with dread of the magic Lobelia may have wrought.

Hours passed. Eventually cold, hunger, and thirst compelled Durnish to stand. He walked to the edge of the circle, uncertain what fate might befall him when he stepped beyond the gruesome border. He kicked a hags head with his foot and watched it roll to the side, knocking another head to the ground as it did. Durnish held his breath, waiting for the worst. When he could stand it no longer, he took another deep breath and held it again. Minutes slowly ticked by.

Nothing happened.

 

As Durnish stepped safely beyond the circle’s edge, he exhaled with relief, but something in the back of his mind made him worry that he’d gotten off too easily. The mayor found his gear along with that of his companions lying in the far recesses of the cave. Other than that, the lair had been entirely emptied out: none of the chests or vials or skeletons that he’d seen before the battle remained. Still wary, Durnish put on his armour and did the only thing he could do: he lifted the head of one hag in his left hand, took another in his right, and walked back to Longreed. The townsfolk hailed him as a hero. Attacks in the marshes immediately abated. They didn’t stop entirely, they could have been due to other causes, but they became infrequent enough that the townspeople slept soundly again.

 

I then ask how he died; Two decades after Durnish awoke in the cave a traveling soothsayer appeared in Longreed, promising to predict the future for a few copper coins. The mayor’s wife, Nedra, was among the many men and women who visited the mystic, happily handing over her money in exchange for a small cup of tea. Like the others, she drank it in one gulp, it was considered bad luck to linger over it, and the fortune teller read the leaves. Nedra glowed with joy
as the old woman promised her happiness to the end of her days. Within the day, she laid cold and dead and the soothsayer and her stack of clattering teacups had disappeared.   The following spring a year before your brave selves arrived he died from a broken heart having never recovered from his loss. It was not long after that I came along and dealt with the Trolls.

 

 

Many thoughts run around our minds but we cannot share them with Marta with us, from are the hags back? To is this a plot by Thale to get at Marta to is Marta a vampire and that is why she travels in a covered coach? Is Thalia the poisoner or something else? So many thoughts which we will share later.

Review of ‘A history of the Vikings’ by Gwyn Jones


This book is from the Oxford University Press written in 68 and revised in 84 t looks at the history of the Northern Peoples to 700 AD then the Vikings or the Scandinavians to 1066.In places it is hard work to read due to lots of footnotes but it is worth battling through. It was interesting to see how short the period we think of the Vikings was and how many countries it affected. The book looks at their trading, culture, beliefs and way of life. How life changed due to raiding and trade and then becoming Christian. How they colonised England, France, the area now known as Russia and Ukraine and fought for and against the Byzantine empire. How they discovered Iceland, Greenland and America and settled in each.

A slow but interesting and deep read if you have an interest in Vikings.

Review of ‘M-Space’ Companion By C Redd


I have already reviewed M-Space and this companion adds to the rules particularly for character creation and the use of robotics and cybernetics.

This is a good edition to the main rules, it brings in a Traveller style character creation based on background and occupation. It allows rolls for events in ones back story and unfortunate accidents.  For example-

Bounty Hunter
66-75. Bring in a bounty. Gain 2000Cr and increase in one Career Professional skill.
76-85. Run into an ambush. Roll Perception. Success: Increase
to a Combat Style and gain an Enemy. Failure: Increase Evade,
gain the Passion Hate (Criminals) and lose a contact.

98-99. A bounty you bring in has some interesting loot. Gain
an advanced weapon or an implant of the GM’s choice.
00. You bring in a famous criminal and get to claim their starship. Gain a starship size 10 or less and gain an Enemy.

As you can see this will give some interesting options in character creation.

I love it and it would be nice to see it in the main Mythras rules as a extra option as well.

The Cybernetic and Robot rules are very good and allow just about any Character or NPC to be created with a few simple decisions.

I am glad to have bought this as it will increase the options I have in running M-Space games in the future.

A good job by Clarence

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.

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


The Missing

Part 5

Blood and Gore

Earlier Chapters here

We spend the night in the cave or tower basement, and wake refreshed even if Arnost still has his serous wound to his abdomen, at least all the minor wounds are healing. After a breakfast meal of warm roast lamb we start discussing how we are going to get Jonno back, will Guido carry him; will we make a pouch to allow Guido to carry him; do we make some sort of stretcher for two of us to carry or drag behind the mule; or some other idea. Also as Arnost legs do not work well with his abdomen wound how do we get him home? James had hoped that Thorn would cast Cure Serous Wounds but he can only recover that spell mid-afternoon in worship to Hombel, so do we wait another day. If we leave before midday we should get to the farm by nightfall but if we wait till mid-afternoon it will be dark before we get there.

 

We also discuss the six captive goblins, what happens to them? Trail; strung up? Guido thinks they need to be taken back for a fair trial and then executed. Also in this conversation James remembers the dead goblins and suggests we chop them up for Alice de wolf as the new member of the party is being called.  They get me to do this and a grislily job it is too, lots of blood, body parts and intestines. I do not do a very good job, it’s not really my trade, but I do get 20 arms and 20 legs out of the gore. As I finish I am covered in blood and smells and the cave isn’t looking to good, so James casts Preserve on the meat and Cleanse on me and the floor. He then gets carried away and also casts a Permanente Light spell on Thorn’s lantern. He then gets Thorn to use the oil he has to burn up what’s left of the goblins outside. This sends a plume of cooking meat smells and smoke into the air.

 

As it’s around midday now, we have the last of the lamb and give Alice de wolf 2 arms and legs for his dinner. With time getting on we decide to let Thorn recover his healing spell so he can heal Alice and Arnost and then we will travel back to the farm tomorrow, camping here for another night. Mid-afternoon Thorn starts praying to Hombel and regains his spell he then Cures the serious wounds of Arnost and Alice and thanks Hombel for them. He then does a search of the tower to make sure there are no hidden doors, he finds nothing. With no more sheep left to eat we settle down in the cave for the night with Alice acting as door guard. Morning comes and we put the stretcher together for Jonno and after feeding Alice again get four Goblins to carry the stretcher while the others carry the 32 arms and legs.

 

We head off back to the farm, which we should reach mid-afternoon. It is slow going with the goblins carrying Jonno but with Thorn in front and me and Alice to one side and James to the other side we march on. As Thorn tops a hill can hear and see a disturbance about 100m ahead.

It seems we have come across a pack of Coyotes attacking a flock of Sheep one sheep is down with a Coyote nearby. The other sheep are running with the Coyotes in pursuit. Thorn calls back to us while he throws a sling shot at the dogs, getting close but not enough to scare the dog. James heads up preparing 2 magic Missiles while Gnoman runs up and summons a big Red Dragon which swoops in and breathes fire over the sheep and dogs roasting them all. It then soars up and away. It was one of his greater illusions of course and once the dragon is gone the dogs stagger to their feet and with a howl run, the sheep are slower to stand but do and continue to graze. A young Shepard boy comes out from hiding and says thanks.

 

A few hours later we reach the farm and the family rush out to meet us. They are pleased to see Jonno back but in obvious distress at the state he is in. ‘What have the goblins done to him?’ ‘Thank you for bringing him back.’ Timson gives Guido the 20gp he had offered for his rescue and says you are welcome to stay in the barn tonight and we will have a meal together.

 

Timson goes to the pig sty were they are two piglets and tries to catch one. Guido realises that he is going to kill it for the meal and also realises as its only just spring that if he does he will not have a breeding pair to give them more piglets for the year. So he and James both tell Timson that they will be happy with just a simple meal and to keep the pig. Timson is pleased with this and we can see the relief on his face. We live Alice in the barn guarding the goblins while we have a simple tea with the family.

 

I talk with the family and say we are sorry as they look sad at Jonno’s condition even though are glad we have come back with him. I decide to sing a song to lift the companies spirits, which I do and people start to join in as well. We spend the night in the barn and are woken with the small of fresh bread for breakfast. As we are preparing to leave James goes to look for Pengle to get back the piece of jade so he can repair the necklace. James offers a swap 20sp and a pebble with a permanent light spell cast on it. It takes some time but eventually Pengle agrees and gives James the jade, this makes him happy, he loves collecting old Elvin items. However he is annoyed with us for taking the 20gp but we didn’t know he was after the jade instead.

 

With all ready our party heads out with Pengle guiding as far as Tree Roads village and we will reach Longreed at last light if we make good time.

The Stories of Errath the Bard Chapter 5 The Missing Part 4


The Missing

Part 4

Life and Death

Earlier Chapters here

Guido puts Jonno down by me and the mule, and looks at me and says he is dying. I have a mental battle, should I as a believer in balance allow nature to take its course or should I try to save Jonno for the party, I decide to try my healing skills and leave balance up to the gods. I get out my healing equipment and look at Jonno it is obvious that he needs surgery to seal the gash in his throat. This is not going to be easy but I set to and sow up the gash and apply healing herbs, I am successful and seals the gaping wound. Jonno is unlikely to die now although he is still very weak and his future is still in the hands of the gods. However he might never speak again due to the damage but that will not be known for months as it will take a long time for him to fully heal if he continues to get good care.

 

While Jonno is being saved James moves the tied up goblins into the cell Jonno was in and hobbles them there with some food and water, Thorn decides to try to save the dire wolf and pulls Guido’s spear from it and casts cure minor wounds on it to stop any further damage. James with the prisoners secure heads over to the mule and the lifesaving action going on there. They talk plans and how to keep Jonno warm, so James casts Warmth onto Jonno and carries him to the cave while keeping the spell up Guido and I come along with the mule.

 

Now we are all back at the base of the tower we settle Jonno by the fire in blankets and James drops the warmth spell. I heal Arnost’s right arm but can do nothing for the damage to his abdomen so for now he cannot walk anywhere. I then settle down to cast Animal Friendship on the Dire Wolf to make him a companion. While I do that the others decide to deal with the goblins in the roof and form up an assault party Thorn casts Barkskin of Guido who leads the march up the stairs with his shield if front of him and his death to goblins sword in hand.

 

As Guido reaches the top of the stairs in the roof, he sees two goblins ahead of him which he charges and two more off to his left which he hopes Thorn and James will deal with. Guido’s charge and swing takes a goblins head off. The remaining goblin moves away readying its dagger as it drops its sling the other two also ready their daggers.

The goblin moves back to Guido’s side while the other two move to attack Thorn at the top of the stairs.

The goblin attacks Guido but his dagger has no effect on all his armour reinforced by barkskin. One of the others attacks Thorn who parries the blow and counters with a stunning blow to its head.

 

The last two goblins soon fall to Guido, Thorn and James and the roof is secured. Guido and co come back down to the basement and set up a guard ready for some rest. Meanwhile I have finished my spell and now have an injured Dire Wolf as companion. I use my healing skills on my new friend and save its leg. I curl up by the wolf near the entrance as we settle down for rest.

John 21 Jesus on the beach video talk for church


Today [17th May] I did a video talk for Ascension church for their online service. This is it it’s on John 21 Jesus on the beach

 

Review of ‘Abiding’ by Ben Quash


I was given this book for Christmas, I am not a great reader of theology books as often I find that they make the Christian faith more complex than needed. This was true while at Church Army college as well. Anyway as this was a gift I have been reading one chapter every week or so.

This was the Archbishops Lent course book for 2013. It was about abiding in Christ in different times and needs. So in body; mind; care; relationships; exile; wounds and peace. Some of these made a lot of sense and spoke to me some were just confusing and some went right over my head. To many cultural examples I had not heard of, not enough bible reference for me.

Abiding is something I dio and encourage others to do, it is spending time in the presence of God. Just being with him as you would a good friend or spouse. That can be done and needs to be done in all places and activities. That is effectively what the book was getting at but in 250+ words rather than straight and simple.

So would I suggest you read it? No.

Rather you would be better of spending the time in God’s presence chilling with Him day by day.

Review of ‘Cold Iron’ by Miles Cameron


‘Cold Iron’ is a interesting book but not an easy read. I say that because the book has no chapters, a modern writing style I personally do not like. Add to that the story is broken up as we only see scenes from the view of Aranthur which is ok but there are time jumps where you would expect him to try and find out what’s going on but instead he apparently just goes back to his studies and work. He is a student and works in leather to support himself. It seems to be set in a pseudo Byzantine world due to the use of some terms in the book. However the book has a spattering of italiatised words which are meant to mean something but in general fall flat unless you have any knowledge of the Byzantine world. Some I knew others I didn’t.

The blurb at the back says that he is looking for answers to the changing world around him. However I felt that he was rather just plodding through what was happening till the next encounter gave him more info or not. As a student I would have expected him to be asking questions and trying to work out what was happening around him and why. Instead he just plods on falling into different situations.

The best parts were the start and the end I think as both had some order and Aranthur at least asks questions of those around him. Also the book has a map at the front but other than the city no areas seem to be in the story or those in the story are not on the map. Very odd.

In some ways this reads like one of the stories from my friends roleplaying experiences falling into a adventure and never asking questions about what and why.

Not his best book in my opinion however I did like this line ‘the worship of power is close to the worship of evil.’