Serevance: Dust of Bones

Lovely Day

The party awakens rested to a beautifully cool day. The sky above looks tame, and Erumillas confirms the day will be glorious. He takes off in search of breakfast, Alur accompanying him into the forest.

Stec speaks with Chap about the estimated time of arrival to which he responds with, ‘With this weather? No more than half a day. Tops.’

The hunting party arrives an hour later with a small, wild boar. A new fire is kindled and the sweet, succulent meat is appreciated by all as they mount up and prepare for the journey down the canyon cliff-face. Stec leads Haddross down first, with Erumillas and Alur following behind, and the carriage carrying the youngsters bringing up the rear. Once at the base, Stec ties the silk leash of Haddross back to the carriage and the journey continues.

As Chap mentioned, the rest of the journey is smooth sailing. Six or more hours pass, and the party sees the welcome sight of distant smoke-stacks as they come over the final hill. They arrive in Haradiin just as nightfall is about to set in.

Chap says ‘I want you boys to know that I’ve never had more than one elf on this here carriage, but I’m happy you three chose to come along… We’d be dead otherwise,’ he says with all seriousness. The party nods in agreement and favors the human and with a stiff handshake, as is their custom, wishing him safe travels on the journey back to Langseld.

(Completing the journey to Haradiin awards the Character’s 500XP and they ascend to level 2! Please refer to the Haradiin Town Map in the Maps section for further detail on the setting.)

Dwarven Savages (aftermath)

Erumillas immediately moves to the sling wielding dwarf he felled, finding a slew of mashed silver pieces, his sling, and a bottle with yellow, viscous liquid, which he assumes to be oil, and a piece of cloth stuffed in the mouth (See oddities: Gnomish Cocktail)

Alur also finds some silver pieces on the oozing dwarf at his feet, and the axe seems to have a decent edge. He ties it off on his waist with a free strap of leather.

Stec searches the lead and finds that the symbol the lead bore on his armor is actually a necklace, the symbol of Fex crudely stamped in a circular cut of hide about seven inches in diameter. Teeth of various size and shape are tied upon the lanyard (See Oddities: Necklace of Fex) He also finds a bag at the dwarf’s hip, feeling the nugget structures inside. He pours a few into his palm to reveal shimmering golden nuggets (Each player adds 6gp to their total)

A further search reveals grisly trophies kept by the savages near their stinking, piss-soaked bedrolls: a braided lock of hair tied off by ribbon, possibly dwarven, a necklace crafted of humanoid teeth, a severed hand attached to a manacled chain. On the fire is a makeshift rotisserie, containing over-charred meat from some rodent-like creature, and Erumillas notices a mobile tanning-rack of sorts near three wolf pelts and a bushy, white fur of some unknown animal.

On the way back, the elves notice a glimmer, a sparkle in the pool they passed on their way downward. Erumillas dares to reach and finds the waterhole to be shallow, at most two feet deep. He pulls forth a rusted dagger, a kukri by the shape of it. A fine weapon in it’s time, but the ornate weapon is soiled from it’s watery resting place. Erumillas feels further to the clink clink of a chain. He heaves with great effort and the others hear a snap of bone beneath the water? He pulls forth a sodden fifty-pound ball of rusted iron attached to two skeletal hands threshed in a single manacle. He further feels a bed of cold, small chain-links and pulls forth a soiled chainmail shirt, of roughly human shape. A cloth tabard decorates the shoulders but the symbols are completely destroyed or incomplete.

Chap looks at the party as they return, Erumillas adjusting the dripping chainmail shirt on his uninjured shoulder. ‘We heard fighting, everyone okay?’ he says, true concern in his voice. Stec responds to chap coolly, ‘Bumps and bruises, nothing more. A group of dwarven cannibals, wild men, engaged us in the deepest chamber. They have been dealt with.’ Chap smiles and nods approval, ‘Wonderful, thank you.’ he says, readying the camp as night has set in and the storm calmed to a much duller roar.

(Each player adds 7sp to their total, as per splitting the silver on the dwarven corpses. Each character also records 400XP to their Character Sheet)

Dwarven Savages

The lead dwarf closes the distance to Stec in a brutal charge, his axe held high and a feral scream on his lips. Stec hears the quiet thunk sound of Alur’s hand crossbow and watches the bolt fly high above the dwarf’s head. Alur notes the symbol on the lead’s chest saying, ‘The symbol of Fex… berserker war-tribes?’ Stec makes note and realizes the same symbol marks the wax stamp on the letter. He pulls the letter out displaying the symbol to the lead saying in Gnomish, ‘I bear a letter that is marked of Fex, you wouldn’t want his fury upon you should I fail to deliver it would you?!’ The dwarf behind yells back in Gnomish, ‘Treach… ery!,’ then a slew of Dwarven commands, possibly translations.

The lead dwarf continues his wanton gallop, shouting a phrase in Dwarven. The blow lands on Stec’s forearm bracer and he quickly maneuvers his wrist to let the smile of the axe glance towards the cave floor.

With the flick of his hand, Stec retrieves a hidden kunai knife and stabs at his assailant, neither warrior able to gain a foothold. Stec then steps to the cave wall, dipping and taunting the dwarf with a series of head fakes to gain space.

The burly dwarf who had spoken the flubbed Gnomish hustles his way into position along side his counterpart, struggling for position to get a look at the elf.

Erumillas rises from his hiding place and pulls his bow string to a trembling tautness, readying an arrow at Stec’s attacker. The thump of the string’s release is replaced by an awful shriek from the dwarf as the arrow digs through his patchy armor and into his rib-cage. He shouts another something in Dwarven and Stec believes he’s telling his comrades of multiple attackers, an ambush.

From behind, nearer to the fire, the third dwarf heaves a one-pound stone over the conflict. It connects with a loud crack and Stec and Alur both notice Erumillas gasp as though struck in the gut. He grabs at his collar-bone and pulls away a bloodied hand.

Alur drops the hand crossbow and pulls forth his rapier, stepping forward to meet the newcomer and even the odds. He strikes in quick, successive jabs but the dwarf before him is laughing hysterically, smashing the thin blade down and to the sides.

The lead dwarf coughs up blood and gurgles a laugh as he looks at the arrow wound. He readies a huge, heaving swipe at Stec, but he telegraphs the strike. Stec lowers his frame and lets the clumsy swing pass over him.

In a flash of steel, Stec palms the kunai knife and strikes at the dwarf before him. He feels the warm, wet rush of blood pour from the corroded artery on the dwarves neck, and sees horror and surprise in the dwarf’s eyes all at once. He pulls the blade free and the dwarf becomes twitching dead weight on the floor, dropping his axe to clutch his ruined throat, eyes wide in shock. Stec sidesteps again, putting the writhing body between himself and the other melee.

His counterpart then swings at Alur, but he is ready for the blow. He lets the dwarf’s massive weight falter and punches with the hilt of his rapier into the dwarf’s wrist, smashing it against the cave wall and forcing the dwarf to drop the weapon.

Erumillas, incensed at the stone striking him, looses an arrow bound for the dwarven rock-thrower. The arrow goes wide, landing against the cave wall. The stone-thrower grins and shouts a curse in Dwarven.

The stone-thrower loads another and flings it again over the melee at Erumillas, but the throw is much too strong, flying overhead and smacking against the cave wall behind the elf.

Alur meets his attacker again in melee, but again can’t manage to find purchase. The dwarf is strangely agile despite his bulk, dipping left and right, judging the correct opportunity to retrieve his fallen weapon.

Stec, seeing his kinsman in trouble vaults over the broken body of his first assailant to flank the current melee and stabs with the kunai. The knife digs deep into the dwarf’s kidney, nearly to Stec’s clenched fist. The dwarf issues a girlish scream as the blade pierces and is pulled free in an instant.

Still whining in pain from the kidney strike, he reaches down to retrieve his weapon, and the two Gray Elves butcher him in a graceful display. The elves nearly fall on the dwarf in their frenzy, precision strikes falling and landing in rapid succession. One of Alur’s strikes pierces through the dwarf’s screaming mouth and out the hat of his spine. The dwarf’s squirming defense becomes the twitching throws of a body succumbing to death.

Erumillas knocks another arrow and readies a precision strike on the remaining fool. He looses his arrow with a loud ‘Ha!’ escaping his lips, knowing it’s path will be true. The arrow lands just beneath the dwarf’s left cheekbone and the he crumples in a strange, almost comical position. The three elves look at each other and nod, grunting, giggling at the adrenaline still coursing through each of them.

Canyon Cave

As the elves disembark, Chap looks for his normal hitching post; two tall, thin rocks near the cave’s mouth. Stec begins to sniff the air feverishly, smelling the telltale smoldering of a campfire, deeper into the cave. ‘It seems we aren’t the only ones seeking shelter from the storm. I’m going to investigate.’

Erumillas responds by pulling out his bow saying ’I’ve got your back, lead on.’ Alur pulls his hand crossbow from it’s holding and simply nods. Stec leads about thirty feet ahead of the others, his footfalls precise and without sound. He passes a pool of water and a small light source illuminating it from above, possibly a sinkhole he thinks. His elvish eyes perceive the path rather clearly in the low-light, descending to a turn leading to the left, and further down.

Alur and Erumillas maintain their distance, also moving quietly, though Stec hears a rock skitter from one of them and grimaces at the error. The light is coming from around the bend, Stec is sure, and he turns the corner, hiding in the shadows to get a glimpse of the scene. Three figures, dwarves Stec is sure, are huddled around a humble fire. They are silent, one is busy fiddling with a soft brush over his nose? It is hard to tell at this distance. Stec turns back and motions to the trailing elves, who make good time and silent footfalls to his position.

‘What is it?’ Erumillas asks, his voice a taut whisper so as not to echo. Stec returns the favor quietly himself, ‘Dwarves three of them, perhaps taking shelter. Any of you speak Dwarven?’

Erumillas sneers a bit, ‘I do not,’ he says. Alur gives Stec a sheepish stare ‘You know I don’t.’ Stec considers his options quickly and decides. ’I’m going out there weapons free, perhaps a peaceful conclusion can come from this. If not, be ready to defend me.’ Both Erumillas and Alur nod grimly.

Stec wanders into the opening his hand held high in the air displaying no weapons. Displaying no weapons of course, for Erumillas and Alur both knew that hidden within the folds of his cloak was an assortment of razor sharp kunai knives. In Common Stec says, ‘Hail dwarf brothers, are you also taking shelter from the storm?’ To which each of the three dwarves rises from their seat weapons at the ready. ‘Woah woah.’ Stec says quickly, trying to calm the situation. He sees, and smells, the dwarves for the first time.

They look primitive, dirty and ragged. The lead dwarf, largest among them wears pelts scrapped together to form armor, a fox’s head can be seen at the shoulder. He carries an axe in one hand. The other two are similarly dressed, though obviously less garb. The dwarf on the far left is hefting a one-handed axe as well, the other to the right fiddles on the ground for a stone and places in his sling, beginning to rock it back and forth, feeling the weight.

Stec thinks on his feet, speaking in Gnomish, ‘We mean you no harm brothers, please, can we not share this cave?’ The dwarves all begin to laugh, a hearty chuckle resounding off the chamber walls. Stec is relieved at the sight, peace is surely achievable.

The lead dwarf looks back to his axe-bearing counterpart. The dwarf gives a circling motion on his stomach, then in perhaps the most broken Gnomish Stec has ever heard says, ‘You… look… tastyyyy…’ Stec translates the sad attempt at a beautiful language and begins to step backward to where Erumillas and Alur still waited, poised to strike. Stec turns and says ‘Get ready. They mean to eat us.’

Stormy Weather

Everyone awakens to find that the mild storm still continues. Rain trickles, and the sound of distant thunder cracks and moans. Another four hours of travel and the air becomes thick, uncomfortably humid, and the sky above appears like a vicious bruise before giving way to a torrential downpour. Lightning, closer now snaps and cracks more frequently and wind gusts threaten to tip the carriage. The rain is now sideways, blocking visibility to a mere ten feet. The driver, Chap screams over the thunder and rain to the carriage occupants. ‘A half a mile up the road on the left! There’s an old goat path there! It leads to a shallow cave! We have to hurry!’

The ground under foot becomes a sodden mess of mud and the draft horses struggle through the elements, but eventually Chap’s instincts are confirmed and to the left of the main road wanders a goat path that takes a fairly mild incline. Drayne and Hashim are near the front of the carriage, Drayne draped over the child as if to make a living tent from his cloak. Occasionally he can be heard saying things like ‘Hold on Hashim!,’ and ’We’ve weathered worse storms than this little buddy!’

Chap takes the carriage up the mild incline and the storm reaches a deadly climax. A close, very close lightning strike followed by a cracking tree causes the horses to spook slightly but they’re kept in line by Chap’s steady whips. Stec grabs a hold of Haddross’ line, making sure the incline hasn’t felled the mule and realizes that the mule is trudging at a decent enough pace by the changing slack.

As the carriage begins a lurching turn to the left, up and around a switchback, one of the carriage wheels becomes locked in the mud. Everyone can hear Chap yell, ‘Everyone out! We have to push!’ before jumping out himself and grabbing the front right wheel. Drayne and Hashim crawl from the carriage and huddle near the canyon wall. The elves all exit and man the stuck, rear-left wheel. The wood elf screams with might and the gray elves grunt their response to the effort. A couple good heaves and the carriage wheel dislodges. Chap yells ’That’s it! That’s it! Everyone jump on!’

Drayne lifts Hashim to the carriage side then climbs on himself. Stec and Alur nimbly jump to the carriage from behind and find their footing, but the wood elf still trails. He leaps, a good jump, landing on the carriage floor hard. His weight begins to shift and Stec an Alur see him tipping. Each of the gray elves grabs an arm of the heavy, powerful cousin and haul him to the floor with themselves. Everyone shares a nervous laugh as they lie on the carriage bed, soaked from head to toe. A little more than ten minutes and the driver’s quarry is seen, the mouth of a cave just wide enough to allow the horses entry.

Night in the Ald'harath

The party boarded the carriage as the first sprinkles of rain started. The driver led the horses another mile, maybe two, before coming to a clearing outside the canyons. The road ran to a high plateau with good visibility and he parked the carriage near a group of large trees without much undergrowth. The rain continued its easy, soft sprinkles and the driver put a tarp up to allow a fire to burn in the rain.

Erumillas threw together a couple sticks and began to cook the lean cougar steaks he had foraged from the kill. Drayne and Hashim found a spot near the fire and Drayne appeared to whisper to the boy, occasionally wiping away tears and giving a quick slap to keep the boy fierce saying ’Don’t cry Hashim, be strong.’

The other party members (yourselves) set their own sites near the fire and go about their preparations as night sets in.

South to Haradiin

Erumillas mentioned to the party “A storm is coming. It will arrive by the day’s end.” With that, the carriage trotted for hours down a wide, rather unremarkable forest road. At times the two humans, Drayne and young Hashim, were seen dozing off, leaning on one another.

Erumillas was rarely seen on the carriage. He would walk along side the mule, occasionally getting a wide-eyed look before turning to Stec and Alur saying “Nevermind, nothing,” in Elven.

Another hour or two and Pelor’s light had crept within an hour or so of setting. The wide forest road had become more winding and bumpy, with all size of rocky outcrops dotting the dark forests’ edges. The horses continued, and the road descended steeply into a modest, canyon-like section, the walls rising to 20ft. in some places.

STEC: Spot Check: 6
ERUMILLAS: Spot Check: 6
ALUR: Spot Check: 10

Without warning, a forest feline of some kind pounced from high above, aiming for the lead draft horse, who reacted by rearing up on its hind legs and sending the carriage to rock and stir. All characters must drop prone or make a Jump or Tumble Check to not be thrown from the carriage. Failure means you begin prone , on the ground, 5ft from the carriage, success indicates you begin standing, on the ground, 5ft from the carriage.
*MAKING CHECKS: To make a Check, simply place it as a new comment at the end of this section. Include your roll and any other information you can impart on the group, remembering that your turn is finite.

Cougar rolled a total of 18
Drayne rolled a total of 15
Stec rolled a total of 14
Erumillas rolled a total of 11
Alur rolled a total of 10 (tie to PC)
Draft horse(s)/Driver rolled a total of 10
Haddross (mule) rolled a total of 7

The Couriers

Two days ago, you sat in a shadowed bar, half-drunk in the city of Langseld. The barkeep had been sharing some local gossip with you, of pirate raiders sacking the docks of Cambol-Tur to the south. He mentioned that the local constable is ‘giving his fortune away’ to men of capable mettle, like yourselves, in hopes they can scare off or kill these lawless brigands.

As you discussed the prospect of traveling south to Cambol-Tur, a weeks journey in good weather, a young, female dwarf approached you with a proposition of her own.

‘“Hello lords. Me name is Mar Silverhand, I ain’t much for snoopin’ but I overheard yer conversation with the barkeep. If you’re already headin’ south, could ya deliver a letter to me father? His name is Mundi, he’s the village blacksmith. It’s on the way, just two days south in a village called Haradiin. I’ll give ya each a gold piece to deliver it. What do ya say?"

It didn’t take long for your party to mole over the prospect when she presented the shiny gold coins in her dirty palm. She gave you the letter, folded in thirds and sealed with red wax. Dwarven script is carefully written in beautiful calligraphy you may or may not be able to read. She instructs you that she will arrange a carriage to ferry you to Haradiin in good time and relative safety.

Arriving at the stables some hours later you find a middle-aged man of slight build strapping supplies onto his uncovered carriage. The carriage looks as though it could seat six. Two are already on board, a young man and his child brother, giggling over some kind of slap-hand game. Next to the older brother is a strapped pack full of dried goods. The driver asks you to board when you inform him of who you are and the young man greets you with a warm smile but does not speak. A few moments later, the driver mounts the carriage seat and with a “hyah!” the two horses leading the carriage step to the reins.


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