Tha’pop lays on the floor of the room as Adira and the child sit on the bed, starting to relax a bit. Tha’pop hears a rustling from the otherside of the door. Somebody is mumbling and trying to open the door that Tha’pop locked. The door is kicked and someone is definitely trying to open the door. Adira looks apprehensive as Tha’pop stands up silently and moves to the door and listens.
From the other side of the door he hears, “You, boy, you work here? Good. Get me the innkeeper now. I rented this room and I want it for the night. Hurry up.”.
Tha’pop unsheathes his dagger, and opens the door suddenly. Staring at him in shock is a middle aged bald overweight man. Without waiting, Tha’pop grabs the man (Power vrs Power) and tosses him in the room and slams the door shut again. Tha’pop grabs the man’s neck and shoves him in the only chair in the room and puts the dagger to his neck. Sticking just hard enough to draw a drop of blood, Tha’pop whispers… “ Shhhh…say anything I don’t want, and you’ll be dead. Nod if you understand.” The man is still in shock and wide eyed, gulps and nods.
There is a knock on the door and the sound of the innkeeper’s voice. “Everything okay there?” as he rattles the door. Tha’pop nods his head up and down and pushes the dagger just a bit more into Steve, his prisoner’s neck. Steve the merchant pipes up in a squelch, “ all good here, thanks.” The footfalls become quiet as the innkeeper goes downstairs. Tha’pop smiles at Steve and pats his head, “ Good job”. After a thorough investigation, Tha’pop is satisfied that Steve is indeed just a Carpet wholesaler and decides Steve needs to stick around and help Tha’pop, whether Steve wants to or not.
Steve sleeps on the floor with Adira and Child in the bed and Tha’pop sitting in the chair propped up to a wall. The others in the party are sleeping outdoors by their wagon up by the Monastery.
In the morning Steve and Tha’pop head up the Cemetery to see the dead Elf get a proper burial by humans. Up at the Cemetery, the bodies of the Elf and the dead human brigade soldier are lying there. Tha’pop decides to take another look at the bodies before they are buried. The gravediggers start to say something, but then see the look on Tha’pop face and decide they need to trim the hedges on the side of the cemetery for a few minutes.
(Perc roll, success) Tha’pop views the wounds of the Elf. Something seems odd about the wounds and then the weapon speaks.
“Looks like the work of Shael Gael.”
“ The who?” Tha’pop murmurs silently.
“Think back on your lore, young one and remember.”
Tha’pop thinks and then remembers something he was taught as a lad. The Shai gael are known in legend as the keepers of grief. Few Elves know of their present existence and duties, and thought they only exist in stories. They are the ninjas of the Elven houses and do their bidding. Training their lives in secret, to perform assassinations, spying and espionage they serve their Masters house above all. These are the only Elves allowed to kill other Elves during peace by order of their Masters in secret. They are known as the” shadows under the leaf falling”, silent,relentless and not remembered.
“Why do you think its the work of Shael Gael?”
The weapon sighs, “ The first wound in the ankle is from an elvish arrow, to slow down this messenger. The second wound is perfection in one thrust. I have seen it before and that is perfection that only a Shael Gael could do”
Tha’pop raises an eyebrow, “ Do tell when was the last time you saw a wound like this?”
“Hmmm, i’m thinking, 1000 years ago, give or take a century or so.”
Tha’pop motions for the gravediggers to come back and resume their duties and walks down the hill with Steve to the village and over to the monastery.
“ Great work on both of them, that’s perfection of a kill.” the weapon pipes up.
“Both? Both were killed by Shael Gael?” Tha’pop feels a surge of grief well up, (Grief roll, success) laments the fallen by one of his own and ponders on this legend that is now real and close.
Back down at the Inn, Adira and the child are met by a young priestess who escorts her up for dinner at the monastery. Walkin by the wagon where her friends are lounging she gives them a nod and follows the priestess in.
Following the Priestess down the long hallway, she is escorted to a grand chamber with long tables, a roaring fireplace and many guests all sitting. 2 tables situated like a V with the Head Priestess at the junction look at her. At her presence all the men rise, all being in military gear except one, and grant her a woman’s courtesy. Welcome Lady Dubrois, please join us, the Head Priestess announces. Adira scans the faces of the officers and comes upon what she recognizes as Captain Crospik of the Mercenary 100 foot unit . She hopes he doesnt recognize her or her change of name. Sitting down, Captain Crospik raises a goblet and smiles.
The Dinner progresses well and small talk is made around the tables about the massacre and tensions all around the area as well. A messenger then enters and begs forgiveness of intrusion and is ushered over to the General sitting. The General takes the written scroll and reads it, as the din of noise quiets down. The General passes the scroll to his adjunct and stands with a goblet.
“ Thank you for your hospitality and the lovely meal for myself and my officers, Head Priestess. I commend you on your food and wine. Unfortunately as fast as we arrived last night, we leave tomorrow morning as well. It appears the massacre investigation will have to wait, as we are recalled to the frontier immediately. Seems our good Henry and King Thomas are, well in disagreement. Captain Crospik, you are relieved immediately of your duty to this venture and wish you good speed on your future. Now if you forgive me, myself and my men must make preparations. “
With that both tables of men get up and leave, leaving The High Priestess, Adira, child, Liam and Avisee and Captain Crospik in the room.
“ Well that was interesting, to say the least, I’m glad it wasn’t my food that ran them off.”
Everyone in the room silently laughs at the Priestess’ little joke. A few minutes later after the dessert and dessert wine is brought in, the Priestess orders her attendants out of the room.
Looking at Adira, the Head Priestess takes a sip and smiles.
“ Lady Dubrois, or other aliases you might have, do tell me what other secrets might be in your basket? Before getting defensive or guarded beyond reason, let me explain a few things that I have discovered. Myself and Avisee and my rector of library, stayed up long hours last night because of you. It seems that your description of the Red Raven sign on the child is not what you say. It is, however, part of an ancient prophecy. We do not have the right scrolls here in my meager library to uncover it all. Avisse and myself are convinced that the prophecy is one that is powerful. Avisse also uncovered that you are not the mother of this child. Would you care to elaborate on Lady Dubois?”
Adira looks around the room and sizes up everyone. She takes a deep breath and scans them all before saying, “ You are correct Head Priestess, I’m not Lady Dubrois, I am known as Adira, and not the mother of this child. However if you or anyone should try and take her from me, you shall meet the fury you wish you hadn’t. “
“You are correct, none here wish harm to the child or you, to save and protect the child is what we are after.”
“Then what are you after?” Adira looks again at all of them.
“ To be truthful, I have a confession as well, Adira. We here in this room, including Captain Crospik, were devising a plan in regards to you and your child. We believe the child may be in danger and needs to be hidden until the age of ascension. We know from experience that any prophecy this big will have forces searching to stop, manipulate, or elevate. You trust someone, because this child will be hunted and you and your party are well, the sort violence tends to follow. I offer a suggestion. With the promise of secrecy from this room, perhaps a place to raise the child can be found, as you Adira, seek out the meaning of the prophecy and destiny of this beautiful child. That is what I offer and hope for you both.”
“This evening has gone unexpectedly and I am thankful for your hospitality, advice and experience. I would like to consider your offer, and talk to my friends waiting outside before I make a decision.”
With that Adira gets up, and the rest of the party stands as she exits with child in her arms and walks outside to the wagon where her fellow adventurers are waiting.
The group of 4 all listen to Adiras conversation at the meal and a quiet discomfort settles on the group. Dro clears his throat and starts.
“ I believe protecting the child is good. However, I believe my path must be in search of something else. I’m leaving in the morning to get from Griz our promised money. I’ll be taking the sword as payment, and when I get our money, will send word thru the dwarf vault houses. You will hear from me soon. Take care Adira and all of you”.
Tha’pop is silent and tall, does not look up and says, “ It is best if you are not around me. Where I go and will be, death will cloak itself in my blood or others. It’s not a place for a child.”
Mort looks at Adira, “ You know I’m here for you Adira, no matter where you go and what you do. I won’t leave you or the child if you’re in danger. Until you told me that others might help, I was resolved to stay with you. However, if you choose to take the wise advice from these powerful allies, then I have a mission which will be dangerous as well. I will stay if you choose to keep the child, but if the child is safe from harm, then this mission offered to me is my road’.
Adira looks at Mort and smiles,” Take your path Mort. The child will be safe and I believe we all will see each other again someday. Farewell good friends and i wont say be safe, but live longer than your enemy and see the next sunrise.”
(Out of game discussion here. What will happen next, is that each primary character, Dro, Tha’pop, Adira, and Mort will journey forth on their separate paths for a period of years. The other players will play allies, npcs, or villains during their sessions. So that each person will have a chance to be a primary storyline and the others are given chances to play different characters, till it’s their turn to be the primary. First up is Dro the Dwarfs path.)
Dro the Dwarf wakes up the next day early and heads to the livery stable, picks 1 of the 4 horses that are still rideable and stops at the wagon. Says his pleasantries and loads up on supplies to camp off the road for his 6 month journey to the town of Gouf, where Griz was last seen. Only a few dwarves are traveling these roads, but enough to get directions to stay on course. Passing through the first bigger town of many, Dro finds a dwarf vault house and convinces someone to send a message (circles roll) to his brother in the dwarven lands to meet him at Gouf as soon as possible.
Dro travels thru towns and villages sleeping outdoors mostly and off the paths. Not in a hurry but keeping track of his mount better than he has in the past as he learned some animal husbandry. He speaks to few and having no funds usually forages (roll) to find decent food, and in the summer it’s not hard with plenty around.
Upon moving thru one of many villages he spots a well rehearsed scene that he has been a part of many times. Men moving around unloading beasts and unpacking equipment that has been used and being taken an inventory of (perc roll). Some sort of expedition has ended and this village is the end of the line. Bellowing out of the village store steps out a dwarf in fine clothing and slapping his belly.
“ Jade!?! What the gold veins of Milador are you doing here?” Dro runs up and Jade looks as surprised as Dro and meets in the middle of the road and shakes hands vigorously.
“Getting paid for another misadventure. Hey, no treasure, but get paid anyway.” Jade lets out a laugh and winks at Dro. “What are you doing here?”
“How about a drink or 2 and let’s talk ‘’ Dro , looking worse for the wear, leads Jade to the nearest Inn with a keg of ale.
Sitting down they start to down their second ale and Dro is about to tell Jade about the map when he sets his drink down and stares in the corner of the room. He wipes his eyes and gawks ( steel roll fails). For the span of 7 seconds he stares dumbfounded at the person. Getting his senses, he climbs up on the table and roars with all his might, “ Son of Moenne, Clansman of Svilldari,It is I Dro you brother Zalbak!”.
Zalbak sputters out his drink and jumps over pushing other dwarves aside and jumps on the table and tackles Dro. Together they fall off the table and groan getting up and laughing.
Dro smiles and picks him up. “ You got my note I sent 4 months back to meet me and here you are?”.
Jade smiles and says…” Was going to tell you that your brother is part of my expedition after the 4th beer.”
Dro smiles. “Never the mind, Dwarf balls, good to see kin, and I have something grand to talk to you about. Do you have a place to speak in quiet brother?”
Zaldak points upstairs. “ Got the room upstairs till tomorrow. Bring up 3 more pitches and let’s talk.”
Upstairs Dro tells Zaldak about his adventures to the tomb and his escapades. Then tells him of the She wolf and the massacre. Finally he tells of the dwarf who gave him the treasure map and jewel. Reluctant (grief roll, success) shows Zaldak the gem and slaps him on the shoulders, “ Way I see it, 2 dwarf brothers found, and maybe us 2 dwarf brothers recover it. What you say to that brother?”
Zaldak smiles and nods…”I’m with you Brother to the end. Shall we tell Jade? “
“Some, the map of course, since he’s been searching treasure for longer than anyone I know. The gem, no.”
During the night drinking, Zaldak tells Dro that their clan lost their mines to Thule Greybeard, who is Dro’s enemy. Rumor has it Thule won it in a gambling bet, but the head clansman mysteriously comes up missing the night before and now Dro and Zaldak clan are either working for Thule or nomads trying to find wealth.
Next morning the 2 brothers find Jade downstairs and corner him alone and reveal the treasure map and find, but leave out the Gem. Jade (treasure-wise) recognizes the name of the treasure, but doesnt recognize the island.
“There are many islands hidden, forgotten, and intentionally lost. But if anyone can find it, then we can. I’m sure. I’m thinking you want this kept quiet for now?
Dro speaks again. “Before we fasten our eyes upon this prize, we need to get paid the 4000 from Griz he promised, to pay for this venture. I’m going to Gouf to find him and get the gold owed.”
All 3 nod in agreement, and they head out to Gouf that very day. For the next 2 months, they spend nights in taverns and Inns on Jade coin, since he is accustomed to finer accommodations than Dro. Jade is approached by many patrons looking to hire him for their own expeditions but he turns all them down except one.
Finally 6 months from Dro starting off from Creekstone and his adventurers he left, his new group makes it to Gouf.
Staring around, the usual foot traffic for a place like this is seen, and Dro remembering the tavern they made the deal with Griz, they head for it. Going inside they pick a table and look around. The bar maid Mira approaches and ask what they are drinking. Jade having the gold, motions for 3 drinks.
Few beers later, they converse with Mira and find out some information from her. They learn that Griz hasn’t been seen here in this part since Mid march, rumor has it he is on the run or dead. They start to get some information from Mira, when she suddenly shuts up and walks away.
In walks a big ugly scarred man, and takes a seat. Mira brings a drink, not even asking what he wants and he stares at them as they keep drinking and glance back. 8 more rounds and the big burly guy gets up and leaves the tavern. (perc roll) Both Jade and Zaldak see the big man motion a boy, talk to him and see the boy run off, as the big man saunters off as well.
Dro motions over Mira, and asks, who that was.
“That is Kron, he works for Griz or used to. He’s dangerous and not too smart. In the past he would receive messages maybe twice in her per week, but hasnt for months. “
Dro remembers from Mook a letter they found on him that Kron was the one to kill Mook and his sister and neice if Mook ever returned. Dro takes a sip, “thanks for that Mira, Jade pay
the good lady. Let’s go outside and stretch our legs.” The 3 get up and walk outside the tavern to the street.