23 Tinyura – 5 Satna of the year 72
The morning of the 23rd the party set out for the ruined keep where they had encountered Emeren‘s band; while some repair work had been done to it by Lord Kell’s people, the work had ceased for the winter. Escorting the people they had rescued from the slave trade, the party arrived the next day and investigated the ruins; Emmerick located relatively old tracks from a bear, and Deuspugno used his abilities to sense that the bear was located just inside the door of one of the towers.
The bear was larger than any the party had previously seen, though luckily it was hibernating. Emmerick and Pug attacked it while Akora watched, refusing to participate and adamant about not engaging a bear. Pug was mauled in the fight but struck the final blow that killed the bear. Checking for any young bears, Emmerick instead found a giant bear cock, while Pug decided his nickname was Beastslayer. Akora objected to Pug naming himself and declared that in songs he would refer to Pug as the Beeslayer. The party dragged the bear’s body out of the tower and left it for the new residents to skin and cook. The northern tower was repaired, as was the portcullis, and the party rested for the night at the keep.
The following morning the party, accompanied by Sentia and the women who had been used as sex slaves, set out for Aramore. The day was uneventful, with the exception of a herd of unicorns; Pug considered attempting to kill one for its horn, but chose not to based on the size of the herd. That afternoon the party noticed strong storms approaching, with strong wind and lightning.
Emmerick found a cave for the party to shelter in, but inside found a spider the size of a large dog. Sluggish due to the low temperatures, the party made short work of it, with Pug striking the final blow and Akora taunting him about being the Spiderslayer. Emmerick dragged the body out of the cave, and in an act of vengeance set it on fire. The wind blew the stench of the burning spider into the cave, aggravating Pug, Akora, Sentia, and the women, and Emmerick rigged a hammock in the trees. The sleet quickly turned to driving snow, and by morning there was a foot and a half of snow blanketing the area. Akora spent the night successfully charming Sentia, while Pug rested.
Emmerick suffered quite a bit during the night, and while he refused to acknowledge how uncomfortable his sleep had been he spent some time warming by the fire in the morning. The heavy snow made travel slow, and on occasion the party heard wolves. Instead of stopping for the night the party pushed on to Aramore, a village of about 400 people, arriving close to midnight. They went to the tavern, Muff’s Dive, rented rooms, and purchased hot meals. Pug suspected the severity of the blizzard was amplified by the ripples that had crossed the sky several days before. Akora nearly convinced Emmerick and Pug that they had imagined the ripples in the sky, enjoying the opportunity to screw with them.
The next morning all of the party members bought fur-lined coats from Britches & Hose in the village, then accompanied the women to the temple. There they met with Adhela, the high priestess at the temple, while the four women they had freed went with other priestesses. She was aware of the broad strokes of what was happening in Recco, although as a pacifist she disapproved of bloodshed. With Sentia’s assistance the party convinced her to let them meet with Earl Erard Raabe; Emmerick made a donation of one silver to the temple, while Pug donated one gold. He then held a bit of a theological discussion with Adhela, as he disapproved of her conveying the blessings of Aligern, until she reminded him that Deo was just the Derosi interpretation of Aligern.
The earl’s incoherent state was apparent when the party entered; he was largely bedridden, and his wife Contessa Geila Raabe and daughter Baroness Herlinda Raabe were acting in his stead. The party picked up on the tension between the two; Geila was clearly a pacifist and objected to bloodshed, whereas Herlinda was a rebellious warrior and a realist. Earl Erard motioned Pug over and had him lean down, and managed to moan out ‘poopy pants’ a couple times until Pug understood what he was saying and he informed the servants.
Geila agreed with the party that Mannik needed to be removed from power, although she was adamantly opposed to the party spilling blood to force a regime change. She considered giving the party a letter expressly ordering he be arrested and brought to stand trial but informed the party that she would need to take a day to make a decision. After the party left Pug sought out Herlinda; she expressed her view that her presence in Recco, with her standing as the heir to northern Rutan coupled with her more pragmatic approach to the world, would help facilitate the regime change. She didn’t believe that Mannik would go willingly, but that her presence would at least ease the transition and would lessen his influence among the city guard, as she was well-liked and respected by the people. An overthrow by Theuderic or Kell would be seen as an insurrection and more likely to fail. Pug was open to the idea, but said he would need to discuss it with Akora and Emmerick. Herlinda also requested assistance with a local issue; a group of adventurers calling themselves the Knights of the Beaver had taken up residence in Aramore for the winter and were harassing the women of the village and the priestesses. The Knights had been incessantly catcalling, groping, stealing undergarments, and generally being as misogynistic and sexist as possible. She requested the party convince them to leave, but that under no circumstances would they spill blood.
The party spent most of the rest of the day discussing their options for removing Mannik from power; Emmerick opposed Herlinda accompanying them on the basis of her being the heir and that it was too dangerous, while Akora was opposed based on her being a woman and his not believing she would be of any value in a fight. Pug was disappointed but accepted the votes, choosing not to press the issue. The party ultimately decided their best course of action would be to infiltrate Recco and start either a fire or a riot to distract the city guard, disguise themselves, and sneak into Mannik’s keep. In preparation for infiltrating Recco Akora visited Britches & Hose and had them make several reversible tabards that matched those of the Recco city guards.
The next day the party visited Geila, Herlinda, and Erard again; Geila gave them a letter ordering Mannik be stripped of his title, arrested, and brought to Aramore to account for his actions and the state of Recco. Afterwards Herlinda pulled Pug aside and informed him that she would be traveling to Recco as well, even without the party’s support, and would be a couple days behind them. That afternoon the party spent time in Muff’s Dive spreading rumors about and denigrating the Knights of the Beaver; their tactic worked, and after a couple hours they showed up ready for a fight. After a couple minutes of shit talking from their leader Pug put his arm around the man, then used his Fist of God spell while holding him still, doing a significant amount of damage. Akora grabbed the one closest to him and walked him up against a wall with a dagger at the man’s throat and attempted to convince the Knights not to further escalate things, while Emmerick slugged the leader that Pug was still holding up. The leader fell and Pug knocked him unconscious, then dragged him out of the tavern, down the street, and to the edge of the village. The rest of the Knights left town as the party suggested.
Akora purchased a set of manacles from the local blacksmith, Adrianne, and secured the leader to a post in the village square. He then visited Muff’s Dive, informing everyone that the leader of the Knights was unconscious outside and was fair game for retribution. After a couple hours Akora freed him; by this time he was covered in both figurative and literal shit, and he left the village humiliated.
The following day the party set out for Kell’s keep, a journey that took five days; the return trip was mostly uneventful, with Akora taking the opportunity to further charm Sentia, although on the fourth night Akora noticed a strange new star. It was quite dim, had a green tint, and appeared fuzzy; Pug vaguely remembered hearing something about it in his training, and informed the party that it was something called a comet. Iñaka was ecstatic when the party returned, repeating one of the Acalani prophecies:
The Undying One shall see the Green Nomad three times
The party was quite confused, not understanding the meaning of this, so after he calmed down a bit he explained what he believed it meant: the ‘Green Nomad’ was obviously the comet, and ‘The Undying One’ referred to Athanasius, the God-King of Acalan. The Green Nomad returned to the skies of Karadrus every 183 years, and this was the third time it was visible during the lifetime of Athanasius. Iñaka was convinced this signaled the beginning of the end of Athanasius and that he would be killed and his necromancy-fueled reign would be overthrown.
The party briefed Lord Kell on what had happened in Aramore, and while he offered the services of up to a half dozen of his men Akora declined, believing that a small group would be less likely to be either interfered with or detected. They rested for the night and set out for the Recco area the next morning; the traveling was slow and it was still below freezing, but they did not encounter anyone on the road. That evening Akora drew second watch; distracted by finally getting to first base with Sentia, he wasn’t even attempting to mind his surroundings. The first four arrows missed and even though they landed close by failed to catch his attention, but the fourth found its mark in his shoulder. Akora shouted for Pug and Emmerick to wake up, and unable to get into armor, the party members were at best able to put on a helm and grab a shield before engaging their attackers. Akora guarded Sentia, using his shield to protect her, as two men charged into the camp. He was hit by another couple arrows before Emmerick and Pug were up and able to go on the offensive.
Emmerick charged the two men that were rushing into camp, disemboweling one of them who then tripped over his entrails and fell as Emmerick continued his charge towards the archers. The other attacker rushing into the camp, shocked by how his compatriot was being killed, was still reacting as Akora decapitated him. Pug, using his skills as a mage, created a cone of damage, casting it so perfectly that it did extra damage two all three of the enemies in the range of the cone.
Emmerick and Akora reached two of the archers, with Emmerick cleaving one across the chest and Akora stabbing the other through the armpit, killing both. Pug was holding off two of the attackers as two more, one of them the leader, came into the camp. Leaving the two other archers, Akora and Emmerick rushed the new combatants. The fight was brutal and bloody, and eventually Pug fell unconscious. Sentia knocked one of the attackers unconscious using her staff, while Emmerick, having been hit by a mace, retaliated by cutting the man’s leg off. Still faced with four enemies, two of them with bows, and already heavily wounded, Akora and Emmerick were saved by Herlinda. She slaughtered the two archers, decapitating one with the head landing in the campfire and stabbing the other through the heart, giving the party the opportunity to finish off the last two. Emmerick killed one of the men and Akora knocked the leader unconscious, then the goup proceeded to patch themselves up and were able to wake Pug.
Herlinda had caught up with the party earlier that night and was planning to keep her distance, but the sounds of the combat forced her to join them. She was accompanied by three others, including a Rutani warrior priestess. Pug and Akora nearly came to blows as Pug was furious with Akora’s lack of awareness while on watch, while Akora was unapologetic about prioritizing having fun with Sentia. Akora cleaned four of the tabards of the attackers; while they were red and black like the city guard’s, the insignia was that of Mannik’s personal guard.
The group woke the man Sentia had knocked out and proceeded to interrogate him. He had been hired from Roskilde several weeks before to increase Mannik’s security force, and was able to tell them that Mannik usually had 20-30 guards inside the keep itself. There were only two entrances into the keep: the first was the portcullis and gate, and the second was a well in the courtyard. The well connected to the river, but was usually covered with a grate that was barred by a large timber, making it nearly impossible for the party to enter the keep through it. He was also able to give Akora a few details on the leader: he had a wife and four children, one boy and three girls, who lived in Recco. Akora knocked him unconscious, then woke the leader.
The man was understandably reticent, especially after Akora taunted him about having lost. The leader spit blood in Akora’s face, only referring to him as ‘the fucking bard’, but Akora’s threatening to castrate his son made him more cooperative. He told Akora that the head cook was a woman named Anselda, and Mannik’s jailer was Marellus. Akora thanked him and knocked him unconscious, then Herlinda killed him by slowly sliding her sword under the bottom of his ribcage, up through it, and out through the shoulder. The party buried the nine bodies in the snow and relocated camp to get more rest.
Body Count: 1 fucking huge bear, 1 big ass spider, 9 of Mannik’s guards
Baller Moment of the Week: Emmerick disemboweling an enemy who then tripped over his entrails before he died.
Fuckup of the Week: Akora completely neglecting watch duties.
Running Body Count: 64 humans, 22 creatures, 36 undead