Tales of the Adventure

One little mistake...
Crow slips up

Crow managed to pocket some rather valuable jewelry and a strange sealed parchment from a local merchant’s bedroom and then unexpectedly fall from the rooftops onto a garden wall nearly breaking his ribs! After staggering away and hiding in the hidden underground passages of the city sewers, Crow then called for his canine companion, Griffen, who soon showed up to keep him company. Griffen then heard strange noises deeper down the sewer tunnels which Crow decided to stay far away from. Recovering from the initial shock of his injuries, Crow decided to leave the sewers and try to make it to his friend at ‘The Barnacle’ Tavern. Entering the streets once more Crow made his way as quickly as possible back to the poor district. After a narrow escape from a panicked house servant and some city guards Crow and Griffen reached The Barnacle and got help from Roscoe the owner and Melinda the barmaid who brought the district saw-bones, Doc Harbur, to take a look at Crow’s badly bruised ribs. Some awkward trades of stolen goods later, Crow rests in one of the dirty Tavern back rooms while Griffen sleeps at his feet.

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Distrurbance at the Barnacle
Strange men and corrupt watchmen

The next evening while crow rests in the back of the tavern, a sudden hush comes over the patrons in the main room. Roscoe can be heard asking a man what he would like and a gruff voice with a foreign accent asks him if he knows anything about ‘the spider’. Roscoe says he does not, whereupon it sounds as if several men begin to toss tables about and generally make a mess of the room. Wether or not they are looking for something or just trying to intimidate in unclear. Roscoe protests, and at one point the curtain to the room where Crow is staying is thrown back and the silhouette of a large man in a black cloak in outlined in the opening between the back room and the bar. Griffen sneaks under the cot where crow lies. Crow cannot make out much of the man except that his left hand, with which he hold the curtain back, appears to have silver rings on each finger. The man stares at Crow for a few seconds and then abruptly turns back into the bar room. He gives an order for his men to follow him and they all exit into the night. Roscoe checks on Crow but seems to know nothing of the man or indeed who or what the ‘spider’ is.

The next day Crow leaves the Barnacle and begins to make his way back to his section of the undercity. As he is leaving the Barnacle, he notices a coin dropped on the paved street just outside the tavern. He picks it up and discoveres it to be a copper coin from un unknown origin. He pockets the coin and goes on his way. He then sees Captain Axbrow and three of his men cornering Otto Brownstone the baker and challenging him about some insult he supposedly gave to the captain. Crow hides behind a crate and listens in, Griffen at his heals. From what Crow can gather, it seems like the Captain made some suggestive remarks to Otto’s wife and Otto took offense and told the Captain off. The Captain did not take kindly to the backtalk from Otto and has now cornered him and is asking for all of Otto’s money, or else… Otto complains that it’s all he has and he won’t be able to buy supplies and the loss of the money will ruin him, but the Captain takes no pity on him and after knocking him to the ground and giving him a few good kicks, takes his coin purse and walks off with his men. Crow approaches Otto and asks him what happened. Otto, wholly despairing, repeats the story and bemoans his fate. Crow shows the scroll he stole to Otto who refuses to open it, telling him the seal is of noble lineage and that it’s from Farusea and there is no way he’ll risk whatever it may mean to open it if it wasn’t meant for him. Otto then goes back to wringing his hands and Crow tells him not to worry, but decides that there isn’t much he can do for him and leaves him, head in hands, at the side of the street.

Crow then goes to his hideout in the undercity and meets with the other urchins. There are several there including a couple of kids younger than Crow who seem to idolize him, and a couple other kids, one of whom challanges Crow on what Crow says he did that day (Crow says he faced off against the Town Watch and after an exchange of blows, gave them the slip). The one older kid doesn’t believe Crow but is still impressed at the scroll and such that Crow acquired. Crow goes to rest in his ‘room’ and places the scroll and foreign penny in his secret stashing place. He lies down to rest and Griffen lays down beside him.

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A royal quest begins
With Grandmother's blessings

Pythia and Hywel have just met with Pythia’s grandmother and received word of what she wants of them. Just then, they receive word that dinner is being served and they are expected to attend. Entering the great dining hall, Pythia and Hywel see the tables thronged with guests and the King sits at the high table drinking and talking with notables. Pythia takes her seat at this table, attended by her personal dining maid and Hywel goes to a table where a general from Farusea is seated and makes conversation. She learns that the prince was part of the King’s Gryphons, an elite company that was sent to the border of Dredena near the lost city of Brylinshor. The order was given for the company to try and reclaim Brylinshor but after several attempts to take her was forced to camp east of the city near the Ivory Forest. Hywel is assured that it is unlikely the prince was part of the initial raids and should be safe, but no word has come from the company for some time now. The general tells Hywel in whispers that the a special force from Farusea known as the ‘Ravens’ has been sent to try and locate the prince and his company.

Later that evening, Pyhia and Hywel meet again briefly with Pythia’s Grandmother for a final word before departing. Pythia is given a leather doublet with hidden chainmail sewn into it which her grandmother insists she wear. Her grandmother also instructs Pythia’s handmaiden to suitably distress the clothing Pythia had chosen to travel in so that she does not appear royal. The clothes come back dirty and torn, but still are obviously of a very high quality. Pythia’s grandmother sends them off and tells them to take the horses she has waiting for them in the stables. The pair soon set out towards the castle gates.

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Thim goes missing and the Grand Market
Crow returns to the Merchant Quarter

After spending a rough night in his secret hiding place in the undercity, Crow prepares to venture out into the city again when a fellow street urchin, Lukas, comes to him in a panic telling him that their friend Thim was caught stealing apples from the Silk Man’s garden and was taken into the merchant’s house 3 days ago and hasn’t been seen since. The Silk Merchant (known to the urchins as the ‘Silk Man’) is a notoriously cruel individual and Lukas worries that Thim may be in serious trouble; perhaps sold into slavery or perhaps something worse! Crow reassures Lukas that Thim will be ok and that while they will go and investigate, they first need some food (as Crow’s stomach, and Griffen’s as well, have been growling for hours now). Crow leads Lukas into the merchant quarter where the Grand Market is and Lukas reluctantly follows. Unfortunately for Crow, some city guards see him come into the market and keep a close eye on him, tracking his movements through the busy square. While scanning the market stalls for something good to eat Crow spots a small band of guards led by Captain Axbrow walking about the place. Axbrow struts about looking very self-important and bowing low to all the noble women he meets. Crow then looks around for some way to create a distraction so he can get up to no good but he hesitates for too long and the guards begin to approach him. Crow quickly flees the square with Griffen and Lukas and they run down a side street and make a quick turn at the next intersection. Crow tells the two of them to hide and Griffen instantly runs behind a crate and seems to totally disappear whereas Lukas squats behind another crate but can be clearly seen. The guards can be heard coming and Crow tells Lukas to run back to the poor quarter. Lukas takes off and Crow quickly scales the building next to him and hides on the roof just as the guards come around the corner. They guards don’t see Crow or Griffen and Lukas is too far to catch, so they reluctantly go back towards the square empty handed.

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Thief and Favour
Crow adds to his wallet and indulges his stomach

Crow at the Market

Not wishing to be deterred from atteding the grand market by a mere pair of city guards, Crow returns to the square and looks for an opportunity to relieve someone of their wealth. He watches as a crowd gathers around a man dazzling his audience with magical conjurations, dazzling the market goers by making the water in a bowl obey him. Crow sneaks closer to get a better look (using a fat man as cover). He sees that the magician is making the bowl of water vibrate and splash with shouted commands and gestures of his hands, but perhaps more interesting to Crow are the many purses dangling from marker goers belts as they stand enraptured by the conjurer.

Crow takes his chance on cutting the button off of a man’s belt pouch and then waits for a climactic moment in the magician’s show to quickly reach into the pouch and see what he can take. The magician soon calls out wildly, invoking the power of the ancients and the water within the bowl becomes a liquid snake, thrasing and snapping at the audience. Crow siezes this moment to deftly reach into the man’s pouch and grab as many coins as he can and quickly disapear down the alley from whence he came.

Grand marker

The Grand Market – art by minnhagen

Successful, he runs round the corner and pauses behind the back wall of The Priestess Tavern, the smalls of the finest cooking spilling out from several open doors. Crow, famished from not having eaten for over a day, approaches one of the doors and looks inside. He sees a huge kitchen with many, many cooks and kitchen staff running around and yelling at one another, busy with food preparation for the wealthy patrons in the tavern. Crow sees a young dishwasher lad about his age and whistles for him. The boy cannot hear Crow over the din of the restaurant and Crow flicks a copper coin at his head, pinging him accruately behind the ear. The boy whirls around angrily but as soon as he sees Crow in the doorway his jaw drops as he can’t believe he’s face to face with the legendary boy who steals into castles and thwarts the efforts city guard! Crow motions the boy over and promises him money if he’ll bring him some food. The boy, star-struck, races off and comes back with the most sumptious looking plate of roast lamb, broiled potatoes and garden greens that Crow has ever seen. Crow surmises he must have swiped it from some servers unattended tray and the boy risked much to steal it like that. Crow reaches into his pocket for the money he just recently pick-pocketed and gives the boy 3 silver coins! The boy is astonished at this display of wealth and very grateful, exclaiming he could never make so much even in two weeks of work! He asks Crow how he got the money and Crow tells of how he stole it from Captain Axbrow from right under his nose. The boy is amazed and impressed with Crow’s gaul and asks where he can find Crow in the city. Crow decides to tell him where he can be found, and reveals the secret entrance to the urchin’s undercity home. Crow also tell him that the boy should take more risks and dare to follow his dreams, not be some lousy cook’s personal slave! The boy is bolstered by Crow’s words and seems resolved to change his life. At that moment, a man can be heard yelling for the boy from within (calling for Tobias) and the boy retreats into the kitchen, telling Crow he’ll see him again. Crow turns to his food and notices that Griffen is fairly quivering with anticipation of the meat on the plate and Crow gives him a slice. Crow then hears someone from the kitchen coming for the back door and so he takes off down the alley, round another corner and eats his food hidden from public view.

After being fully satiated from the rich meat and savouries, he and Griffen take a visit to the house of the Silk Man and scout it out. They find that the front of the row house is gated off with a large iron fence and the back entrance lies behind a walled garden. Crow scales the garden wall, to get a better look. He sees no activity in the garden or through any of the windows of the house, but he knows there must be at least servants home and probably the notoriously sadistic guard. Some grates cover openings next to the house’s foundation that must give ventilation to the basement where Crow assumes Thim is being held. Not wanting to draw too much attention to himself in the day time, Crow then quickly leaves and resolves to return at night to see what he can do about finding the captured Thim. He and Griffen then return to the poorer district and to Crow’s underground home to rest.

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Strangers in Sendsend
Two men from the desert and a cabin boy walk into a bar...

Having arrived in Sendsend with a caravan of goods from Dredena, the dye-maker Kartoosh and his companion Rabinagath Bador of Khosh find meagre lodgings at the inn and become acquainted with the young crewman Cloudwater, named after the trading cog he sailed in on. During the course of the evening the group learns something about each other and the next day Kartoosh and Rabinagath approach the captain of the Cloudwater and inquire about transport to Helas Girith. The captain, suspicious of the haughty Dredenian Kartoosh but respectful to the fellow merchant Rabinagoth agrees to give them passage on certain assurances and on Rabinagath’s vouchsafing that Kartoosh will not be a problem or liability.

Medieval village

Village of Sendsend on the Maysend river

Rabinagath, followed by Kartoosh explores the town, casually looking about for something he might be able to use as a staff which no one will mind going missing. He wanders to the outskirts of the settlement, leaving Kartoosh behind in the market, and finds a large wooden tripod next to an abandoned house, from which a cooking pot could be suspended over a fire. He takes one of the lengths of wood as his makeshift quarterstaff and pokes around a little more looking for anything of value, such as a pot, left behind. Finding no such thing he heads back towards the Cloudhopper.

Meanwhile, Zartoosh has wandered the market trying to familiarize himself with the architecture and stone work of this strange culture. He determines the Tandaseans build using a hard stone and mortar, but his skills fail him and he cannot determine the exact nature of the stone used. He looks at the nearby local grasses and plants to see if there is anything familiar he can identify but nothing is recognizable. At a herbal stall he tries again to identify what is for sale to little avail and asking the attendant all he gets in the cold shoulder.

On the boat, Cloudhopper after having climbed the mast of the ship to determine the local wind and get a better view of the town and where the two foreigners went, speaks with Captain Gnemoarshiz about possible shore leave. The captain tells him he doesn’t care what he does as long as he first helps finish load the goods and secure them to the deck. Cloudhopper acquiesces and helps lash the crates and barrels down. As he does so, he notices a few crates with Farusean labeling on them. He can’t quite make out what they say, but notes it a bit odd that any shipments from Farusea would come through Sendsend and not pass into Tandasea much further east. He takes a moment to copy down the labelling on parchment and then finishes his work.

Rabinagath returns to the Cloudhopper and asks Captain Gnemoarshiz if he is in need of a skilled cartographer, perhaps to supply needed maps and charts. There must have been something in the way Rabinagath approached this proposal, because the captain remembering his weather worn and fading charts jumps at the chance to have this strange man draw up replacement charts and even agrees to maybe pay something for the work if the product proves worthwhile. The captain supplies Rabinagath with his old charts, a pen and blank parchment and lets him get to work. Rabinagath then makes a point of committing as much of the charts to his formidable memory as possible as well as redrawing the most damaged versions.

Cloudhopper then wanders into the market and approaches the dusky Zartoosh who stands frustrated at the herbal stall. He arrives just as Zartoosh blurts out a very touch “Tobacco!” to the merchant who looks just as annoyed as ever. Cloudhopper then engages the salesman, who calls himself Geos, and buys some savoury spice, some curing salt and finally some tobacco from the man. Zartoosh, seeing the tobacco he was previously denied begins to ask again if he can have some. Again he gets the cold shoulder. Cloudhopper cuts in and mentions something about Zartoosh being Farusean, at which Zartoosh is incredibly offened and goes on a tirade in Dredenian and spits on the ground, grinding his heal into the dirt where he spat. Cloudhopper moves quickly to smooth the situation over and offers Zartoosh some of his tobacco and they move away from the stall…

From the Diaries of Rabinagath Bador:

The 6th of the Third Moon.
At long last this dreadfull caravan is over, of all the indignities my family has suffered none has been so grating as this latest journey over the sands. My caravan so full of promise was lost to me as I approached Drudenia two months ago. Penniless and indebted once again I was forced to join the caravan of the the Qi merchant and profiteer Feng as a mere baggage handler in order to earn my keep across the sands. Feng took a keen interest in my humiliation during these trying times. The only position he offered me was that of manure keeper. My blood boils in its veins with heat of my shame. In Drudenia however Feng himself was the misfortune one, for this now cursed land had no interest in his eastern trinkets and silks. He departed for home a poorer man for the efforts of his journey and I rest soundly when I imagine the crippling taxes he will face when he passes back through Khosh.
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18th of then Third Moon.
Times are bad in Drudenia, the once proud houses are led by broken even maddened men. Whatever darkness scourged this land, has left it once again in Age of Dust. The oasi’ are dry, the valleys wilted the merchant banks depleted. No one here will lend me the money’s I need to return home. As my own resources are nearing their end I have decided to enter deeper into Tandesea looking for new products to sell in the east and investors to finance me.
The Fourth Moon
I’ve taken in with a Drudenian magician who fancies himself a learned man and doctor. He speaks constantly of his knowledge and potential while doing nothing but smoke his numbing leaf. However poor he is though he always finds provisions and being a man of the sands cannot leave another man without bread. He is a man lacking the shame due his lowely position, but he scarcely notices such deprivation. He sells concoctions of mud as medicine to the ignorant in exchange for the brown coins of this country which are not even worth their own weight in bread.
However his company is worthwhile.
Two on the road are safer and he knows this land better than I.
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15th of the Forth moon,
After a long March we have arrived in Sandsend, a trivial market town at the end of the Tandesean sphere of trade. From here we wish to obtain passage to the capital of the province by river craft.
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16th of the Forth moon
At long last fortune shines on me again, today a river boat protentiously named the Cloudhopper docked in Sandsend. The captain, a reasonable man, saw promise in me and has agreed to bring myself and my Drudenian with him on his return to the capital.
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Interestingly these water folk are wiser than they at first seem. They captain has proven to be a generous and reasonable if remarkably gutless man. While dealing in limited goods he is a trader of some sophistication I notice.
The captain has a reasonable collection of maps and and charts, albeit in dreadfull condition, that he has gullibly allowed me to correct and clean up for him. Thinking little of their worth he has unwittingly let a fellow merchant see these most prized possessions and bizarrely even offered me compensation for their adjustment. Obviously I have altered several key locations on the caravan routes to protect them from Tandesean merchants and spent every conceivable effort in memorising these charts.

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The Strength of Three
Something has gone wrong...
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Fools and Money
A good time to leave

In the Sendsend market Zartoshvar sets up his alchemical lab and begins to concoct, with much flair and gusto, a herbal foot ointment. He is approached by Cloudhopper who asks him if he wouldn’t mind translating a bit of Farusean that Cloudhopper copied down off crates brought on board the ship in exchange for some tobacco. Zartoshvar begins by protesting at Cloudhopper’s previous assumption that he is Farusean but ends up agreeing to the deal seeing as he so badly needs to smoke his pipe. He receives a bowlful of pipe weed on the promise he will translate the notes later, but right now he insists on finishing his medicinal preparations. Cloudhopper then roams the market, keeping a watchful eye out for anything or anybody that appears out of the ordinary, while trying to look as casual as possible, wandering from stall to stall feigning interest in the wares. Nothing stands out, with the exception of a trio of young men in front of the tavern who lean against the entrance and seem to be watching Zartoshvar as he prepares his ointment with particular fixation.

On board the Cloudhopper, Rabinagath continues to redefine and copy the ships maps when he hears someone quietly hail him from shore. A man dressed as a Farusean merchant, shows him a small package bound in leather and sealed with wax and asks him if he would take it to a man named Emilson at a clothiers on River street in Helas Girith. He offers Rabinagath 25 silver pieces for the delivery, 5 now and 20 when he arrives. Rabinagath feels awkward about the transaction and asks why he doesn’t give the package to the captain. The man explains that he is from Nolunday, a city in Farusea, and has been called back home for his family has taken ill, otherwise he would take it himself and he does not wish to bother the captain as it might entail all sorts of paperwork which he wants to avoid. Rabinagath haggles with the man for some time, and just as it appears the man is going to walk off, they come to an agreed price of 15 silver pieces no, 25 when the package is delivered. The man hands over the package, which he explains is a codex of clothing patterns of the latest fashions, and the 15 silver and departs. Rabinagath ponders over wether or not to open it up…

Back in the market, Zartoshvar stands quietly by his alchemical stall, trusting that the professionalism of his work will attract buyers and there is no need to hawk his wares. A single man wanders over and asks him what it is he’s selling. Zartoshvar goes to great lengths to explain the qualities of the ointment he has prepared and the man appears interested though he wonders if Zartoshvar has anything for sore joints, as that is what he is really suffering from. Zartoshvar explains such a cure takes a while to prepare and months to work properly but if the man were to pay him 40 copper he could prepare him a months supply and give him instructions of how to make more. The man feels the price is too steep and asks instead about the foot ointment. Zartoshvar tells him 25 copper, to which the man insists on sampling the cure and then haggles with him and eventually they agree on the ointment plus a list of ingredients for the 25 copper. The man then leaves and Zartoshvar, having no other customers packs up. Zartoshvar calls a young boy over to him and gives him a description of Cloudhopper and orders him to find him and tell him he’s wanted. The boy runs off and Zartoshvar shouldering his pack, looks around for a place to eat and drink.

Cloudhopper, watching the market is aware of a man dressed in Farusean merchant clothing hurrying across the square. He follows the man and, gaining his attention, asks if he might translate the words he copied down. The man seems a bit perturbed by Cloudhopper’s request but when Cloudhopper offers him 10 copper for his services the man takes his money and tells him the words are the name of a Farusean Vineyard, Othlan Fields. The man then turns and leaves and Cloudhopper continues his meandering. A minute later, a young boy tugs at Cloudhopper’s sleeve and tells him a Dredenian is looking for him in the market. The boy then holds out his hand for payment and Cloudhopper gives him a copper piece. Pleased, the boy runs off and Cloudhopper makes his way back to where he last saw Zartoshvar.

Meanwhile, Zartoshvar, hungry and thirsty, turns to the local tavern. He notices the three young men watching him from the entrance and when he approaches they step forward and block his way. They ask him what he’s doing here, and then tell him to leave, and “go back to the wastelands”. Zartoshvar takes offence to this slight of his homelands and expounds upon the richness of Dredena and how Tandasean culture by comparison is so meagre. The comparison goes right over the heads of the young men who call him a “desert rat” and one of them steps forward and gives Zartoshvar a shove. At this moment, Cloudhopper comes into view and walks over, asking the young men what they are doing. They begin to threaten Cloudhopper as well and ask him if he wants a taste of a knuckle sandwich. Cloudhopper responds that he’s never had that before and asks if it’s tasty, and promptly gets punched in the mouth. Fists begin to fly now and Cloudhopper tries to defend himself but gets knocked about several times by his attacker. Zartoshvar on the other hand, draws his large knife and, patting the blade of his knife in his other hand, asks the young men if they are truly looking for trouble. Surprised and intimidated, the young men back off, one of them fleeing behind the tavern and the other trying to pull his friend off of Cloudhopper. A couple more blows against the side of Cloudhopper’s head and the thug’s friend succeeds in pulling his buddy off of Cloudhopper though the enraged young man still tries to throw punches. Cloudhopper takes off and Zartoshvar again makes a show of the blade in his hand and the remaining two men get the picture and leave. Zartoshvar then proceeds to the doorway of the tavern, but stops short of entering as the size of the crowd inside, a dozen people, makes him feel uneasy. He tries to get the attention of the bar maid and finally succeeds. With a little convincing, she brings him some dried meat good enough for a few days of travel rations and a mug of beer. He drinks the mug down and heads back to the Cloudhopper. Just after he leaves, Cloudhopper himself returns and collects his quarterstaff which he dropped during the altercation with the street tough.

Zartoshvar and Cloudhopper return to the ship and climb aboard, seeing Rabinagath again and exchanging greetings. The state of Cloudhopper’s face causes some stir on the boat and Captain Gnemoarshiz offers to clean him up a bit, but Cloudhopper refuses and simply sets to work. Eventually our adventurers and the crew of the ship settle down for the evening. Cloudhopper goes directly to bed, but Zartoshvar and Rabinagath stay up a while, listening to a musician who plays a lute by the water further north down the quay. As the night deepens, they spot what at first seems to be a meteor shower far off on the horizon above the mountains to the northwest, but something seems amiss as the meteors seem to be falling way to regularly. They watch the phenomenon for a while and then go to sleep.

In the morning, the Cloudhopper leaves the dock and heads downstream towards Helas Girith. The morning is uneventful, but in the afternoon smoke appears on the horizon to the north, over the west bank. The smoke is some distance away but as they travel further downstream they get closer and the smoke thickens somewhat and the scent of burning wood is clearly in the air. Cloudhopper, having climbed the mast, hears distant shouts and screams. Still sticking to their course they eventually come close to the western bank of the river and suddenly several men, women and children come running to the water’s edge and yell for help! The clear cry of “Orcs!” can be heard now and as if on queue, one of the men on the bank is violently heaved forward into the water from behind and 4 or 5 large brutish, grey skinned creatures with small eyes, furrowed foreheads and sharp teeth fall upon the people calling for help. Some of the people are run through with sword and spear, but others are grabbed by the Orcs and taken away into the reeds. People also begin jumping into the river to escape their attackers. Two of the Orcs on shore see the Cloudhopper and, putting away their swords, draw bow and arrow and begin to fire upon the ship. The captain curses and begins to turn his ship away from the bank. “Do you have any weapons on board!?” asks Zartoshvar to the captain, who tells him that below decks there is a crossbow. Cloudhopper then grabs the longest rope he can find on the ship, ties one end around his waist and one end to the ship, and leaps into the water heading for the people who jumped from shore. Rabinagath shouts to Captain Gnemoarshiz to turn the ship about and head into the centre of the river. Captain Gnemoarchiz is already turning the ship…

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We can be heroes! (just for one day?)
or What makes a barrel float...

From the diaries of Rabinagath Bador:

17th of the Forth month.
An eventful day. I’ve seen things I never thought were true. Man beasts, of lore. The locals call them Orcs. Around midday we noticed burning on the western bank. Great plumes rose in the distance and blew towards us filling the river with acrid smoke. As we accented the burning drew nearer. Suddenly we saw peasants on the shore running for their lives, pursued by ragged men on barbarous assortments of armour. A few were hacked down others dragged into the woods. Four managed to leap into the river and seeing our boat swam out to us.
One of the crew, the youngest and most awkward wetlander I’ve ever seen left to their aids without hesitation. Taking a line he hurled himself into the water and sea out to them. Impressed with his bravery I leant what aid I could, securing his line and hauling him and one man back on board. The orcmen were more barbarous then Qi soldiers, firing at the women with arrows. Two were killed barely off from the shore, one lasting minutes as her wounds tormented her. The sailor reached the closest peasant first as the captain brought the boat out of danger from the Orc arrows. We managed to get them back on board but the sailor was hit by a deadly arrow through the chest. I have treated him as best I can, and can only pray he makes it. The man on reaching the boat left back off to save the remaining woman as our crew fired back at the orcs. Two fell to our bolts and another spontaneously burst into flames. Some devils magic of the Drudenian perhaps. I saw him playing with oil earlier.
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It’s evening now, things have settled down, I wish to hear what these peasants say of the Orc beasts. I fear another danger has been unleashed on this land, one detrimental to my designs. If the trade routes are further cut and Tandesea is lost to us as Drudenia has been, I fear the caravans may cease completely, and my nation which depends on them, will be lost.

Official account:

The Cloudhopper quickly turned about as Captain Gnemoarshiz jammed the tiller to the left. Though even as soon as the cog was broadside to the shore, two of the Orcmen let fly with arrows at the ship. Zartoshvar dashed about looking for oil, when one of the crewmen came scuttering up on deck with a crossbow and several bolts in hand. Rabinagath rushes to the quickly uncoiling rope, to which Cloudhopper is tied to the other end, grabs it, slides to the deck and takes up the slack, propping his feet upon the gunwales for support, letting it out little by little as CLoudhopper swims towards the screaming villagers. Zartoshvar also takes shelter at the gunwales and removing his cowl, places it upon the end of his sabre and waves it in the air, hoping to gain the attention of the Orcs firing at them.

The Orcs let fly with another volley, and a short scream is heard from the water just as another arrow flies past the Captain hunkered down in the stern. Zartoshvar leaps to his feet and helps the crewman load the crossbow and set it up for a shot at their enemies on the bank. Ranbinagath secures the rope to the gunwales and gets to his feet and begins a little dance! He shakes and twists and offers quite the tempting target, but the Orcs are not persuaded and again fire on the Captain and upon those in the water and another scream is heard from those thrashing just off shore.

Finally, as the Cloudhopper has almost turned 180 degrees, the crewman has the crossbow ready to fire and squeezes off a shot. An Orc lets out a guttural cry and falls! Hooray for beginners luck! Zartoshvar then plans a fiery assault upon the Orcs and searches for rags with which to douse with oil and attach to the arrows, ready for lighting. He finds rags in one corner and oil in the stern and proceeds to setup the crossbow bolts with a recipe for a terrific blaze. As the boat comes about, Rabinagath throws the rope over the cockpit so as to not have the hooked rope pull Cloudhopper back prematurely. And indeed, at that moment Cloudhopper reaches one of the swimmers and pulls him close, only to be struck moments later in the chest with a cruel Orcish arrow! He lets out a cry but holds onto consciousness as Rabinagath begins to pull him and the villager in towards the boat.

The crewman with the crossbow fires off another shot and slams another Orc off his feet! What a marksman! Yet at the same time yet another cry from the water and then silence, another villager sinks below the water…

The remaining Orcs too devise flaming arrows and fire them upon the boat, luckily missing. Rabinagath continues to pull Cloudhopper in. Cloudhopper barely clings to consciousness but the man he rescues lends him aid as they get closer to the boat.

Zartoshvar ignites a readied bolt and the crewman fires again, missing his target completely and the flaming arrow flies off into the grasslands. Zartoshvar then goes to aid Rabinagath with hauling in the two at the end of the rope as the crewman sets up another shot.

The Orc fires again, but this time at the man in the water who keeps Cloudhopper afloat. Too close! The arrow grazes the villages shoulder and he cries out but is relatively unharmed.

The crewman fires another shot and SNAP! His crossbow breaks! The wooden armature broken! Zartoshvar inquires of the captain if there be any barres on board he could toss to the last surviving villager, to which the captain reluctantly points out the ships water barrel. Making quick mental calculations on mass to volume ratios, Zartoshvar tosses the barrel into the river and sure enough, it sinks… It is the Orc on shore’s turn to let loose with an arrow now, and he lifts his bow for a shot alive with flame, but he too falters and the arrow slips from his grip and the flames ignite his oil soaked clothing! With bestial howls he runs off into the grasses, leaving a smoke trail as he flees. The barrel, reconsidering its commitment to the laws of physics, resurfaces and bobs happily along.

At the gunwales now, CLoudhopper and the villager are hauled up by Rabinagath and Zartoshvar. Cloudhopper loses consciousness just as he is pulled onboard. Rabinagath, somewhat skilled at medicine rushes to his side and staunches his wounds with a clean cloth from Zartoshvar’s alchemical lab. He examines the arrow but decides it best to leave it in place for now; the fletching he breaks off however. He then turns to the man they rescued and asks him about the woman left swimming for her life as the last remaining orc slips away, his intentions unknown. The man is convinced by Rabinagath to go after his fellow villager and leaps in to rescue her. The attempt is successful and the Cloudhopper turns again downstream with a gravely injured Cloudhopper and two stunned villagers.

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A Night in Goln
How much to remove this arrow?

After the encounter with the Orcmen and the rescue of the two villagers, Gnemoarshiz steers the Cloudhopper on towards the trading town of Goln where he hopes to pick up goods from Farusea as well as see if poor Cloudhopper can get some medical assistance.

Rabinagath and Zartoshvar attempt to converse with the two villagers they rescued, and learn the the Orcs came in the night riding huge wolves and set fire to the village, killing many and dragging many away. All who were not killed or stolen fled, but most who did so were cut down as the party saw by the river. Zartoshvar offers his famous ‘Milk of the Poppy’ to the troubled pair, and the man takes some to give to the woman whose name is Rebekah. When told the ship is going to Helas Girith and if they know of anyone there, the man responds that he has a cousin there who will help them.

Docking close to evening, Cloudhopper is quickly brought into town and a local healer sought out. Zartoshvar and Rabinagath help Cloudhopper to the house of Bern, the healer that locals at the Goln tavern recommend. Upon seeing Cloudhopper, Bern steadies himself and asks the assistance of his two companions in extracting the arrow. He boasts of his skill with a surgeon’s blade, but when the moment of truth arrives and the arrow is extracted, Cloudhopper visibly spasms and falls back into unconsciousness, his chest torn with the extraction. However, having no better alternative, Cloudhopper is left in the care of Bern and his companions return to the ship for the night.

The next day a trip is made to the smithy to see if any weapons are to be had for the party to defend themselves against any other encounters with Orcs. The seaman Chris also brings along the broken crossbow (which he tried to fix himself) to see if anything can be done about that. The smith explains he does not have the skill to repair a crossbow as it is out of his expertise, but he can sell Rabinagath a spear from an order that was commissioned by the King’s army and was not not collected with the others. Zartoshvar asks if he has a sabre, and the man produces a short sword saying it is a better, and the only, sword he has. Zartoshvar tries to bargain with him to reforge the sabre he already owns, but the price is too high and Zartoshvar leaves with his same old cheap short sword. Back to the Cloudhopper they go.

The Cloudhopper takes on more cargo and Gnemoarshiz announces it is time to leave. A quick cast off and the ship is underway, wearing its way downstream. Several hours pass and then in the middle of the afternoon the party spies a derelict whip adrift in the middle of the river. A dog can be heard barking from its deck and as the Cloudhopper draws nearer they can see the ship is listing badly and sinking, its stern much lower in the water than the bow. Burn marks can be seen on deck near the forward hatch and several bodies can be seen on board, including one that dangles, caught in the ropes, head first into the river…

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