Post by Rothgar MacRothgar on Nov 18, 2014 18:12:45 GMT -8
Are you familiar with Rothgar The Troll Slayer, or Rothgar MacRothgar The Destroyer of Cetnaur? A few months ago an unknown enemy attacked our lands. They massacred them, killing the lord, all of his loved ones, and the servants. I am on a quest to discover who is responsible.
Those names sound familiar, and not just because they are so similar to your own. Alas, history has never been my strong suit. For better or worse, my eyes have always been on the road ahead. Looking toward new horizons and opportunities leaves little time for past tragedies. Sembo hops over to the bartender, who meets Sembo's smile with a near murderous glower. Some drinks befitting a tragic tale my good man. The bartender does not move, but continues to stare. You are not sure if he is aware of Azzan in the corner. You glance over to him, and are shocked to see Azzan is not there. Sembo's smile slips, for the first time, and a look of contrition appears in his eyes. A moment later, the smile returns. Oh right, the mess. Many apologies my good man, one can get lost in conversation as easy as in a dark wood. Sembo reaches into his coat and retrieves a small sack, with a heavy clatter he drops it on the bar. The bartender opens the sack, his eyes grow wide as he looks inside, then to Sembo, then back to the sack. He quickly puts the sack beneath the bar and scurries into a back room, only to emerge a moment later with two dusty bottles. He quickly brushes debris from your table and places the bottles with 2 glasses. The labels on the bottles appear dwarven. I recall, when I came in, the smell of a fresh roast. Three shanks for me, and some for my companion as well. Also, anything sweet you have, some cakes or pie would be delightful. The bartender runs into the kitchen and you hear the frantic clatter of wooden bowls and plates.
Where were we, oh yes. Tell me about this attack on your lands, I am intrigued.GMs presumption. You relate the whole story, as well the meager evidence of who did it. Sembo listens patiently. As you speak, part of you realizes, this is the longest he has gone without speaking all night. When you describe the wounds on the few bodies you found, Sembo stops eating and his eyes go distant, as if deep in thought.
That is a terrible story. My heart is moved, and I would like to help you. Regrettably, an excursion north is not possible at this time. However, I think you may be going about this task in the wrong way. You seek revenge, but you have no idea who has committed this terrible act. From where I sit, there are two things you need. Information and muscle. As for information, I have some idea, or rather fears, of what you seek. To confirm, you will need to speak with the Oprichniki. If what I suspect is true, they will not only confirm my suspicions, but they will help get your revenge. Unfortunately, every captain of the Oprichniki in Ishmaera and Forlinde has assembled and ridden off to the north already. The nearest captain is Captain Tane, in Cold Lake. He is a good man, most helpful, and a dear friend. If he can't help you with muscle, I know who can. A very dear friend of mine, who happens to own me a huge favor, would be ideal for such a mission. His name is Lucky, and by a startling coincidence, he also lives near Cold Lake. So I would invite you to travel with me. I am on my way to Cold Lake, there will be a Rukhgam tournament there in a couple weeks, and I never miss an opportunity to beat dwarves at their own game. We travel in style, and after we arrive, I will make whatever introductions you need.
Excellent. Then we shall finish our meal, and be on our way. You spend perhaps another hour eating, or rather Sembo does. He spends more time talking than eating. It will take us perhaps a week on this road to get us around the Neylan Woods, and to Bafford. Once we are in Bafford, I can introduce you to a dear friend of mine, the Marquis of Eren, Raffin Frye. I met him some twenty years, unfortunately he has just lost his wife in childbirth. Despite that, he is remarkable, for a human. He inherited a small holding, and now is one of the richest men in Forlinde, and sits on the Regency Council....... Sembo continues to go on and on, describing the his friendship with the Marquis and various adventures he has had in Bafford, much sounds like fiction, but he tells the stories well. ...of course, that is when a first met Lucky. It was a night, eerily similar to this. I was playing cards, had been for at least 2 days straight. Sitting across from a rather angry little goblin. This pot had gotten to be pretty substantial by this point, and he couldn't afford to call me, so he drops a sword in the pot, says its a Luck Blade, and is worth 60k in gold. We show our cards and it seemed like all his luck was in the sword, he lost. His friends don't take too kindly, and a fight breaks out. This was before Azzan started to travel with me, so the brawl got out of hand pretty quick. Never one to turn away from a profitable situation, Lucky came in smacked those goblins around and won the day. I gave him that Luck Blade as a gift, and ever since he has 'owed me one'. As the night wears on, Sembo continues to tell story after story, most of which you barely hear.
When it comes time to leave, Sembo takes you outside. Before we leave, I should warn you. It is my preference to travel....a bit rustic. The fine establishments of the big cities can be few and far between on the open road, and the intrepid voyageurs like myself must make do with what we can. You don't quite hear the last part. As you exit the roadhouse you are dazzled by what looks like an immense cottage, with wheels. Its exterior is covered in fine carvings of darkwood and ivory, with inlaid gold, silver or perhaps mithral. There are massive windows, colored so that you cannot see inside, that seem to indicate that the carriage has two floors. The roof looks like a stylized parapet. You catch a glimpse of Azzan getting situated on the top, but there doesn't seem to be a driver or footman. Sembo walks up to the door, it opens on its own, and he walks inside motioning for you to join him. Inside the opulent monstrosity looks like a sitting room. There is a low table, with finely crafted chairs. Every wall is lined with bookcases, filled with books. You recognize some of the titles, but most are in languages you do not know. Most of the Common books seem to be adventure novels or books on mythology, as well as romances and travelogues. The room would be one of the most elegant you've ever seen, if not for the fact that everything is about half your size. The room was obviously built and furnished for a halfling, and then further reduced to fit inside a carriage. We can move some of the furniture around, and I have a spare cot you and put down. I will be sleeping in the upper compartment. Before he retires for the night, Sembo knocks on the front wall. Forward, please. The carriage slowly starts to roll down the road, piloted by some unseen driver. Semmy? Are you coming to bed An unfamiliar female voice calls down. Sembo replies. I will be up soon, just go back to bed.We'll be waiting says a different female voice. Sembo glances at you, still smiling but slightly red in the face. He shrugs, and climbs up the ladder.
A week passes while on the road and you arrive in Bafford, capital of Forlinde. Occasionally while on the road, you hear muffled yells or the clang of steel, but when you look out the window, you see nothing. When Sembo notices your curiosity, he mentions that his wagon is often attacked by "bandits and ruffians" on the road. He acts as though he doesn't understand why. Whenever possible, you walk outside the wagon, if only to stretch your legs. You are often joined by Tanellye, an elf and one of Sembo's female companions. Fortina is the other woman you heard on the first night. She rarely leaves the wagon, preferring to read Sembo's books or listen to his stories.
While traveling you were treated to a near endless stream of stories, anecdotes, and legends from Sembo. Most of his stories were long and rambling, often dotted (humbly) with heroic feats accomplished by Sembo. You retain little information. You are left with the impression that Sembo seems to have a "buddy", "dear friend", "old flame" or "acquaintance" in nearly every city and region in the known world, and many more people who owe him money, favors or both. By his accounts, Sembo has travelled all over the civilized world, as well as sizeable chunk of the uncivilized.
That is the all for now. Something may happen in Bafford, not sure. If nothing happens in Bafford, I will skip ahead to your arrival in Cold Lake which will be in the main story arc
Sembo's ridiculous carriage rolls silently down the road. His lady friends left in Bafford, so the last leg of your journey is just the two of you, with Azzan silently prowling the roof. Glancing out the windows, you notice an increasing number of tents along the road, as well as men and women passed out in fields and ditches.
We must be getting close to Cold Lake. Sembo says when he notices you looking out the windows. You are confused, you have heard that Cold Lake is a very wealthy area. Even the poorest in the area live better than most in the world. You ask why there would be people living in tents or ditches. During the recruitment drive, the population of the city doubles, and the new immigrants are considerably less affluent than the full time residents.
Sembo goes on to describe a powerful mercenary company based in the city, when they need to recruit new members they invite anyone interested to Cold Lake. Usually, there are less than a dozen positions open, but thousands show up to apply. Sembo speculates that most know they don't have a chance, and just come to join the epic party that traditionally follows recruitment. Sembo seems particularly happy, if not proud, as he describes everything that happens during the week long party.
While we are not here to join the Company nor the party, sadly, the woman I want you to meet is here. She is the highest ranked Oprichnik in all of northern Alainta, currently.
The carriage rolls through the shanty towns. It is morning, approaching midday, and most of the occupants appear to be asleep, or possibly dead. As you enter the city you begin to see more and more people stumbling around, if not drunk certainly hung over. The carriage pulls off and parks outside a livery. You and Sembo get out, Azzan stays with the carriage. You walk through the wide streets of the Foreign Quarter, and Sembo tells you that the revellers, or Wannabes the locals call them, are only allowed in the Foreign Quarter. The residents don't want their homes trashed, but most are happy to let them party down here, selling the Wannabes food and ale. Most of the buildings around here are warehouses and workshops, most are locked and barred. There are quite a few inns and pubs in the quarter, most baring 'no vacancy' signs.
Sembo seems to know exactly where he is going, walking confidently down side streets and small alleys. Eventually you come on an open block, there are trees and shrubs crowded in the small space, and in the middle is a well. A wheel with a series of buckets constantly moves drawing water from below and depositing it into a large pool. There are a number of people passed out by the pool, and few women filling buckets, Innkeepers or barmaids by their look. One of the women however does not look like a barmaid. She is dressed in black, at her hip is a longsword. Based on the wear of the scabbard, you wager the sword is not for show, and she knows how to use it. She is pulling a bucket from the pool, given how little effort she seems to exert, you imagine she is much stronger than her lithe frame would suggest. You and Sembo walk over to the woman in black.
I would have thought you would have a servant or two to fetch your water? The woman still has her back to you, and does not seem to react for a second, but then she puts the bucket on the ground, and grabs a long jacket from the side of the pool and puts it on. When she turns you are almost pushed back by the stare she gives you two, mostly the look she gives Sembo.
The two continue to stare at each other. Sembo with his characteristic goofy smile, she with a clenched jaw and almost burning eyes. You start to fear that you may have run into the only person who would want to kill Sembo. You also start to fear what kind of help you can get from such a person. Your hand drifts slowly to your swordbelt when suddenly the mood breaks, and the woman starts laughing. She drops to one knee and hugs Sembo, who also starts laughing.
Hahaha. It is good to see you, Shorty. I would have thought you learned your lesson. The City Council was quite clear, 'Sembo Tery is not welcome in the city during the recruitment drive'. Sembo feigns shock, then shrugs. In any case, I had not expected to see you, last I heard you were in the Elven realms, trying to get an audience with the Eladrin.
Tales of his hospitality seem to be exaggerated. Which is a shame.
It would be worrisome if he has closed his doors, but it may be that his doors are just closed to bounders like you. She glances at you. On that note, this guy doesn't seem like your usual type. Has your appetite changed?
My palate has always been open to new and exciting meals. Unless you are offering to cook for me, I do not think you have any business commenting about what is on my plate.
It would seem you are incapable of learning from past mistakes. No I will not......cook for you.
Well if you ever want to piss off your parents, let me know. You won't regret it. You are also wrong about Rothgar here. I met him on the road recently, and he has a problem that I am pretty sure only you can solve.
For you Sembo, I will give your friend five minutes. If he carries this bucket back to my office, you can give me the details on the way.
You grab the bucket and follow the pair as they walk down the street. Sembo formally introduces you to Captain Olenna Tane. You relate to her your story. You finish as she walks into a building with an attached stable, her office it seems. She sits at a desk, deep in thought. She turns to Sembo, and says a few words in a language you do not understand. Sembo nods, and says a reply in the same language.
Well, I have some good news, and some bad news. I think I can help you, unfortunately, this is not a good time. Recruitment time is, obviously, a very busy time for us. Worse, my squad was just cut in half, and my workload nearly doubled. I can give you the information you need, but in return, you need to help me. There has been a problem with bandits the last few weeks. Yesterday, the city guard informed me that they would not deal with them, as they are lead by a rogue mage. Rogue mages are clearly my bailiwick. The catch is, I have not seen any hard evidence that there is a rogue mage with these bandits. I have met their leader, he is a tricky fellow. If he tricks locals into thinking he or one of his men is a powerful mage, most sheriffs won't touch him. Ordinarily, I wouldn't have any trouble riding out and cutting his lying throat, but I don't have the manpower. I need everyone I've got, even myself, here during the recruiting. I have been trying to put together a team, mostly rejected Wannabes. I want you to lead them, take them the bandit lair, kill their leader and any "mages" you find. You do that, I will pay you, and tell you what happened to you family, and how to get revenge.
You don't appreciate being made and errand boy, but it seems the best chance you have, so you accept and shake her hand.
Good, tomorrow afternoon I will have the team ready. I can get you the details you need then, and you can meet the team.
Poor Lucky, he should have known better than to piss you off.