Codex I-Chapter 5

This page is part of the campaign story. << Previous Chapter | Next Chapter >>

The way back to the farmer’s village was without incident. Rynn made sure to steer them clear of where the goblins were camped out, and they very quickly were able to make it back to town. Having Nathan tied up on the horse helped immensely. Khaska remarked on this to Amara as they heaved the man up onto the animal. Nathan remained unconscious for the entire trip.

Those who were in the small village asked after them, especially since they were carrying the unconscious form of Nathan. Hubert and Richard very quickly sent them on a few more miles to the main town of Hillsdale, where Lord Yellman’s mansion was. They had made good time, and arrived at Hillsdale by late afternoon.

Lord Yellman’s mansion was quite extravagant. Clearly made of fine wood and plaster, it was very large and it was clear from the tall Cyprus trees that led up to it that it had been there for a long time. The large building was mostly surrounded by forest aside from the walkway leading up to it, but to Rynn’s eye it was evident the land had been cleared in the last few decades. Aside from the Cyprus trees, the rest of the vegetation near the mansion had not been growing all that long.

Lazlo came out to greet them bowing before all of them. “Welcome to Lord Yellman’s estate! We had hoped you would come right here, and it looks like you’ve apprehended the man responsible.”

“Yes,” said Rynn. “This is the man responsible for manipulating the goblins into attacking the farmers. But the situation is more complicated, we’ve discovered.”

Lazlo’s eyes widened. “Is there more danger?”

“No, I don’t think so, but we should tell Lord Yellman the rest of what happened.”

“Yes, of course, of course. However, I must ask one favor of you first. We have not the means to keep this man imprisoned on the estate, and I, that is, Lord Yellman would feel most comfortable if he were locked up in the local prison. It’s not much, but, well, it’s better than what we have here at the house.”

“Absolutely,” said Orensland.

“And please, do come back. I’ll inform Lord Yellman that you are here. He will most definitely want to see you.”

Getting Nathan locked up in the local prison only took a few minutes, as the mansion was about half a mile outside of the main town. The local constable was more than happy to lock Nathan up, and in a few minutes the criminal was placed in a cell and shackled to the wall. This left the group with the odd situation of having a horse that didn’t belong to them. “Maybe Lord Yellman could use another horse,” said Amara, shrugging.

“Or we could give it to a farmer that really needs it,” Orensland said.

Jenika looked at him, then smiled. “I agree with Orensland. But Lord Yellman would perhaps know who would desire such an animal?”

Rynn grabbed the reigns and began leading the horse. “At the very least, we should go talk to Lord Yellman right now.”

Lazlo greeted them again at the front of the mansion. “Lord Yellman and his wife, Adria, have invited you all to stay for dinner. We’ve had the cook informed and the meal will be served in one hour. Please, will you come with me to Lord Yellman’s personal office?”

The group followed Lazlo in. The front entryway featured two staircases going up either side. Art and statues decorated the room, and the rock floor was covered with an ornate rug. Lazlo led them through a side door, and a past a few more doors he knocked quietly on one at the end of a hallway. “Come in,” Lord Yellman’s voice said. Lazlo opened the door, and ushered the party in.

“Ah, you’ve returned,” the Lord said, standing from behind his large oak desk. “I hope, Lazlo, that you extended the invitation to them for dinner. I won’t take ‘no’ for an answer.” He beamed at them, clearly waiting for an answer.

The group looked at each other, but Amara was the one who put on her best smile. “We would love to join you and your wife.”

“Excellent.” He looked at Lazlo. “Please make sure everything is arranged, and let Adria know. That will be all, Lazlo.”

“Yes, milord.” Lazlo left and shut the door behind him.

“Now, please, have a seat and tell me about this man you’ve arrested.” Five chairs had been placed around the decently spacious room.

The group spent the next little while describing the events of the past two days. The gnomes, their studies of the ruins (which seemed to be focused on the large temple-like building), their hiring of Nathan, the battle to capture him, and then the gnomes offer of employment to replace the criminal. Lord Yellman took notes while they spoke in a notebook of his.

“And you think these gnomes pose no threat?”

“They seemed quite sincere when I asked them to swear that what they were doing was not illegal,” said Khaska. “But we are sure they were lying to us about their names.”

“It seems prudent that I at least send someone to watch them. Thank you for your help in this. I promised to make it worth your while, and I will. But after dinner. First, though, I wish to know more of you! From what you said earlier, I take it that you did not know each other even a week ago. What brings you to this part of our fair moon?”

Lord Yellman was quite specific in asking, and he asked in turn each of them. Amara was the most evasive with her answers, but the nobleman didn’t press. Rynn was telling of some of his adventures on the death side when a faint knock came at the door. “Yes,” called Lord Yellman.

The door cracked open, and a young woman, a maid by the look of her clothes, poked her head in. “Dinner is ready, milord.”

“Thank you Janice.” The man stood. “Please, come with me.” He led the way out of his office and down the hallway. The doors opposite the entrance in the main foyer were open, leading into a long dining hall. The tables looked like they could seat many people, but there were not many place settings tonight. Just one at the head for Lord Yellman, one on either side of him, and then three more on each side. A large painting hung over the double doors they entered in—a noble looking man dressed in fine clothes, sitting on a chair.

Two young ladies swept into the room. One was dressed very finely, earrings hanging down an inch from her ears, a gold headband keeping her hair back, and a necklace that hung down between her cleavage. She put her arm in Lord Yellman’s and smiled at the party. The other was dressed more simply, but still nice. Amara noticed ink stains on her right hand. “My friends, may I introduce my wife, the Lady Adria Yellman, and my daughter, Kyria.” Lady Yellman curtsied and welcomed them. Kyria did the same, but was not smiling. “Come, sit. Constable Tyrone will be here soon as well. Janice, bring out the wine. We’re not to wait for him.”

The maid came out with a bottle of wine and poured the chilled liquid into each person’s goblet. As the first course came out, the constable joined them. The same man that had just locked Nathan up, he was already familiar with the group. The meal was pleasant, not overly extravagant, but better than tavern fare. The wine was quite good, though, and Lord Yellman helped himself to several glasses before his wife had the maid take the bottle away. Lady Yellman and the constable asked questions about the Nathan situation, and the party found themselves again explaining the events of the past few days. Kyria kept to herself, picking at her meal and glaring across the table at Lady Yellman.

After dessert, which was a delicious chocolate cake, Lord Yellman excused himself and the constable. “We have some matters to discuss, but will be back shortly.” The two of them left. “Please don’t leave before we’ve had a chance to say ‘goodbye,’ and there’s the matter of your reward. My dear, can you keep them entertained while I speak with Constable Tyrone?”

His wife smiled and nodded before placing a hand on his arm. “Yes dear. Be back quickly, though.”

Lady Yellman turned to the party. “Is there anything else you need?”

“I think we’ll be in need of lodgings tonight, Lady Yellman” said Orensland. “We wanted to press on to Hammerdine pretty soon, though.”

“Please. Call me Adria. I’ve never been comfortable with the title,” she replied. “There are two inns in town. Either would be great. The Filled Mug and the Traveler’s Haven are good establishments. Just ask when you get into town. Anybody should be able to point you to one of them.”

“Or you could stay at the Naughty Nymph,” snickered Kyria. “My stepmother knows that one the best.” Adria shot a withering glance at Kyria, who matched it. The party shifted uncomfortably as the two women glared at each other, but Orensland seemed unperturbed.

“I assume the Naughty Nymph would be in the seedier part of town?”

Kyria turned to him. “It’s a brothel. And yes, it’s in the seedy part of town, but keep in mind, we don’t have a whole lot of town here.” She turned to her stepmother. “Maybe you could show him the way.” With that, Kyria got up and left, slamming the door behind her.

Adria sighed and snapped her fingers. The maid returned and poured another glass of wine, which the lady then promptly downed. She held out her goblet again, and the maid refilled it. She took another gulp, but then put it down.

“Relations between my stepdaughter and I are … strained.” She looked at Orensland. “She’s right that there isn’t a lot of town here. The Naughty Nymph is on the west side, towards the edge of town. You won’t be able to miss it. The big house with all the lights on all hours of the night. Whatever you’re seeking, you can find it there.”

“Actually,” Orensland said, “I probably was not seeking what you are thinking. Nathan was wearing a ring, and we cannot identify it. I thought the seedier part of town might be a good place to look for help in identifying the ring such a criminal would wear.”

“Ah, well, in that case, you’ll be looking for Sundamar Felanvial, the elf who runs the …” she paused, “establishment. He knows of such things. Is there anything else in town you have need of while you stay here?”

“Actually,” Amara said. “Is there a wizard? We have kept Nathan’s gear, and need the use of some spells to identify it more clearly.”

“Yes. Kaleb Moosman is who you are looking for. He runs a magic shop on the main street in town. He is old, but still able to help out here and there. I would talk to him early in the morning though. Some days he doesn’t even bother preparing spells he gets so little work of late.”

“And a smith, to rework Nathan’s armor to fit me?” asked Khaska.

“Right at the north edge of town you’ll find the Dwarf smith Bric Thosten. He will be able to help you.”

“Thank you, milady,” the Maha’i said, inclining his head.

“One more thing,” said Rynn. “I find I like to travel light. Is there a jeweler in town where we could exchange some coin for jewels?”

“There we cannot help you here in Hillsdale. But an hour or two east of here is a small town also under my husband’s lordship, Wellspring. There you will find a jewelry store run by a dwarf couple, Nagar and Hully Bronzeaxe. They will most likely be able to help you, as they deal with many traders. The main road out of the Niktean wastes goes through that town. Hillsdale is the unofficial center of our little group of towns, but Wellspring is where most of the trading happens.”

“Thank you, and sorry for all the questions,” said Rynn. “We just want to take advantage of civilization while we can.”

Lady Yellman laughed. “Well, I would hardly call these lands civilization, but I guess compared to the Niktean Wastes to the south, we are, aren’t we? Now, is there anything else I can get you tonight before my husband returns?”

Orensland helped himself to another slice of the cake, and was just chewing on the last bite when Lord Yellman and the constable arrived.

“Contable Tyrone will be handling the gnome situation from here on out. Jason, you’re ready?” The constable nodded, bowed, thanked the party for their help, and then left. “Kyria did not stay?”

“She did not,” Lady Yellman said. “Made some more inappropriate comments and then left.”

Lord Yellman sighed. “I’m sorry about that dear.” He turned to the party. “Kyria has never forgiven me for remarrying after her mother’s death.”

Rynn raised an eyebrow, but none of the party pressed the issue.

“And now, my friends,” he paused, “and I hope that I can call you that, there is another matter that I wished to discuss with you.” He looked at his wife. “As you know, I have several towns and hamlets under my domain, and we exist under charter from Hammerdine. The Hammerdine officials don’t really interfere too much, as we are on the very outskirts of their territories, and have allowed the Yellman family to continue to act as the Lords of these lands. This house was built several centuries ago by an ancestor of mine,” he indicated the painting hanging over the doorway, “Niel Yellman, and Hillsdale has become the unofficial center of the surrounding towns.

“However, of late, with the Dark Times upon us, they have begun to exercise more of their rights. Many of our able bodied men have been drafted into military service. My son is in Hammerdine now, training with the military and with the Knights of the Silver Dragons. In any event, we find that we are short-handed around here too often. There is a situation that I fear we do not have the manpower to deal with.

“The past few months one of our most northern hamlets, Newkeep, has been the subject of several attacks by an ettin. At first it was just a cow here, a sheep there, but the violence has ramped up in the past few weeks. He’s begun attacking people now, and the situation appears to be growing out of control.

“Newkeep is already on your way to Hammerdine, which is where I believe you were headed, but could I please persuade you to visit Newkeep and help them take care of this menace? We are stretched thin as it is merely keeping the peace with so many missing, and I afraid I have not the manpower to dedicate to tracking and killing such a beast at present time.”

The party all looked at each other. Amara drummed her fingers on the table, and Khaska looked to Rynn for his answer.

“You don’t have to answer now,” said Lady Yellman. “You have done us a great service already. If you will be in town for a day or two to purchase items and rest up before moving on, you have some time to think on it.”

“Of course,” said Lord Yellman. “My wife is wise. Again, I can make it worth your while.” He pulled out a bag and tossed it to Rynn. “I may not have manpower, but the gods have been kind to my family over the decades. I have money, and at least I owe you this for your help with the goblins, Nathan, and these gnomes.”

“We thank you, Lord Yellman,” said Rynn, “and will certainly consider your offer amongst ourselves.”

“Thank you, Mister Fowler.” Lord Yellman yawned. “But I’m afraid it is getting late for me. I’m not as young as I used to be,” he smiled, touching the sides of his face where his hair had begun to grey.

“Young enough for me, my love,” Adria said, resting her hand on his. “I’ll show our guests out. Go prepare for bed, Hayward.”

Lord Yellman leaned over to kiss her, and he bid goodbye to the party and left through one of the back doors of the room. Lady Yellman stood as he left, as did the rest of the party. “I’m sure you are all very tired,” she said. “Either of the two inns would be wonderful to stop at and rest. You will be able to make your purchases and things in the morning when the shops open.”

She walked them to the front entryway, where servants brought their gear back. As they were retrieving their backpacks, Lady Yellman pulled Orensland aside. “If you want to go see Sundamar, I could come with you if you wanted. He’s usually a pretty calm fellow, but, well, as you can tell I have … connections to the Naughty Nypmh. My presence could certainly grease the wheels if you wanted.” She said no more, but then left the elf’s side to thank the party each individually. She bid them goodnight, then disappeared up the stairs. Lazlo saw them out, and shut and locked the doors behind them.

The air was cool and crisp, the sun having set almost two hours previously.

Eryx (DM)
For finishing the “quest” of checking in on the gnomes and for successfully capturing Nathan and returning him, alive, to Hillsdale, I award all of you 500 XP. Lord Yellman gave you a sum of 500 gold for helping out with the Nathan situation. It’s all in jewels, however.

Through Lady Yellman you learn that there is a wizard, an old man named Kaleb Moosman, in Hillsdale. Well past his prime, the old man is taken care of by a granddaughter of his, but should be able to help out with identifying your items. I assume you’ll at least go inquire about prices, and you’ll discover that, as a 4th level wizard, he’ll request 140 gold per casting of Identify (40 for the spell, and 100 for the pearl it requires). That will cost you 840 gold if you want everything identified.

Thevarou, the legs and helmet of Nathan’s armor are simply unusable for a Maha’i. But the rest can be adjusted easily enough. Bric Thosten, the dwarven smith, would ask a price of 500 gold to adjust the armor and make pieces that fit you to complete the set. It will take 3 days.

The Dwarves in Wellspring are probably where you want to get the comb officially appraised and sell it.

Just so you know, I wanted to roll for what alignment Lord Yellman would be, based on the DMG rolls on p. 138. I rolled a 100. Unfortunately, I had decided ahead of time that, well, I wouldn’t accept any roll that made him evil, so he didn’t end up being chaotic evil. Wouldn’t that have been interesting, though?

Everybody but Rynn used up one ration while you were investigating Nathan and the Gnomes (sounds like a bad band name).

Orensland actually can use the longsword, because he's an elf, and they can pretty much use all swords. I think Rynn will take it, but it would serve better in Orensland's hands.

So, what will you do next? I assume you’ll be in town a few days to get your purchases in order and finalized. Will you stay in one of the inns? Orensland, will you go to the Naughty Nymph? Will anybody go with him? What do you want to do with Nathan’s horse (and, in case you’ve forgotten, the red leaf was included in Nathan’s “equipment”)? etc.

Also, if you’ve going to be in town for a few days, this is the perfect time to give me some things your characters would do together. Things they would talk about, dialogue they would have, stuff like that. I know that BlackWolf and Thevarou were working on some dialogue between Rynn and Khaska at some point, but I would certainly like to include other things if you have ideas or even want to write something up yourselves.

BlackWolf
I'm assuming that it will be OK for each of us to just take 100 gp worth of jewels and divide it evenly that way. I've marked that off on my character sheet.

Rynn will want to head over to Wellspring with anyone who wants to come. He can take the comb if we want it appraised or sold. They said it was only a couple hours journey, so he'd want to go there in the morning and be back by late afternoon. Between the two locales, he hopes to make all the purchases I previously outlined (plus the wand of cure light wounds the group wants to collectively get).

An ettin would be a difficult fight, but I think we could manage it. They aren't very smart and we'd try to get the jump on it (so to speak). (Rynn could possibly even try to speak with it, but that probably wouldn't help much.) In any case, it's on our way and Rynn is accustomed to taking on these kinds of requests. Plus it plays into one of his strengths — tracking. But it will be dangerous, so he won't want to volunteer anyone. (After all, he'd be standing back firing arrows, not going into melee with it if possible.)

Also, I still think Nathan's longsword would be better used by Orensland rather than Rynn. But I'll take it if you don't want it, Crosis.

Crosis

Nah, I'll take it. I just wasn't aware I could use it before. I'll pay for Kaleb's appraisal of the sword (Moosman, Eryx? Moosman?), and I feel we should pitch in for Khaska with the armor.

Sure, the Naughty Nymph sounds like something Orensland will delve into for searching out Nathan's ring. Note that being in a brothel would inspire certain… undesired childhood memories, as his mother worked at a similar location. He wouldn't enjoy being in there for very long. He would accept Lady Yellman's help, although only on the condition of her safety. What is her experience with the place?

Orensland would be happy to help in taking down the ettin, as it is on the way to Hammerdine.

DeltaWolf

(I really appreciated the DM mentioning the use of rations, that was nice)
Jenika would be willing to help Orensland at the Naughty Nymph if he wants the help, (she has some skills that might be useful, but not diplomacy) but she has a strong sense of Justice! and may not be ok with an “under the table” approach.

Jenika would like to stay at an inn. As for the red leaf, might there be an herbalist who could tell us anything about it? Would there be one in Hammerdine? Jenika would suggest that we find someone who would be able to tell us more about it. (Evidently as Psychology Major I am intrigued with this psychedelic) Ultimate Jenika thinks we should hold on to it till we know more.

BlackWolf
I suspect we'll be in town for a couple days while we wait for the armor to be altered for Khaska. After all, if we're going to fight an ettin, we'd best be prepared.

Rynn will try to take care of his business (purchases) on the first day. The rest of the time he'll just relax. Visit the local taverns to hear the bards (if there are any) and chit-chat with the local populace to see how things are for them. At night he'll happily pay for common inn lodgings where he can relax.

He'll also be more than happy to spend time with the group. If anyone wants to work together on some dialog, I'd be happy to do so. Rynn would be most interested in asking each member of the group about what their plans are once they reach Hammerdine. As for himself, he's hoping to take a break from traveling for a week or so and craft a new shortbow. Other than maybe a purchase or two, he personally doesn't have reason to be or stay in Hammerdine long.

Sayyadina
Amara's willing to go with Rynn to deal with the selling of the headband and the identifying of the items. The gold from that should more than cover identifying everything and purchasing the wand; she'd vote for saving the remainder to go towards a wand of identify once we reach Hammerdine. I'm assuming Khaska would like to use the shield as well? Other than that, I don't think there's all that much to be done until Kirza or whomever he brings returns. Ettin hunting is fine with her as long as she's not the one in reach of the club. I'd also be interested in working on dialog with people via Gchat or AIM (which are now integrated! yay!).

Actually, on second thought, if there's time (perhaps the day after we go to Wellspring, if there isn't much going on), Amara would seek out Kyria for an audience. She also votes for staying in an inn, and preferably a decent one. She has no desire whatsoever to go poking around a brothel.

Thevarou
Just a question - it doesn't look like Khaska has enough funds to pay for the armor alterations at the moment. Are we selling some things (for example, the helmet and legs of the plate armor, his old studded leather armor, or other treasures), and would Khaska be able to use money from those sales? If so, he would get the torso adjusted and the custom pieces made. He has no desire to go into further battles unprepared and inadequately protected. He would not oppose going after the ettin while they are in the area, if only to serve and develop a good reputation for helpfulness and despite his primary short-term goal being getting to Hammerdine.

He would definitely not go to the Naughty Nymph and would instead vouch for staying at the least sketchy inn, preferably one that is less known for its inebriation than hospitality (alcohol and Maha'i don't mix well physically or culturally). I'm not quite sure what he would do during the free days in Hillsdale - he might stick with Rynn, as learning folk tales and legends and sharing his own would be particularly intriguing.

BlackWolf
I think we should definitely use some of the money from selling items to fund Khaska's armor. That helps everyone in the group (especially if we go to fight an ettin). Besides, I'm expecting that we'll all end up with a little more cash by the end anyway.

Also, is a "wand of identify" a thing? I mean, it's not listed in the DMG. Certainly the DM can create it if he chooses, but if he did I'd imagine it would be relatively expensive. Personally, in my campaigns I wouldn't allow that type of wand. I won't argue that it wouldn't be useful — it would be awesome to have one! — so if the DM allows it (and we can afford one) then it sounds good to me.

Edit: Looking at the crafting rules, I guess you could create a wand of identify. To reconcile with it not being in the DMG, I guess my take on it is that non-listed wands are rare. Probably have to custom order it rather than just walk into a "magic shop" and buy one. So yeah, I may need to reconsider that for my campaigns…

“Well, I’m going to bed,” said Orensland. “I think I’m in need of some soft sheets after the past few days. Anybody coming with me?”

“I think that a good night’s rest is just what we need. It has been an interesting few days,” said Rynn. “And it’s early enough. Hopefully there will be a bard around that we can listen to.”

Upon inquiring in Hillsdale proper, they were directed to the Traveler’s Haven, where they all got their own rooms and collapsed into sleep. Only Rynn stayed up for a little while, drinking a mug of ale, but soon the taxing events of the past week caught up to him and his eyes began to droop. He took his leave and headed to bed.


When Jenika came down, Orensland was the only other one from the party awake, already eating breakfast. The monk waved the innkeeper over, a short, rotund man with a greasy apron, and he promptly came over with a steaming bowl of porridge. Jenika looked at the concotion, but Orensland nodded to her.

“He says it’s his own special blend of spices. Try it. It’s very good.”

She sniffed it once, then took a bite. The innkeeper waited until her eyes widened with surprise at how good the porridge was, then smiled and left without saying anything.

“So,” said Orensland, “you think we want to go ettin hunting?”

Jenika shrugged. “I’m not sure. I’ve heard of such creatures, but never encountered one. Rynn seemed a little concerned.”

“I’ve never fought one either.” He spooned another mouthful. His bowl was only about a third full at this point. The steam wasn’t rising from it as it was from hers.

“Are you going to go to the Naughty Nymph?”

“I thought I would tonight.” He pulled the ring out from one of his pockets examining it. “I imagine this is a marking of some, I dunno, guild or organization or something. But I can’t place my finger on it.”

“I’ll come with you, if you like.”

He looked at her. “I would very much like that. Won’t be doing much sneaking. Best to take the direct approach. In fact, Lady Yellman said she would come if I asked her to.”

“You think that’s wise? Taking the lady of the town into a brothel?”

He smiled. “It’s obvious to me that she used to work there in some capacity. Her stepdaughter indicated as much. It will help to open doors to have her along. But I don’t think she’d be very good in a fight if it comes to that.” He smiled and raised his mug. “That’s where you come in.”

She smiled and continued to eat.

Rynn and Khaska joined them a few minutes later, and Amara a few minutes after that. The group chatted over the porridge, which they all agreed was fantastic, and discussed what they wanted to do. Amara pointed out that if they wanted the items to be identified, they should get to the wizard as soon as possible, so that they could catch him before he prepared any spells. They all thought that a good idea, and soon they were walking down the street carrying all of the various magical items to be identified. They were out the door just as the sun began to peek over the tops of the buildings and the townsfolk were beginning their day in earnest.

The old man’s shop had a wizard’s hat and a wand on a small hanging sign to mark it. It was very well kept, one of the better looking shops on the main street. Amara pushed open the door and entered first. “Hello?”

A young woman came out as the rest of the group entered. “Good morning,” she beamed. “I’m Rachel Moosman. What can we do for you?”

“We have a number of magic items that we need to have identify cast on,” the sorceress said. “We heard this is the place to come.”

“Yes. Yes it is. My grandfather will be able to help you, but has just woken up and is taking his breakfast. How many items do you have?”

“Six. And we’ll be paying cash.”

“You can pay cash for 840 gold?”

Amara nodded. “Also, we’re looking to buy a wand of Cure Light Wounds.”

“The wand isn’t a problem. 750 gold. We have those readily available… a pretty standard item. But six castings of Identify will use up most of his spells for the day, which isn’t really a problem. But he still has to prepare them. Also, I need to run to Wellspring to get pearls for the casting. We don’t just have them sitting around.”

“The Bronzeaxes?” asked Orensland.

“Why yes. They usually have many jewels to trade.”

“We’ll be headed there as well,” said Rynn. “There’s an item we need them to appraise.” The ranger shrugged. “You could join us, if you like.”

“I would like that. Meet me here in an hour?”

The group spent an hour looking around. Rynn was able to purchase some tools for his bowmaking trade. Several jewlers tried to peddle their wares on Amara and Jenika, but neither was very interested in the clearly substandard jewlry.

Rachel was a few minutes late, but they were on their way and arrived just before noon. The Dwarves were busy, a caravan had just arrived on its way to the Niktean Wastes, and it was a little while before they could be seen. Soon enough, however, Hully waved them over to her table.

“What can I do for you Rachel? And who are your friends?” she asked. On her head was a band of leather from which stuck a metal rod, holding a magnifying glass over one of her eyes. The effect was slightly unnerving, but her smile was very exuberant.

“These folks are looking to exchange some money for gems, and to get something appraised. I need to buy six pearls from you so my grandfather can use them as components.”

“Well, first things first. Let’s see what you have to identify, and I’ll tell you up front, we charge 10% of the value of the item, minimum 5 gold.” The dwarven woman looked from person to person. “Now who has this item?”

Amara, with great reluctance, pulled the comb from her backpack and handed it over. Hully’s eyes widened as she took the item, running her fingers on it. “Oh my, aren’t you a pretty thing?” She examined it thoroughly over several minutes, pausing to show it to her husband when he came over, wondering what all the fuss was about. He also looked quite happy. “6000 gold!” she said. Rynn glanced at Amara, who smiled. Her assessment had been accurate. “Do you want to sell it?”

“We have no use for it,” said Rynn. He didn’t notice Amara’s crestfallen face, but Khaska did. The cleric put a hand on her shoulder, but then realized what he was doing and dropped it behind his back.

“Well, we’ll certainly take it off your hands!” she said, eyes still sparkling, teeth still showing from her big smile. Money changed hands, and soon the party was richer by 5400 gold. Rachel got her pearls, and after they stopped at a tavern to grab lunch, they headed back to Hillsdale.

Kaleb Moosman was clearly past his prime. The old man moved slowly, helped by his granddaughter, but his eyes sparkled with a gleam of intelligence. He had spent part of the morning preparing six castings of Identify, and was ready to help. “Adventurers, eh?” he said. “Always happy to help adventurers. We’ve heard rumors of you guys, helping out some of the farmers to the south. You have my thanks.” He was crushing the pearls into a mixture of wine, and dropped six feathers into the cup. He smiled. “I always do enjoy casting Identify. One of the few spells that I get a bonus for.” He raised the glass at his granddaughter. “To my granddaughter. May she give me great-grandchildren before my passing to meet Markus.”

“Grandfather!” she gently chided, blushing.

The old man smiled with a twinkle in his eye, then took a gulp of the concoction. He put the cup down and chanted a little, his hands moving in the requisite motions. He touched the sword. Then he grabbed his goblet and drank some more, repeating the process five more times, toasting the health of one of the party members each time.

When he was finished, he look at them. “Well, this is pretty standard stuff. Magically enhanced sword, plate armor, shield, a Ring of Protection, and an Amulet of Natural Armor. But this candle, this is a Candle of Truth. Very useful item, indeed.”

Rynn handed over the money and the old man thanked them for their help. Rachel retrieved a wand of Cure Light Wounds from the back of the store, and thanked them for accompanying her to Wellspring.

With the armor properly identified, Khaska had Rynn and Orensland help him move it to Bric Thosten’s smithy. The sooty dwarf assured the Maha’i that he could get the armor reworked, though it was obvious that the legs and the helmet were a complete loss, the Maha’i’s anatomy just too different to accommodate the human armor. For making a helmet and legs from scratch, and for the reworking, the dwarf charged the cleric 500 gold. It would take three days. But really, for getting a full set of magically enhanced plate, that was a very good deal, though the dwarf did say he could not enchant the new helmet and legs. Overall, though, Khaska was relieved. He did not want to go into battle with this ettin unprepared.

As the three of them walked back, they talked about what they would do next. Rynn wanted to head over to Lord Yellman’s to tell him they would accept his task of hunting down the ettin, but Orensland convinced him that he should wait until closer to evening. “Jenika and I are going to the Naughty Nymph tonight. See if this Sundamar can help identify Nathan’s other ring. Lady Yellman offered to come, and I got the impression that would be a beneficial arrangement.”

“Very well then,” said Rynn. “After dinner, let’s head over.”

“That sounds good,” said Khaska. As they walked they saw a little girl standing in front of one of the shops, staring at the Maha’i. She waved shly at him. He waved at her. She ducked her head, looking at him out of the corner of her eye. “Hello little one,” he said. “How are you?”

“Fine,” she mumbled, clutching her dress.

“I am Khaska, of the Mawkhavi Maha’i. What is your name?”

“Crystal.”

“It’s nice to meet you Crystal.” The Maha’i knelt down in front of her. “You look very pretty today.”

“Thank you.”

Orensland’s hand shot behind Rynn, grabbing the wrist of a small boy who had been reaching towards the ranger’s backpack. “That’s probably not a good idea,” the elf snapped. He released the boy’s wrist and the child tumbled down to the ground. Khaska stood up quickly, and the little girl ran around the corner of the store they were in front of.

“You should only steal from people who don’t deserve to have their money,” Orensland said, advancing on the boy. “My friends and I have shed our own blood to defend this town and others nearby. Find someone else to bait and switch.” The boy got up and scampered off. Orensland watched him disappear, then turned back. “It’s a classic tactic. Use the cute girl to distract us.”

Khaska’s ears flattened against his head, he pursed his lips, then slowly walked away.

Rynn, Jenika, and Orensland all called on Lord Yellman, who was excited to see them again. Amara could not be found, having disappeared during the afternoon, and Khaska had disappeared into his room. “Have you considered my offer?” he asked. “Will you hunt the ettin for us?”

“We will, Lord Yellman,” said Rynn.

“Oh thank you! When can you leave?”

“It will be two more days before Khaska is able to use Nathan’s armor. Your wife was most helpful in finding us a smith who could rework it. But as soon as that is done, we will leave and kill this creature.”

“That will be fine.”

“We also wanted to speak to your wife, if we could,” said Orensland. “There was a matter we believed she could help us with.”

“Certainly. I will go get her.”

Lady Yellman appeared a few minutes later, her husband trailing behind. “Can I help you?”

Orensland nodded. “Jenika and I were going to see Sundamar tonight, lady. We wondered if we might be able to take you up on your offer to accompany us.”

“Oh. Give me a few minutes, I’m not prepared to walk that far at the moment.”

“Going back to the Naughty Nymph?” came another voice. It was Kyria, who had appeared above the main entryway. Amara was with her, surprisingly. “Why don’t you stay?”

“Kyria!” Lord Yellman said. “You will maintain a civil tongue.”

Kyria swept back through the door she came. Amara glanced after her.

“Will you be coming?” asked Jenika.

“I don’t want to go poking about a brothel. But good luck.” Amara disappeared through the same door. Lady Yellman emerged a few minutes later, wearing a different dress, one clearly not as fancy and that didn’t even go all the way to the floor, and a pair of sturdy boots.

“Let’s go. The earlier we get there, the less likely Sundamar will be drunk.”

“Be careful, my love,” said Lord Yellman.

“You have no need to fear, Hayward. Sundamar is my friend.”

“It’s not him I’m worried about. It’s the clientele.”

“I’ll be fine. Besides,” she chided, “I have these two fine adventurers with me. I doubt anybody would start a fight with the two of them.”

“You know the inner workings of the place better than I do.”

She laughed. “Of course I do.” Then she kissed him lightly on the cheek, and they left.

Rynn stopped at the inn, not particularly wanting to join them at the Naughty Nymph. Lady Yellman led the way, clearly knowing where the establishment was. Orensland’s curiosity got the better of him.

“So, what exactly is your experience with this place?” he asked.

She smiled, but it was slightly forced. “I used to work for Sundamar as one of his girls. That’s all you need to know.” Orensland didn’t press the issue.

From the outside, the building looked almost like any other in this part of town. Slightly run down, but not too shabby. Inside, however, was a different story. Two burly men, one a human, one a dwarf, let them right in once they saw Lady Yellman, and once inside Orensland’s face hardened. Past the front foyer was a tavern, a stage taking up one end of the room. A Halfling bard was juggling and singing simultaneously, some series of rhymes that had the crowd in stitches. Scantily clad women bustled about bringing food to the customers, many of whom were lounging on the comfortable looking couches, most with other women hanging on them or sitting on their laps. Lady Yellman pushed right past this room, giving quick waves and smiles to several of the girls as they saw her. “Hi Adria,” several of them called out.

“Adria!” boomed a voice as they moved into one of the back rooms. A large woman, sagging into her dress and with too much makeup caked on her face, was standing halfway up a flight of stairs, pointing a young elf girl to one of the rooms upstairs. The girl disappeared into one of the rooms visible from the bottom floor. “What brings you here?”

“These are two of the adventurers that helped with that goblin attack a few days ago. They have something that Sundamar might be able to help them with.”

“Yes, nasty business that. Oh, oh my.” The big woman came down the stairs, surprisingly spry for one her size and apparent age. She looked at Jenika, looking her over. “Aren’t you a pretty one? And here at the Naughty Nymph, that’s saying something. I’m Talia, and it’s nice to meet you.”

Jenika blushed and didn’t say anything, but did push a lock of her hair back behind her ear.

“Where could we find Sundamar?” asked Orensland.

“Well, you’re all business, aren’t you, my elven friend.” She touched his arm lightly. “You should relax. I have all manner of womenfolk that could help you do so, you know. My girls are all …”

“No thank you,” he said curtly.

“Alright,” the woman straightened. “Just checking. Come with me, sir, and you too, Miss … ?” She looked at Jenika.

“Jenika of Shinadoh.”

“Shinadoh. That’s your hometown?”

“The monastery I grew up in.”

“Ah. A monk then? We don’t see many of those here in Hillsdale. Usually old men with tired faces and weathered souls, not young vibrant girls such as yourself. You are a rare one indeed, aren’t you?

“Of course, there was that one girl, about a year ago. Kylie, I think, was her name. Do remember her coming in to town on her way south with some others. One of our boys tried to rob her, and she sent him packing. Broke his nose and several ribs.”

“You’re not going to start any trouble like her, are you?”

Jenika’s face had suddenly grown serious. “No. Which way was she headed?”

“What, that other monk girl? She had come from the north. Don’t know where she was headed, but I was glad when she left. Trouble, she was. My boy wasn’t the only one she ran afoul of. Aren’t you monks all supposed to be like, poor?” Talia whistled. “Well, this girl could tangle with the best of them, but well,” Talia looked Jenika over again, “lets just say that if you dressed like her, you would be the talk of the town.”She waved her arms to a door at the bottom of the stairs. “Come. Sundamar is in his private quarters.”

Sundamar answered after one knock. “What is it Talia?” He swung the door open, then paused, a look of surprise on his face. He was not wearing a shirt. Then his face flattened. “Adria. What brings you here?”

Talia stepped forward. “Now Sundamar, you be nice.”

“Just because she thinks she can come waltzing back here whenever she wants …”

“Her leaving was the best thing that ever happened to her and to our little whorehouse too,” Talia said, pointing at him with a stabbing motion. “Remember that we haven’t heard from a constable in years. You’ll help her, and you’ll do it now.”

Sundamar threw his hands in the air and stepped back into the room. A half-elf girl was on the bed, holding a glass of wine, but he ordered her out. She gathered her robe about her and fled. Talia shut the door behind them, leaving the three of them with Sundamar. “What can I do for you, Lady Yellman?” he said. His voice dripped with sarcasm as he said her title.

Lady Yellman didn’t even skip a beat. “These two are from the party that fought off the goblins a few days back.”

Sundamar straightened.

“They found out who was responsible, and wondered if you might be able to help identify a ring that man was wearing.”

The elf harrumphed. “Well, let’s see it.” Orensland reached into one of his pockets and pulled out the ring. Sundamar grabbed it, looking at it intently under one of the candles.

“This is the symbol of the Atrius Thieves Guild. They operate out of Tidewater City. If he was wearing this ring, that means he was a decently well-established member. Where did you get it?”

“The man who was manipulating the goblin tribes,” said Jenika. “The ones who attacked a few days ago.”

“Ah. And how was he doing that?”

“He had some kind of narcotic. A red leaf.”

Sundamar nodded. “It’s an elven drug. From Slyn. Can’t remember the name, but it’s not very common. Quite expensive. You could get a pretty penny if you happened across any of it.” He looked at the two of them. “If you do have some, I’d be willing to take it off your hands. Definitely could pay good money for it, too.”

“I don’t think so, but you have been a great help,” said Orensland. He pulled out a few gold coins, but Sundamar waved him off.

“Talia would have my head if I took money from you, friend of the Lady Yellman here.” He sighed. “Someday this might even feel like my establishment again, the girls working for me directly.”

Lady Yellman laughed. “Talia is good to the girls as their madam, and you know it, Sundamar. But yes, thank you for your help.” She turned to Orensland and Jenika. “Was there anything else?”

“No,” said Orensland. “You’ve been very helpful, Mister Sundamar. Thank you.”

“Goodnight,” he said. He folded his arms. It was clear he wanted them to leave. As they walked down the hallway, Talia sent the half-elf girl back towards the room.

“Did you get what you needed?” she said.

“We did, thank you,” said Lady Yellman. She hugged the older woman. “How are all the girls?”

“Most miss you. Some are jealous. All are glad you were able to help us as you have.”

“Well, they’re good girls. I’m happy to help them. Markus knows I caught a lucky break after Hayward’s wife died. Just passing on the good karma.”

“You take care. Come visit more often!”

“I will try.”

Many of the girls wanted to talk to Adria, and she spent a few minutes catching up with them. Several tried to flirt with Orensland, but Talia shooed them off. However, Jenika was quite flattered when several came up to her and asked how she managed to look so good with such short hair. One even mentioned that she might cut hers short if she could look like the monk. But eventually Talia came in and called off the girls, giving them the space they needed to leave the building. Orensland and Jenika walked Lady Yellman all the way back to her mansion. Orensland continued to talk with the lady, but Jenika remained silent.

Kaylee had been here. Who else could it have been? The trail would be very cold—it was a year ago after all, but she was still out there. It was only on the way back to the inn that the monk realized that she had been clenching her hand.

Eryx (DM)

Alright, here’s the deal with the monies:

You received 5400 for the comb. That’s 1080 gold each.

The six castings of Identify cost you 840 gold as mentioned before. That will cost you 168 gold each.

The wand of Cure Light Wounds cost you 750 gold. That will cost you 150 gold each.

As mentioned before, the reworking of the armor will cost 500 gold. I was unclear whether that was going to be footed by Khaska himself or the entire group. (I’m not sure the group is currently altruistic enough with each other to pitch in like that, but then again, I’m the DM, not the players.) There’s nobody around to enchant the two pieces Bric will create from scratch, but for purposes of game play the armor will still be +1 full plate armor. I’ll toss in narration that he gets it enchanted officially when they get to Hammerdine, but don’t worry about it. You’ll just pay the cash here. I’ll add the flavor text to make it more accurate as I go.

The items were:
1. +1 longsword. Orensland is taking this.
2. +1 full plate armor. Khaska is taking this.
3. +1 heavy steel shield. Is Khaska taking this?
4. Ring of Protection +1. Who wants this?
5. Amulet of Natural Armor +1. Who wants this?
And the only one I think you might actually sell:
6. Candle of Truth. Can be sold for 1250 gold. Description is on p. 251-2 of the DMG.

Also, what do you want to do with Nathan’s horse and saddlebags?

Sayya, I’ll have Amara explain what transpired between her and Kyria later in the narration. What kinds of things would you want to discuss with her?

Anyway, this was a decent chunk of narration. If there’s any inter-character dialogue you want to have, you need to get it to me pretty quick. Anything else you want to get done while you’re in town?

FYI, the next chunk will likely finish the chapter AND the codex, i.e. when you move on to the ettin, that will be a new codex entirely.

BlackWolf
I think it's easier to think of the money this way: 5,400 (comb) - 840 (identify) - 750 (wand) - 500 (armor) = 3,310 gp remaining. Split 5 ways that gives us each 662 gp. Not a bad little profit. Yes, I'm accounting for Khaska's armor in there; I don't see why not. After all, some of the other items not needing rework are worth more than 1,000.

Rynn would be interested in either the ring or amulet to improve his AC, but they'd be better used by Khaska, Jenika, or Orensland IMO. If they'll take the hits, then Rynn can stand back and shoot arrows. With Orensland getting the sword and Khaska getting the armor, maybe we give both ring and amulet to Jenika? Boost her AC from 13 to 15?

I don't have much opinion regarding the candle. It's only good for one use, so it might be better to sell it and put the money toward other purchases. Rynn also doesn't care about what we do with Nathan's horse. He's used to walking everywhere he goes, after all. So if anyone wants it, it could be useful. Otherwise maybe give it away as was suggested before?

I'm assuming that Thevarou/Khaska will carry the wand of cure light wounds and keep track of charges. But I/Rynn am willing to if you'd prefer.

Eryx confirmed my purchases over IM, so I'll be marking those along with my 662 gp on my character sheet.

Crosis
I like the 662 gp breakdown. Anyways, Orensland would be happy to take whichever items remain unclaimed, but because his AC is significantly high, he probably should't take the ring or amulet. He's perfectly fine with selling the candle- I can't think of a scenario where it would be worth 1250 gold. Also, with taking the Longsword +1, I suddenly have two longswords. Can I sell the other one? Orensland doesn't care about what they do with the horse.

Other than that, let's go hunt an ettin!

Sayyadina
Amara's happy to take anything that makes her less squishy, but the ring and amulet should probably go to someone that she's hiding behind. She also doesn't really want a zone of truth candle anywhere near her, and gold is shiny. She'd prefer selling the horse to giving it away, but she won't argue about it if that's what the group seems to want to do. Don't suppose there's anything interesting in those saddlebags? As far as Kyria goes, Amara's mostly interested in making contacts with people in various parts of the world, although she is genuinely curious about her studies (or whatever caused the ink stains) and why she's so unhappy with the family. She's particularly curious about any hint of magic although she thinks it's probably unlikely. Amara will pursue any thread of conversation that appears to interest Kyria. Diplomacy check in case it's needed: 21 (rolled 16 + 5).

Amara would like to wait for Kirza to come back before going after the ettin, but other than that she has no real reason to stick around. EDIT: Also, I forgot that Eryx mentioned that we had some of the red leaf from Nathan's equipment. She'd vote for selling that to Sundamar, assuming Orensland and Jenika kept everyone else informed on what happened.

DeltaWolf

Jenika would be obsessed with finding Kaylee, she won't be a rest until she does. She isn't very good at gathering information so she would ask for help (I'm not sure how the DM wants to handle the check). And depending on what she/they find, she would want to peruse Kaylee. But seeing as that was a year ago, she would be happy to deal with the ettin problem, with the hopes that afterwards Rynn would help track down Kaylee. As for the ring and amulet, Jenika would be happy to put them to use.

Thevarou
Khaska is happy with Rynn's proposal. He would also be in favor of selling whatever is unnecessary (probably including the candle at this point), but would like to keep the shield on his person. Can he then sell his old armor and shield? Also, Khaska would be in favor of keeping the horse. He knows how to ride and feels that having an animal with them could be advantageous in many ways. Besides awaiting his armor, he has no opposition to setting out on the next quest as soon as they can. (Short post - going to Istanbul in a matter of hours)

BlackWolf
Rynn will gladly offer to help Jenika track down Kaylee. Although he may not understand her specific situation, he knows what it means to be searching for someone. He is happy to see that she's willing to deal with the ettin problem first; and perhaps in Hammerdine they can discover more info. I suspect that Orensland might be interested in heading down to Tidewater City at some point too.

DeltaWolf
To be clarify my previous post: Jenika was thinking long-term about Kaylee, she wants to ask around to find out what she can about when Kaylee was here, but actually trying to track her down will wait until the group has gone to Hammerdine and finished with this journey. When the time comes to pursue Kaylee, then she will ask for Rynns help. She would tell the group about Kaylee and make clear her eventual plan to "take care of her".
Sorry, I see now that I was unclear before.

Rynn was at the bar when the two came home, talking with Amara. Orensland sat next to them and ordered an ale, while Jenika plunked down on the elf’s other side and sat, brooding. Rynn asked how it had gone, and Orensland filled him in on the details. Amara asked a few questions as well, and that was when the rogue leaned over the bar and looked past Rynn at her. “And what were you doing at Lord Yellman’s earlier?”

Amara straightened on her stool. “I wanted to talk with Kyria. Seemed we would have much to talk about?”

“Oh, like what?”

Amara pursed her lips. “Doesn’t it seem odd to you that Lord Yellman has married a much younger girl?”

Orensland shrugged. Rynn put his mug down and indicated the bartender to refill it. “That’s his prerogative,” said Rynn. “Why do you bring it up.”

“Well, that’s why Kyria is so cold. Her mother died a few years ago and then her dad up and marries one of the local whores.”

“I figured that’s what happened,” said Orensland.

“And then her brother gets sent away to war, to prepare for the Dark Times,” finished Rynn. “Must be a lonely life for the girl.” He turned to Amara. “But that doesn’t answer why you thought you would have a lot to talk about.”

Amara’s face went blank, her brow furrowed. “Let’s just say I was almost in Lady Yellman’s position, but not of my own choice, and that I understand how lonely it can be to be a girl in a military society. I’m from Eskele.”

“So what does a girl in a military society do?” Rynn asked. “I’m from a small town, and don’t know much of such things.”

“Mostly get married off to some rich nobleman or soldier, or become a scholar. For me, it was almost the marriage route. Kyria seems to be taking the latter. She chronicles the history of Hammerdine. Has been working on a book for some time, and wants to have it taken to the Elven Wizard’s University in Dreqorun for safekeeping.

“Marriage didn’t stick, eh?” grinned Orensland. Rynn shot him a quick glance, but Amara didn’t seem to mind.

“Marriage never happened.” She flexed the fingers on one of her hands. “I discovered my power and was kicked out of my house.”

Orensland was quiet. Rynn didn’t know what to say.

“I’m sorry,” said Khaska, quietly. Nobody had noticed him come up behind them. “And now, what, you journey the world?”

“Would like to discover more of my powers. Eskele didn’t seem the place to do it.”

The Maha’i nodded. “So, will you visit Kyria again? My armor will take three more days to complete.”

Amara nodded. “She wants me to read what she has written in her book so far, so I imagine I’ll be spending some time there.”

The four of them talked about what they would do for a few days, but also about the ettin quest that Lord Yellman had requested of them. Khaska, Amara, and Orensland most interested in what Rynn knew of ettins and how the ranger thought they should approach this next task. It was only after a few minutes of this that Khaska turned to Jenika.

“You’ve been awfully quiet,” he said. “Is something bothering you?”

Jenika looked over at him from where she had been hunched over the bar. She nodded. “Was reminded of someone while at the Naughty Nymph. Someone that I need to find.”

“Find?” asked Rynn.

Jenika nodded again. Orensland piped up. “That other girl monk?” Jenika nodded yet again, but didn’t say anything. Orensland turned to the others. “Apparently about a year ago, a girl monk came through here, roughed up some of the locals.”

“Friend of yours?” asked Rynn.

Jenika sat back. “Her name is Kaylee, and we grew up in the monastery together. Needless to say, she has chosen a different path than we were taught in the monastery of Shinadoh.”

Rynn looked at the others. “Well, if she was here a year ago, there’s simply no way we could track her.”

“Oh, I know. In fact, I’ve seen her more recently than that, in Tidewater City. I guess that’s where she was headed from here. We met and … I was unable to defeat her.”

“Jenika, if you ever need help tracking her, I would be happy to help,” the ranger said. “You have earned my respect this past week. It’s the least I could do, and if she needs to be stopped, then we will stop her.”

“Thank you, Rynn.”

“Me too,” said Orensland. Rynn and Jenika both glanced at him. “What? You don’t want a rogue’s help?”

Jenika smiled slightly. “You have proven that not all rogues are unsavory. You would also be most welcome.” The monk looked at the other two. “You as well, but I do not want to drag you into my fight.”

Rynn snapped his fingers at the bartender and ordered a round for everybody, making sure that the Maha’i was supplied with a virgin drink. Khaska was pleasantly surprised, but Rynn waved him off. Clearly the ranger had noticed that the cleric had not drunk anything during their stay at the inn, despite ample opportunity.

The ranger lifted his drink. “Just a week ago we met as strangers, but in that time we’ve fought goblins, met a dragonrider, saved farmers, discovered ancient ruins and funny gnomes studying them, captured a criminal, and now we’re under contract to hunt an ettin that is attacking a village.

“Sir Reitman called us heroes. I don’t know if that’s exactly what we are, but,” he raised his drink high, “I say this to all of you, your battles are now my battles.”

Khaska lifted his mug and clinked it with Rynn’s. “I too, feel a kinship with you all. Perhaps the gods have guided us together.”

Orensland lifted his mug. “Maybe. But you certainly have had my back,” he gestured to Jenika, “even if it’s visiting the Naughty Nymph. I’m in.”

Jenika lifted hers. “If you will help me with Kaylee, should we ever come across her again, then I will help you. Perhaps, as the elder monks of my order taught me or as Sir Reitman said, we will be able to make a difference in the coming Dark Times.”

Amara’s smile was more of a smirk, but she raised her mug as well. “To us.”

“To us,” the other party members echoed.


The next few days went by quickly. The party seemed more relaxed around each other. Orensland was one to notice it, mostly. He liked how Khaska deferred to Rynn on tactics, but how, when they were called to give testimony against Nathan by a local Hammerdine magistrate, they all deferred to Khaska. The cleric seemed the natural one to give testimony and swear an oath, in a Zone of Truth, that their testimony was true. Amara disappeared for most of the daylight hours each day, but upon returning, was happy to talk about the history of Hammerdine she was learning from Kyria’s work. Khaska, in particular, was interested in Kyria’s findings, and even visited once to discuss Hammerdine-Maha’i relationships as he understood them, and as Kyria had more access to information about the Gemsharia Maha’i. Orensland, for the most part, just wandered around town. He caught the two children attempting the bait and switch again, but one small attention-getting wave later they scampered off again. Jenika was with him when that happened, and he was able to again impress her with his character when, a few minutes later, he gave a gold piece to the little girl. He even opened up as to why he acted as he did with money. He wasn’t sure she agreed with his idea of stealing from those that don’t deserve it, but he wasn’t sure that she completely disagreed with him either. Jenika had asked around about Kaylee, but was really able to glean no more information than what she already knew. It appeared that her rival monk had simply hurried through town, leaving several men incapacitated, but not dead.

It was the morning of the third day when Khaska was finally fitted for his armor. The Maha’i looked stunning in the silver plate, and the adjusted shield felt as natural as his old one, if a bit heavier. As they walked back to the inn, Kirza arrived, alighting, of course, on Khaska’s horns, but the Maha’i didn’t seem to mind this time, smiling when the familiar bird came to rest. The raven familiar told them that the Knights had been informed, and a more local Paladin would be dispatched to investigate and help. A carrier pigeon had been sent, they could expect the night in two or three days. They informed Lord Yellman of this, and he assured them that he would inform the Knight what had happened, and why they were not around anymore. Both he and Adria wished them well, and that Markus would aid them in slaying the ettin. Kyria even made an appearance, but it was mostly to say goodbye to Amara. The two embraced, and Amara promised to stay in touch.

And with that, the party headed north, to the hamlet of Newkeep. There was an ettin to hunt.

Eryx (DM)
Thus ends Codex I.

First of all, I would like to announce to the players that my little brother, Crosis, has received his mission call to Taiwan Taipei. He’ll be entering the MTC on October 26th, so he and I will work on a way to get his character written out around that time. Congratulations!

For the Candle of Truth, which Kaleb was willing to take off of your hands, you receive 1250 gold (250 gold each). Crosis, I just added the 8 gold you would get from selling your old longsword to your character sheet. Khaska would get 17 gold from selling his old armor and shield.

It seems fair to me that with Khaska getting the armor and shield, Orensland getting the longsword, and Rynn and Amara standing back and nuking (or arrowing) things, that it seems best that Jenika get both the ring and the amulet. BlackWolf suggested this above; is this what the group would like to do?

Also, I hope this worked, but the scene where they all toasted each other was to be a scene where they really realized that they’ve come to respect each other, and want to work as a group. You’re a party now. Even Amara, though given her personality, perhaps at this point less so than the others. I don’t want to metagame too much, but I would appreciate you letting me take this little leeway with the characters, and that they’re more of a coherent group now.

I’ll have the first part of Codex II-Chapter 2 later tonight. (Well, tonight for me, all you nuts gallivanting across Europe, lucky Yalies). I’m not looking for any input in this grey box, except maybe Congratulations to Crosis, and also if the above arrangement is what the group wants for the ring and the amulet. Oh, and what you want to do with the Red Leaf. Sundamar wants it, but Orensland and Jenika very much got the impression that it would be for illicit drug use. Is the group comfortable selling it to him, or did you want to hand it over the constable as evidence, or toss it in the fire at the inn and get everybody high? :)

BlackWolf
Congratulations, Crosis!

This page is part of the campaign story. << Previous Chapter | Next Chapter >>