DM: It was a sunny, warm evening in mid-spring when Dadrochara and Tomac found themselves sitting in Bottlemaul’s Tavern drinking the swill that the dwarven proprietor passes off as beer. Both being recent arrivals, they individually decided to lay low for awhile until they got their bearings. Life in Pion was difficult and uncomfortable, though there were a few people looking to turn that around. So the north a small community of foresters was established to begin a logging operation that would provide building supplies, but no one has heard back from them on that effort. Some parties had traveled south and east and came back speaking of ruins filled with danger.
Laying low had worked for awhile, they learned enough to know that nothing interesting was going to happen in Pion, but while it was a safe place to be, your stay there was only welcome as long as you had the means to fund your stay. Coin was demanded for everything down to space to pitch a tent. The pair of them had come to trust each other—how this happened being a tale for another time—and were staring at the table carvings, trying to figure out what their next move was going to be.
Tomac Semie: I think we should check on the Foresters. We may be able to barter some space in their camp in return for chopping some wood or some such. If that project can get moving, maybe things can start to pick up around here…
Dadrochara Blackplate: That sounds like a good use of our time, laddy, but first I want to go sort out some information with those wee ones in the Medic’s Tent. How abouts you skulk around here a while and see if you can dig up more about the road north. If yer lucky maybe we can hitch up with a caravan o’ folks heading that way. If it helps yer cause, let ’em know you have an acquaintance who is a healer who is heading to the outpost.
Tomac Semie: Aright, I’ll swing through the tavern once more, and around up towards the north gate, see if I can catch any info in the cross talk. Look for me near the north gate when you’re sorted…
Dadrochara Blackplate: Dadrochara heads out of the Tavern and makes his way to the Medic Tent, intent on speaking with one or more of the healers there.
Tomac Semie: Tomac rises up from the table, glancing around the barroom, looking for any other ongoing conversations.
DM: A tiefling and an armored dragonborn stand across the table, speaking quietly and tracing different paths to the citadel indicated no the communal map. A half-elf stands far from the table, strumming poorly on a lute. A dangerous looking armored human stands in what seems like the most shadowy part of the tent, having a tense conversation with an equally rough looking tiefling and dwarf.
Tomac Semie: Moving towards the half-elf, Tomac nods, saying “Any news of the foresters to the north?”
DM: The half-elf shakes his head, ‘no’. “Baran and his men haven’t been heard from. But they haven’t been gone long enough for their supplies to run out, and they were going to set up their camp near where that druid build his home. They’ll be well protected from whatever dangers might be lurking. I think they’re still just trying to establish themselves.”
Tomac Semie: “Have you got any more details about where they planned to setup camp? My associate and I were planning on trekking north and stopping in to check on their progress on the way.”
DM: “Cross the river just north of camp, here. Then follow the coast until you come to another river that runs into the forest. They’re going to use it to float the logs out.”
Tomac Semie: “Thanks, any other news trickle through lately?”
DM: The half-elf grins and nods “I’ve heard that Theo de Leo is really going through with rebuilding that inn to the south of the town, ‘Tin Ear’ he calls it. Amazing find! The old man’s nutty though, who’s going to go that far south just to spend a night?”
Under the pretense of studying the map on the table for the location of Tin Ear, Tomac is able to listen in on the three toughs nearby. They’re planning a raid on the citadel to the south, but heard another group is taking the same trip. The armored human wants to try to beat the other group to the location, but the pair he’s talking to want to wait for the other group to find whatever they find, and then take it from them. They sound intimidated by the human, though.
Tomac Semie: “Thanks, what was your name by the way?” “I’m Tomac”.
DM: The poor bard introduces himself as Vicstaer, he apologizes for his playing, explaining that he’s new to Lemuria and his lute was stolen from him. The poor device he strums on now doesn’t stay in tune, but it was all Norberos had on hand. The half-elf looks rather hungry.
Tomac Semie: I’ll place a silver on the table, “Thanks for your info, good luck getting that lute sorted. This should get you a meal or two at least”.
Tomac Semie: Then I’ll leave the yurt, and head to the northern gate to wait for Dadrochara.
DM: Vicstaer thanks Tomac more than once as he leaves.
Dadrochara arrives at the Medic Tent where he’s recognized as a many of faith and greeted as such.
Dadrochara Blackplate: “Greetings friends,” Dadrochara exclaims upon entering. “I am just arrived and have some inquiries related to spiritual and physical health of the poor souls who dwell in these lands. Can I get a moment of someone’s time?”
DM: “It’s going to be a war, out here.” replies Loxim, one of ‘The Shields’ of the Medics Tent who introduces himself as such. “There are reports of goblinoid vermin in all directions from those who come back. We need to shore up the physical health and get a palisade erected before they come for us. It’s only a matter of time!”
Dadrochara Blackplate: “Aye, that sounds like something that should be tended to. Has anyone come back with ailments of a cursed or magical nature? Are there areas people avoid for fear of haunts?”
DM: “No! Nothing like that!” the armored gnome replies. “Men always talk about spooks and frights, but the only injuries I’ve seen since my arrival have been from club and knife.”
Dadrochara Blackplate: “Alright then, are you fellers looking for help in here from time to time? I willing to help here where I can with tending the injured and sick.”
DM: “We won’t turn away assistance when it’s needed, but we’re building a church here. We won’t tolerate you proselytising to our flock. Lord Ironhand will see us through this to the other side, and we’ll bring as many of you with us as we can.”
Dadrochara Blackplate: “Oh, please don’t mistake an offer to help the sick and injured as an attempt to sway your flock from your path. I am sure your Lord and mine share some common interests but our follows come from different paths.” Dadrochara gives a slight bow and bids farewell, “With that I shall leave you to your good works. Thank you for the friendly conversation.” Dadrochara heads out through the Pion community toward the North Gate, looking for his tall and slight of build friend, Tomac.(edited)
DM: The morning of the first of May had passed, and the sun was high in the sky as the pair met on the north side of camp. Though it was called “the north gate”, it was anything but. No wall surrounded Pion, and thus no doors barred entry to the settlement. Rather, this was a rather worn part of the field that formed a sort of unofficial road to the river that sat north of the settlement, and was often used as a meeting place.
Tomac Semie: “Dadro, I spoke to a terrible bard in the barroom after you left. Sounds like the foresters were planning on setting up near a Druid’s campsite north of here. Gotta cross the river near here, and then follow the coast up to another river which runs into the forest. Plan is to float the logs out on that. Bard thought they wouldn’t have run outta food yet, and so wasnt’ really concerned.”
Tomac Semie: “Also, got a name, Baran”
Tomac Semie: “It sounded like there may be some stuff going down at the citadel to the south too. Both groups of dudes in the barroom besides us were planning on swinging through there. Sounds like one plans to jump the other. Probably best to just avoid that situation entirely for a while.”
Dadrochara Blackplate: “It looks like we have two choices before us. A wellness check on the logging lads to the north or throwing our hat into a fray at a citadel to the south. Do you know what the interest and conflict over the citadel was all about?”(edited)
Tomac Semie: “I’d assume it’s a chance at whatever treasure is in the citadel. Group A intends to explore it, I assume. Group B is definitely planning on lying in wait for Group A as they return from the citadel with whatever they find.”
Dadrochara Blackplate: "Bah, I don’t feel we are up to embarking on some fool hardy treasure hunt right now so let them have at it. Let’s look north and see what aid we might provide to the logging men. From what I understand there is a lot of goblin activity across the countryside so we should be alert. Do ye know how to cross this river? I don’t particularly feel up to a swim.
Dadrochara Blackplate: “And if you insist on shortening my name, please use Chara, pronounced with a hard K sound. My ancestors thank ye.”
Tomac Semie: “Done. The directions I was given were to cross the river north of the camp, so I’m assuming there’s at least a better place to ford up there. I imagine the foresters had a fair amount of equipment to get across”
Dadrochara Blackplate: “Alright then, let’s head off before we lose the day.”
Tomac Semie: "Alright. Did you find out anything of interest from the healers?
Dadrochara Blackplate: “Just that the only wounded they have tended to have been from physical attacks likely carried out by goblins. It doesn’t seem like there is any evidence of supernatural or magical dangers in the area.”
Tomac Semie: “That’s a comfort, spooks are much harder to hide from”
DM: The river to the north of proves to be a larger obsticle than hoped. Scattered about it’s surface are people in rafts that are crudely lashed together, some looking like they’re ready to fall apart. A couple more enterprising individuals must have drug a fallen tree from the forest in the distance on the other side and hollowed out the log to fashion a kind of canoe. No one is boating for pleasure though, as lines are hung off these crafts, their crews attempting to catch whatever’s swimming below.
The river looks about a mile across here, dashing Tomac’s hope for a nearby ford. It’s possible if you followed the river west you might find one, but it could be some distance before a river this wide narrows down enough for such a thing. Swimming could be considered an option as while there is a current to the river, it is a lazy one that isn’t likely to pull a man out to sea.
Tomac Semie: “What do you think Dadrochara?”
Dadrochara Blackplate: “I think that I am not swimming but you can certainly partake if you feel up to it. I think our options are to flag over a boatsman and offer to pay for a ferry service or else we start trudging along the river bank in search of a crossing. Let’s see if we can get a ride…” Dadrochara trails off as he starts waving his arms and yelling out to get the attention of a near boat that looks like it may have room for the both of them.
DM: It takes a little while, but you’re able to flag over one of the more unsuccessful boatmen. He informs you that there is a ford upstream a few miles, but he’d be more than happy to ferry you across for a silver piece.
Dadrochara Blackplate: “Why thank you for the information but I will gladly give you a silver for a ride for my friend and I. Besides, it gives me an excuse for some good conversation.”
DM: Lighter one silver piece, you’re across the river soon enough. You follow the coast north, the ocean on your left and the large, thick forest on your right soon moving from distant to nearly hugging the shore in some places. After about an hour and a half or so of walking, you find the mouth of the next river that dives directly into the forest. This was where the loggers had intended to float logs out of the forest, to send them down the coast to Pion.
DM: You follow the southern shore of the river into the forest. It soon becomes obvious that a path has been cleared, giving you confidence that you are on the right track. About an hour from the mouth of the river you come upon a wooden fort: A palisade that surrounds thatched huts, a large pavilion, and a pair of rather old stone structures that are in disrepair.
DM: The gates are open, and there doesn’t appear to be a formal guard. There are people inside going about their business, and though your appearance draws attention, no one seems especially concerned.
Dadrochara Blackplate: I survey the outside for a moment, looking for signs of attacks against the walls. Also, I am looking for signs of clear cutting around the fort or does the forest come right up to the walls.
Tomac Semie: Does this fort appear to be old? Or did the foresters put it up around the old stone stuff? I would think if it were the Forester’s creation the trees in the palisade would still have bark an stuff on them
DM: You observe no damage to the wall that looks like the result of an attack. The logs making up the palisade still have bark and some have branches with leaves, and they were obviously taken from what was around as there is a bit of a clearing around the camp as a result of the logging effort. While this was a serious attempt to make the camp safe, it wasn’t a military effort, as the brush and undergrowth surrounding the camp wasn’t cleared away either..
Tomac Semie: I will walk unthreatenly towards the central gate, watching to see if any of those who took notice of our arrival move to welcome us.
Dadrochara Blackplate: Walking briskly to keep stride with Tomac, Dadrochara proceeds through the gate and into the camp as well.
DM: When you enter the outpost, you’re approached by a human who introduces himself as Baran. He claims the outpost as his, and the dozen or so foresters here in his service, and welcomes you to take shelter in any of the abandoned huts and help yourself to the food that’s cooking on the fires. “There’s plenty here for guests!”
Tomac Semie: “Well Met Baran, I am Tomac and this is my associate Dadrochara. Thank you for the offer, how are the efforts coming in establishig the camp?”
Dadrochara Blackplate: As Tomac initiates conversation with Baran, Dadrochara takes in the sights and sounds of the camp, making observation of the people he sees moving about. Do they seem healthy and fed or weary and struggling. Are they mostly humans or are there a mix of races.
DM: “The day finds me well.” Baran replies. “But times are grim. We started this expedition some weeks ago, and made good progress with the camp. But the druid Hareven who took up residence in these parts has gone missing, and a hunting party was found slaughtered by some fierce beast!” he exclaims, and points out a pair of men—a half-orc and a human who both look like they can take care of themselves—who survived the attack to tell the tale. “Men who venture too far from protection go missing. We’re fortunate that there’s been enough game nearby. But no one will go out logging.” The loggers ni camp are hale and in good health, though they may be under some knid of siege, they clearly that are not suffering for it yet.
Dadrochara Blackplate: “Well Baran, we ventured out from Pion to see what help we can lend! I pay homage to Clanggedin Silverbeard and can mend the sick and injured as well as help with local beasts and ruffians if needed. Just let us know what you need.”
DM: “Right now, I just need men who are brave enough to chop down some trees!” Baran exclaims. “Sooner or later the game will move away from where men are willing to hunt.”
Tomac Semie: "I’d be willing to join a group going out. I can keep an eye out for any disturbances and help out in other ways I’m certain.
DM: Baran points back to the half-orc and human. “I think they’re your best bet, then. They’ve been talking about wanting revenge on the beast.”
Tomac Semie: I’ll step towards the two fellows. “I hear there’s been some sort of beast attacks going on, and you’re looking to do something about it. I’m Tomac, and I’d be willing to lend a hand…”
Dadrochara Blackplate: “Baran, can you tell me more about Hareven. Why the concern over his disappearance? Did he provide aid to you and your men?”
DM: The men introduce themselves to Tomac as Uskz (the half-orc) and Oanga. They tell a talk of leading a party of hunters who were ambushed by a huge bear-beast. They escaped their death by diving into the river. They’ve been tending to their wounds, and plotting their vengeance.
Baran explained to Dadrochara that the druid Hareven had been living in the area and set herself up rather nicely with a cottage. She felt that a small logging operation would be beneficial for the health of the forest, and so was cooperating with Pion by providing direction where the forest could be harvested. She was often seen in the company of a huge bear that she seemed overly fond of. It is the opinion of the camp that the animal turned on her, and is now threatening the camp itself. Baran believes that the operation is salvageable if the creature could be subdued.
Dadrochara Blackplate: “Do your men over there know the way to her cottage? I guess my friend and I will start by looking into this beast and the fate of Hareven. Can we have lodging for the night as we will set out at first light?”
DM: “If you follow the river east you’ll eventually come to an old stone bridge that’s still intact, though the road it served is overgrown. The cottage is in sight of that bridge. As to staying here, we have plenty of room, stay as long as you like.”
Dadrochara Blackplate: After concluding my conversation with Baran, I walk over to discuss matters with Tomac and introduce myself to the survivors.(edited)
DM: The half-orc grunts dismissively at the approaching dwarf, falling silent when Dadrochara has joined the conversation. Oanga picks things up, explaining that they are planning on going back to Pion to get more men to try another hunt. Uskz snorts disdainfully at this suggestion, indicating that the pair may not yet have reached an accord on this matter.
Tomac Semie: "Well, it sounds like you were caught off guard by the beast last time. I’d suspect a capable pair such as yourselves wouldn’t need a ton of assistance to take out a simple forest creature. " A side gesture towards Dadrochara. “This is my associate Dadrochara, he is quite capable both in the fight, and in the sorting out of the injured afterwards. He and I would be wlling to lend a hand in dealing with this, thing.”
DM: The pair consider your offer for a few moments before accepting. “When would you be ready to go?” Uskz asks.
Tomac Semie: “First thing in the morning. We’d like to grab a bit to eat and get prepared for the hunt tonight”.
Dadrochara Blackplate: “Greetings, as Tomac says, let’s rest tonight and head out at first light. Do either of you need any healing attention from your previous encounter?”
DM: The pair were nursing injuries sustained in their flight, which Dadrochara beseeches Clanggedin Silverbeard to intercede upon on their behalf. The night passes without event, with men telling stories around camp fire late into the night. These are hearty men, who are not living in terror of what keeps them out of the forest, but they are certainly concerned enough to stave off sleep.