Chapter 03: To the Far South

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Session Number: 46
Date: Sunday 25 April 2010
Venue: Alain's
PCs & Players:

Arrian Rog1/Clr6 (Fergus) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal7 (Craig) (kills: none)
Troll Wiz7 (Densial) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: TBC

Troll asks Elondel about his family's history. Elondel asks Troll to sit down, supplying him with strong liquor before continuing.

Troll's father and grandfather were intelligent, well-seeming people but something happened, something unexpected. An experiment apparently went wrong, perhaps due to "shortcuts", causing some kind of disaster. Once a year all the family members met at Elondel to discuss how to deal with the awful situation that ensued. It was always a sad time. Troll's grandfather used to do all sorts of things, but after the accident his energy was almost exclusively focused on exterminating the arachtria. Dwarf and gnome engineers came to Elondel, but never any elves. There was a strange man who would come from time to time, a family member that Elondel could not place. There was obvious friction between himself and Troll's grandfather. Elondel does not know his name. It has been a long time since his last visit.

Abbey speaks about this same person, mysterious and powerful, who seemed strangely masked from the towers' detection abilities. Abbey too has not seen him recently; his last visit was two months before the other stranger came. The strange family member left crates with Abbey for the tower's master - crates that the party transported to Elondel.

Abbey mentions tentatively that Troll is now alone. His family has faced enormous challenges, many falling in combat or mysteriously disappearing.

"It seems that your family is weakening generation after generation… not so much because of battle. I'm sorry sir, it seems that each generation seems to die more quickly than the one before. I'm not sure why. Be sure of our loyalty, we are with you sir."

Troll considers a new career development path… Finding a spouse.

Troll's work on the books has progressed. He has managed to read the first chapter of the book. However, each chapter appears to be coded differently.

There has been no official reply from the monastery or the Order to Prince Arthur. The Order has decided to consider their stance over winter and reconvene to discuss in the spring.

No wedding invitations have been sent. In fact Sir Veketh tells Rowaine that the wedding was already delayed once to the coming spring and now it has been delayed again until summer. It was originally supposed to happen in late autumn. Why delay? Construct-related? The royal line?

The winter passes. Rowaine is asked to tell stories of her adventures to the children. Typical dwarven childhood stories of gore and glory.

Spring arrives. Troll is in his tower as usual one morning when Elondel politely interrupts:

"Something strange is happening, sir. I registered a portal, very briefly. It became active for 20 seconds before shutting down." When asked, Elondel confirms that the portal's location was a great distance south of the tower.

The portals become an extension of Elondel, part of him. Elondel controls them. To use a portal, a person contacts Elondel, who then actions the request (as long as it meets the security requirements). Portals are not easy to destroy, and some of Elondel's defensive capability can be centred around the portal - including illusion.

"I believe the portal has been destroyed. When I was connected with the portal I could feel fear and pain and suffering. I believe I heard the voice of your friend Enok."

Troll goes to Kharag, after taking a box of chocolates given to him by Elondel.

Elondel is doing some spade work for his master.

Troll gives the chocolates to Rowaine in Elondel's sight, whispering "Go with it, take them, trust me, I'll explain later!" Elondel winks at Troll. "It's going well, sir!" (pop)

Troll explains this weird transaction to Rowaine, who returns the chocolates. Troll then tells her about the portal incident, and summons Elondel to give more detail.

"I heard Enok say 'Go, go!' then screams, then a tremendous bashing on portal and some kind of magic, and then it was destroyed."

Only Enok could have activated the portal. It never transported anything. Rowaine asks Elondel to show on a map where the portal was activated.

Ten minutes later Elondel appears with a four hundred year old map. He points out the portal's location, noting that it is more recently known as Fort Rannick - the rangers' fort where Enok was sent.

Rowaine ponders aloud. "The portals take two hours to deploy, so Enok had some warning… He wouldn't use it unless it was really important to."

"I don't understand why we are still here." Arrian.

"Because I need to seek permission."

Rowaine speaks with Sir Veketh. Arrian seeks out Adrak and asks about Fort Rannick. The teacher's knowledge is sketchy - it lies south of Turtle (something) Ferry, it guards a pass in the mountains, it was founded about 60 years ago… Arrian ventures into Sir Veketh's study and interrupts.

"Excuse me sir, I'm a bit worried… This fort is on Prince Arthur's intended trade route…. Is trade under way?"

Sir Veketh replies, a little taken aback at the intrusion. "No, Enok carried Prince Arthur's message to the rangers, calling them to aid him."

Sir Veketh says that fort is occupied by the Black Arrows, a ranger Order around forty strong. They keep the pass open, protect the region (Turtleback Ferry and the surrounding woods), particularly from nearby ogre tribes. The worst of the lot are the Kreegs, a particularly vicious ogre clan. When Troll inquires about any magical potential of the Kreegs, Sir Veketh guesses they probably have a shaman or two. The Black Arrows and the Kreegs have history: twenty years ago they battled and the ogre clan was nearly annihilated. There is a lake nearby that feeds the river that leads north all the way to Kharag Monastery and beyond.

"Forty rangers with sixty years of local knowledge…" muses Rowaine. "They probably weren't taken by surprise." Sir Veketh is careful to point out that it might not be the Kreegs.

Rowaine has no official duties at present to retain her. Rowaine then says that she will travel immediately to Fort Rannick. Sir Veketh asks what she needs.

A coupla hundred paladins would be good…

Rowaine leaves to think on it while she gathers her things. Sir Veketh will send word to Prince Arthur.

Turtleback Ferry is home to about 500-1000 people. It has a gambling den call "The Paradise".

Rowaine wonders whether they should talk to Yore, the retired ranger that lives near Trennim. The idea is dropped because of the time it would consume.

Sir Veketh calls Rowaine to his office and closes the door behind her.

"Rowaine, there's something I should probably tell you. Enok's task was twofold, and the second task involves you. As you know, fifteen years ago a man came to the monastery and delivered you. He didn't identify himself at the time, or give any clue as to your own past. I learned last year that the man was stationed at Fort Rannick. I tasked Enok to investigate as he could. I just wanted to you to know."

Rowaine doesn't quite know how to process this. She thanks Sir Veketh awkwardly.

Troll fills up on arrows. The three adventurers procure good travelling clothes, gloves, hats, cloaks and scarves. Elondel gives party the map detailing their southward journey. He also provides three weeks' worth of dry rations and some cured meat for Harley. Troll takes the last remaining portal backpack.


The trio go to Elondel and then transport two hundred miles south, to the spot Enok was sent before winter. Rowaine and Troll fly on Harley while Arrian trails behind on Troll's Greater Floating Disc, which allows the party to travel for seven hours by air. They then plan to walk while the light holds. In this way, the ten-day journey on foot to Turtleback Ferry is more than halved.

The transport is successful, leaving the group on a north/south road. A river runs nearby which helps orient the party. They head south.

The first day of travel passes. The party stop at a farmer's house and are granted the use of their barn. Arrian questions the farmers and learns that Turtleback Ferry is a place people go for "easy money". This region is under protection of Duke Falkern, a noble in King Garen's court. The young Duke is reported to be a good ruler, unlike his father before him. Six knights came just before winter. The farmer also remembers the name Enok, he stayed here. He doesn't know anything about the rangers. There is no slavery here that he knows of. The party give their thanks before settling down in the barn.


In the morning the farmer's wife brings in fresh poached eggs. She appraises Rowaine, telling her she wishes her daughter were more like her, instead of frolicking around. Troll's ears perk up. Rowaine mentions the dwarven monastery. "Dwarves? They don't EAT people?" Rowaine and Troll set the record straight. Rowaine gives the woman a gold for her trouble. She starts packing their things for a day in the city :-)

The party begin their second day of aerial travel. Around midday they see a small castle on the other side of the river. They choose not to visit, but carefully mark its location on their map. By early afternoon they set down. Arrian stretches out his cramped muscles, uncomfortable and thankful to be on firm ground again. They walk until the light retreats and stop at a small village with an inn. Rowaine organises accommodation for the three of them, in the same room. Troll talks to the few people present - a couple of brawny farmers, the barkeep. A person with a "large dog" possibly resembling Enok passed through heading south, but did not stop here. The barkeep speaks highly of the young duke that rules these lands, mentioning that his castle lies to the north. His patrols come here and are well respected. All turn in for the night.

The morning sun rises on the third day and the party set off. Harley catches the morning anabatic winds and gains altitude. The area becomes hilly as the morning passes, less wooded with less farms and habitation. Their late afternoon walk finds them in an uninhabited area of the road. They party pitch camp off the road, set watch and sleep.

Day four. Arrian again mounts the uncomfortable Disc and the party takes to the air. By midday they see a large lake with mountains to its south. At the far end of the lake they can just make out a city that juts into the lake. Close ahead is a cluster of four buildings and a small wharf. Several boats are moored offshore. The party land out of sight and Rowaine tells Harley to stay put while they walk towards the small settlement. Children play on the small beach, smoke curls from the chimneys. An old man sits outside a whitewashed old house, repairing a net with a large needle and twine.

"Greetings," Rowaine begins. "How fare you this fine day?"

"Well, well, apart from this rheumatism." The man stretches out his lower back.

"How goes the fishing?" asks Arrian.

"Well, well, but we must be careful now, the giant turtles are mating this time of the season. The turtles, they are quite something, bigger than a boat. We don't have an easy life! There are many dangers here - you never know if you will come back at the end of the day. But… it's honest work."

"How goes trade with Turtleback Ferry?"

"Fairly well…"

"Have you had any trouble with ogres?"

"Yeah, the Kreegs. Not for some time. They're quite bad but after the Black Arrows came along, they don't come here any more. They mostly keep themselves farther to the south. Those Black Arrows, they're not the most fun guys to be around, but they do their jobs. They patrol the road farther to the south. Those Kreegs… Even the rangers know to keep clear when they can. They don't just kill, they maim and torture - and worse. They used to kidnap humans, or anything with two legs. Others are with them now, not just ogres, some sort of in-between creatures. One found his way here three years ago. It killed two people before it left. The Black Arrows caught up with it a week after. Those Black Arrows, they don't give quarter. Find and kill. Hey, you want a drink? Mammi! Bring something to drink!" An old woman brings a few well-used wooden cups with very watered wine. The group politely accept.

The Black arrows were founded by a ranger that wanted to rid the land of these evil creatures. he was joined by many early on, but times are tougher now and the Black Arrows find recruitment ever harder. Some death row inmates are given a choice - join the Black Arrows, or be hanged.

Arrian inquires whether he has seen a man passing through with a large dog. The fisherman mentions that he sounds like a ranger, being familiar with that profession's penchant for animal companions. He may have seen Enok passing through.

There are lots of predators here - the Kreegs, the turtles, the occasional troll. The turtles spend most of their time on the far side of lake. They lay their eggs there, making it a very dangerous place to visit.

The old man's son is on the lake, fishing. Various stock of fish and shellfish are caught. The catch is mainly used locally, but large catches are often taken straight to the Turtleback Ferry markets. The man recommends a Turtleback Ferry inn called the "Turtle Dove", not far from the wharves. Most people stay there for its proximity to the "Paradise" casino - even some of the Black Arrows. The Paradise is on a boat on the lake. He inquires where the party are from; Rowaine describes it in general detail.

Rowaine gives the man a gold coin. Before they leave, she asks whether he would allow her to ask for Moradin's blessing regarding his rheumatism. After he is reassured that no donation is required, he consents. Rowaine Cures Disease. He immediately feels better, thanking Rowaine gratuitously. He mentions other invalids in his community, looking hopefully at the paladin. Rowaine sadly replies that her gift is limited. They part, the fisherman offering them a warm welcome whenever they might return.

The party return to where Harley patiently waits, and fly on. Cabins sporadically dot the shore below. They land mid-afternoon, about an hour before Turtleback Ferry. Rowaine dismisses Harley and the group proceed on foot.

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