Chapter 08:

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Session Number: 194
Date: Sunday 1 December 2013
Venue: Densial's
PCs & Players:

Ariel Sor13 (Fergus) (kills: none)
Calico Drd13 (Yeran) (kills: none)
Lionel Rgr6/Wiz1/ArcA6 (Ash) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal13 (Craig) (kills: none)
Troll Wiz13 (Densial) (kills: none)
Violet Drd13 (Tammi) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: TBA

ro I'm about to summon har. ari, translate this please. Witness the glory of Moradin. ari Guys, warning, a great big wolf with wings is going to appear. It's not going to eat you. It's what Rowaine rides. wyr Mount? Like horse? ari But it's a wolf. Great big wolf with wings. Rowaine starts summoning. har swoops out from under the ground and lands beside Rowaine. Raaaarp! Harley smiles, which is scary. The two natives point spears. zha Wolf eat people? ari Not this one. ari This is Harley. I don't know Harley very well but I know Rowaine. And Rowaine and Harley are a pair. They are very good friends. zha Wolf wing spirit guide? ari Companion of Rowaine, our leader. The man with the mask starts dancing up and down. ari What are you doing? Guy starts uttering syllables that even Ariel's spell cannot translate. ro What's going on? What is he doing. ari His verbalisations are apparently not language. tr Casting a spell? tr looks closely. No, that doesn't seem to be it either. Rowaine cannot identify it as a religious practice. After a minute the dancing stops. Zhar approaches ari. ari Rowaine is a powerful person. zha We see. ro Did they like Harley? ari They were very impressed. In their tribe, wolves are an important animal. The fact that you can summon a wolf has very much raised you in their opinion.

Decide to fly. tr uses Disc Protocol 1.

Disc Protocol 1 is an algorithmic protocol capable of supporting different numbers of participants:

$\phi = \lceil {\sum\limits_{i=1}^{n} \varsigma_i \over \kappa} \rceil$

$\phi$ = number of Discs
n = $\rho_t - \rho_f - \rho_p$
$\rho_t$ = total party members
$\rho_f$ = party members capable of independent flight
$\rho_p$ = the passenger capacity of the Thrust Unit. For a Thrust Unit of Harley, $\rho_p$ = 2 (Rowaine and Troll)
$\varsigma_i$ = the size of unit $i$, measured in terms of medium/small equivalents
$\kappa$ = the Disc carrying capacity, measured in integer numbers of medium or small passengers (widely regarded as 2)

ari demonstrates how to sit on the disc and suggest they sit together. ari We will go up in the air at times. You will be safe, just hold on. wyr How we get down? ari We will land at times to make camp. lio Ask us if you want down, we let you down. lio Rowaine, he doesn't want you to go too high. ro We may not have a choice; we may have to go high. Where possible I will warn you but we may have situations where we just have to do it. zha What if fall? ari We have done this lots and have never fallen. I think you'll be fine. zha OK. You save me ass if fall? ari I don't think I'll have time. You don't have to come with us if you don't want to. zha Told to by Strige. ari Well I'm afraid you're going to have to get on the disc, then.

They reluctantly get on the disc.

ro flies just above the trees, keeping the road in sight. The terrain undulates gently. The tribesmen do not look comfortable, avoiding looking down. Behind and to the sides are little lines of smoke - campfires? Patches of large clearings. To the right is a mountain range - the Jaws of Grinon. The party's path is on an intersect course with the range. lio takes note of geography. Night. Set camp in a clearing. ari calls her cottage. Tribesmen get off disc and half collapse, half hug ground. ari Are you OK? wyr We just miss ground. ari You will get used to this. tr gives thumbs-up symbol which is foreign to tribesmen. ari explains. wyr OK I will take this back to tribe.

ari I feel like noodles tonight. Anyone else want anything? tr No I'm good thanks. ro Fine. ari starts memorising the area. ro (to vio) I'll get some firewood together if you'll get us something to eat? vio hits the jackpot, finds a rabbit hole and a stream where some weed grows that tastes exactly like noodles. Some eggs in a nest, too. There is plenty to spare. Cook it up.

vio also concocts a herb drink to calm the natives' nerves.

Zhar points his staff towards the ground if they want to go down. In the evenings ro teaches vio dwarven, ari teaches Zhar about sorcery. In the morning ro talks to the natives about Moradin.

Three days go by uninterestingly. On the night of the third day ro and ari are at watch together at the cottage when they see people running around in the distance. ari wakes up Wyr and Zhar and casts Tongues on herself. ari Sorry to wake you up but there seem to be some locals and I was wondering if you could introduce us. You may have had contact with them or their tribe. wyr We may not know them. ari Well why don't you come with me and we'll introduce ourselves. They agree.

ro asks for a Tongues spell. ari suggests waking everyone, ro says not to but that she will hang back near the cottage ready to raise the alarm if necessary.

Ariel walks to the edge of the clearing. ari Hello! Ooh, hello! They turn towards the cottage and approach at a run. Draped in animal skins, carry spears and bows. Who are you? What are you doing here? ari We are travellers, passing through. guy You pass through these lands? Why are you passing through? Who are you? Are you Talinn? Are you Faladons? ari We are not from either of those places. We are from a place a long, long way away. We are looking for a particular magical tree. An incredibly large man walks towards the parleying group. Very muscular, very large. Almost to the point where he would be considered a large creature in game terms. Carries an incredibly large axe. Covered in furs that are not doing a very good job in covering his immensely muscled frame. big Who are you? ari I'm Ariel. Who are you? big I am Axe! ari That's just a lovely name! I'm very pleased to meet you. axe What are you doing here? ari We are travelling. axe What is that? (indicating house.). ari That is my cottage. axe Your cottage? We have never seen a cottage here before. How did you get a cottage here? ari By magic. axe Magic? Oh, I understand. Are you Talinn? Or Faladons? ari No, I don't even know … I've heard of Talia, is that where you mean? axe Talia, yes. They are our eastern border cousins. ari I've heard of them but have never been there. We passed through Falador to get here. axe You passed through? Are you aligned with them? Tell me now if you are aligned with them. We don't like those people.

Craig puts his Sense Motive dice away…

ari I have to say I didn't like the place. axe We don't like them either. They very rarely come out to us.

ari I felt they were too restrictive. I prefer freedom of religion. axe Absolutely. We agree with freedom as well. Who are you? What are you doing here? ari My name is Ariel. ro My name is Rowaine. ari We are travelling from a far land… axe We have never met someone who understands us before. ari I don't usually speak your language. I do so now by magic. axe Oh, I understand. There is a lot of magic in this realm. ari This is Wyr and Zhar. Wyr, do you understand Axe? wyr No. ari I'm sorry, they don't speak your language. axe They look like they are from Strige's tribe. Are they from Strige's? ari That is correct. axe Kill them now!

Two of Axe's men ready their spears. axe Kill those two, they are from Strige! ari stands in front of them. axe Are you with Strige? ari We are not with them, we passed through his lands. axe But you have his people! You are aligned with Strige! ari They asked to come with us. axe So they asked you something and you agreed! ari That is correct. ro If you asked to come with us, we may let you too. axe I don't understand how you can be aligned with Strige… ro We are neutral in these lands. These are not our lands, we do not align ourselves with anyone. axe Like mercenaries? ro Where we come from, mercenaries align with those who pay them. We are not mercenaries. axe Who do you align with? ro I align myself with the god of the dwarves, Moradin. axe Dwarven god? But you are human! Why are you aligned with the dwarven god and not Pelor? ro I never had the fortune of knowing my parents. My first memory was of being surrounded by kind, bearded faces that looked after me and my brothers and sisters. I am from a monastery run by dwarves. axe You are a very peculiar woman, sharing a story like that with anyone who asks. ro You asked, I answered. It is my way. I value truth. Do you know what a paladin is? axe Yes, are you a paladin? ro Yes. A warrior of virtue and truth. I am such a warrior. axe A paladin… of Moradin. OK. This is very confusing. We don't come across this sort of thing often. Magic houses, sure, but… Paladins from the dwarven god? That is unusual. ari She is our leader and if our party is aligned with anyone it is with Rowaine and her cause. axe What is your cause? ro My cause is to right wrongs wherever I see them. To follow where Moradin sends me, into places dark and distant, and to spread his word, his love, and cut down those that he tells me to. axe I think I understand. ro Who do you align yourself with? axe With my tribe! The tribe of Axe. ro It is your tribe? You are its leader? axe Yes. ro Well met. axe And to you. (To his men) You can calm down, I guess. ro my friend Ariel speaks the truth, we are merely passing through your lands. axe You are travelling somewhere Strige took interest in? ro We told him the same that we are telling you: that we are travelling to find a place of significance to us. Strige became quite interested in our story and asked whether he could send two of his people with us. axe Where are you travelling to? ro We seek a tree that is of great significance to druids. It possesses intelligence, intelligence beyond any normal tree. It talks. axe What did you say to Strige that convinced him to give you some of his people? ro First understand he hasn't given us anything. Zhar and Wyr are our guests, free to do what they will. They are not ours. A member of our group is a druid who found out about this tree and has been communicating with it. He came to our land. We have similar experiences with a tree from where we are from and we wanted to meet this other tree. We had the opportunity to come, and so we did. axe Why is this tree of such significance to you? ro It is said to know a great deal. We value knowledge. axe? Knowledge? How can a tree hold knowledge? ro How can a mind hold knowledge? Through the experiences of that mind. I don't really understand it, but I think the thing we seek may take the shape of a tree but it might more have the mind of a living creature more like you or I. axe I can see why Strige sent some people. This sounds very interesting. We would be very interested in sending people with you as well. If you would accept us. ro Will you accept that we have tribesmen from Strige's tribe? Will you agree to show them no harm? We will broke no violence between you. You must come on peaceful terms. axe What if Strige's people were to leave and I were to come? Would this be OK? ro If they chose to leave of their own volition and were not forced to. axe Ah. ari We have an agreement with Strige to allow these people to come with us. We would not go back on our word. axe I would like to come with you. To this tree. If you would have me. ari And you agree to Rowaine's terms? axe Yes. I will not harm Strige's men.

Rowaine believes Axe is telling the truth. She senses that he is particularly interested in this tree.

ari (in dwarven to party) Do we have the means to take another person? tr I can do another Disc. ari You'd probably need to for this guy. lio Better explain to him that we will be flying. ari explains. axe Thank you for letting me know. ro I should also warn you that for the majority of people, including myself, this tree looks and sounds like a normal tree. It chooses carefully who it talks to. axe How many are in your party? I see four. ro There are six of us, and two more of the tribe of Strige. axe They are all in the house? ro Two remain outside the cottage you see. wyr Our tribe has warred with Axe's tribe before. We recommend caution in dealing with Axe. ro I have his word that he will remain peaceful towards you. Do I have yours? wyr I will not harm him. I probably cannot harm him. ro We will make sure that he is on a separate Disc to you. wyr Thank you. ari We will be leaving early in the morning, if you want to make any preparations. We will leave at first light tomorrow morning. axe Yes, I would like this very much. Are you willing to wait a couple of hours after first light? There are a few things I need to do with my tribe. ari Rowaine? ro Fine. axe See you tomorrow morning.

Morning. Ariel and Rowaine inform the others that they are expecting company. tr So another Disc, then? ro You might want to make it two, this guy is quite big. Can you stop inviting people to come along with us? ro They keep asking, and, you know… ari It's a perfect opportunity?

Breakfast (fried up leftovers). Axe arrives. Start travelling. Axe behaves himself.

Travel another five days. Query Axe about the direction and lands they are travelling in and towards. He knows of one more tribe along the road. He gets along with them. Road skirts along Grinon's territory and then heads into Talia. His tribe and others have occasional dealings with Talia, but not with Grinon. The dealings with Talia tend to be trade-related, heavily favouring Talia. ari Grinon? axe Grinon was a warlord from long ago who has lost his power. ari His descendants live there? axe Yes. ari Do you get on with them? axe No. We avoid them where we can. ari Why? axe They are not of our people. They have their own region. They keep to themselves, we keep to ourselves.

Wyr and Zhar no longer look panic-stricken, but they are still far from comfortable with flying.

The forest that the road leads through starts to darken. Calico cannot work out why. There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with the flora in the area. There is a very light mist in the forest; the sun appears to be ever so slightly dimmer here. cal cannot see anything magical going on. ro starts to find it hard to follow the road from above the treeline. Land and follow the road. In the far distance, vio sees two figures walking while perched on Rowaine's shoulder. She flits to the ground, changes shape to a gnome, tells group about the two figures. They seemed to be walking parallel to the road. ro Calico! cal comes over, in eagle form. ro Violet, tell Calico where to look for these figures. Calico listens and obliges. He comes back and assumes human form. cal They are better clothed than tribespeople. It looks more like a scout or patrol. They might intersect this road; it is hard to tell because I cannot see the road's path. ro asks whether ari could talk to the Oglodi about the situation. ari Do you know where we are? axe This is the realm of Grinon. I don't come here very often. Somewhat unnerving. We don't know anything about it. We know the Talia and the Faladons but we don't know Grinon. It is very far away. ro What are our directions from here? Two weeks on foot versus nine days flying - have we gone too far? Party doesn't think so. Calico knows Talia best and Harkon is supposed to be in Talia territory, this side of the Jaws of Grinon mountain range. Talia should lie to the north or northeast. The road seems to be converging with the line of the Jaws of Grinon.

Two choices: cut crosscountry towards the Jaws of Grinon and follow them to the northeast, or continue follow the road?

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