With their boat beached after escaping The Maw of the Pelluria, Eirik takes some time and evaluates the repairs necessary to ensure the rest of their journey doesn't still end at the bottom of the sea. With the damage done, he estimates it will take him around 3 days to repair it. Eirik sets himself to the task while Deirik, Ygvard, and Boldulf help establish a temporary camp with the rest of the crew.
Each day's focus, for the next three days, is on repairing the boat. Each night, the men set up camp, establish a watch, and stare out at the beautiful full moon until the fade off to sleep. All except for Boldulf. Each of these three nights, Boldulf disappears with his large wolf, Sergei. This activity confuses the others, so the first night it happens, the others question him upon his return. Boldulf scrunches his face as if he's considering the answer before he responds, "Hunting." This curt response leads the others to believe he simply wants to be left alone and they do so. When it happens the second night, they again question him and he responds the same way. The other Men of Mjarn don't really know what to make of this, it's a bit out of character even for Boldulf, but they let it slide. On the third and final night of the full moon, he disappears again and reappears the following day a bit later than before. It is on this night that Boldulf became aware of his affliction. He is losing the battle for control of his body to the beast inside, and has essentially become a werewolf. Unable to discuss this yet as he's still processing the ramifications of it himself, Boldulf goes and hunts a deer to bring back to the others to keep up his "hunting" explanation for his disappearances.
The repairs finally complete and the crew having gotten over the scare of seeing the sea floor through the lens of a giant maelstrom, the Men of Mjarn and their followers board the boat and continue their trek to the East. Several days of travel later, the men arrive at the Eastern coast of the Sea of Pelluria with the Kaladrun Mountains easily visible further to the East. This seems as good a spot as any from which to raid any nearby towns, so Deirik, Eirik, Kiro (hobgoblin), Ygvard, Boldulf, and Sergei (large wolf) take 10 of the 12 men with them to scout the area while the other two remain to secure and guard the boat.
It's not long before the men find a nearby town named Fallon, small enough not to have a Legate living there but large enough to hold some wealth worth stealing. They wait until dark, and then move in as silently as possible to not alert the guards of their ambush. You wouldn't think that a group of 14 Dorns, a hobgoblin, and a large wolf could enter a town unseen, but this group managed to pull it off on this sleepy little town. They slunk through the paths and alleys until they found the town's manor which typically houses the town mayor or elder who likely owns the greatest amount of wealth. Deirik and Eirik make their way inside while the rest of the men either secure the area from any patrols or seek out any warehouses as additional sources of loot.
Inside the manor, Deirik and Eirik prowl around the house grabbing any items they perceive as both small and valuable. Unfortunately, they can't do so in perfect silence and the mayor comes downstairs with his dagger to find out what's going on. Deirik and Eirik remain focused on appraising and stealing loot when suddenly Eirik is stabbed in the back! Eirik furiously spins and pulls his greatsword in one smooth motion and slices the mayor in half! At this point, the two hear more movement upstairs. Eirik charges up the stairs, his eyes wide in anger. When he reaches the top of the stairs a club barely misses his head and he swings again in retaliation, immediately killing the mayor's wife! Deirik races up after him to try and calm his brother, but Eirik stomps forward determined to clear the second level. He clears a few more rooms before he reaches the last on the hall, Deirik right on his tail. Eirik kicks the door open and immediately sees a boy around 13 years of age holding another dagger out nervously while using his body to shield a young girl around 10 years old.
Eirik stares the boy down, his blood still boiling, and shouts at him to drop his weapon. Deirik once again moves to intercede and calm Eirik down. The boy drops his dagger and turns away to hold his sister, eyes still on the enraged intruders. Finally, Eirik is calm enough to step away with Deirik right behind him. They grab any other items that catch their eye in the master bedroom and those they'd spotted downstairs, then leave the house.
Meanwhile, the men outside had taken out a couple of Fallon's guard patrols and also identified a warehouse holding spices, some iron ore, wood, salted meats, and some textiles. The Men of Mjarn and their crew again appraise the items, steal a nearby cart, and take items that are both the most portable and valuable and return to their boat. They then skirt up the coast and find another town, the town of Valoor, and treat it the same as they did Fallon. Steal items of value from the manor house and warehouses and pile it onto the cart as well.
As they're making their way back to the boat from Valoor, the men spot something up the road in the distance. It appears to be a cart full of small casks driven by a Sarcosan in fine clothing with several human guards of different races on either side. Deirik and Boldulf immediately dive off into the nearby brush as do several members of the crew, Eirik and Ygvard stay with their cart and mosey forward toward their new target.
As soon as they're close enough, the opposing cart stops and calls out in greeting, in a thick Sarcosan accent, to Eirik, Ygvard, and the crew around the cart. Eirik greets this man as well while waiting for the right moment to call for the attack. The Sarcosan continues while looking around nervously and asks Deirik, who was hidden some tall grass nearby, to step forward and discuss a bargain. Deirik, acknowledging he'd been spotted, then steps forward confident in the knowledge that his men outnumber this man and his guards.
The Sarcosan then introduces himself as Mateo and says that he wishes to bargain for his life and the lives of his guards, in exchange he offers the entire contents of his cart with no fights or reprisal. By this time, Eirik, Ygvard, Boldulf, and the rest of the crew had made their way within earshot to listen in. Deirik asks what the contents are and Mateo informs him that there are 12 casks of "Fugue," a mind-altering drug that he produces himself and delivers to the nearby towns. Deirik asks Mateo what's in it for him, and Mateo lets him know that he gains not only his and his men's lives but also potential customers if the men like the Fugue and sell it where they came from and wish to come back and purchase more. Mateo says that he produces the drug in the nearby city of Chandering and has only set up distribution in the neighboring towns. If the Men of Mjarn take it and distribute it where they are from, it opens up a whole new market. He then offers a small amount to Deirik, taking some himself to prove its not dangerous, who takes it and shortly thereafter experiences what can only be described as a physical sluggishness accompanied by care-free happiness.
Deirik, Eirik, Ygvard, and Boldulf discuss the proposition. While their original intention was to raid these towns for all they're worth, perhaps there's more money to be made here in the drug trade. They agree to the bargain Mateo has offered and take the casks of Fugue off his hands saying that they shall return if the product is worth the trip. With that, the Men of Mjarn once again return to their boat, load up their haul, and set off to the West to return to Alucard.
On their way, the stop by the city of White Cliff on the Northern shores of the Sea of Pelluria and find their old friend and previous trading partner, "Rowdy". Unfortunately, Rowdy's wife, Sorna, had been killed a few years prior and, as such, Rowdy's trading business languished since she was the brains of the operation. To resume his business, he would need an infusion of wealth from the Men of Mjarn. Deirik and Eirik, who know Rowdy best, let him know they'll see what they can do for him after Winter to get him back on his feet. They then turn to leave, and Rowdy yells out a drunken warning that there's supposedly some ferocious wolf terrorizing the area and that they should be on the lookout. It hasn't been seen since the most recent full moon, but it did kill someone and was known to be vicious. Deirik and Eirik let him know they appreciate the warning and head out.
Smooth sailing brings the boat back to the rivertown on the Be'neeya river at which they'd stopped on their way out. It had been approximately 4 weeks since they passed through, as Deirik had estimated, and as such, the inspector reboarded their boat to let Ygvard know that his leige, Lord Torvald was nearby and interested in meeting. Ygvard, not wanting to insult Torvald, agreed to the meeting and stepped off the boat. The inspector apparently had sent word as soon as their boat was in sight and informed Ygvard that they would meet at the Southern edge of town. Ygvard nodded and went on his way with Kiro, Eirik's hobgoblin, as his escort.
Deirik saw this as his chance! He could finally put his blade through the heart of Torvald the Betrayer, his cousin who'd murdered his entire family and left his beloved grandmother to become Fell! He dashed off to the South, trying to catch Torvald before his meeting with Ygvard. It did not take long for Deirik to find him. Torvald, with his long, auburn hair flowing out from under his black-armored helm, and tall Dornish physique beneath the black full plate often worn by the Legates of Izrador, was striding through town paying little attention to its inhabitants. This is as good a chance as he's going to get. Deirik wound a black scarf around his head to hide his face and tell-tale red hair and made his move.
Deirik crept up on Torvald and then sprung forward with his blade out! Torvald spun around, as if he'd known all along that someone was there, and in the sickening language of dark magic rattled off a spell. Deirik felt his entire body freeze in place, he was helpless and his family's murderer was about to claim another victim. Torvald took a step forward and in a condescending tone said, "Hrm, you're good, whoever you are. You got far closer than most. You're lucky I have a meeting to attend or you and I would be having a discussion right now. As it is, I'll save you for later." He then caught the attention of two nearby orcs and had them drag Deirik's unresponsive body away.
Meanwhile, back on the boat, Eirik noticed that his brother was missing and knew exactly what he was up to. Eirik leapt off the boat and raced to the South. Using his tracking ability he was able to find Deirik as he was being dragged away by the two orcs. Eirik raced in and murdered both orcs without taking a scratch and checked to make sure his brother, Deirik, was still alive. Feeling the pulse and seeing Deirik's eyes plaintively racing, Eirik knew what had happened, informed Deirik that he is an idiot, and then threw him over his shoulder and took him back to the boat.
Friday, December 8, 2017
MoMj: The Corruption Saga - Session 11
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