Thursday, March 1, 2018

MoMj: The Corruption Saga - Session 17

With the snow finally having melted enough to allow travel, Deirik, Eirik, Ygvard, and Boldulf once again set their minds to making progress in achieving their goals. However, there is a setback. Deirik, with his skin being more pale, his canine teeth slightly extended, is concerned that there's something genuinely wrong with him. Ygvard runs some magical tests on him and it doesn't take him long to determine that Deirik is, at least partially, Fell. The Men know they can't hide something like this from Lord Krogan, so they take the matter to him.

With the others just behind him, Deirik enters the temple first, "Lord Krogan, I have an issue on which I'd like your input."

Krogan barely looks up from his book, "Hmm?"

"I believe the encounter I had with the Fell in Rulla may have changed me. Ygvard," Deirik motions over his shoulder, "seems to think that I become a partial Fell."

Krogan closes his book, his attention now obtained, "Really? How interesting. What are the symptoms?" He saunters over toward Deirik.

"Besides my skin and teeth and the effect my looks now have on others, I can also see in the dark."

"Well, that's incredibly useful. I wonder..." Krogan reaches into his robes and brandishes his symbol of Izrador. His commanding voice resounds through the temple as he states, "I REBUKE YOU IN THE NAME OF THE ONE GOD, IZRADOR. BOW BEFORE HIS GODLY MIGHT." Within an instant, Deirik is fearfully compelled to his knees. The other Men watch in shock as their kinsman seems unable to act for himself. After a few moments, Lord Krogan places his symbol back in his robes and Deirik visibly relaxes and returns to his feet. Krogan then says, "Ygvard is right. You are certainly not fully Fell, but if you can be rebuked, then you're no longer fully alive either."

Deirik, hope in his voice, asks, "Is there a cure?"

Krogan flatly responds, "Not that I know of, but I will read through what books I have here when I can and see if there is any mention of your condition. In the meantime, I have other matters to attend to."

Deirik's head drops as he leaves with the others. However, it doesn't take long afterwards for Deirik to become enraged, "I KNOW this was Torvald's doing," and he storms ahead with renewed purpose.

The Men return to their warehouse home in Alucard. Over the next several days, Eirik and Ygvard start discussing the logistics of their next run to Chandering to obtain more Fugue. Their supply is starting to run low as the drug trade has been picking up and expanding to neighboring towns and villages. They realize to truly get a trade business going, they must request a loan from Krogan as they do not have the capital themselves, and they go off to speak with him. The discussion with Krogan is brief - he agrees to provide the loan, but is repaid before any profits are split and gets a large cut of the profits after the loan is repaid. Eirik and Ygvard agree to Krogan's terms, secure the goods, and head out with their crew.

Boldulf decides not to join the drug run and goes out again to the wilds outside Alucard to continue his relationships with the local wolf packs.

Deirik decides on a different path. He's tired of doing nothing when it comes to Torvald. He needs to at least START scouting out his territories, locating those he cares about, and getting a feel for where he spends his time. So he decides to go South on his own in an attempt to locate one of Torvald's sisters, Lianna. He recalls back when he and Eirik first learned of the betrayal of the Torvalds (both the Elder and the Younger), he and Eirik married Lianna off to Clan Landen, so that will be where he looks first.

He applies a disguise just in case Lianna spots him, and heads off toward Clan Landen. His journey uneventful, it doesn't take him long with Clan Landen to learn that a good portion of the Clan, including Lianna and her husband, were invited to move to the town of Vorhold by Lord Torvald. Deirik is not surprised that Torvald has arranged for his sister, husband, and new family to move into one of the Men's family's old towns above the Cave of Mjarn. At least now he knows the lay of the land and where he should head next. So Deirik heads off from Clan Landen to the South in the direction of Vorhold.

Meanwhile, Eirik and Ygvard find themselves with fairly smooth sailing on their way to Chandering. They get especially nervous as they circle the Corbron Isles, home to the Pirate Princes, but escape notice this time around and continue on their way East. With little getting in their way, they make it to the city of Chandering in good time.

Deirik does not experience the same luck in his journeys though. After traveling for several days, he knows that the town of Vorhold is not far off. As he travels down the road, he sees a large group of Orcs traveling in the opposite direction. Normally, Deirik would hide off the road and let them pass, but these orcs also have "Sniffers" with them - goblins that have very large noses and use their heightened sense of smell to root out and track their enemies. Seeing them, Deirik decides to try to play it cool and talk his way through.

The orcs slow down as they approach Deirik, and the supposed leader of this troop shouts out in his gravelley voice, "Hold there! Who are you and what's your business?"

Deirik maintains his composure as he replies, "I am a messenger on my way to Vorhold. I have a message for the elder there from..." Deirik takes a quick moment to think of which Legate he could refer to since Krogan and Torvald are enemies, "Lord Olaf of Bergen".

The lead orc squints his beady eyes, "You are well armed for a messenger. I do not know this Olaf, but if you have a message for the elder of Vorhold, we will escort you there... and relieve you of your weapons in the meantime." With this statement, the entire troop of orcs slowly closes in on Deirik. Deirik realizes this is not a fight he can win, so he surrenders his weapons to the orc and goes along with them on the way to Vorhold.

Eirik and Ygvard meet up with Mateo, their Fugue source, in Chandering. Mateo is thrilled to see the Men again and happy to negotiate the actual sale of Fugue to them, especially since the last batch of Fugue the Men obtained was when they ambushed Mateo and his men and he gave it to them to spare his life. Neither being especially adept at the art of negotiation, Ygvard and Eirik feel as though Mateo is charging a bit of a premium for the drugs but neither knows the right words to convince him otherwise.

Eirik makes an attempt with, "Is that the best deal you can offer us?" but Mateo holds his ground with a simple, "Yes, my friend." With that, the deal is struck and Mateo arranges for the drugs to be loaded onto Eirik and Ygvard's boat.

Deirik is brought into Vorhold and taken directly to the elder's house by some of the Orcish troop, while those who hold his weapons split off presumably in the direction of their barracks and armory. They watch as Deirik knocks, and shortly thereafter Lianna opens the door. It's been some years since he's seen her, but he's sure it's her. Conversely, not only has it been some years since Lianna has seen Deirik, but he's also grown out his hair and disguised himself. Deirik hopes that is enough. The orcs inform Lianna that Deirik is a messenger with a message for her husband, Elder Korik. Lianna invites Deirik into her home and ushers him into the sitting room while she takes a moment to speak with the orcs outside.

Deirik is unable to hear what she's saying, so he takes a seat and waits for his hostess. He continues to try and stay calm, but knows this situation could explode at any moment. Lianna joins him after a few moments and sits opposite him.

"My husband will be down momentarily and will be able to receive his message."

"Thank you, m'lady."

"In the meantime," Lianna grins a sly grin, "why don't we catch up? It's been years since we've seen each other, Deirik."

Deirik's anger flares, he's been set up! He then hears someone coming down the stairs and Elder Korik, Lianna's husband comes around the corner. He looks around, taking in his surroundings to learn the layout while saying, "Yes, it has. I see you've done well, Elder's wife and all." Elder Korik comes around and stands next to Lianna.

Lianna continues, "If you're thinking of escaping, I wouldn't. The troops will be here any moment to take you into custody."

Deirik sighs, "Then I don't have a lot of time."

He moves almost faster than the eye can see to flip his chair over and kick it up against the front door, break off a chair leg, and hold it as a club. He advances towards Lianna, who has barely moved in shock of the swift and sudden violent response, and bashes her head until he's certain she's gone. Noting that the chair is still preventing the orcs from entering, he then turns his attention towards her husband who has run toward the kitchen, likely trying to get a knife. Deirik chases Korik down and bashes him to death as well. He then notes that there is a back door in the kitchen, grabs a knife for himself, and slips out of the house and begins weaving his way through town until he finally escapes into the forest outside down. However, his weapons are still in town, and he needs them back.

Eirik and Ygvard, having obtained their drug shipment, make their way for White Cliff. Once there, they're greeted by their old friend and trading partner, "Rowdy". Rowdy is happy to see his old friends, but his trading business is still in poor shape. Eirik offers Rowdy an infusion of goods from the loan that Krogan provided in an effort to see Rowdy back on his feet and making this a worthwhile stop for the Men of Mjarn once again. Rowdy swallows his pride and gratefully accepts the goods and promises Eirik and Ygvard that he will make this right someday. The Men say their farewells and sail off back towards Alucard.

Deirik knows he's being hunted. He moves about in the forest to stay ahead of them but he knows that the orcs have Sniffer goblins with them, so it's only a matter of time. Eventually, a pair of orcs with a Sniffer are too close for comfort and Deirik moves downwind, hides, and waits for his chance to ambush them. The orcs approach with the sniffer loudly tracking Deirik's scent. As soon as they get close enough, Deirik dives out and stabs the first orc with his kitchen knife, hitting a major artery and leaving the orc to bleed out on the forest floor! The second orc barely registers what has happened before Deirik falls upon him too. Deirik plunges the knife into the orcs lungs so it can't scream and kills it instantly as well! He then spins on the Sniffer, who attacks with its scimitar and slices Deirik's left arm. Deirik feints the Sniffer, then spins across him while slicing his neck open, leaving the Sniffer gasping for air that will not come. Deirik then picks up the Sniffer's scimitar, and moves back towards the town to use the cover of night to infiltrate it.

Deirik's stealth serves him well as he ducks patrols and troops on his way into town to find the armory. The entire town is in alarm, but none of them even think that Deirik would return to town, and he uses that to his advantage. He finally finds the armory, grabs his weapons, and escapes without notice.

Everyone arrives back in Alucard within a few days of each other. Once they're all together, Eirik and Ygvard share their success, Boldulf reports in about how he's fared with the wolves, and, finally, Deirik takes his turn to tell his tale.

Eirik is the first to pick up his jaw from off the floor, clear his throat, and speak, "You've got to be kidding me. You've GOT to be KIDDING ME! YOU KILLED HER?! Why did you even go there to begin with?! Do you think they know who you are? Is this going to get traced back to us?"

Deirik barely flinches at his brother's rage, "I have to assume they know. Lianna recognized me right away and informed her troops. If they know, it's not long before Torvald does."

Eirik finishes the thought, "... and Torvald will make the connection that we're not only nearby, but operatives of Krogan, which may lead the church to sanction HIM attacking Krogan when we were trying to arrange just the opposite. Damnit! We've gotta tell him. We've gotta tell Krogan what you've done."

Player Commentary: THIS, THIS right here. This is the moment the entire game went off its rails and all my careful planning and organization went completely south.

Of course, it also began our best hope to climb out of the moral relativism darkness we had dragged ourselves through... 

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