Monday, January 12, 2009

Once again, into the breach...

Time once more to update the continuing saga of our home Labyrinth Lord game, which includes my two daughters and now surprisingly, my wife. Yipee!

Isabella - Female Human Fighter level 2
Ember - Female 1/2 elven Cleric level 2
Safira - Female Ice Elf level 2

Lisa, the town's woman, sprints for the water's edge, hoping to gain her freedom. The adventurers are ready for her break and leap to tackle her. Unfortunately they all leap at once, and tangle in the attempt...Lisa gains the water and the adventurers are smart enough NOT to jump in after her. After all, they've seen the gar!

Ember uses the flute to call the gar and both she and Isabella mount the fish and it slowly turns and swims to the other side. Lisa notices this, and knowing that the fish is a one-way ticket, she turns around and weakly swims back, her stroke is failing. Watching from the shore, Safira realizes that Lisa will not likely make it, so she finds the longest branch that she can and tries to shadow the woman's progress along the shore.

Meanwhile, the gar has reached the other side and the women leap off, blow the flute and again mount up. What tedium!! Ach. By this time Lisa has weakened significantly and her swimming is uneven and frantic. She yells out briefly, then her head disappears beneath the muddy waters of the Hruesen.

Safira waits and watches while her comrades make shore. Ember sprints into town with the intent of bringing back a watchman.

Nearly a minute passes and Lisa's head breaks the brown plane of the water and Safira sprints down to help her with the branch. The exhausted woman is pulled to safety and she collapses in the mud, coughing and retching water up out of her lungs.

With the arrival of the watch, Lisa is recovered enough to get up and be led to the jail-house. The rest of the party is told to come both verify the story as well as to make sure that they're not somehow trying to cover up wrongdoing.

After a few hours of questioning, which includes the entire Shuester family, and the friar from the chancel, it's obvious Lisa has been up to no good. She won't say who she's gone to see but she does admit to trying to poison her no good laggard of a husband. It's surmised though that she's gone to see the Thorn Queen, better known as 'The Witch'. Old Man Nester knows a bit more as he's been to see her long ago.

A visit with Old Man Nester provides the group with enough information to find the witch as well as a "reason" to seek her out. It seems that the witch is some kind of oracle and might know where the Hermit would be located. She's been in the woods for generations and no one knows how old she is...ancient it seems, and a font of that type of knowledge, if the price is paid. Apparently she takes rare herbs and sometimes "favors" in return for her words of wisdom.

Exhausted, but still game, the adventurers proceed to the Bent Hook tavern, where they had informed their party to meet them. There they find the triplets drunk and Fura waiting nervously. They all wonder what's been going on, and after a quick explanation they also agree to meet the next day and try again.

Down to the dock the women head after convincing Fura that he should come along. Once there, they pull out the flute and summon the giant gar, they're determined to see this witch today...even if it kills them. The trek is three hours according to Old Man Nester IF they follow the trail. If not, it could take days.

It takes a little searching but Isabella finds the faint outlines of a game trail and off they go. About two hours into the hike, the trees grow quite a bit larger, the canopy tightens up above them, dimming the light, and the underbrush starts growing much more verdant. Giant, twisted briars, with beautiful flowers grow alongside the narrow game trail, snagging and catching at the adventurer's clothing and gear.

Not far in the distance, the snapping of branches and a cacophony of low growls alerts the party that something is going on not far off in the brush. A stick is stepped on and the growling suddenly stops...the rushing of feet through the leaves prompts weapons to be drawn with haste. Out of the bushes hurtles three large hyena-like creatures, their muzzles smeared with blood and their long yellow canines barred for violence.

Initially it looks bad, Safira is pounced on by two of the creatures and dragged to the ground where they savagely maul her. Fura is beset by the third beast and he luckily dodges it's first snapping advance. Teeth flash and snap. Blades and staff go snicker-snak. Soon the beasts go down and Safira's wounds are healed by Ember and her belief in Freya; the goddess of battle and beauty.

The group takes a short breather and luckily catches sight of a smear of blood just off the trail, as if something was dragged away, INTO the brush. They investigate and discover the dismembered corpse of a female. It's in too poor a condition to tell who she was, or even if she was human. But they do discover a fine silver flowered necklace and a small satchel of herbs with a sharp silver paring knife obviously used in the collection process.

They decide to keep moving towards the witch and quite soon they emerge into a small clearing occupied by a small woven briar hut and a large black-iron cauldron, wherein some type of viscous green liquid bubbles and pops, heated by flickering blue flames. The clearing stinks of an acrid nasty stench emanating from the cauldron.

A rough voice issues from the darkness of the small hut asking the intruders to announce themselves and to state their business. The adventurers do so and gnarled hands push aside the hanging vines covering the doorway to reveal....a twisted and ancient dwarf! He comes limping out on his club foot and asks a few other pointed questions. As the questioning progresses the air is filled with a buzzing sound and looking up the adventurers see a small group of pixies flitting above their heads.

Satisfied that the adventurers mean no harm, the dwarf looks up as if to someone behind the party and asks if she's ready to see them. The party whips around and a kindly looking plump-woman dressed in a faded, but still pretty, flower-print dress nods and smiles to each of them. She greets them and asks if they'd like to take tea with her.

Safira agrees and surprisingly, her wounds are healed the rest of the way! The witch introduces herself as Neegle and tells the party that the body they found in the woods was an assistant of hers out collecting herbs. She also informs them that she'd be more than happy to answer questions, but there is a price.

Two questions are agreed upon by the group: Where can the Hermit be found, and what is behind the Black Door in the ruined monastery of St. George of Gyxag? The price for the first answer is the herbs the party came across on the slain body. The price for the second answer will be determined at the next full moon, whereupon the group will meet Neegle here.

After handing over the satchel to Neegle, she informs them that the Hermit lives only a few hours hike due north of here, but beware, he is not nearly as tolerant of visitors as Neegle. The answer to the Black Door is a little more complicated. What the group seeks may be found behind the Black Door but therein also dwell things that are not meant to see the light of day. She also mentions that the Black Door is not the ONLY way into the depths...

Armed with this new information, and agreeing that they shall reconvene here at the next full moon, the adventurers take their leave of Neegle and bid adieu. Their hike back towards the Hruesen river is uneventful...They break out of the trees at dusk, exhausted and bedraggled.

And this is where we'll pick it up again. Until next time.

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