“The Price of a Bed and a Bath”
Midnight the 8th of Trisad, 1331 Avard.
They were exhausted. They were covered in sweat and dust and dried blood and fresh blood. Their armor was dented, and their leathers were strained or broken. Their hair was matted and oily, and they reeked of men worked too hard. The only clean spots on their bodies, were the tear-cleansed tracks of skin beneath their weary and blood-stained eyes.
Liam lit a fresh torch from the long remaining, guttering torch. They gathered up the strange and obviously evil items inside the sarcophagus, and gently gathered up Saebael's body. Telamon and Liam together helped bring Saebael's body, while Aelar cautiously led the way. The three of them feared attacks from elementals at any moment.
Telamon felt that the undead had to have been dealt with. His confidence was an almost palpable thing, proven true when they came across a pile of metalized skeletons. The ritual they had performed at the horrid altar had undone all the power of the undead it had once created.
After what felt an eternity, they saw light ahead of them – and smelled food cooking. They rushed out of the cave into the dawn's early light, eager to feel the warmth of the sun and be out from under the weight of the mountain above them. The bear Angle'Ise snuffled a greeting at them, as did the horses. Waiting with Kwartz Spurbreaker was a man in scaled armor, and a child – no, a woman as small as a child.
The three of them wanted to desperately to sleep, or rest, or clean, or eat, and yet the weight of Saebael's body meant that duty took precedence. Kwartz waved them down, knowing what needed to be done. He and Angle'Ise began to gather wood enough to form a funeral pyre for Saebael. In a world that had known globally the touch of the undead, burning the dead was the best thing to do for the fallen.
Aelar immediately went to his horse, and reestablished contact with the animal. He felt the cold wind in his hair, the sun in his eyes, the blue sky above, and the smell of life and nature.
Telamon stripped down to nothing, and immediately began scrubbing himself clean with snow. The relative warmth of the caverns meant he had a stockpile of endurance against the bitterly cold winter air, and he had never felt so dirty.
Liam was a bit more logical about the whole affair, using his shield and packing it with snow to melt near the fire, while the stranger in scaled armor added more fuel – and served up a bowl of food. The child-sized woman merely watched, and observed, as did the stranger, who both seemed at ease with Kwartz and Angle'Ise.
The food was too much for Liam, who wretched it up, and then began to dry-heave. Good food fed the shock and trauma of all he had done inside the mountain, and his system purged itself of the evil as much as it did of the food.
Later, when they were somewhat rested and cleaner and had food in them, Kwartz handed each of them a torch to throw on Saebael's pyre. Liam spoke the words he knew so well, bidding Whalin watch over her spirit, and bidding her gods to take her home. The fire was started, and the dry wood took to light quickly.
They could remain awake no longer, and they fell asleep near the fire in exhaustion, sleeping away the rest of the morn. Come the afternoon, when they could neither sleep well nor wake well, they gathered up their belongings and prepared to leave. Introductions were finally made. The child-sized woman was Roswyn, and the stranger in scaled armor was a mercenary named Makon.
Roswyn had letters from both Lucard Wildstep and the Duke, to present to the party. The letters were impressive, and it warmed their heart to hear from Lucard. The word from the Duke was troubling, indicating a stirring of troubles, but they dismissed the problem as something they would have to deal with, another time.
With Angle'Ise leading, they left Wirebeard's Ledge and moved down towards River Crown, and home. Just before sunset, they made home, awing the four mercenaries who dared tell them to halt, awing them with little more than a stare and a dare.
The town quickly learned of their return, and ambushed them with questions and squeals of joy. Telamon's wife Tammie was as glad to see him as the rest. The baron seemed more contrite, having received letters from the Duke indicating just what authority the Order of Caerne did have in the realm. The baron read aloud the letter from Lucard, awing the townfolk even more.
They were shuffled to the miller's, where drink and food flowed, and they told their story at least three times, including Lucard's mounting of the dragon Artanus, and his flight up into the heavens. When it became late, the baron shooed most of the townsfolk out, and let baths be drawn, and left the Clan of Caerne in the company of the mercenaries staying there in the inn. Telamon, of course, retired to the home he shared with Tammie.
The next week was spent in resting, recovering, and enjoying life, while the clan waited for Sebathik and the other kobolds to arrive. The artificer Roswyn teamed up with Liam, and the two worked through the cursed items, destroying them, and preparing the way for enchantments and more. Roswyn alone had made nearly a dozen 'sunblades' for the town, and the mercenaries had brought them for the baron and the town's defenders. The sunblades were golden in hue, and powerful against the undead.
Roswyn had been found by the duke's men in Teras, where she rented out a small shop and made small trinkets and other items of arcane artifice. The Prelate of Yatindar and Count of Chasadan 'discovered' the small artificer when she could craft a sunblade in an hour's time and on little notice. In exchange for service to the duke, Roswyn received a small building free of charge in Chasadan where she could ply her trade, tax free. Roswyn eagerly agreed to the service, garnering some small bit of power from the duke as well as securing her livelyhood and retirement, all in one.
Almost a week after returning to River Crown, Sebathik returned with 50 kobolds, ten of them mounted, and enough supplies, livestock, and equipment to keep the town comfortable until spring. Some of the kobolds pulled sleds, while others remained on guard, all through the trip. Sebathik had purchased ten crossbows, which brought down snowfell easily. He also had spent five silver on an itemized received that recorded their purchases down to the copper.
Telamon and Aelar decided to implement an idea they had been festering for some time. They asked Sebathik to be their foreman for a trading company that would live up to Sir Tyrne's dream of making River Crown a trading hub. Mounted kobolds could run letters and receipts and orders, and other kobolds could ferry luxury items from Mount Basilisk. The two grandsons of Caerne hoped to invest quite a bit in the kobolds, including letters of note and credit, and in return garner the market on the rarely organized and quite cheap kobolds.
Sebathik agreed, in exchange for a handsome salary. Neither he nor the other kobolds wanted much in the way of land, intending to send all of their earnings back east to the kobold duchy. Sebathik and all 50 kobolds lived comfortably in the one house that a family of five humans had once thought small.
Time passed, but they felt the call of the mining complex, knowing it still needed to be cleaned out. They also knew that they would need to personally tell the Duke of what they had found, and what was going on. They looked to the north with their soulfires once again ready for the darkness.
Midafternoon of the 17th of Trisad, 1331 Avard.
THU06APR2010. We met at Sommer's place and had pizza to celebrate Caileb's 11th birthday. :) We caught a SNAFU in the dates for the last few sessions, and had to back and recognize that exactly one month had passed in campaign time since the beginning of the adventures. Otherwise, it was a good evening role-playing, while everyone pondered having an artificer in the party. On the one hand, it seems it will be a campaign-breaking class from the Eberron book, but on the other hand, I think an artificer is a good way to chew up what money the party has. ;)
lol Holy crap. I have to get used to another character name next to my name! I wonder if I can set a record… :p
“what money,” indeed.
I'm happy about the plans for the trading company as it allows Telamon a way to back out of the campaign. Not that it is happening anytime soon, but it's there never-the-less.
David, hurry up and come back home from your trip! I wanna play again!
Believe me. If I find out I'm coming home early (like before the 27th) I'll let everyone know so we can play on the 27th - I don't think I'll be home earlier than the 20th though. I am going to be gone again for the June 3rd session as I will be in Hawaii :) for my brother's wedding (travel 3rd - 8th).