Saturday, 18 February 2017

Fanjyr Way-Station - TLOD S07E04

The funeral pyre did it's best to consume the bodies of the unfortunate traders and the fallen Aarakocra, but eventually succumbed to the snow which had begun to fall heavily overnight.  The heroes took turns to stand 3 hour watches and slept through the long cold night.

In the morning they patched up their horses and themselves as best they could, hitched up the functioning wagon and headed on up the pass.  Just after noon Laurel spotted a rider approaching through the snow accompanied by a dog.  Cautiously Sir Tarigoz engaged the figure in polite conversation as is the custom when travellers meet together on a single track road.
"Lode Burwell is my name, and I am headed to Lurneslye with a consignment of furs for Frederick's General Store.  This is my companion and friend Bob"
he said pointing at the large dog which loped alongside him.  

Lode Burwell - Fur Trader
Lode told the heroes that a day ago he had passed through the gates of Fanjyr Way-Station, a fortified respite for weary travellers, further back along this mountain pass.  The place was abandoned and it looked like it had been attacked.  No stranger to war, as he was a travelling mercenary in his younger days, he reckoned that a sizeable force had laid waste to the shrine, inn and stables.  The gatehouses were undamaged and abandoned by the small militia garrisoned there.  The southern gates had been left wide open.

Tarigoz warned the trader that they had encountered an ambushed trader caravan earlier in their journey from Lurneslye from where they had acquired the wagon.  Lode explained that he knew the owner of the wagon and his family as they had left the town of Melmond some two days before him.  Had Tarigoz not been a Knight of the 5th Legion Lode said he would have immediately taken him for a bandit and a murderer and they would be having this conversation at sworpoint.  He added that should the party make it to Melmond they should return the wagon to the remaining members of the Feinholtz family.  As the trader and heroes parted company the Lode muttered that
"There is something foul and disturbing in the dark clouds which have descended on these mountains this winter."

They spent the remainder of the daylight slogging through ever deepening snow until they stopped at at a passing place cut into the mountainside and spent a frigid night huddled together for warmth in the back of the wagon.

In the morning they pressed on against the wind and driving snow.  After two hours they caught their first glimpse of Fanjyr Way-Station through the low coud which hugged the mountainside.  Another two hours later as they wound their way along the pass, the imposing structure of the Southern Gatehouse hove into view.

The Southern Gatehouse of Fanjyr Way-Sattion
The acrid smell of burnt timber hung in the air and it was obvious to all from the firmly barred gate that this way-station was now very much occupied.  The question was by who or what?

Leaving the horses and wagon containing Tcho'he the Aarakocra on the pass behind them, the heroes split into two groups.

Nyx, Styx, Laurel and Jan chose to scale the jagged rocks of the mountain side and cross over the wall.  Tarigoz, Ssinkar and Wulf chose to make their way to the great wooden doors.

With rogueish nimbleness Styx darted swiftly up the cliff face and crept up to the battlements.  Her heightened sense of smell immediately picked out the distinct odour of four different species of creatures in the vicinity; the musky aroma of Bugbear, the wet dog smell of Gnoll, the reek of Ogre and the stench of Troll.  Using her Thieves Cant, she signalled her sister Nyx a message to warn the other group.  Nix quickly relayed this as best she could to the Cantless Jan by waving her hands wildly.  The young mercenary got the gist of the message ran over to relay it to Tarigoz who was already half way to the gatehouse doors.

Accompanied by her sister and Laurel, the trio stealthily made their way across the wall and down the flight of stairs leading into a great courtyard.  Twisted spires of black smoke still rose from the ruins of three buildings that they could see in the courtyard. 

Jan the Sell Sword shinned up the mountain slope and like a ghost silently crossed over the wall.  Just as he was about to descend the stairs he noticed the door to the middle floor of the tower open and a Gnoll casually walked out and over to the ramparts directly above the gate.  He stopped and fiddling with his leather armour then began to urinate over the edge.

Ssinkar narrowly avoided the stream of fresh nicturate from above and he hunkered against the huge wooden doors. Tarigoz and Wulf followed suit.  They three heard the Gnoll finish his ablutions with a sigh and return to the tower closing the door noisily.

With their catlike poise and grace the two rogues stealthily padded into the tunnel and despite their lithe frames, proceeded to lift the 10 foot long heavy wooden bar which secured the 15 foot tall wooden doors from the inside.  Nyx searched through her trinket bag and found a squat shiny small metal jar containing some lavender scented greasy cream, which she had purloined some time ago from some nameless merchant's mistress, and greased the doors hinges.  Ssinkar gingerly pushed the door open just enugh for each of them to slip through and joined the fousome in the tunnel.

Inside the tunnel was a pair of double doors which led to the ground floor of the tower, one of which was slightly ajar.  Through this could be heard the unmistakeable grunts of a Troll and the suffling of at least 3 Bugbears.  

Hill TrollBugbear

Despite his years of training in skirmish tactics, Sir Tarigoz could see only one way to deal with this.
Bursting through the doors he caught the four creatures by surprise and immediately engaged with the huge troll swinging wildly and missing.  The Barbarian Wulf Brundson followed suit and hurled himself into the battle against the strongest looking Bugbear.  Laurel darted through and a furious flurry of her scimitars sliced at the Troll drawing blood.  Jan also engaged hacking at the second Bugbear with his sword.

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