Sunday, 12 February 2017

Into the Mountains - TLOD S07 E03

In Asdos' hovel, the party huddled around the tiny stove for warmth and pondered the plight of Tcho'eh and his species.  Those who were not stone hearted had already made up their minds, the creature was clearly not a deamon.  After he offered to pay them even Jan was swayed.

Asdos' Hovel in the Wood

The journey into the mountains to the Aarakocra nest of Tikka-Ti-Jarra would be arduous this time of year and so Ssikar and Sir Tarigoz agreed to return to Lurneslye to get provisions.

This Town is Coming Like a Ghost Town

They found the small village deserted and boarded up.  The villagers having taken Bernhardt the Chosen's orders to heart and returned to their farms to protect themselves and their families from the ravaging deamon who could strike at any time.

Their first stop was at the Ostlery, run by Olli Schmidt and his rotund and imposing wife, Grunhilde.  The timid man capitualated when Tarigoz ordered him to open up in the name of the King and they soon collected his charger, Rupert, and requisitioned 2 extra horses, a mule and tack.  As he signed the paperwork, Tarigoz knew that the canny ostler would inflate the animals worth, but time was against them.  The rampaging cloud giant could arrive at Tikka-Ti-Jarra any day now. 

Nyx and Styx also chose to return to the village in order to collect their meagre belongings hidden beneath the village stage.  In amongst their nest of straw and the two great fur coats which they brought with them were a motley collection of shiny jewgaws that they had liberated from the folk of Lurnesyle over the past few months. Given the disturbing scenes they witnessed at this morning's public examination, they surmised that this place had become a decidedly riskier place to live and it was only a matter of time before the cleric Bernhardt mistook them for deamons. 

At the General Store Tarigoz and Ssinkar found a kindred spirit.  The owner, Friedrich, had no love for Bernhardt and his temple and had enjoyed seeing the zealous cleric knocked down a peg or two.  However, he knew that with the Knight of Wulfschlossen gone Bernhardt would be emboldened in his control of the village folk.  He unquestioningly accepted Sir Tarigoz's orders and provided thick fur-lined cloaks and enough provisions for the team and animals for 14 days.

Once reunited at Asdos hovel, the party mounted up set off along the mountain pass.  Asdos' parting gift to each of the brave adventurers is a healing draft.

Dire Wolves and an Ambushed Caravan

Some 4 hours and 10 miles of travelling later, they found themselves traversing a winding and climbing pass road with steep snow spotted cliffs on both sides.  Up ahead lay the gruesome sight of an ambushed traders caravan.  The twisted and broken bodies of the traders had become an opportunistic meal for a snarling pack of 11 dire wolves who nervously encircled the grisly scene.

Dire Wolves Attack

An uneasy stand off ensued, finally broken by Tarigoz's mount Rupert, a trained war horse used to fighting men not wolves, panicking and throwing the Knight to the ground.  The mule follows suit and Ssinkar tries in vain to restrain it and with a whinny it bolts back down the pass towards Lurneslye carrying the bulk of their provisions in its saddlebags.

As the wolves seize their moment to strike, Laurel deftly turns her horse with her desert riding skills and unleashes a salvo of arrows from her bow.  Nyx and Styx unleash a flurry of furry fury attacking  in unison by throwing their daggers into the same wolf.

The wolves attack both horse and hero alike and a fluid combat develops in which 7 of the wolves are slain and the rest flee licking their wounds.  The skirmish comes at no small cost to the heroes either as Jan, Nyx and Tarigoz are left bruised and Wulf Brunson bloodied.

Examining the unfortunate corpses they discover 3 incongruous Aarakocra bodies literally dropped amidst the corpses.  The heroes determine that the attack occurred about 2 days ago and yet the aarakocra bodies show signs of dying at least a week before that.

In the wreckage of the caravan, they find more bodies, provisions and furs and a small chest containing 50gps worth of mixed coinage.

Tcho'eh explains that although the bodies are those of his species they are from a different nest.  Their wounds were made by tooth and claw like those of the traders.  He also asks that the heroes help him to build a pyre and join him in prayers to the uncaring Sky Gods so they may once again hear the plight of his people and respond to their suffering.
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