The Age of Kings

Paikea Star - Letters Home VI

July 12

Mother

I am not sure why I am writing a letter to a dead woman, but I am. I know I saw your face before you died, but I do not remember it. Father says I look a lot like you. He always gets a bit of sadness in his face when he tells me that. I think he misses you a lot, even though he is happy with his life. I am mostly happy with mine as well. There are a few things I would change if I could but no use dwelling on that.

I am writing you because my friends and I almost died yesterday. Even though I am with others – right now I am feeling very alone. You see, I have been sent on a King’s errand. I am helping to clear land around the holiest mountain range in Cict. One day my King plans to ascend the mountains and claim the title of King of the entire continent, instead of just King of Landinium.

I am sitting and watching my friends heal wounds – it is kind of boring but it is much better to be bored as they heal than mourning the death of any of them, even that fool Xavkul. You see, Mom, we were seeking out a warren of goblins. When we found it – Xavkul ran forward screaming out a war cry. Even though some of my companions are wearing incredibly LOUD metal armor and have the gracefulness of a puppy on an icy puddle – we could have approached much more stealthily.

Suddenly as we moved forward far behind him, he disappeared into the trunk of the tree – having found the entrance to the goblins’ lair. By the time we made it to the tree and found the opening – Xavkul was bleeding out in a stream under the tree with goblin arrows sticking out of his blasted hide. Soreon and Kris did their best to keep the goblins engaged while Xavian brought the healing power of Pelor down.

It was touch and go – I am sporting several new scars from goblin arrows myself. In the end Soreon and I had to drag bodies up with ropes. I think it is lucky that neither of us broke our backs getting friends in metal armor up and out of the lair.

Just when we thought we were in the clear one of the goblins appeared while riding a huge centipede. It ate one of our mules before Soreon and I were able to fell the beast. If it were not for our luck in finding exposed areas for attacks someone surely would have died either from the bite or poison.

So now we are healing and I just need someone to tell me it will turn out ok and that the pain is worth it in the end. I know that no one can tell me that – for no one knows for sure that things will turn out in the end. If they do or do not – I would not want to know. There would be no fun in life if I knew how it would turn out.

I am not sure what we will do with Xavkul. I am afraid at this rate he will end up on trial for getting Soreon killed. The King would not take it lightly if there were to occur. He comes in handy in a fight – at least for a few seconds before he succumbs to his wounds. Maybe we can reason with him, maybe not.

Well I am going to try and get some sleep. We now know there are kobolds in the area and plan on assaulting them tomorrow. I think I prefer hunting human brigands to these fouls beasts.

Love,
Paikea

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The Journal of Xavian Grey Part VI
Xavian's Journal

July 10, 542
The past couple of days have not been easy. To be completely honest, I am surprised that we are all even alive at this point. It all started when we discovered the old sycamore tree that was rumored to be the lair for a community of goblins. Upon arrival Xavkul got the whim to try and chop the tree down with his great axe. This is probably the worst possible thing that could have happened. The rest of us stood in horror as he began hacking away at the tree.

Moments after he began his quest to bring the great tree down, several arrows struck him from a whole at the base of the tree. This is when Xavkul decided to jump down the hole to seek out his attackers, despite the rest of the group being several hundred feet behind him after running to the tree in his excitement. By the time the rest of us made it to the tree and into the lair beneath, Xavkul had already been knocked unconscious, and we found ourselves quickly surrounded by the goblins, and the centipedes that they apparently can live with peacefully.

We fought long and hard against the goblins. I did everything I could to keep everyone standing until I had exhausted all of the blessings could grant me for one day. Wave after wave the goblins continued to come with their bows and tiny swords. At one point we even encountered the chieftain riding his huge tick companion through the tunnels. After a long fight, the death of many goblins, including their chieftain, and Xavkul and Kris both being knocked unconscious, the remainder of the goblins turned to flee farther into the tunnels. I was grateful for this, for I was also near the point of toppling from my wounds. It was at this time that we quickly collected the unconscious and made our way back to the surface in hopes to reunite with the druid, who had earlier fled the battle under our instructions.

Once we returned to the surface the druid was nowhere to be seen, but she later united with us here at camp. She is indeed a skilled tracker. In our anger we planned to burn the tree down, along with whatever goblins may be remaining inside. It was during the attempts to burn the tree that we were interrupted by a great rumbling from the ground. A massive centipede with goblin rider came bursting from the ground. We immediately scrambled in an attempt to escape. I did the best I could to tie Kris to the back of one of the donkeys to send it fleeing to get him farther from the danger, but my knot quickly failed after the donkey began to flee. As I was doing this the others were able to shoot the rider from the beasts back with their bows. Before I had the chance to get Xavkul onto the other donkey, the centipede killed it with one swift bite.

I feared for my life at this point. It was then that Soreon saved me with the distraction of an arrow he fired at the centipede. This was the turning point in the fight. The centipede took to the distraction immediately and charged toward Soreon. Lucky for us, it misjudged the assault and came up just short of Soreon as he braced for impact with his polearm, and left itself off balance. Soreon seized the opportunity and with one clean sweep of his weapon, spilled the guts of the beast all over the ground. Paikea swiftly followed this with an arrow to what we assume was the throat to finish it off. As quickly as we could after this, we gathered everyone and everything and made haste to get as far away as possible before making camp.

We spent the remainder of the evening and all of today in camp recovering from our wounds. While the weather has been bad today, with a great storm blowing in, I consider us lucky. It has likely deterred anything that may have been left at the tree from pursuing us, as well as keeping away other natural predators that could have caught us off guard in the time of great vulnerability. Tomorrow we will hopefully be able to return to the tree.

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Long overdue and maybe a will and testament of Soreon Silvermane Sorben

I have meet lots of new people in the month that we have started this journey for the king to map the land past and around Caer Lerion. Why am I deciding to do this is because well I’m currently having to look death in the face all because of for lake a better word a moron. Truthfully I thought I could see myself taking over for my Uncle. The instrument of my demise is in the form of an idiot hitting a tree that was over a goblin hideout or is it a settlement. We’ll all I can say is I’m pissed I will not be denied my right to the chance of the thrown and I will not loss the people that have come with me Gorum give me strength to protect and destroy the goblins or until my dying breath I will give my all and my shield will protect all I cannot. I’m just hoping they cannot use the tactics that were ingrained into me as a child. Also we need to give the bane my soul currently a perfect leash and chocker just got to figure a way to get him to wear it maybe my friend Paikea can figure a way to persuade (cough) trick (Cough) into wearing his new gift.
It all started when we were given a decree to map out all of Caer Lerion by my uncle well I should say the king. We have ran into many strange encounters like the Crazy moving mound of shrubbery I am hopping we never meet that thing ever again I barely made it by the skin of my teeth even when I was drag my new companions on this journey to keep them from being taken by and I think eaten by the thing. When went back to the settlement and were treated for our wounds we had to go thru there again to get to the next section of the area. Thankfully it was not still there. Next thing we ran into was a giant centipede I was not that lucky when I tried to get Kris and Xavian this time and was knocked unconscious. We were only saved from the thing because of the quick thinking and luck of our friend from the wilderness currently I cannot think of her name at the moment. However this is also when I met the bane of my existence Xavkul Mankin. But there has been some funny things that have happened like him getting eaten by a giant frog we saved him and I thought that would have made him think before he leaps but no. next time we turn around we see him running towards a bandit camp by himself we only nearly survived that encounter thanks to my druidic friend. Once again I would have thought that he would have had at least a survival instinct I mean come on. Once again I was incorrect in my thoughts on that now this is where we come full circle and come to the front of the tree where once again we see him doing something instincts would tell him not to oh well. All I can say is what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

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Paikea Star - Letters Home part V

July 4

Dearest Father

Father – I hope all is well for you in Landinium. Things are going well out here in the wilds. We have been doing well in our mission of mapping and clearing the land of brigands and other beasts. I am noticing the benefits of the adage that with practice you become better at things. I have noticed of late that my aim is better and I am more quiet than I started out being as I walk through the wilds – though some of my friends wear a lot of metal so it does not often serve us as a group well if just one of us moves silently through the grasses and trees.

What I want to tell you about is a small temple (probably more of a shrine) that we found. We knew that somewhere in the area there was a shrine to old an old Elven god that was reported to be home to an evil spirit. No one could tell us what the spirit was or if the spirit was a real spirit or just a bad person or beast. So we have been on the lookout for it – we were confident in our ability to clean it up so that no future citizens of Landinium would in harms way.

Just a few nights ago we ran into a fellow who was very into the tobacco he was smoking named Bocoob. He mentioned the shrine being nearby. The next day we set out for it – trusting that we could handle what was thrown at us.

Upon approaching it there was a fouled fountain that had a scum of thick algae growing in it. There were steps approaching a cave and as we approached there was a bellow so loud it felt like the ground was shaking beneath our feet. A huge cave bear and a cub came out of the opening and were suddenly at the top of the stairs.

We started to react and formulate a plan as the bears stood their ground when one of my companions decided to charge up the stairs. All hell seemed to break loose and time felt frozen at the same time. The huge bear towered over the barbarian – its paws bigger than the Half-Orc’s head. I tried tactical movements – getting into position to fire arrows at the smaller of the bears from a safe distance. To tell the truth – some of the details of the fight are fuzzy because of what happened at the end of it. Eventually we brought down both bears – and when they fell they transformed from bears to people!

One of my companions who knows about these things called them Blighters and Darkspawn. What ever they were was holding a curse like grip on the surrounding lands. Once they were gone the air seemed cleaner and the land felt more fecund. We spent time cleaning up the shrine. The fountain miraculously cleaned itself once they were killed and their taint was removed from the land.

If you hear anything about me getting attacked and gored by a boar – obviously it ended better for me than the boar, since you are continuing to get letters. Is there anything exciting going on in the Capital?

When we got back to Isca’s Hold – Stannis was there with a proclamation for Soreon about settling the land once we get it all cleaned out. That should prove interesting – I am not sure if the residents already here seemed to keen on that.

Well I should close this out and get to making sure we are equipped for the next foray into the wilds. We have heard of a goblins raiding caravans, someone killing unicorns, and seen evidence of Caer Twyn traders and guards in the area. I will let you know of further developments as they occur.

Love,
Paikea

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The Journal of Xavian Grey Part V
Xavian's Journal

June 23, 542
Over the past four days we have completed out exploration on this forest area and recovering from combat that ensued, and started moving toward our next location of interest. On the first day picking back up after our encounter with the frogs, we had another intriguing encounter. While making dinner a pack of Thyrasacines converged on our campsite, I assume in hopes for food. It was at this point that Kris had his not so good idea of beating on a dinner pot to scare them away. This did indeed scare away the cat-dog creatures, but also alerted a large group of bandits in the area. In the fight with the bandits Kris was nearly killed, and both Xavkul and I were knocked out. At this point in time we are fully recovered and ready to call it a night so that we can begin exploration of the next territory tomorrow.

June 26, 542
As if things have not been strange enough from time to time in our adventures to this point, the past four days proved that we have obviously not seen the half of how bizarre these wilds can truly be. On our first day heading west into this new area we stumbled across a man named Bocob. He was sitting around his bonfire and tent cooking breakfast upon our arrival, and had a nearby cart. I can only assume that he is a trader of sorts, as most of the other locals we have happened across have been. He offered to have us join him for breakfast and informed us that his travels were set for a local ruined temple that he was headed to for his own personal reasons. The description of the temple that he was heading to certainly matched the descriptions of the temple to Corelon that we have been searching for, in that he confirmed the presence of a bad spirit who resides there. After informing him that we wished to investigate, he informed us that he would delay so as to avoid being there while we were carrying out our business there.

After having breakfast with Bocob we continued on our way to locate the temple. Once we finially located the temple we began our investigation, only to discover that the stories of a malevolent spirit being there were true. We were greeted what appeared to be a large white grizzly bear and its cub, both of which were covered in algae and sores that resembled some form of mange. Neither of the bears was friendly, so per usual we were graced with another strange encounter. After a time of battling the bears, we managed to slay the larger bear. This is when things turned bizarre. The bear shifted into what appeared to be an old man, who quickly aged, decayed and then turned to dust and was wisped away. Shortly after, we also defeated the cub and the same strange thing occurred, except instead of an old man it was a young elven woman. It seems that these were both druids, who somehow were bound to this temple and set free upon being slain by the party.

Once the fight was over, we discovered that this entire temple was teeming with magic. Whether any of it was good or not, we are unsure, but to be safe we spent the remainder of the day consecrating the area. Hopefully all can be well here for the future.

July 4, 542
The past eight days have been much more pleasant than some of our recent explorations. We safely returned to the hold after cleansing the temple, and upon arrival, were greeted by a large number of caravans that had arrived while we were gone. Most, if not all, of the caravans were baring the king’s banner. After taking in the scenery for a short time we made sure to visit Jhod to inform him that the temple had been cleansed. What he will do with it at this point is unknown. For our assistance, Jhod has agreed to aid us in the future by providing divine spells that we may need him to perform at component costs. We also paid Isca a visit to present the tatzlwyrm head and Tuskgutter’s head to him. He was greatly pleased with both.

For the remainder of the time that we have spent at the hold we took care of some miscellaneous crafting work that Soreon wished to do, training that a few others wished to take care of and studying that a few of us decided to tackle.

July 7, 542
Over the past few days we have made our way back to the lightning struck tree, and completed a bit of exploration to the northeast. As with most of our experience in plains regions, this travel and exploration was quiet.

July 8, 542
Today we started to head to the west and got a decent amount of exploration and mapping complete. While preparing to camp for the night tonight, we were greeted by traveler, named Lewd, in the area. Per usual, this was another traveler heading to the hold. In our discussions with him, we were warned of a sycamore tree not far to the west of our current location. He claims that this old tree is the home of a large colony of goblins. To our northwest he claims that there is also a kobold cave. Both of these locations seem like something that we should investigate. The plan for tomorrow is to begin our search for the great sycamore tree.

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Paikea Star - Letters Home IV

June 20

Dear Jacque,

Greetings from the forest. I am not at Isca’s Hold – so this letter will be posted to you in the near future. A lot has gone on and I have learned more than I ever expected to. First off – I have met an Elf and a Half-Orc. Both are rather barbaric and seem more comfortable in the wilderness than I ever will. They have proved to be courageous and useful companions as we explore the territory for the King.

I miss our conversations and our chess games. Though except for a few fleeting minutes at night – I do not have much time to miss the quiet reflective minutes I used to have a lot of. I am becoming accustomed to being in various degrees of filthy and my fingernails are worn down to the quick. The last time we were in Isca’s Hold we heard for the second time that a unicorn had been slain in the woods – we have yet to find anything to support this. The rumors are that soldiers from Caer Tywn or the Flame Lord (war lord of the bandits) bandits are doing the killing. Whichever it is – we intend to put an end to unicorn killing. I want to see one that is alive.

Something odd happened the other day – we came across three soldiers of Caer Tywn. They were seeking refuge from what felt like endless rain in a old grave barrow. They each wore a holy symbol of the Flame Lord. My gut instinct is that they were up to something and I did not care for them being this close to Landinium. However no one sensed anything evil in their current intent so we left them alone. Having a paladin of Pelor is often an incredibly good thing to have traveling with you. However when you want to sneak up and take out enemy soldiers it is not helpful to have on around.

I also have a brand new scar running from my right hip down to my knee – it almost severed with Xavian called my femoral artery. How it happened is quite a story. During our explorations we came upon a statue in ruins – from what we could tell it was of the fabled hero Saturnalia who they worship in Caer Tywn when we heard a horrible sound coming towards us. We knew from previous encounters that in all likelihood a wild boar was coming towards us. I quickly scampered up onto the statue. It has been my experience that having hirer ground and not going toe-to-toe with wild boars is the way to engage them. When the beast cleared the brush – my jaw fell open. It was huge – almost the size of a war horse. It barreled down at us, and it became apparent that my high ground was not going to keep me out of range of the beast’s tusks. It ran right at my and caught my flank, leaving my thigh bare down to the bone. If it were not for the power of Pelor that Xavian conducts through his priestly powers I would be dead. When I awoke the boar was dead and I was lucky to not have joined it in death.

After that we encountered another strange creature in the woods. We identified it as a tatzlwyrm, a creature of myth. It was a giant flying worm-like creature that breathed some sort of poisonous gas. We were able to defeat it rather easily but it is quite shocking to have something like that fly out of its nest in a tree and attack you.

We did find something non-deadly in the woods, an ancient statue to the Elven god Corelleon. Several of us left offerings at the feet of the statue and then felt surrounded by positive energy – our weapons became more deadly in battle after that.

I will write soon and keep you informed of what is going on.

With warm regards,
Paikea

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The Journal of Xavian Grey Part IV
Xavian's Journal

May 23, 542
We have made it back to Isca’s hold with Kira, and she has carried on with her own business. Upon arrival we were greeted with the news that another unicorn has been found killed. Rumors are that it was likely followers of the Flame Lord once again. After dinner we have spent the remainder of the evening restocking in preparation of heading back into the wilds in the morning.

May 27, 542
Heading back into the wilds the party decided to return to the lightning struck tree marked on the treasure map that we found. When we arrived at the tree we discovered that there was a hole at the base of the tree, and upon further inspection we concluded that the treasure had been retrieved prior to our arrival. It was then that Kerigan noticed small humanoid tracks leading away from the hole.

For the next two days we followed the tracks of the humanoid, losing the trail and picking it back up again. It has lead us into the NW reaches that we previously explored, and then beyond. It was just today that we reached the point where we can no longer follow the tracks. They lead straight into a river. While investigating to find a way to cross the river, we found a rickety bridge that looks to be too dangerous for passage. It just so happened that there was still a legible sign that marked the bridge as Nettles Crossing. It was at this point that Xavkul must have grown impatient with boredom and had to find a way to occupy himself. His entertainment became ringing an old rusty bell, likely a bell for what was once a ferry call bell for large carriages and coaches.

As he quit ringing the bell, we all caught a strong smell of rotten fish and shortly after a long rotten corpse rose from the river itself. The corpse only had one request. He wishes us to dispose of the corpse of the Flame Lord in the river at his crossing so that he can see the demise with his own eyes. If we do not complete this task he has informed us that it will be our demise. Further attempts to communicate only earned us a strange, blank stare with unnerving breathing through the large holes in the neck of the corpse.

Tomorrow we shall return to the areas to our SE, which we traveled through without exploration during our attempts to track down who, or what, may have wandered away with the treasure buried beneath the tree.

May 28, 542
In our journey to continue exploring new territories on this day we came across a very homely looking elf. He was not anything like you ever picture an elf to look. He had gnarly teeth and tattered clothes. He didn’t really give us much information about himself that lent to figuring out why he may be this way. The most noteworthy part of this encounter was the large cart he was towing. He was transporting two troll corpses to the hold. He informed us that he does regular business with Bachen.

June 7, 542
Over the past 8 days we have spent the majority of our time exploring to the E, crossing above the hold. In this time we have crossed plains, traveled through a small stretch of open hills, and then into more forest territory. In the time exploring the forest, we once again crossed paths with the river that we found to end at what looked to be an underground cave. While following the river we located a bridge that is still passable. It did take some work to restore it to this condition though.

June 11, 542
Our past four days of adventuring to the E through a swampy forest have been quite eventful. On our first evening exploring this territory it was raining and we came across a barrow where four fighters from the northern regions of Caer Twyn. They gave us no trouble, and at this point in time we deemed it best to not try giving them any trouble. It seemed that they may all have been paladins of the Flame Lord, based on the medallions that they were all wearing.

Today while we were exploring the territory we stumbled across what appeared to be a long ruined statue of Saturnaelia. While investigating the statue things became very interesting, if one could call it that. We started hearing the squeals from a boar, but we could not get sight of it. We all prepared for confrontation, but the boar came bursting into the clearing from the last place we would have expected. Paikea was knocked unconscious immediately and shortly after Kerigan was dropped within inches of death. I am still unsure of how she survived. In time we managed to take down the overgrown boar, and I administered aid to the wounded to get everyone back on their feet. It was noted after that battle that Kerigan recalled stories of an elder boar named Tuskgutter, who would likely yield a grand reward if we could bring proof to the right person. This boar in particular seemed to fit the descriptions told in the stories that she was familiar with.

June 14, 542
The past three days have been spent exploring farther into the forest to the E of the ruined statue, As we explored this area we discovered a set of ruins built on a creek, and upon inspection encountered a unique creature. The creature was recognized by members of the party to be a Boggard. Luckily, this Boggard only wished for us to leave his area, and made distinct note that our barbarian friend has quite the foul odor. The stench carried by Xavkul was even enough to bring tears to his eyes and cause him to beg us to leave before having to introduce us to his very large, awkward, slug-like creature with a crab’s claws. We decided it best to heed his warning and move along.

June 17, 542
In the past three days we have continued our travels as far to the E as we can go with our current charter. This territory was rather noteworthy as well. On the second day of exploration we were greeted by a very angry Tatzulwyrm that erupted from a tree as we passed. Given what we know about them from our past studies, we were quite fortunate. The party made quick work of the worm as Xavkul swiftly decapitated the monstrosity. We salvaged the head and investigated the tree from which it came and discovered an unknown potion within. We will have to consult Bachen in the near future to figure out what it is.

Another noteworthy feature of this area was a statue of Corelon. Some of the members of our party paid tribute at the statue, which to the surprise of Kris and myself appeared to bless their weapons. Kerigan noted that in this location she felt very safe. Perhaps it is all just coincidence.

June 19, 542
In our past two days of exploring we turned our sights to the SE to begin our loop back to the hold. This lead us back into more plains. The exploration was rather uneventful, but after our past few territories it was quite a nice break.

June 20, 542
Today we began to head to the W, back toward the hold. Shortly after beginning our exploration of the forest that we have entered, we discovered the true mouth of the river that we have been attempting to map out for some time. It ends into a delightful hot spring. We all decided that this was a perfect opportunity to bathe ourselves, as well as our smelly barbarian friend.

Unfortunate for us, in the midst of bathing we were rudely interrupted by a pack of very hungry giant frogs. This was quite an encounter, given that Xavkul, of all people, was nearly devoured. That is just a testament to how large these frogs where, considering he is by far the largest member of our adventuring party. After a hard fought fight in our bathing attire, we have stopped for time to recover from both the physical, and mental, damage taken by having several members of the group nearly devoured by the frogs.

On a positive note, we can have quite a feast with hard earned frog legs.

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Session IV - Bogging

With spring almost over, the party began the session by heading back to Isca’s Hold. They reprovisioned and prepared to head out west again, to map more along the foothills. Rumours were abound of another unicorn being spotted and killed by what appeared to be zealots of Caer Twyn by merchants who had been heading in from the north. What were they up to?

The party left the Hold and made their way northwest to the tree that they had found many days previous. A map in the hands of a dead brigand had shown an “X” at the tree, and the party was excited at the prospect of some loot to plunder.

Alas when they got there, someone else had gotten to the stash already. A hole was at the base of the tree, and the druid was able to pick up tracks heading towards the mountain. They were humanoid, and several days old. Like a bloodhound, the party was off across the wilds in pursuit of the thief that had pilfered the stash.

The trail was lost several times before the party finally emerged at a river roaring from the mountains. The remains of a bridge crossed the river… a single rope. The party anxiously looked out at the dangerous crossing, when a rotten figure emerged from the river.

In a wheezing voice, it proclaimed that the party was not that which tormented him and then bade them to throw the Flame Lord’s body into the river. Several attempts were made to talk with the dead creature, but it just simply stood there on the water wheezing. Unnerved, the party took their leave and headed back the way they came, saddened that they lost the trail of their quarry.

They spent the next week mapping the western cooridor out, coming across an elven merchant who was hauling a pair of dead trolls to Isca’s Hold to sell to the potion maker.

At the summer solstice, the party entered the forests once again near where the bandit encampment had been encountered. The forest here was swampy and rain had moved in. While it was warm out, the rains made everything damp and cloying and the mud sucked at the party’s boots.

Near a barrow cairn, the party encountered four armored men bearing the heraldry of Caer Twyn. Xavkul Mankin bade them drink with him, but other then that the men were tight lipped. Paikea Star wanted to rid the land of their presence, but
Kris IV and Soreon Silvermane Sorben talked her out of that.

Mapping the forest was a lot slower going than the flat plains of the west, and the party ended up tangling with another boar. This creature was a fierce monster of a pig, but it was felled a lot faster than the three boars that had gutted the party a few weeks prior. Paikea and the druid were both injured in the fight.

Stinking of the bog, the party made their way east to drier land. They came across a ruined stone house, from which a boggard emerged. The boggard was annoyed that the party was trespassing in his “kingdom” and bade them go away, particularly at the half-orc who reeked of swamp gas.

Not wanting to cause trouble, the party left the boggard in piece, looping around the house and eventually exiting the forest. The swamp lands of the east near Caer Twyn could be seen here, and as this was outside of the charter, they swung to the south and managed to map out the scrubland on the eastern border before turning back to the forest.

Near the edge of the forest, they got their first look at a Tatzylwyrm. Not much is known about these creatures, but the druid was able to explain after the encounter that they are relations to dragons. The Tatzylwyrm was not much of a fight for the companions, and its head was lopped off by Soreon and will make a fine trophy at the Hold when the party returns.

They found the source of a hot spring and finally had an opportunity for a nice bath. Alas, three giant frogs had made the spring their home and they splashed into the pool after them.

Giant frogs are fairly easy to run off, for they are not very courageous creatures, nor are they particularly tough. They do however possess a long sticky tongue and a wide gaping mouth, and the half-orc was swallowed by one of the creatures.

Fortunately, the remainder of the party was able to kill the frog and gut it before any lasting damage could be done, but Xavkul’s face will bear the marks of stomach acid for some time. A drinking story for sure!

The party ended the session heading back west through the forest, recovering from their battle with the frogs.

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Paikia Star - Letters Home III

May 21

Dearest Aurora, Gavin, Beckett, and Alisa

The strangest thing happened the other day and I could not wait to tell you all about it. Remember the time our dearest father came back from a boar hunt with that nasty wound to his bicep? His wound was caused by his spear shaft splintering when he held it against a charging boar. He has quite the nasty scar from it. I am sure he would love to tell you all the story if you do not remember it. I remember him saying how much better the meat tasted after being injured on the hunt.

Part of why you should ask Father about the hunt is so that he can talk to you about how to properly hunt boar. I remember his instructions and then going on a hunt with him once. I just had an experience the other day with three boar that made me miss all of you terribly.

My companions and I came upon a clearing while mapping the land and clearing it of bandits. In the clearing were three boars, a large sow and two mostly grown piglets. Since we had been eating mostly trail rations for the last month or so, the thought of fresh meat got to the best of some of my companions. Before I could blink twice people were running at the boars with hand weapons. We did not have a hunting dog and we were on foot.

The tusks on the boars almost turned out to be deadly for one of my fellow explorers. Let me tell you about my band of explorers, map makers, and bandit hunters. There is my friend Soreon who you have met. He actually knew how to hunt the boards, thankfully. Xavian Grey is a cleric of Pelor. He is a most dependable guy – I enjoy his company and his devotion to his god is admirable. Pelor has been bestowing his blessing upon us during our journey’s thus far. Then there is Kris the Paldin of Pelor, he is a descendant of Kris the founder of the White Order. He is most intimidating in a fight with his great sword. He puts himself in danger to protect others not as strong or steadfast as he is, he is valiant and incredibly trustworthy.

Now my next two companions are more exotic than anyone you have probably met in Landinium. Xavkul is a barbarian from a half orc tribe. He is brash, burly, and more different than anyone I have ever met. Half the time I am worried he has a death wish and the other half I wish I was as brave – though not as foolhardy. My last companion travels with her own companion – let me explain. Her name is Kerigan and she is an Elven druid – a practitioner of old nature religions. Her companion is a badger named Logan. Logan is ferocious and I am wary and intrigued by him. I am not exactly sure what to make of Kerigan yet. She is a good traveling companion and she knows how to cook – which has improved things on our travels. She knows a great deal about the wilds and I am learning from her. In all of Fathers stories about Elves and Ordar – he never mentioned anything as exotic and as wild as Kerigan. She has a lot of rules – she can’t wear metal, she won’t abide trees being cut down, she doesn’t like the idea of mining gold, etc……

Ok so back to this boar hunt. Kerigan used the powers bestowed upon her by nature to calm two of the boars – so we didn’t have to fight all three at once. I kept my distance – firing arrows from a ways back – taking a chance each time I fired of injuring my friends instead of the boar – but I was not going to close in on it. Xavkul attacked with this huge axe he wields, I doubt I could even pick the thing up! To attack with his axe he had to stand right up next to it! He went toe to tusk with a boar! It was a sight to behold – that is until he was gored and tossed like a sack of potatoes by the beast.

By the time we had that boar ready to be dragged off and put over a fire Xavkul was close to death. We had to drag him and the boar from the clearing – trying to put some distance between us and the other two who were sure to turn on us sometime soon. We were barely into the woods before the other two boars tried to come after us. We hastily set up on a game trail – Soreon planted his shield in the middle of the trail to offer protection to others who wanted to enter melee with the boars. Once again I stood back and fired a volley of arrows into the fray.

Wounds stink! Don’t let anyone tell you different – whether you are cut by a blade, a arrow, a claw, a bite, or a tusk it stinks. I advise you all to avoid it. When a boar gets a cut it stinks even worse. It was almost a deadly fight for us – many almost succumbed to our injuries but we prevailed and managed to take down all three boar and no one suffered a mortal wound.

So the rest of that day and the next full day we had to camp so wounds could heal, thanks to the blessing of Pelor and meat could be smoked. Dad was right when you hunt the food the meat tastes better. It also tastes better when someone who knows what they are doing when cooking has a go at making dinner.

Well my next story turns out fine – but you might not want to tell Father and Mother about it. The other day we were headed towards the border of mountains to the west, when we came upon a strange sight. It was a boneyard – bones that were picked clean and some so old they were bleached white. The sight made us a bit more cautious than usual, thankfully so. I was leading the way – being the most sure of footing and able to spot traps most easily. (Though if you want to find every trap you could possibly encounter I advise you to let a barbarian lead the way.) Suddenly between me and the rest of the group a huge spider sprang from the loose sand and soil. Now when I say large spider I am not saying the size of Alisa’s hand and no I do not mean the size of Fathers hand. I do not even mean the size of Father’s favorite hound. What I mean is the size of Alisa’s pony that she got for her last birthday.

So this spider the size of a PONY sprang its trap and tried to lunge for me. I could see the poison on its fangs as it lunged and tried to strike me. I am sure I shrieked in anticipation of dying a painful death from the poison. Luckly Kris and Paladin of Pelor was trailing behind me he was able to strike the spider before it could bite me. His attack was fast and powerful for this I am grateful.

Well I am going to close – it is getting dark and I am feeling tired. Tomorrow we are off to more exploring. I will post this letter to you the next time I am in Isca’s Hold. I love and miss you all and hope you are doing well. Tell Father and Mother I love them. I will write to you again, hopefully soon.

Love
Paikea

P.S. Remember to never ever ever ever try to fight boars in hand to hand combat!

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Session III - A Bacon in Time Makes the Half-Orc Hungry

Being a level 1 character is tough, and exploring the dangerous wilderness can be risky on one’s life. The group picked up where they last left off last week, recovering in the bandit hold as spring began to warm up a bit.

The remainder of the eastern forest was mapped out for the most part uneventfully. Xavian Grey’s journal reflects this pretty well in minute detail.

They came across a deadfall with the smashed remains of the poacher who had been setting traps, and who had been the cause of Soreon Silvermane Sorben’s broken ankle a couple of sessions ago, retrieving another masterwork hand axe (putting their tally at three now).

Once the woods were mapped out, the party encountered a fey spirit as they were leaving the area. The creature appeared at night as a globe of light and the party was understandably worried about it and chose to ignore it. The ball of light was not to be denied and stuck around until morning, where it followed them as they headed east towards the swampy marshes towards Caer Twyn.

As chronicled in Xavian’s journal, the ball of light became excited near a copse of trees and the party discovered more poacher traps, one of which contained the body of a human skeleton. The party did the right thing and buried the remains, causing the light to twinkle out and lay the spirit to rest, which netted them a nice little +300xp reward.

Heading back to the hold, they were greeted with more merchant traffic and rumours of the Flame Lord’s activity picking up, perhaps due to the party’s actions regarding one of his bandit cells.

Soreon received a letter from the king indicating that the Flame Lord should be brought to justice, and once this had been done that he would receive a charter to settle the lands instead of merely exploring them.

This news was not taken happily by Isca, and even several members of the party, who had no desire to be dealing with politics or encroaching on wild areas.

The month of May is a wet one in Cict, and the party left the hold and struck out west to finish mapping the area to spring storms. They were able to quickly take down a giant spider who attempted to make Paikea Star into lunch.

The real test of the night came from an encounter with a small group of wild boars. While hunting, the group lucked into some boar meat, but boars are not happy to give up their yummy nutritional bacon, and so in a clearing the party cornered them.

Boars are pretty nasty little beasts, especially for a first level group. Xavkul Mankin was more tactical this time around, waiting for the boars to charge him, while the elven druid calmed two of the three, making the first part of the fight easier to handle.

Xavkul was gored pretty badly but the first boar was taken down. The party tried dragging its corpse out as well as the bleeding form of Xavkul, but the charm on the other two boars wore off and the smell of the spilled blood enraged them and they thundered after the party.

The end result was a battered party, but three dead boars which contributed to a lot of ham and bacon, and when combined with eggs makes a tasty meal for several days.

The remainder of the western portion of the land was mapped out and the party ended the session at the fire of a mountain woman named Kira, who had come from the Erethas mountains to trade at Isca’s Hold for some medicine.

She seemed quite distrustful (wisely so, these are dangerous lands), but shared that she had her own run ins with the bandits that operate in the area. Her caucasion kitty next to her silently munched on some fish, oblivious to the strangers while the druid pet her…

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