Campaign of the Month: September 2018

Shadows of the Rift

Session Seventeen

Travel and Omens

16 Growth 508

At the dawn of new day, after the festivities of the previous night, the party gets together to discuss their next move. As they have most likely missed the departure of the Gearwright brothers in Skeene, they decide to head more directly south to Braith and, from there, catch a ship to Jenna. From there, they will journey to Riverton and see if this Lord Coln is still seeking hunters for griffon’s eggs.

The group gathers their gear and their mounts and make their goodbyes around the village. King Alrik wishes for the gods to be with them on their journey, and reminds them of their responsibility to heed a calling of the Aethyngs. Surm and Mõrvar’s mother, Hilda, wishes them well. When asked what it is that she wants from her son’s travels, she replies that she wants plenty of work for their brother, Ren. Their other brother, Lothar, will wonder Jossia with his band. The refugees will become Aethyngs and Vorthar and Rathic agree to watch over the other Ulrichs in the twins’ absence.

After settling their affairs in Aeth, the party rides to the shack of Thormax Ulrich. They arrive in the late afternoon and are greeted warmly by the twins’ great uncle. They tell the story of what happened in their former home, including their encounters with demons and a witch. The old sorcerer takes it all in and seems pleased that the family is doing better, but warns Surm to “be wary of the King’s favor, for it will wax and wane.”

While the party prepares and gathers and their gear for the coming journey, Surm takes his uncle aside andd tells him about the Schir demons and the ritual by which they are bound to the crystal. He asks his old mentor if he has had dealings with rituals and summonings of this type before. Thormax tells him that he has not had much experience in those matters, as he concentrated primarily on matters of their bloodline (Undead), but that he doesn’t like the risk of losing control of such creatures. He advises his nephew not to use the thing.

That night, Savaric entertains the old man with the tale of his taming a dragon at a carnival. . .

17 Growth 508

The party mounts up, says their farewells to Thormax, and starts riding to Braith. As they travel, Savaric does what he can to care for the various wounds sustained by the group. The day is bright and warm and largely uneventful, though they do come across an old, dilapidated gallows along the way. The wood is rotten and its juxtaposition against the beauty of the day is consider “creepy” by everyone and places a pall over the day’s journey.

At the end of the day, the party makes a camp and bunks for the night. The night passes without incident.

18 Growth 508

The party is greeted by another, beautiful spring day. The journey is largely uneventful, though the party does encounter, toward the end of the day, a open-air shrine to the god Hathras. On the altar, as per tradition, pilgrims have left supplies for fellow travelers to help them on their journey. Someone has left some arrows, some flint and steel, a lamp, and a whetstone. In an unusual show of reverence, Savaric leaves a day of rations on the altar.

As the sun sinks below the horizon, the party finally arrives at the city gates of Braith. They are welcomed by the guards as they pay their gate taxes. Directions are found to various inns in the vicinity and the party decides on Rydor’s Honor. It is apparently owned by an ex-adventurer.

They enter the inn under the sign of a man with a double-bladed axe. After making arrangements with the innkeep for rooms, meals, baths, stabling, and laundry, they all enter the lively common room. Here, a wide variety of races can be seen drinking together— elves, dwarves, humans, and halflings. Surm puts out feels for ships going to Jenna. Mõrvar sidles up to a sexy half-elf named Dornys, from Ebongate. Rilka buys a pitcher of common wine, while Savaric springs for the good stuff.

Surm is told of a Captain Westin Gale of the Waveraker. He’s an honest man and a good sailor. When he’s doing well, and in port, he’s usually at The Yawning Wyrm, a more “high class” inn near the city’s center. Surm decides to try and find the Waveraker at the docks the next day.

Meanwhile, Mõrvar starts to get a bit “handsy” while dancing and while sitting with Dornys. This seems to put the adventuresome half-elf off and she takes her leave, leaving the unrepentant Mõrvar to pout. Rilka tries to get some dancing started, but to no avail—even earning a “stink-eye” from a table full of dwarves. Finally, the party adjourns to their rooms for the night.

19 Growth 508

In the morning, arrangements are made to stay another day at Rydor’s Honor and the party makes their way to the docks to see the Harbormaster.

Inside the Harbormaster’s office, they are greeted by an officious clerk who must be bribed to get the information about the Waveraker. Finally, they are told that the ship has, indeed, put into harbor at Braith.

As they approach the ship, Surm spots a half-orc on deck and hails him. After a brief exchange, the half-orc sailor says that he will “rouse” the Captain. After a few moments, they are welcomed aboard and greeted by Westin Gale, a human man in his late-thirties. He invites them to come into his office.

The Waveraker seems to be a sound and hearty ship. The Captain’s office is roomy, as such things go, and the party settles in to negotiate their passage. The Captain is heading for Jenna in two days and will be willing to take on passengers. He charges them a rate of 2 silver pieces per mile, and 5 silver pieces per mile for the trouble of carrying livestock. Surm, as per usual, is outraged at the price. After a bit of discussion, it is decided that the party will most likely sell its livestock as opposed to paying for their passage.

The party agrees to meet at dawn on the 21st to cast off and make their way into the city, where they shop, sell their excess gear, arrange to have their armor polished, and purchase a few healing potions for their journey.

20 Growth 508

The party spends the entire day at Rydor’s Honor. Nothing of note occurs.

21 Growth 508

As the morning sky begins to lighten, the party arrives at the docks and boards the Waveraker, bound for Jenna. The crew seems to be lively and professional and the weather is good.

During the course of the day, Surm and Savaric notice one of the human crewmen having a conversation with the half-orc that they had encountered previously. Both are looking at Rilka and Savaric and pointing a lot. Finally, the sailors approach Savaric.

The human introduces himself as Ewan and indicates that the half-orc is Dask. Apparently, the sailors amuse themselves with bare-knuckle fighting down in the hold. Dask is the current champion. The two want to know if Savaric would be interested in fighting. Savaric indicates that he is. Essentially, Ewan collects admission of one copper from all the onlookers and he and the two fighters each get an equal share of the pot. Of course, side bets are also known to happen. Mõrvar wants in on a side bet and Ewan gives him 2:1 odds against Savaric. They all arrange to meet down in the hold around sundown.

In the meantime, Surm finds that the ship’s motion is not agreeing with him and he goes down into his cabin to rest.

That evening, a small crowd gathers down in the hold. Ewan collects his admission fees from everyone while Savaric and Dask prepare for their bout. Anticipation hangs thick in the air as the two fighters pace each other in a tight ring. Finally, Ewan starts the match.

And it’s over in a heartbeat.

Savaric, with two fast punches, lays Dask out flat.

Mõrvar and Savaric collect their winnings and everyone calls it a night.

22 Growth 508

The next day, the party finds Dask down in the galley. He is sporting a swollen lip and black eye. Savaric approaches him with some trepidation, but the other half-orc just shrugs it off and says it was a fair fight.

Later that afternoon, everyone on deck looks in wonder as a bronze dragon floats along the wind currents a distance away from the ship. By accounts, seeing a bronze dragon on a journey is a good omen and the crew is cheered.

23 Growth 508

This day passes without much incident, thought a Eacenian fishing boat is seen out in the water.

24 Growth 508

This day brings torrential rain and more seasickness for Surm. As water pelts the deck, Savaric remains outside and makes small talk with Dask. Capatin Gale indicates that the rain may slow down their travel, adding time to the journey.

25 Growth 508

The rain has grown into a full-blown storm. Savaric, still sniffly from his drenching on the previous day, rides out the storm on deck.

26 Growth 508

The storm has passed, but Savaric feels weak and has the chills. A plague ship is spotted on the horizon. This casts a pall over the crew and prayers for those “poor devils” on board.

27 Growth 508
The day is clear and warm. Savaric still feels weak and ill as the ship puts into harbor at Jenna late in the afternoon.

After settling with the Harbormaster for their gate taxes and such, the party looks around for an inn, settling on the Whistling Hunter. They find it under the sign of a woodsman with obviously pursed lips. A pretty, red-haired woman tends the bar and lets them know that they have only single occupancy room available, but they could use the suite. Cots could be brought up to help accommodate them.

Down in the common room, Savaric purchases some fine wine, hoping to warm the chill in his bones. The room is filled with a wide variety of traverlers from all over Zaldara.

Surm asks around for merchants heading to Riverton, hoping to travel in numbers for safety. He does encounter a merchant called Danu who will be heading to Riverton in two weeks and could use some experienced bodyguards. As the party wants to get on the road much sooner than that, they respectfully decline.

28 Growth 508

The party packs up and heads out of Jenna on the road east to Riverton. Savaric appears to be recovering from his cold, not feeling nearly as week as before.

Along the way, they come across the charred ruins of a razed village. It looks like the damage was done a long time ago and the group moves on.

That evening, as Savaric watches over the sleeping forms of his companions, he listens to the howling of wolves in the distance. Suddenly, a shadowy, snarling form springs from the underbrush and attacks him. He makes short work of the creature, a wolf, though he is bitten in the process. The others, eventually roused from their slumber, wonder why a lone wolf would attack so—perhaps it was sick. With these unsettling thoughts, the group settles in for the remainder of the night.

4 Illumination 508

After several more days of uneventful journeying, the party arrives at the town of Riverton at the base of the Slayt Mountains. There is a makeshift gate set up on the road with local militia assigned to collect taxes. The group pays their taxes and enters the town, asking about the location of Lord Coln’s lodge. They find out that it is located on the far side of town, near the mountains. The party takes the road that leads out of town and heads off to meet their (hopefully) future employer…



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