The River Kingdoms

Undeads and Stolen Horses Ahoy!

(This is going to be the cliff notes version, because I am fail)

After acquiring the Dragon-Slaying Sword the party rested at a nearby village for two weeks to gather their strength and prepare for the journey ahead.

Darian spent most of the time in bed, recovering from his facial injury. Some foul infection spread in his veins, robbing him of some of his strength… after two weeks though, he was strong enough to travel.

Viktor’s injury turned out to be worse than expected. He spent the whole time abed as well.

Borun and Lhianna kept themselves busy. Borun worked himself into exhaustion toiling in the fields and around the village. Lhinna helped villagers with repairs, among other things fixing a plow for a farmer and his family.

(Unknown to our heroes, that plow will later break in the field… giving the farmer a grudge against the fair elven maiden)

After the two weeks had passed, our heroes left Viktor behind at the village and went to the well-known inn the Weary Traveller’s Respite. It was a days journey and there they surely could find company for the trip to Lord Jakab.

They found a travelling peddler whom they negotiated with for a while, which eventually ended with them sharing the cost of his escort and them agreeing to travel together.
Lhianna, Darian and Borun also spent some time at the inn gathering rumors… Lhianna heard about a weird absence of animals on the road, Darian discovered he had a hand in his father’s demise and that he is a twisted sorcerer justly banished and Borun heard some silly tales about snake-people. It later turned out that only Darian’s and Lhianna’s information was solid.

Two days later, they set out. About a dozen travellers set out together. A sizeable group, with strength in numbers it seemed little could go wrong.

Then it all went to hell.

Darian spotted some kind of creature wandering along the road, draining the land around it of life and energy.

Confident and curious, our heroes set out to rid the land of this blight.

It turned out to be some kind of Ghoul – with an ability to drain people of their will and strength. However, it’s ability was limited in range and it was slow, so the heroes engaged it. Borun in melee, to keep the thing at bay, Lhianna shooting it from range and Darian providing magical support.

It turned out that the creature was immune to direct magic and that BOrun could only withstand it’s draining aura for so long. That didn’t matter though, studded with arrows it would soon be going down.

Then Darian fucked up. He tried to topple a tree onto the Ghoul and his magic went out of control… summoning two more of the creatures. It’s uncertain whether Lhianna or BOrun are actually aware that this was what happened… Darian certainly is though.

A mighty battle followed… kinda. Mostly it consisted of Lhianna running circles around the Ghouls while Borun was drained and Darian tried to keep the Lhianna moving and Borun fighting. In the end two of the ghouls were destroyed, but one got away – after chasing a bewildered, panicked and exhausted Borun around in the woods for a while.

They got Borun back to the caravan while Lhianna looked for tracks. She found some tracks, but her and Darian were unable to find the last Ghoul. Frustrated, they had to return to the caravan as well. The Ghoul had gotten away and there was nothing they could do.

Then the weakened husk formerly known as Borun had a dream, in which the Ghoul killed an innoncent traveler.

That’s right, s**t just got real.

Lhianna and Darian set out after the Ghoul, leaving Borun with the caravan to recover.

Montage:
- Lhianna and Darian travel through the landscape, their gazes intense, searching for clues and following tracks.
- Borun waking up, screaming, after another dream where the slain traveler rose as a Ghoul and devoured his horse.
- Lhianna and Darian finding the campsite, with the dead horse and tracks leading away.
- Borun talking to the peddler, delerious and weak. Remembering that there’s a shrine near the road… perhaps there will be help there.
- Lhianna and Darian travelling.
- Borun having another dream of Ghouls wandering… towards the newly created Ghoul’s family.
- Lhianna and Darian walking. This is a theme with them.
- Borun’s fevered dreams of the Ghouls slaughtering a woman and child… one Ghoul wandering away, dragging his daughter after him.
- Lhianna and Darian walking, yet again.
- Lhianna and Darian walking… wait.
- Lhianna and Darian torching the house to destroy the dead woman who is about to rise as a Ghoul.
- Borun arriving at the shrine, trying to get the priest to help him… failing spectacularly and instead getting the priest to purge him.
- Lhianna and Darian accidently starting a brush fire, much hilarity follows.
- Lhianna and Darian encountering a Ghoul in the brush fire. Much pain follows.
- Borun being purged and trying to convince a roadside tavern full of people to fight the undead menace. He fails spectacularly, yet again.
- Lhianna and Darian staggering through the smoke… exhausted and battered, but victorious.
- Borun stealing the priests horse and riding back along the road, towards the undead he can no longer sense, hoping to lead the priest and his followers on a merry chase. If they chase him long enough, they might just be in the right place at the right time.
- Borun getting caught by the priest on the road after a few hours, because Borun can’t ride for shit.

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The Small Matter of Acquiring a Sword
"The Sword" Ophidians "First Adventure" Dungeon "Lord Jakab" Tragedy

At the behest of lord Jakab of the River Kingdoms, four young and relatively inexperienced adventurers set out to get a sword for him.

Not just any sword, mind you, but a Dragon-Slaying Sword. A powerful magical artifact that had been left buried and unrecovered in a small cave-system for a while. Why no one had retrieved it or why it had been left there, none of the four knew, but it couldn’t be that important anyway.

Arriving at the cave’s mouth, they entered after securing some light sources. Primarily their light source was Darian – the former court sorcerer made himself glow. With him and an additional torch (Viktor, who had actually brought one) they descended into the depths.

After this followed roughly 20 minutes of uneventful walking downward. There was some talk of taking a more leisurely pace, to search for interesting underground growths or mushrooms, but it was decided against. They were burning daylight, after all.

The first challenge was an underground river that intersected the tunnel and spilled over down the tunnel on the other side of it. Both the river and the tunnel going downward was filled with a strange underwater lichen with a bluish glow. Testing the waters it was discovered that the lichen made the river and, presumerably, the further parts of the tunnel, hideously slippery.

First attempt was Viktor walking across the river, using his axe for balance, with a rope tied around him. He slipped, but luckily Lhianna and Borun were able to drag him back. There was a brief discussion as to the next option, but Lhianna interrupted it by trying to leap across.
She succeeded, but slipped on the lichen at the start of the downward tunnel and started careening down on her arse. After a moment’s hestitation, Borun threw himself after her while Darian and Viktor used their magic to land safely at the other end.

First Lhianna and then Borun hit the wall at the end of the slide, in a room futher down. It was a clearly man-made room, with walls and a further tunnel clearly carved from the rock. The wall at one end of the room had a small gap near the floor that allowed the water to escape. From here they pressed on (after a brief interlude to search the bodies that had been skewered by the now rotten spears, where Borun and Lhianna had hit).

Soon they came to a T-intersection where the path on the left lead in the direction of torchlight and the path on the right led toward more glowy blue lichen. They turned left, driven by curiosity to see whom else was down here.

Lhianna sneaked ahead while the progressed more slowly and soon she returned, describing a room with two cots in it, from which a doorway lead to another room, from which she could hear voices. The small party entered the the room and decided to go further and meet the other people, while Lhianna hid in the doorway.

It turned out to be a pair of snake woman, Ophidians, standing in the room and having a discussion while one of the was holding an ornate sword… the Sword. They seemed to be discussing whom should hold or have the sword, when they were interrupted.

After a brief pause, slightly awkward greetings were exchanged. Both parties were surprised by the others and it seemed that both parties were here for the Sword.

The leader of the Ophidians introduced herself as XX of clan XX. They had found the sword, she explained, and were planning to take it back to their clan so they could sell it and thus bring wealth to their kin.
Here a discussion began. Borun explained that he and his friends were pleased the Ophidians had found the sword, because they had come here to bring it back to Lord Jakab, who had need of a Dragon-Slaying sword. If the Ophidians would come with them, he was sure that lord Jakab would give them a good price.
They declined, apparantly not really trusting the humans, nor interested in traveling further from their clan. Jakab could come to them, or his representatives, if he wanted to buy the sword.
After some minutes arguing it was clear that no mutually benificial solution could be reached, so the two parties withdrew from each other to discuss matters internally.

The adventurers decided that their need was Greater – Jakab needed the Sword and he need it soon. Also, reputations and gold was at stake here, which was clearly also what the Ophidians were after, so why not just MAKE them give us the sword.

The two parties met again and the Ophidians were given an ultimatum: Come with us or give us the Sword now, or else. Clearly already understanding what this “or else” was, the Ophidians leapt to battle. Borun slipped past the first one and went for the one carrying the sword, while Darian and Viktor engaged the other. Both Lhianna and Viktor loosened arrow and bolt before the Fight started, but neither seemed to do any major damage.

The next minutes were bloody and tense, as the fight rolled back and forth. The party had expected an easy fight, after all they outnumbered their foes 2-1, but the Ophidians seemed to be almost completely unaffected by their wounds… Bolts imbedded themselves in their flesh, they were hit by several glancing blows and were clearly injured… yet fought on as if nothing had happened.

Finally Darian’s and Viktor’s opponent went down, two arrows and one bolt jutting from her, after several hammer and axe blows. Meanwhile Borun’s face and neck had become covered in snake-bites. Lhianna loosened arrow after arrow into the fray, all of them finding their mark.

The last Ophidian first dealt a severe wound to Darian, raking her sword across the side of his face and breaking his jaw. Blood spluttering, he fell to the floor. Viktor was next, getting stabbed through the ribs and staggering away from the fight in fear and pain. At this point Borun’s snake bites had weakened him too much and a glancing blow felled him, unable to fight through the haze of pain. Lhianna succeeded in loosening a final arrow at the Ophidian, before she was injured and forced to flee.

A few minutes later, Borun forced himself back to awareness to find the last standing Ophidian tending to her injured comrade. She noted his awakening and let him drag Darian away to tend his wounds. After dragging Darian into the next room he concluded that he could do nothing for his friend other than binding his wounds a bit. The other’s joined him, Viktor bleeding profusely from his side. Time was running out.

Borun asked the Ophidian whether she knew of another exit and she graciously told him of another, easier way out. They left the dungeon, praying to the Gods that the travelling Doctor Borun knew, was visiting the other village. Lhianna went ahead and met the others halfway, telling them that the doctor indeed was up ahead.

They met with the Doctor and after receiving one of Borun’s axes as payment for previous services, he saw to Viktor’s and Darian’s wounds. Lhianna and Borun went back to the dungeon, to find the Ophidians and perhaps help them with their wounds or see if they were still willing to sell the sword once they had taken it back to their clan.

To their dismay they found the two Ophidians dead just inside the exit. They had both succumbed to their wounds… whatever magic they had used had only been able to postpone the effects of their wounds, not negate them. Struck with sudden grief, Borun and Lhianna fully realized that they had been the villains. They had come late. They had started the fight. The Ophidians were dead due to their actions and had even shown incredible mercy.

Wracked with grief and shame, Lhianna and Borun buried the two Ophidians and raised two small cairns. The only thing they took from them was the Sword, the rest of their belongings they buried with them.

Then they departed, returning to the village to rest up together with Viktor and Darian. In a month’s time, their wounds should be fully healed.

*

MVP went to Borun, for pushing things along and being tough in a Fight!
Workhorse went to Lhianna, for keeping us moving and being generally useful in sneaking about and stuff.
Borun, Viktor and Darian qualified for Embodiement, for generally awesome roleplaying.

*

Cool Moments (worth remembering when trait votes comes around):
- Lhianna jumping ahead after tiring of the discussion and being curious to see what was at the end of the tunnel. (Trait/belief)
- Borun throwing himself after, heedless of the danger, to aid his companion. (Instinct/Belief)
- Darian skillfully lying and almost persuading the Ophidians to come with them to Lord Jakab. (Falsehood)
- Viktor constantly assisting Darian with his magic and being generally useful. (Sorcery)
- Borun knowing a doctor nearby and having to give up his axe to save his friends. (Circles)
- Lhianna’s hail of arrows ultimately being the deciding factor in the Fight! (Bows)
- Borun’s strength saving Viktor from being pulled away in the river (Power, Belief/Instinct)
- Darian’s wound being infectious and costing him a point of Speed (Schadenfreude)
- Lhianna and Borun erecting two cairns to honor their fallen opponents.

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