Adventure 5, Expedition 1

Adventuring Troupe:

  • Lucia the Halfling
  • Braum the Cleric
  • Kelvyn the Thief
  • Fela the Fighter
  • Olg the High Orc

Date: First-day of Week 24, Day 231 of Year 441

The troupe spent the morning in the farmhouse, discussing their next course of action. Stad, Fave, Brosin, and Tulver did farm chores while Jan worked in the kitchen. Hearing that the chickens laid a large amount of eggs, Braum asked that they lay the eggs into a salt brine to make salted eggs to sell alongside the pickled eggs at the eight-day farmer’s market.

Fela sent her last homing pigeon back to Gretchen, asking her to find the owners of the gold mine. She signed her letter “hoping to pay you back sooner”. On the subject of homing pigeons, the troupe decided they would like to have some that return to the farm. They ask Brosin to build a pigeon house.

Setting out in the early afternoon towards the gold mine, the troupe met farmwife Tela on the road. She was wandering listlessly, in a generally easternly direction. Extracting her story through the prickly thorns of her suspicion and ennui, they learned that her farm burned to the ground recently and she was the sole survivor. Offering her aid, the group takes her in their wagon to the farm of their neighbor Ned Killigun. Ned had heard of her troubles, and agreed to watch after her for a time.  

The troupe took the opportunity to tell Ned of the language exchange they have begun on their farm, and invited him over to learn languages and to teach any skills he felt like sharing. They also agreed to trade his cow’s butter and sweet cream for their eggs.

Braum had been accused of being a dandy by Tela on the road, and that was the topic of much discussion at the troupe’s farm that evening. “We’re dandy vigilantes,” Lucia laughs.

As the troupe prepares to sets out on the morning of second-day, discussion turns to renaming the farm. It isn’t Old Man Stribe’s farm anymore, after all. Olg suggests Braummune, to which only Braum objects.

That was the last that Stad, Fave, Brosin, Tulver, and Jan heard from the troupe for a long, long time.

Investigative Report

Date: Fifth-day of Week 24, Day 235 of Year 441 of the Modern Age

Submitted to Head Dean Umberto of the Gleaming Springs Colloquium

Compiled by Dean Constance Lanalin, Dean of Alchemy, from first-hand experience, as well as interviews with George of the Association of Alchemy, James of the Association of Alchemy, Elrich of the Foundation of Chemistry, Mahe of the Cleric’s Seminary, and Dean Falin Disson, Dean of Clerics.

At approximately 4 am on forth-day of Week 24, a party comprised of at least three humans and a halfling brought their train of riding animals, pack animals, and a covered wagon onto the Colloquium grounds and spoke with Elrich in the doorway of Chemistry. They discussed the Spring, a miracle of the Daughter of Spring. Elrich marked several other holy sites dedicated to the Five Gods pantheon on their map, at their request.

They then requested information on the student who temporarily turned the water of the Spring into a sleeping potion. Violating the order not to discuss this student, Elrich directed them to Alchemy. He has been disciplined accordingly.

The group then entered the Alchemy building, ambushing George. George testifies that the party also included a man-ape, though he did not recognize him as such initially. When George refused to discuss the student, per Colloquium orders, a human in cleric’s garb declared that he must be the student they were looking for, and the man-ape picked him up by his ankle.

One human stayed in the doorway while the man-ape, carrying George, followed a human and a halfling into the kitchen. The human in the doorway seemed to be enjoying himself greatly, as he was laughing.

George’s screams during this event roused everyone sleeping in Alchemy, including the author of this report. Upon waking I realized that I could hear laughter from an unknown voice, as well as the screaming. I cast a modified Sleep spell towards the sounds downstairs, and we all rushed to the ground floor to see what had transpired.

I first saw that the human who I had faintly heard laughing had been successfully bespelled, and was unconscious in the exterior doorway. Rounding the doorway into the kitchen, I saw what appeared to be a halfling fending off an attacking man-ape with a chair. George was unconscious on the ground, as was another human dressed in plate mail and cleric’s garb.

James was the only one of the six of us in the doorway with enough presence of mind to get off a spell in the tumult. He cast a modified fireball, tightly controlled, and the man-ape was killed. The halfling introduced herself as Lucia, once the chaos had died down.

She told me that she was a hunter, and had been tracking this man-ape. She offered to hunt any monsters that had been troubling us at the Colloquium. She identified the human in armor as her scribe and cleric, who gave the dead last rights. She apologized for the laughing man in the foyer, explaining that he was not all together well in his mind. She mentioned that she was setting up a farmer college, and would like to discuss what resources we might be able to provide them, at a later date.

I assured her, when asked, that the sleep spell would wear off in less than a day. We then helped her load the man-ape’s body into the covered wagon, along with her two sleeping fellows. In the wagon I saw beasts of war, as well as a very curious large silver ball, and another human. I was under the impression they intended to leave the Colloquium grounds.

The group, now comprised of a human and a halfling, then apparently spoke to Mahe in the doorway to the Cleric’s Seminary. When she tried to turn them away with the information that there was no clinic that day, they insisted on speaking to someone else. Dean Falin Disson was awoken, and spoke with them. They asked her to resurrect one of their party. She asked what they offer in trade for the spell. The human woman offered her 2 gold nuggets. When Dean Falin suggested instead to trade magic for magic and that they might pay with the magical sword the human was holding, the stranger countered with an offer of 16 pieces of gold ore. Not coming to an agreement, the group left in their covered wagon. They left Dean Falin with a single piece of gold ore, in an attempt to bribe her into silence.

Upon waking, George’s story clearly showed at least some of Lucia’s tale to be false. She could not have been hunting the man-ape, as he was a member of her party. How many of the other details in her story were also lies is unclear. They were certainly interested in the sleeping potion student, as many others have been. What their other plans may have been, I cannot say.

My recommendation, Head Dean Umberto, is that we institute a policy of higher security until the world forgets about what happened to the Spring. It is clear that we will continue to be harassed by outsiders. I suggest doubling the morning breakfast shift and late night shifts, so that no one is ever working alone. I also suggest we set up a night patrol. It has always been dismissed as unnecessary in the past, but this assault illustrates that, at least for a time, we must offer more formalized protection for our students. I cannot express my feelings on this strongly enough. It is our duty to our students to keep them safe while they are in our charge.    

Kobold Storytelling

Around a half eaten carcass and surrounded by old bones, a circle of newcomers listen to Chief tell the stories of the tribe’s recent expansion. Most of the tales center around a figure depicted in the mural on the Southern wall. It shows a dragon-man tossing a boulder off of himself (the very stone block that lays in the middle of this room) and roaring. His words, in barely legible Draconic, are “The sky cannot kill me!”  

“Thems bigguns been comin’ here for two hands a days1, bringin’ nice meats and tasty beers n help us’n’s celebrate grown’ big n strong. Thems killie tha’ ogre monster tha kept us small! We boss of them stairs up now, and this whole place!

“We have more rooms fer livin’ in, an’ our very own Dragon named Smithy an’ his best friend th’ Glad orc! Our Dragon is so clever tha’ he made hisself almost look like a man an’ he goes inta town an’ takes th’ human’s shirts!”

Here the Chief points proudly to a pile of human shirts.

“Smithy has biggun minions too. A scary demonlady thing an’ a real dwarf! An’ th’ Glad orc. Th’ Glad orc made us tha’ nicy-nice2 song on th’ wall o’er there.”

The Eastern wall bears a song written in Common. “It’s raining, it’s pouring/The old man is drunk/He fell down and broke his head/And now I have a new bowl!”

“We be brave when they go down th’ scary stairs into th’ deep dark. We tells them about th’ ghost wind. It creeps up on you and you die! Buts they go anyways, so some of us go too. We all get so many shinies! Some die. It is sad. But many more wanta go fer th’ shinies! Such beautiful metals!

“Our Dragon Smithy chase away th’ ghost wind! An’ fights skelingtons, wiv our help. We gets short bows and arrows, an’ a sword an’ gold. An’ scrap metal, a’course. Down in th’ even deeper dark are dead-alive humans! We not be down there much.

“Much better to be up here! Wiv th’ beer and th’ meat! An’ now there are so many more of us, fer havin’ a better party an’ servin’ our Dragon Lord Smithy!  

“Vinra, you already made a good start on servin’ Smithy wiv maken tha’ human long legbone club. Tha’ll be so funny to beat a human in th’ face wiv! Even a  dead-alive human tha’ won’ get th’ joke.”

1. “Hands of days” is a term  from the Deltan in the Bobaverse, written by Dennis E. Taylor

2. “Nicey-nice” is a term from the trolls in The 10th Kingdom, a TV Miniseries that aired in the US on NBC in February of 2000.

A Brief History of Adralel

Map of Adralel

“In the beginning was the Singer and the Song. The Song and the Singer wound around one another, inseparable. Our world, and every speck in the night sky, was Sung into existence. Pure notes coalesced into mist that sighed over the land and the jeweled dew drops that followed after.

“With time creatures came to roam the land as well. Some of these found their ways of being compatible. Some of them did not. This struggle went on for years uncounted, until the days of the Halflings, who came to make peace. Nimble of finger and quick of wit, the first Halflings brokered –“

“It weren’t the halflings that broker’d anythin’,” a human interrupted. He had paused in the marketplace to listen to the storyteller. Seated halfling children craned their necks to look back at the tall visitor as he continued to speak, oblivious to the glares from all around. “It’s the dwarves that sued fer peace, in’it. On account of they were dwindlin’ and afeared a’ dying out.”

 “It’s certainly true that no one can outbreed you humans,” the irritated storyteller snapped, before she thought better of it. More babies than brains. She clicked her teeth shut before that thought had a chance to escape out of her mouth.       

“I’m jus’ sayin’ you should tell the chil’en right,” the human countered, before moving prudently off into the crowd. The crowd being mostly halflings, it didn’t hide him. It did, however, provide a convenient reason for he and the storyteller to let their argument drop. 

“Why did he say it was dwarves, Mama Valda? Didn’t he have a Storyteller to tell him right?” one of the older children asked, watching the visitor disappear among the stalls of the marketplace.

“There are no surviving written records from that time, Riton. So much was lost when the first peace broke and the world burned. Even recorded oral traditions from that time are centuries distant from the time they report.” Storyteller Valda replied, trying to regain her composure and rhythm. “And humans live such short lives. Their oral traditions had to pass through the most heads before it was recorded, so it is the most distorted.”

The children stared up at Valda, uncomprehending. At such a young age, it was difficult to conceive of the practical difference between 60 and 100 years. Both seemed equally distant. Thinking for a moment, the Storyteller remembered a game from her childhood that might be useful now.

“Here, I’ll show you. Everyone sit in a circle. Riton, you sit here next to me. Now think of two words. Got them? Good. You are going to whisper them to Ziri sitting next to you. She’ll whisper it to Rosula and so on until it gets all the way to me. Does everyone understand?” Each child nodded when she made brief eye contact. She nodded at Riton to begin.