Seeking their fortunes, adventures, or more arcane things the
adventuring troupe coalesced on the road in the Holding of Henovell. There was
much debate as to where the troupe would head, but none were inclined to strike
out on their own. As Bimbo Baggins, known as BB put it, “I didn’t join you all to
go there by myself.”
After much debate, but little actual dissent, the troupe decided to investigate rumors of a red dragon flying above the mountains to the northeast. The group could not agree on the approach they would take once they actually reached the dragon: seeking friendship, stealing treasure, killing the dragon to eat its heart. Plans were suggested and discarded with abandon.
Upon the road much was discussed. A boisterous topic of conversation was joining various cults. Several of the members of the party loudly proclaimed their enthusiasm to join, when they were able.
And so it was that the troupe found themselves in the hills
above the headwaters of The Gleam, the main tributary to the Coral River. The
tracks they traveled on dwindled, and then dwindled further. On the fifth day of
Week 24, they came upon a goat and El-Nhuilna,
known as El, decided to try and be friends.
Finding that she could not
actually speak with the goat, she settled for having a steed. Upon attaching
herself to the goat’s back, however, she discovered that a goat’s startled gait
was a bit more rocky than she had anticipated. Given that disappointment, she
gallantly allowed Friend Link d’In to carry her once again.
About this time, the troupe noticed four humanoid creatures coming
towards them over the hill from the east, the way they had come. Each of the creatures
was much larger than any of the party members, and each carried an enormous
sack. The creatures approached the party as the troupe discussed things among
When the creatures had drawn too close for BB’s comfort, the
free goblin retreated to a nearby copse of trees to make a stand. El, Link, and
Naarvi followed suite, hustling slightly further into the copse than BB. Farlon,
on the other hand, drew a line in the dry grass at their feet with oil. The
party members tried in several languages to converse with the looming, gangly humanoids.
The only language that seemed to cause a reaction was Bugbear, to which they responded
by pausing cautiously to look about.
Creeping closer, ignoring the burble of Goblin as Farlon tried a new language, the hulking humanoids had nearly reached Farlon, Cham, and Toki at the oil slick.
The rain had let up overnight, but the roads were muddy and miserable. Olg asked Fave, Stad, Brosin, and Tulver to focus on building fences that will keep the goats in, as the fieldstone fences for cows are not goat-proof. Kelvyn collected 52 eggs from the chickens, and spent the morning pickling 26 of them.
Despite the mud on the roads, Olg and Kelvyn set out for Hullbeck. They load up the wagon, and take the magic hilt with them in hopes that the Sage will be able to give them some clues about it.
The small troupe made it to Gretchen’s, where they stopped for the night. Olg and Kelvyn made a bee-line for the bar, each ordering a drink. Kelvyn settled in to eavesdrop on the conversations around him as Olg went to talk to Gretchen.
“I come bearing the farm report,” he tells her. “There’s 50-some odd chickens or some such number and we have 6 dairy goats that will be ready to dairy next year. The fanciest dairy goats you’ve ever seen. They have much hair. Angora, or something… We’ve got three goblin farmworkers that are tending to the day to day, and tending to the future….We’re making a Hullbeck run…Gotta supplement the farm income so we can have resources.”
Then the discussion moved on the sleeping arrangements for the pair of adventurers for the night. The troupe had in the past always worked for their room and board. Given Mugi’s popularity on the one night that he took up the world’s oldest profession, Gretchen asked if Olg was interested in trying prostitution for a night.
“I won’t bathe for that,” came the immediate reply. “I’ve already taken a dip in the lake twice this week. That kind of cleanliness sticks around.”
While Olg and Gretchen talk, Kelvyn chatted up the bartender. He asks after the apprentice that had gained significant local notoriety by turning the river into a sleeping potion that worked upon mere skin contact. Kelvyn seemed surprised to learn that the apprentice hadn’t run off, and was still ensconced with their master at the Gleaming Spring.
Addressing the question of lodging, Kelvyn paid 3 gold pieces to have a room to himself. Despite the offer of work, Olg chose to sleep outside in the wagon with his bear.
The troupe traveled uneventfully the next day to the main road and camped by the hot springs overnight. Dawn of fifth-day found them traveling towards Hullbeck, determined to make the long journey in a single day.
They arrived in Hullbeck quite late, but decide to “roll by” Sage Onida’s tower just in case her door was open. Lady Luck seemed to be smiling on them, for Onida was open for business.
Olg was rather taken aback to be reminded that Onida’s fee for acting as a group’s sage was 2,000 gold pieces a month. She was firm that she would not answer questions about magical devices or anything else for free.
After thinking for a bit, she suggested that she could test spells on the pair of them, and would identify one item per spell tested. With a rash lack of reluctance, Kelvyn and Olg agreed to this deal.
Kelvyn went first. Onida told him to let her know if anything burned, tingled, or went numb. She assured him that the itching wouldn’t drive him mad. Probably.
Onida concentrated on Kelvyn for a moment, and he began to glow. When the glow faded, he was covered from head to toe in tiny, iridescent golden scales.
“You look like one of our goats, but less fuzzy,” Olg informed him. “Now you’ll be easy to spot at night.”
“I’ll be easy to look at,” Kelvyn countered, looking at the shimmering scales.
Olg went next, and Onida’s concentration had no effect he could detect. He didn’t glow, burst in to flame, or lose his shadow. Onida led them outside of town, and told him to use a breath attack out into the field in front of them.
Having no experience either casting magic or using a breath attack, this was an instruction that Olg found difficult to complete. Finally Onida smacked him on the back of the head, and his breath weapon went off on his surprised outbreath.
It created a beautiful cloud, but not beautiful in the way that Kelvyn’s new scales were beautiful. It was shiveringly dark, and cold. The sort of beauty that was best seen from far away.
When he asked how to do it again, Olg learned that it was a one time use spell attack. Onida, in turn, learned that Olg’s tongue and jaw still worked after using that breath weapon. She told them both to let her know if they noticed any odd or unpleasant sensations, and that Kelvyn should mostly be back to his old skin type by morning.
Olg tried to hit Kelvyn to test out the effect of the scales. He found that he couldn’t land a blow.
Back at Onida’s tower, she whisked the sword hilt upstairs for analysis. After quite a while had passed, she came back down the stairs and informed them that they had found a magic fire sword dedicated to an old god that had fallen out of favor with the people. It could be activated by calling the name of the god, Ἥφαιστος and a blade made of fire would appear.
He was a god of metalworking, she added. Some said he dated from back before the world burned, though the body of scholarship dedicated to him was not large. To Kelvyn, Onida added that he should think of any remaining scale patches as beauty marks in the coming days. Or at worst, a harmless and pretty pox.
Kelvyn and Olg both slept in the wagon, saving the gold an innkeeper would have charged. Sixth-day dawned hot and bright, much to Olg’s displeasure. He spent the day under the cover of the wagon, making a holster for the magic sword from leather.
Kelvyn, on the other hand, sought out sociable work. He heard in town that Farmer Johnston was mucking out his pig fields after the fall slaughter to prepare for going in to winter. He walked out to the farm, and offered Farmer Johnston a hand with the tedious and dirty chore. In return, at the end of the day the farmer gave him a very generously cut chain of good pork sausages. That evening Olg slept in the cart once again, while Kelvyn stayed at an inn with bathing facilities.
Seventh-day dawned misty. Neither sensed anything lurking in the mist, but they distrusted it nonetheless. They spent the day indoors, at the local bar. They paced each other, each drinking 10 beers over the course of a day. Going by Onida’s again, they found that her door was closed.
That evening both decided to sleep in the wagon, with a lantern burning to keep the mist at bay. Kelvyn spent the night terrified, seeing shadows in the mist. Olg took watch all night. Neither got any rest to speak of.
As dawn came, the mist dissipated. Onida’s door was still closed. Both fall into exhausted doses and slept away a beautiful sunny day. That evening they tried Onida’s one last time, but her door was still closed.
They decided the spend the night of eighth-day traveling partway back to the farm. On the way they passed two goblin smiths arguing over ownership of a silver hammer, while heading in the direction of Hullbeck (courtesy of Spine Wrinkle). Olg and Kelvyn were soon drawn into their debate as one of the goblins exclaimed that even strangers on the road could see that the hammer was rightfully his.
Asking for more information, the adventurers discovered that the goblins were siblings, with businesses set up immediately next to each other. (The goblin’s personalities were inspired heavily by the Chengelpet brothers in “The Last Colony” by John Scalzi.) The hammer had been left to them in the will of their eldest brother.
The will unfortunately no longer existed, because when they could not agree on the interpretation of the wording, one of them threw the document into the fire in a fit of rage. They had traveled to the wise master at the Gleaming Spring to ask him to solve their dispute, but had been turned away.
Olg and Kelvyn found it damning that one threw the document in the fire, and felt the silver hammer should go to the other sibling. When the goblins largely ignored the adventurer’s decision and continued their squabble unabated Kelvyn told them, “We gave you our judgment. Believe us or don’t. You two have a lovely evening.”
“For a fee, we also do judgment enforcement,” Olg calls after the still arguing goblins as they parted ways.
The quiet cycle of camping in the wagon and traveling continued, until the troupe was jolted out of their relaxation midmorning on tenth-day, shortly before they reached Gretchen’s. They surprised a giant spider in a field near the road. Its bulbous black body was shiny in the sunlight.
Thinking quickly, Kelvyn dashed a flask of oil at the spider’s feet. Olg ran up to it, shouting Ἥφαιστος as he drew the magic sword, slashing the creature and setting the oil at its feet aflame. The spider was dead before it could even quite turn around, so great was its surprise.
As any good adventurer does, Olg immediately began butchering the great beast. He harvested the venom sack from the head, careful not to get cut and accidentally poison himself. He cut apart the abdomen to gather the web sack and spinnerets. He harvested the meat from the slain foe and he and Kelvyn had an impromptu feast, sharing out the meat with their war beasts.
The rest of the journey to the farm went uneventfully. They had been away for seven days, and found that in their absence Mugi has been hard at work. He finished the goat fences with Stad, Fave, Brosin, and Tulver.
Then Mugi did the fall planting in the garden behind the farmhouse, sowing amaranth and building special cedar growing boxes for a crop of potatoes. He and the others also tilled up one of the fields that would no longer be needed for cows, and had just finished sowing winter wheat.
Farmers began arriving in the light before dawn to set up their wares. Fave, Brosin, and Tulver also turned up, with Julio the mule pulling a cart full of carefully packed eggs in straw-filled crates. The other farmers eyed Fave the goblin uneasily, but continued setting up.
Lucia, Braum, and Olg strolled through the rapidly filling farmer’s market, noting items of interest. They learned that there are milk goats for sale, and that a goat can produce up to a gallon of milk a day. The eager salesman assured them that goats can lactate for up to 420 days a year, which made them a phenomenal investment. He had Landrace goats for sale, which were of note both for their superior milk production and their wonderful fiber production.
The troupe was interested, but their farm boys told them there was another goat seller of superior quality that was strangely absent at the market today. Asking around, the troupe learned that he had stayed home to gather his goats back up after something fell out of the sky, landing in or near the lake at the back of his property. The goats, predictably, had taken impact as excuse to run amock.
Noting that folks seemed too busy rubbernecking at the troupe’s goblin coworker to buy any eggs, Braum decided to give the crowd something else to look at. Buying sheep butter, leaks, onions, chives, and garlic, Braum began to cook eggs.
There weren’t any other meals being prepared in front of the crowd, and the smell drew people in. Just as Braum had hoped, buying omelets to order from him had broken the ice for most of the customers with Fave the goblin. Farmers were buying and bartering for their eggs almost immediately.
Continuing to circulate in the market, Lucia and Olg overheard an old human man saying that his weather toe was predicting a storm in the next half-week. When they mentioned this to their farm boys, Brosin and Tulver immediately launched into gossip about Willy and his weather toe, knowing exactly who the two adventurers were speaking of.
“I think he’s a witch and calls those storms just so he can feel important,” Tulver grumbled.
Around noon the farmer’s market was slowing down. The party agreed to go their separate ways, with Fave and the boys taking Julio the mule back to the farm to make charcoal and the troupe going to investigate the possible meteor at Karl’s goat farm.
Around dinner time the troupe arrived as what seems to be Karl’s farm, though no one was in sight. Not wanting to startle anyone or give the impression of sneaking, the troupe decides to sing as they rode up the winding lane to the farmhouse.
“Hi ho, hi ho…We’ve come to see your goats, yo,” Lucia began.
“Have you some goats for me to buy? Have you set some wool to dye?” Braum continued.
“What would you like to trade? We’re all looking to get laid,” Olg joins in, perhaps thinking about Gretchen’s.
“On the road for coin and love, until we travel the roads above,” Braum sung in reply, easily shifting to accommodate the new theme.
“Here we are on a tale of woe, all because of a weather toe,” Lucia finished.
When the troupe reached the house, they found that it was presently deserted. Their couplets, passed back and forth one to another as they sang, had been heard by no one but themselves.
Following the freshest tracks coming out of the back of the house, the troupe traveled over a hill, towards the back of the property. After traveling over several such rolling hills, they came upon a family, strung out in a line, herding a number of goats in front of them. The troupe joined the line, with a nod of thanks from the adults.
Reaching the farm buildings once again, they were able to make a firm count of the goats. The troupe and farm family had managed to wrangle 18 of the missing animals. The family was very appreciative of the help the troupe volunteered, and Karl was happy to tell them about the meteor that landed in the lake a few nights back.
The farm family invited the troupe to join them for dinner. Braum volunteered their remaining leeks, garlic, and chives for the meal. Braum then spent the last hour of daylight chopping firewood for the family.
After dark, Karl showed the adventurers where he thought the meteor came down into the shallow side of the lake. Casting Detect Magic into the water, Braum saw a glow on the lake bottom. The party estimates that it may be 40 feet down to the glowing item.
Olg revealed that he was a master swimmer, and dove into the water with one end of a long rope clutched in his hand. Olg found a sword hilt to be the glowing object. He tied the end of the rope to it, and swam back to the surface. He then was able to easily pull the sword hilt out of the lake.
A quick consultation with Karl found that none in his family were swordsmen, going back at least 6 generations. In fact, he did not know of any in the surrounding farms that might be. He bid the adventurers keep what they had found, with his blessing.
The family left the next morning before dawn to comb the other side of the lake for the remaining wayward goats. They were happy for the troupe to accompany them out to the shallow side of the lake. Olg dove with the light of day, to see if there was anything else of interest on the lake bottom. The party reasoned that it was unlikely that the sword hilt was the meteor that spooked the goats.
Walking back with the family after searching the lake bottom once again, the troupe asked about buying goats. Karl offered six of the “beautifully spirited” goats they just rounded up, for a discount. He was willing to let them go for 150 gold, total.
Braum offered the lump of smelted gold worth approximately 17 gold pieces, plus 16 chunks of ore. Karl jokes, “Oh, you want to pay me with more work?” Braum offered an additional 20 gold pieces of actual money, and Karl accepted.
As soon as Braum had offered the ore, Karl had realized that the troupe had succeeded in clearing out the cave-in at the old gold mine. Braum confirmed that they had indeed found the old miner’s brother. What was left of him. Karl wasn’t able to tell them where the old miner was now. The troupe parted from Karl and his family on very good terms, making the long trek back to their own farm.
On the way, Braum tried to coax secrets out of the sword hilt they had found on the lake bottom. “I know you’re magic, sword. We both know you’re special. Are you a sword with a will of your own? If a princess kisses you, will you turn into a prince?”
Partway through the day, the troupe came upon a person stumbling up the road towards them. As they drew closer, it became apparent that they were very, very sick. The troupe swung their wagon as wide around the person as the road would allow, and they passed each other without exchanging a word.
After reaching the farm that evening and locking the goats in the barn, it is decided that the entire party will work on fixing up the barn and house for the next several days, until the storm Willy’s weather toe predicted blows over.
Braum, Olg, Brosin, and Tulver spend tenth-day making boards from the pile of logs in the yard. Lucia, Fave, and Stad focused on making an area in the barn specifically for the goats.
Braum suggested that the party fill their evenings by teaching each other any languages they do not have in common. Braum could teach Draconic, Olg could teach Orc, Stad and Fave could teach Goblin. The group agrees.
Everyone works on the barn on first-day. The work is cut short on second-day when a heavy rainstorm moved in just before noon. Braum spends some time sitting on the porch singing rain songs.
“I’m never going to stop the rain by complaining….”
Olg, Lucia, Stad, Fave, Brosin, and Tulver study language inside. Eventually, Braum joins them.
First-day of Week 21 finds the party very hung over. Gretchen
revisits the debts from the night before with those that partied the night away,
and finds that only Kelvyn can pay his tab in full. Lucia, Mugi, Braum, and Olg
are all now variously indebted to her. They will owe her coin or a favor,
whichever is more beneficial to her down the road when she calls on them to
collect. For now, she is content to see the party off to talk to the Widower
Stribe about buying his land for the endeavor with the goblins.
Kelvyn, asking around about rumors of any local nuisances, heard a tale of an abandoned gold mine. It partially caved in about 20 years ago, collapsing on one of the two twins who were mining. The other went mad trying to dig his brother out. He always insisted that his twin was still alive down there.
Coming back around to the widower Stribe, Gretchen commented
that he needed either an ear to listen to his tale, or a strong beating. He was
a nasty old man with a sad life story,
so it was hard to tell which.
“I want profit and harmony. Those are my two main things. That’s
what everybody wants. I don’t care what happens with the land specifically,
since I’d be buying it on behalf of the goblins.” Gretchen offered 700 GP to
the party to act as her embassies and buy the land. If Stribe didn’t take the
money they should “do what you need to do” to get the land.
“Thank you for the option, but we will not be doing that. Money will be enough.” Braum calmly replied, in the face of his party’s discussion of smothering the old man with a pillow.
Upon arriving at the Stribe ranch, Mugi went inside while
the rest of the party went around the back of the house where they could hear someone
chopping wood. Mugi riffled through things, trying on most of Stribe’s clothing,
but finding that nothing fit except a hat, which he elected to keep. He then
settled down to munch on whatever he could find in the kitchen that wouldn’t
fit in his sack to be carried away for later.
The rest of the party, meanwhile, talked with the widower.
Braum offered 500 GP for the land, which Stribe rejected. “I poured my life
into this land. That offer is an insult.” Fela then tried a different approach,
sitting on a stump with the old man, sharing a wineskin and asking after his
life story. Braum took up chopping firewood.
“I always wanted to see the sea. But my wife wasn’t interested in travel. Her dream was to have a family. Miscarriage after miscarriage, and the ones that drew breath never lived long. This place broke her heart. But it was the only place she was ever alive, ya see? How could I leave her, leave them? Everyone I ever loved is buried here.” Widower Stribe had switched to a harder drink than wine by the end of this tale.
“Your wife would want to see you happy. She’s watching over
you. Why don’t you take a memento of hers and go show her the sea?” Fela
suggested. Kelvyn nudged her to suggest something, but she shooed him away.
Mugi, growing bored with listening to this tale of woe
through the kitchen window, grabbed the heavy sack of 700 GP out of the cart
parked out front, and ambled around the side of the house. One hand full of the
sack, it was difficult for him to sign.
“She has a very good of talking and talking for hours. I
would rather just to give you guys the money. 700 GP is all we have. Enough?”
Widower Stribe knew signed Common, and was several glasses of whiskey into his day at this point. He understood Mugi with no problem at all. “Why didn’t ya lead with that?” He asked the party at large. “Ya can’t have mah horses or mah cows.” He finally said, querulously, “You can have mah chicken, lil fuckers.”
Upon going in the house to pack saddle bags, the party heard him swearing. Coming out, Widower Stribe glared at Mugi as he whistled up his cow dogs from the barn. He saddled his riding horse and his pack horse, and herded his cows off down the road into the afternoon light.
Looking around, the party counted 60-odd chickens, the run
down house with 5 bedrooms, a dilapidated barn, two outbuildings, and an outhouse.
One of the outbuildings proved to be a
fairly sturdy chicken coop. It might have a deeper foundation than the farmhouse.
Braum sent a carrier pigeon with news of the purchase back
to Gretchen, signing his note “hugs and kisses”. He then prayed at the little family
grave yard, burning a candle on each headstone. “Stribe has left. Please go
with him and watch over him. We will take good care of this place. Please be at
After a quarrel on the porch, Mugi elected to spend the
night with the chickens. In the morning, Olg quips, “Who’s unclean now?”
Braum drew water from the well and filled the laundry trough
with water. The party bathed in the cold water, except for Olg. Everyone insisted
Mugi bathe last.
On the way up to the goblin Labyrinth, the party met neighbor Ned Killigun out tending his cows in the pasture by the road. They learned that he bought these cows from the Widower Stribe at what he considered a very good price. They discussed the Goblin King Scrob and Ned commented that Scrob has his head in the sand and wouldn’t hear a bad word about the conduct of his fellow goblins.
Reaching the Labyrinth, the troupe finds Scrob in
conversation with goblin painters. They are covering the ceiling of a large
room with an epic and bloody battle scene between two dragons and a party of
Scrob was puzzled by the tale the party bought him, of purchasing a poultry farm on behalf of the goblins. Nevertheless, he and five comrades agree to go out and see this land with the adventurers. The enlarged party returned back to the farmhouse by the evening of second-day. The goblins elected to sleep in the hay loft, and Braum joined them.
The dominant races on Adralel are dwarves, elves, halflings, and humans. There are enclaves of other races, such as man-apes, high orcs, and ogres, to name a few. Goblins and elves mutually consider themselves to be separate races, though many outside of that strange relationship consider them to be kin.
Relations between elves and the other dominant races are often strained. Elves keep to themselves, being out of step with the mortal affairs and mindsets of the other races, because they are ageless. Almost all elven settlements keep slaves, which is fundamentally opposed by any of the Good alignments. Though there are non-Good aligned City States or Holdings that legally allow slavery scattered throughout Adralel, elves are the only race in the four to view slavery as a cultural mainstay. As they predominantly keep their own offspring, goblins, as slaves, the other races have not intervened.
Elves rarely breed true, and the majority of their offspring are goblins. Goblins share an affinity for both magic and combat with their elven progenitors, though they are generally weaker and lacking in the strange grace of the elves. An elf often leaves their goblin child out in the open, to be taken in as a slave by a neighbor or die from exposure to the elements.
Goblins, when they manage to extricate themselves from slavery in elven society, can be bold adventurers. Free goblin societies spring up around an accomplished goblin adventurer, when he or she decides to build a Labyrinth.
The social structure and wealth division of Labyrinths is most often fiercely communist, in rejection of elven society. Typical goblin Labyrinths turn no one away when they seek aid or shelter, and they can be very good neighbors.
Despite this, goblins are sometimes viewed with a mixture of
suspicion and pity by other races. Humans in particular can be very suspicious
of goblins. There have long been tales of free goblins stealing human babies and
using dire magics to transform the babes into goblins.
Elves often do what they can to sow seeds of distrust between goblins and other races. They in particular make a show of wiping out the occasional goblin Labyrinth to “save” the surrounding countryside from goblin mischief. As they are out of step with the rest of the world, it is difficult to predict when they will take such action.
Goblins, unlike, elves, do have souls and age at a rate similar to halflings. How it is possible that a soulless being is able to produce offspring that is in firm possession of a soul is a matter hotly debated in academic and religious circles.
On seventh-day of Week 20 Lucia, Olg, and Braum arrive at the Hot Springs to find not only Onida soaking in the water, but also several of the companions they had abandoned in town. Fela and Mugi relaxed in the water, and introduced a new adventurer they had befriended, Princess Goblin.
“The goblins need purpose and guidance. They suggested an animal
fighting ring. They’re clearly smart. They know how to work in teams. Animal
fighting is something that can be bet on, and it could draw attention to the
local vendors.” Braum summarized to Onida, trying to secure her aid in this endeavor.
“We don’t know how to build stuff and we don’t have any product. We want to see
if the community will support this. Will you speak for us in Hullbeck?”
Onida liked the idea, but not enough to attach her name to it.
Meanwhile, Mugi offered to clean Olg of lice. Olg had refused to
bathe since the adventure began, and also would not enter the hot springs. He
replied that his lice where “good where they are”, earning him the unofficial epithet
of Olg the Unclean.
On eight-day of Week 20, the adventuring troupe set out back up the farm roads towards Gretchen’s place, while Onida returned to town. Reaching Gretchen’s in the late afternoon, nearly every member of the party decided to make some coin by asking for work.
Lucia acted as bar back, primarily moving barrels and other things up and down the stairs from the cool cellar. Fela and Olg chopped wood, creating a lovely pile of split logs neatly stacked. Princess Goblin put her languages to use, acting as an entertainer by reciting poetry in different tongues. Mugi, the most adventurous of the lot, took up the world’s oldest profession for the evening and consequently made the most profit by a wide margin.
“I see you’re good at finding purpose for people,” Braum commented to Gretchen, after stepping aside with her to a quiet corner of the bar. After some conversation, Gretchen agreed to talk to the local women about the goblin gambling establishment. She pointed him in the direction of Widower Stribe to ask about buying some land for the venture. None of his children survived into adulthood and his wife had recently passed away.
In the morning of ninth-day of Week 20, the troupe headed up north to meet with Goblin King Scrob. In the afternoon they made it to the entrance to the Labyrinth and were met by 3 goblin guards, who escorted them in to see the King.
“I hear you have been molesting my folk,” the King began. The party claimed it was not so, that they just had a strong-armed conversation. The three goblins the party met at the Stein’s farm were sent for and proved to be a sorry lot, beaten and bruised all over. The three goblins insisted that their current state was the fault of the troupe and their war beasts.
Regardless of these accusations, the Goblin King listened to the
adventurer’s plans to build a boar fighting pit. Eventually Braum suggested the
Goblin King meet with a human community leader, Gretchen, and the King agreed.
During the evening, Mugi showed the goblins a technique for sweetening
and strengthening beer with molasses. Braum took the evening to preach the
teachings of his god Zhong Kui, to an audience of six receptive goblins.
Tenth-day of Week 20 found the party, with the addition of the Goblin King and two retainers, on the way to Gretchen’s. Lucia and Mugi, hoping to scare up some game in the long grass, walked parallel to the cart trail. They instead stumbled into a mud wasp nest. Mugi, thinking quickly, picked up Lucia and hurled her out of danger and smack into Braum. Mugi then got himself out of danger, running full tilt towards the cart and other members of the party. The mud wasps did not pursue them, but the group decided that was enough excitement and everyone would stay on the trail.
As the day drew to a close, the group arrived at the brothel. Braum slipped inside to ask Gretchen for a private room and to let her know the Goblin King was here for a meeting. Aki sat at the bar, well in to a night of drinking. As the party went up the stairs to the meeting between local leaders, they hear Aki drunkenly shout, “A round for everyone at the bar!”
Though the Goblin King continued to be opposed to prostitution and
inclined to see Gretchen as a villain, she was patient and understanding during
their meeting. She revealed that anyone wanting to deal with the more discrete
side of her business could ask for Gretchen the Good Witch.
“I’m a mouthpiece, happy to help the goblins get what they need. We all live in the same place. There’s no reason we couldn’t be good neighbors.” The Goblin King agreed with what she had to say about community. Gretchen gave him a carrier pigeon to bring back his decision on their tentative alliance. The goblins left that evening.
The adventuring party, heady with potential success and staying at a bar, proceed to carouse with abandon. All except Princess Goblin and Fela, who returned to their previous roles of entertainer and wood chopper, respectively. Braum was pleases to learn he had earned a local reputation as someone interested in peace and willing to put in the hussle to get there.
Aki, well ahead of the rest of the group in number of drinks, somehow managed to procure a fairy dragon. The little thing seems very upset with being held captive. Lucia, not to be outdone, ate something so spicy that she manifested literal fire breath. Olg, much to his subsequent discomfort, found that human spicy food did not agree well at all with his orc stomach.
Second-day of Week 20 found three of the
adventurers going to Onida’s tower to accompany her on her journey. Given that
there was no answer at her tower door, Onida did not appear to be awake. The
next logical course of action would be to lie in wait until the door opened, and
barge in then, which the group did. The door opening took the form of Ollen the
Apprentice arriving to complete morning chores. He was swiftly ambushed and the
group thus won their way into the tower.
Onida was preparing to walk down River Road to meet an old friend traveling from the Spring at the head of the Gleam. Despite finding adventurers in her tower rather earlier in the morning than she had anticipated, she agrees once more that they may walk down the road with her.
Stopping to camp the first evening, Lucia goes foraging
in the trees down by the banks of the Gleam. There she meets a ferocious snake,
also foraging for its dinner. They engage in a fierce battle, wherein Lucia
breaks her shield to avoid a likely lethal bite. Lucia emerges from the forest
victorious, with enough snake meat to feed her party and the merchant caravan sharing
That night the camp is swamped by mist, save for the area around the two roaring fires set up by the caravan guards and Onida respectively. Braum sleeps the night through, untroubled by the mist. Both Lucia and Olg, however, are greatly troubled by the mist. Or perhaps what lurks within it?
Midday of third-day of Week 20 finds the little
company at the Hot Springs, where Onida elected to stay until the next morning.
Braum speaks with a traveling knight, telling him of kobolds near Hullbeck and
thereby offending the knight by revealing knowledge of the tongue of dragons.
The knight is disturbed to be sharing the hot spring with those who so readily
consorted with evil monsters, and took himself off to Hullbeck.
Deciding this was a good a place as any to strike up into the hills searching for the source of the goblin rumor, the three adventurers asked Onida if she would likely be here to consult in three days’ time. Given that she was going to walk up and then back down the road with her friend, she allowed as how she might be. Plus that gave her a reason to linger at the hot spring, which was barely a thing that needed justification at all.
Pushing hard, the group traveled north along unnamed farmer cart trails and arrived at a brothel situated at a major crossroads well into the evening. Gretchen, the establishment’s proprietor, was happy to see new faces. This being the fall, most of the farmers hereabout were too focused on harvesting and putting away food for the winter to come get a drink or anything else at her establishment. Fall was always her slowest season.
Lucia took happy advantage of the offered
company, hiring the two women currently available and having a lovely evening.
Olg was approached for a similar offer by one of the men there, but rebuffed
the offered company. Braum focused on talking to Gretchen, asking about where
he might buy molasses and if she had heard anything about goblins cattle
rustling. Gretchen expressed sympathy for the goblins, trying to set up a Labyrinth
among superstitious farmers as they were.
To the east of the brothel the next morning on forth-day the little company found the Birbeckle’s farm just as Gretchen had directed them, selling molasses. Little Sally Birbeckle made a straw hat for Olg, on account of the sun bothering him so terribly. The hat turned out so pretty that Braum and Lucia asked for hats, as well. Lucia asked Sally to weave a ribbon into her hat, understandably neglecting to mention to the child that the ribbon was a token of affection given to her by one of the ladies at Gretchen’s place.
The elder Birbeckles tell the party that Mike Stein is the loudest mouth around for complaining about the goblins bothering his cattle, and the party wound their way across the hills and north to the Stein farm. Lucy Stein greeted them on the porch working on some mending, and agreed to allow the small group to sleep in her field or barn in hopes of catching goblins in the act of stealing a cow.
The first night the troupe got nothing for their trouble but bags under their eyes. The second night, however, on the first watch the party surprised three goblins walking towards the cows, a pasture away. The goblins, very surly after being ambushed by trained fighting beasts and adventurers, largely fell back on elf-like metaphors to stymie the party.
“Who can say how drops of water come together to make the little streams,” they wheedle, when asked about their leader, and other such evasive answers. Eventually Olg used the power of law to compel one of them, and it was found that the goblins are “bothering” the cattle and other farm animals hereabout as entertainment, rather than for food as the party had assumed. It was then agreed that in 5 days’ time the party could meet with the local Goblin King at their Labyrinth, and each goblin was given a cask of molasses as a token of goodwill.
The goblins were sent on their way, much to the
later dismay of Mike Stein. Lucy Stein, however, seemed at least open to the party’s
idea of setting up a boar fighting pit or some such business to keep the goblins
entertained and out of the way.
That morning, habitually short on sleep, the
three adventurers again set out for the Hot Springs, to consult with Onida.