|Beers and Dragons #1|
Beers and Dragons #1
Oswald, a rogue, and Gerald an axe-wielder, both saxons of around eighteen of age are pursuing a band of small sized humanoids that kidnapped the little sister of Gerald's girlfriend. They have with them Rudgard an old, fourty-something, fighter. They found a hidden cave where the goblins seem to have stopped briefly, the fire pit hasn't been used recently. The left side of the cave seems to be used as a jail. There is nothing of value left, only rags that they use to make some kind of torch, outside the night is falling.
The friends decide to take a closer look at the cave's wall to find a passage, it takes them an hour, during which they recuperate a bit. Their conversation and the light of the torch and the fire have drawn in a particular kind of creature. Tall, blue-eyed, blond, someone looking like a Dane enters the cave from outside, hands-up asking for a parley. Oswald and Gerald are a bit puzzled, the newcomer isn't Dane, his dialect is related but different.
Enters Anders (our third playing character), he's Norwegian by his father and Irish by his mother. She died when he was three, he was raised by his father's sister and is thus, culturally, more Norwegian than Irish. He is soon to be eighteen and was accompanying his father on a reconnaissance trip on the western coast of Britain (Cumbria). The Norwegian settlers in Ireland are having a hard time with the locals, so Anders' father is preparing a relocation to the east. On the trip back, the sea went rough and Anders fell overboard. He fell unconscious and woke up on a Cumbrian beach. He's been wandering, hunting and foraging. He crossed the mountains, bound east for adventure.
As the night was falling, Anders came upon a lit cave and heard two or three people speaking Saxon inside of it. A bit hungry he entered, hands above head (that was difficult, the roof is at Anders' shoulder height). Rudgard, the old man, gave Anders some cheese, and thus a new companion joined the chase.
After one or two hours alternating search and rest, Oswald and Gerald find the passage in the wall. It seems to go straight towards the west. Since the first torch is dying, they start preparing a new one. Up until today, they didn't think goblins were for real, another revelation tops it for them, the Norwegian takes the not yet lit torch, touches it, and it starts shining with a powerful glow. Rudgard tells them "That blond kid can weave the threads of sorcery, Wotan preserves us".
Gerald estimates the goblin party at 8 members, one is down from the fight at the entrance of the cave, that leaves 4 goblins to carry the young girl and 3 to cover them. The team wants to press on in pursuit, finding the passage took some time but at least they feel rested. Rudgard is wounded and decides to stay in the cave recovering. The Norwegian is friendly, he hasn't seen any goblin outside it seems and he's ready to follow and he holds the magically lit torch.
The tunnel is 1.2 to 1.5m wide and seems to stretch all the width of the hill to the west. Anders carries the torch just behind Gerald and his shield, Oswald is the rear-guard.
After a while, the tunnel bifurcates fourty degrees to the north. The party stops before rounding the corner. They try to listen for clues of what might lie in wait. Anders smells something not human. Oswald decides to sneak forward, he goes forward and tries making his way forward, he rounds the corner and is greeted by two arrows, he falls unconscious, Gerald grabs him back and he and Anders extract the arrows and bandage their friend, who then comes back to his senses.
The friend argue on how to proceed and after a while they proceed carefully behind Gerald and his round shield. The procession rounds the corner, not much happens the tunnel goes north-west as far as the light of the torch reaches.
After approximately four hundred meters the tunnel snakes back full west. Anders, in his broken Saxon, explains he wants to round the corner and fire some kind of sorcerous arrow. Gerald lets him go first, the weaver crawls, looks around and with his hand hurls a bolt of magical fire. It is beautiful, the bolt lights 120 feet of the tunnel before petering out. It didn't hit anything.
Anders stands up (as best as he can, the roof is low) and rounds the corner, Gerald and Oswald follow, they progress until, once again, the tunnel changes direction, pointing north-west. Gerald takes the lead, he peeks with his shield first. The piece of wood is immediately adorned with two arrows.
Gerald is getting restless, he mutters to his friends "Follow me!" and dashes down the tunnel. A new arrow hits his shield, only one new arrow. There are two goblins, the one behind is fleeing, the one in front starts his flight but falls on the ground, Oswald sits on him and presses the side of his shield on the creature's neck. Anders, fired up by the pursuit arrives, and after a bit of hesitation, stabs the goblin in the arm. The green monster begs for mercy in broken Saxon.
Oswald indicates to Anders to stop attacking, the goblin is now a prisoner, the three youngsters interrogate the goblin. He's named Gunther, his Saxon is comical yet easy to understand, "You exchange me, little girl for Gunther", "Why did you kidnap her?" "girl small, work mine, salt mine", "How far is the exit?", "Thousand feet, but danger, bad tree", "Bad tree? What do you mean?" "Bad tree attack people in tunnel".
Oswald remembers his granny telling him that sometimes, some trees grow in a perverted way and attack creatures wandering within grasp. Goblins, magical fire, at that point, why not bad trees? Gunther tells the party that such trees do fear fire, there is nothing to worry, they just have to be careful.
Effectively, the group, with its prisoner in tow, comes across a goblin archer choked to death by a root. The party has prepared a real torch (not a magical one) and uses it to scare away the three roots present in the tunnel.
Our three friend reach the exit of the tunnel on the other side of the hill in the forest. They put Gunther the goblin in front, he confirms that his band is waiting in the shrubs facing the exit. The Saxons and Anders can discern one goblin with an arrow readied. Gunther negotiates and the band agrees on exchanging the little girl for their captured archer.
The Saxons request that all the remaining goblins make themselves seen, they comply. The little girl is show too and Gerald talks to her, she was not too badly treated, she's happy to hear Oswald and Gerald voices. One of the goblin spots a human south of them, he communicates that info to all his fellow goblins. Gerald spots the human as well. In fact there are two humans pointing arrows at all of them, goblins and saxons.
The goblins decide to run, leaving the young girl and Gunther. The saxons challenge the bowmen, the answer in broken saxon is something like "Give us the young rils and your valuables and we'll let you go". It's spoken with some kind of Danish accent. Anders thinks he knows the gist "Let speak me them to". He starts speaking in Norwegian to them, and they reply in Norwegian. They are set in their arrogance and demand the girl and the party's valuables. The saxons tell Anders to propose white salt in exchange for peace. The norwegians are interested but they want to check a sample of the salt, one of them crosses over...
Gerald tells the little girl to run towards them. Gunther tries to escape but Oswald controls and restrains him. Anders extend a hand over Gerald's should and fires a bolt of woven sorcerous fire, the bolt strikes the "sampler" and knocks him down. Two norwegian arrows fly at them and miss. The little girl, Gerda jumps behind Gerald's shield. The party escapes quickly in the tunnel, to place the "bad tree" between them and the norwegian brigands.
The session ends here.