|Beers and Dragons #2|
Beers and Dragons #2
At the end of session 1 our three player characters, Oswald, Gerald, and Anders had a quick fight with a band of Norwegians. They just had recovered the young sister from the goblins (those fled has the Norwegians intervened).
Oswald the rogue and Anders their new sorcerous friend were not in the best shape. Rudgard the old man who accompanied them was wounded as well. And since their goal was reached, recovering the young girl, they decided to get back east in the goblin tunnel and place the attacking roots of the wicked tree between them and the Norwegian band.
Gerald, the unwounded fighter took the rearguard with his shield and he and his friend filed eastbound. Anders took the leash of Gunther the captive goblin, wounded as well, and Oswald took care of the young girl, Sweterun.
They fetched Rudgard who was waiting in the goblin large room right after the eastern entrance of the tunnel. He proposed them to make a detour to go directly to the old woman's hut at the edge of their village. "She is a healer, she's not Saxon, but she lives among us, in fact she has always lived here, we didn't chase her since she cures people."
They emerged from the tunnel into the woods, the sun was about to rise, they went south-eastwardly at a normal pace. Rudgard and Oswald in the lead, and Oswald guarding the rear with eyes open and bow in hand. Gunther, being a goblin and wounded, was not too happy walking in the sun, especially when they emerged from the woods and walked in the plain. Anders was holding Sweterun hand. The girl started to feel attracted to the mysterious Norwegian (half-irish, but he hasn't told them yet) that is so kind to her.
They reached the old woman hut as the sun was half on its downward course. She sees Rudgard, fists on her hips, "Old boar, what fight did you got into?" "Good day Enida, we are in need of your Art, as you can see I am not the only one bleeding".
The old woman inspected the wounds of each member of the party. Her saxon wasn't bad except was her weird accent. Her relationship with Rudgard seemed strange, half joking, half reproaching, the young men didn't quite get it. Maybe Rudgard would explain to them later on. As Enida started inspecting Anders' wound, she noticed the strangeness of the boy. Granted he is Norwegian, she started reading the palm of his hand and his irises. She sensed the magical gift in Anders. She then "scanned" his present context.
Gerald waiting his turn (he only had a scratch), was starting to wonder why all the females were behaving strangely with Anders. Enida looked at him, and in her accented saxon, told him and Oswald "This young guy is being chased by three or four people of his race". Anders' saxon is weak, it's a germanic language, granted, but that old lady's accent is so strange that he couldn't understand what she was saying.
GM Note: I gave the information to Oswald and Gerald's players on a sheet of paper, and asked them to transmit the information to Anders's player with gestures.
Anders somehow understood that three people were looking for him in the direction of the dungheap next to the house. They asked Gunther the goblin if he could smell any enemies coming at them and the green lad responded that the only thing he could smell was human shit. He looked pretty annoyed and was trying to protect his face from the sun. Enida asked what they wanted to do with the goblin and they simply responded that for now, he was their prisoner.
Gerald asked to Enida how she could devise all that. She answered that Anders had a magical gift and she had that gift as well, she simply felt it. For the three people on the hunt for Anders, she answered that it was written in his irises, she had a version of the gift letting her read in the eyes of gifted people. "But young man, don't go tell that to people in your village, most of them know, and since I am a healer they don't mind". Oswald and Gerald catched the gesture of Rudgard telling them to shut up. "You're in that secret now".
Enida, after having inspected Gunther and Gerald last told them: "Rudgard, you know the house, there is a soup ready for warming in the cauldron and some vegetables in the garden. Prepare the dinner for all of us. Sweet young girl, you come with me gathering herbs and ingredients for the poultices of all those guys".
The men line up and enter the house, it was a bit cramped, it was quite different from a saxon dwelling, the art on the spoon felt exotic, but it was a house, and the cauldron was just a cauldron and that smelled not bad. A bit alarmed by Enida's revelations, Gerald picked a seat and moved it by the entrance of the hut, that gave him a good view on the west were they came from. Rudgard gathered some vegetables and some water and started preparing a meal for everybody. Oswald and Anders lied on a bunk at the other side of the hut, they tied Gunther to one of the pillar of the wall and the goblin sat idly on the next bunk, happy to be in the dark hut.
After an hour, Gerald spotted in the distance two men coming at their hut. They had probably seen the smoke coming out of the hut. The man walking in front was quite good-looking and smiling, he was followed by a young teenage friar. They were equipped with quarterstaves and sling bags, sporting wooden crosses on their chests. "Good evening young lord! I am Father Maulduchs and here is Elmer who follows me. Are you of the true god faith?". The padre has a thick southern saxon accent. "May we join you for the night and bless this house?".
Oswald and Gerald were puzzled, Rudgard put down knifes and tools to join them at the entrance. Gunther, tied to his pillar, sneaked under the bed. The men didn't quite know how to respond, after all, it was not their house. Enida and Sweterun arrived at that point. The old celt woman went straight to the padre and knelt in front of him and kissed his hands. "Good woman, may two men of gods find shelter by you tonight?" "You are most welcome father!". Speaking in yet another tongue, he made a gesture on her head. She stood up, turned to the Saxons, winked and said "We have two other guests tonight, Rudgard, do we have enough for them?"
As the sun was about to set, they all sat down for an excellent dinner. Oswald sneaked a few bits to Gunther under the bunk, it was probably better if the priest didn't learn about the small monster. After the meal, the old woman, helped with the priest tended to the wounds of each man, applying poultices and pastes. The priest, with his thick southern saxon accent, accompanied each application with a benediction in latin (Oswald and Gerald determined that it was the language of this Jesus guy coming every three phrases in the priest's evangelizing banter).
The priest too had an interest in Anders. The young weaver had told Oswald and Gerald that he was mostly worshiping Wotan, but he seemed to know the gestures in the cult of the padre. As he was born in a Norwegian trading/raiding family, Anders was not ignorant of the christian faith, he knew the routines and that made Father Maulduchs very happy. Edina was smiling along, delight in her eyes.
The sun had long made a last nod through the entrance, everybody had half a bunk, and Gerald was the first on the watch. Enida and the boys thought it better, there was this threat written in Anders' irises.
By the end of the Gerald's watch, Rudgard woke up, took his axe and went for a pee "Hey, I'm old... When I'm back Gerald, I'll take the watch". Gerald felt happy not to be forgotten and started relaxing and thinking about taking a reset after all this walking and watching. There, fourty meters as he was peeing in the orchard, Rudgard suddenly shouted "Who goes there". "De Djevel" was the answer along with an axe swinged at this head. The old saxon skillfully paried and disengaged, sneaking back to the hut.
One could hear people coordinating their moves outside, in some norse language. Enida was up she quickly moved the easternmost bunk and opened the wall behind it. She talked in some weird language to the goblin (who incidentally has finished gnawing at this bounds), he gestured them to follow him. Anders was hearing clearly the people outside, concerting their approach of the hut, in Norwegian, he decided to follow Gunther the goblin.
Rudgard had retied his pants and grabbed a shield, he stood next to Gerald and told him "I stay here to countain them, you go with the girl and the wounded". Enida stood beside him "Gerald go, I stay with Rudgard, it's my home". The priest and his young follower had been hesitant, surprised to discern a small fiend in the hut, but he went with the escaping party, as did Oswald.
The goblin lead the saxons and Anders straight into thick wood behind the hut. He expertely weaved away the blackberry bushes and they took turn opening passages in the undergrowth for each other. Scratched by fifty or sixty feet of blackberry thorns, they emerged east in a garden.
They couldn't hear anything from the hut back there, the thick wood of undergrowth and tall trees was muffling everything.
"We are in a strange garden" remarked Oswald. Gerald too had noticed that the moon, was full here and on top of its course, while outside it had been half grown. They had arrived in a walkway of well kept lawn, they were facing a wall of an hedge, well trimmed. The passage was leading them north or south, as they wished. Anders noticed that there were no flowers, strange for fine May night.
The labyrinthic nature of the place was not reassuring. Father Maulduchs and his acolyte were holding firmly their quarterstaffs. They progressed carefully, Gerald and his shield on the front, followed by the religious men, Oswald, and Anders holding the goblin's hand and the little girl Sweterun's hand.
Gerald asked Gunther if he could sense anything here. "Pig shit" was the answer. The saxon and the norwergian argued for a while if the goblin, with his weird accent, was saying "Big shit" or "Pig shit". Gunther obliged and with his index fingers as fang, mimicked a pig or a boar.
A small white light traced across the sky. It reminded them of fireflies, but white. Gerald noticed it was a small winged humanoid all white and rather scary. They interrogated further Gunther and they gathered it was "tricky white bats".
Gunther somehow explained that those little white fairies were good but loved jokes and tricks and were better avoided.
They progressed north and the passage between the hedges lead them east after a while. They could hear rummaging noises, pig-like noises. As the way went right angle to the south, they saw a large shadow scratching the lawn a hundred feet away. They approached. The light of the full moon revealed a giant boar wandering out of the shadow cast by the high hedges of the garden.
The priests lowered their quarterstaffs as if they were hunting spears, they walked back the corner out of the beast's attack vector. Oswald sidestepped and readied an arrow. The giant boar, resolute, charged full north towards Gerald. The young saxon simply strongly backed into the hedge, leaving the beast on its trajectory.
The giant boar was impressive in the white moon light, it had to slow down not to crash into the northern hedge. That put it into contact with padre Maulduchs and his young follower, they both hit at the beast with their staffs.
Gerald and Oswald jumped at opportunity, hitting the beast in the back. Unfortunately it was not fast enough, the boar gored and killed the padre before being cut down by the saxon youngsters (acolyte included).
GM Note: here I forgot to give Oswald his sneak attack, I only gave him and Gerald the advantage. With sneak attack he'd have 1d6 extra damage. Fortunately the dice favoured him with a critical hit at some point in the fight.
Anders was rounding the hedge on the other side, safely, holding the hand of Sweterun and the hand of Gunther. He tried to gather his magical everey and to weave an entanglement spell between the fight and the trio he was leading, but the source evaded him and the energy was wasted in vain.
A second giant boar appeared and charged. Brother Elmer and Gerald faced it while Oswald sidestepped again. The charge knocked the young friar dead and stopped in contact with Gerald. Oswald again start firing arrows in the back of the beast. The beast next attacked Gerald, pushing the shield aside and wounding the fighter. Finally the beast was put down. Axe hits, arrow hits and Anders weaving three magical projectiles killed it.
The full moon had not budged from the top of the sky in the garden. Things went quiet for a moment, but pixie flights became more frequent. The party tried to rescue the priests but they were severely gored, gone. Anders picked a parchment with a drawing of the crucified god on it. They took the crosses. They also sliced pieces of the back legs of the beast and stuffed then in rags, hoping to find salt later on.
They then went round the corner of the hedge, over the tracks left by the boars rummaging. They came in view of a perfectly rectangle basin. The geometric shapes were strange for the rough and rustics saxons (and their norwegian friend as well). on the other side of the lake stood a three hedge. They could hear party noises coming from the other side. Some pixies came in stationary flight over them, they went along the southern side of the lake and arrived in view of the party, somehow escorted by the pixies.
They had arrived at a fairy feast. A king-child was seating at the high table, beautiful woman and powerful kings and knights were partying and everybody welcome the arrival of the party.
GM Note: I used a some cards of a golden art nouveau tarot to try and convey the atmosphere of the feast.
The child king demanded of each adventurers a small feat or performance to pay the entrance fee and for the entertainment of all his guests. Anders offered his Jesus picture. Oswald and Gerald did an athletic routine they'd been doing since forever, Sweterun kissed the king on the cheek, and Gunther did a goblin folk dance.
Everybody had a good time, the boar meat was offered, the child-king thanked them for killing the ravaging intruders, wine was drank in large quantities.
At some point in the conversation, Gerald thanked the king for his hospitality and offered his service should it be required. The child-king thanked him in return saying he would call for Gerald if need be.
The rest of the night is not remembered.
They woke up in the middle of grassland not far from their village. Oswald had somehow received a leather armor, some person offered it to him, but he couldn't remember the details. A beautiful piece of armor, but the craftmanship wasn't apparent without a closer examination. The same thing could be said of the sword offered by the child-king to Gerald, a functional blade, but not too eyecatching. Anders had his head clear about new ways to weave the magical thread.
"Wake up guys, the village is just there" said Sweterun has she kicked them to stop their dreaming.