|Gin and Dragons #1|
Gin and Dragons #1
"Beers and Dragons" becomes "Gin and Dragons".
Gerald, whom we know from past adventures woke up at sea, in the middle of a knarr, tied with fellow slaves. Talking was not allowed, leaving him plenty of time trying to remember what had brought him here. Getting drunk, a fight, a wound, and waking up here, not much more.
The ship crew seemed norwegian, while the three slavers' origin couldn't be assessed. They spoke in broken Norse to the crew and among themselves in some other language. They could be Franks or some other continental ethnic group. Speaking among slaves was forbidden.
They rode on a quiet summer sea and the boat soon reached a rocky beach. The prisoners were made to stand up and disembark. The sight from the top of the plank revealed an island of moss and white rock crowned by a pine forest. There were other islands not too far. One of the slavers and three of the crew escorted them to a farm up a track, between the beach and the pine woods.
They were placed in the empty cowbarn, tied to rings in the wall. The Norwegians know their knots. One or two guards were placed at the door of the cowbarn, checking the prisoners from time to time.
Finally they could talk to each other. They ended up presenting themselves to each other and assessing their situation.
Alihandro, a Sámi, was taken by the slavers early on. He was born a slave, not much change for him apart seeing new landscapes from the bottom of the cargo bay. Sámi are reputed magic users for Norwegians, Alihandro is a real magic user but he dissimulated that to the slavers. Alihandro is 17 years old. For a magical weaver, he is tough physically (Die Hard focus) and mentally (Harder Be Purpose focus).
The Dark Ages Europe which is our stage has magic and fantastic creature but they remain mostly hidden. Weavers of magic hide it from lay people
Beowyn is a Kentish woman, 17 years old, very charismatic and with a fair voice. She didn't heed to the warning of her sibling, went out at sea to indulge in some fishing and was captured. Her father is a priest. She is a poet and a performer (Scop-wise focus) and good at networking (Connected focus).
Brigid is a Pictish woman, 17 years old, she got captured as she was bringing a basket of goods to her grandfather. She is noble, the daughter of a chieftain. Her father ensured she knew how to handle the spear, the sword, and the bow. She studied extensively the healing arts (Healer's hand focus), and is always aware of her surroundings (Alert focus).
Gerald speaks Saxon (northern flavour) and a bit of danish Norse. Alihandro speaks a western Sámi dialect and some norwegian Norse. Beowyn speaks kentish Saxon, a few words of danish Norse and some conversational and church Latin. Bridigd speak Pictish and some danish Norse.
Gerald and his new companions each attempted to free themselves, but the knots were tied by skilled hands. No success. The guards came, told them to shut up, verified the bounds and then left again.
At some point, they heard people feasting in the hall next to the cowbarn. The two guards in charge of them were talking about some kind of auction.
Something that Alihandro identified as a gnome appeared out of the eastern wall and walked past them, ignoring them at first. They all tried to to attract his attention, but he went joyously on his way. Before exiting the cowbarn, he signalled the party to keep quiet. He came back a while after with a ham on the shoulder. "What's this?" "My dinner!".
The language used by the gnome felt close enough to Alihandro for the two to have a conversation. When the small humanoid came back, our Sámi asked again to be freed. The gnome accepted but demanded help for stealing a jar of ale. "Well, OK, I'll help you".
The gnome seemd to cast a spell and then untied Alihandro. The first move of the Sámi was to wake up Brigid, but she doesn't wake up. The gnome laughs, "No can! I put sleep them".
Alihandro wavered, but then resolved himself to help the gnome. They both stepped out of the cownbarn, walking past the sleeping guards. There were like nine people asleep in the hall, the gnome and his helper went to the kitchen and picked each an ale jar. The gnome was surprisingly strong for his size. They headed back to the barn and Alihandro was requested to put his jar through the wall. The gnome then said thanks and left, through the wall.
The Sámi woke up his fellow captives and untied them. They started debating what to do. The charismatic Beowyn wanted to open the door and confront the slavers and their guards, while Alihandro proposed to use the gnomish portal. The party veered toward following Beowyn. The guard outside seemed to wake up.
The kentish young woman was convinced by Alihandro by a last resort argument. He had noticed that she wore a cross and he remembered the name of the main god of that cult and, pointing at the wall and its invisible portal, "there Jesus is!"...
It felt weird to go "through the wall". There was a circular room waiting for them, with no trace of the jars. It was dark but some light was coming from the cowbarn. The party stayed in the circular room to observe the reaction of the guards. Brigid went on in the tunnel. It was a meter and half tall and very dark, after a hundred meters, she discerned a fork and went back to the circular room.
The guards were dumbfounded, the slaver were angry and much slapping happened. After ten minutes, the cowbarn became quiet.
The party decided to follow the tunnel. At the fork, Beowyn lead them left, the air was flowing towards there. The tunnel was hard to follow, low of ceiling and completely dark. It went down, went humid for three hundred meters and then went up again. They arrived in a big cave.
A cow and a pig were making noise in the darkness, on the right. There was a large bucket full of liquid right in front of the exit of the tunnel. One of them tested the liquid, it seemed to be plain water.
There was a brief moment of lunar light entering the cave, like curtains being pushed aside and closing again. Alihandro lead the party to where the lights filtered in and started pushing. The curtains were heavy wool, they gave way.
The exit of the cave lead them to a pine forest. They could hear the weaves crashing not far northwards. They went in that direction, emerged from the woods on a rocky beach and then headed east.
The moon was half grown and high in the sky, it helped walking on the beach. Gerald and Brigid looked at each other as they both realized that something was watching at them from the edge of the pine forest.
Beowyn engaged in a christian prayer. The large troll seemed to answer by gesticulating, not much else happened. They started debating what to do, the troll vanished back in the wood.
"We need to find a boat and leave this island!" They followed the beach further east, the coast curled south and then southwest and they came across a boat. It was clearly human made but the two oars were big and rough. Beowyn and Gerald climbed in the boat and tried to use the oars as levers to propulse the skiff towards the waves while Alihandro and Brigid pushed.
The troll appeared at the edge of the wood. It seemingly weaved two times as the party pushed and heaved unsuccessfully. Alihandro cast a red disk not too far from the troll. That seemed to trigger a reaction, the beast rushed at him and struck him with a club. The sámi fell to the ground, unconscious.
Brigid wanted to heal her new friend as quickly as possible but the troll could swing his club again. Beowyn brandishing her wooden crucifix jumped tothe back of the boat and stabbed the beast. She hit successfully. The troll dropped his club and held his wound and said plaintively "My Boat!".
A negotiation in broken Norse started between Beowyn, Gerald and the hairy humanoid. Brigid quickly took care of Alihandro, bringing him back to consciousness (I forgot about Brigid healer hand focus and only gave 1 HP to Alihandro, that should be 1d6, also a roll on the scar table is in order).
The troll accepted to row them to the next island north. They reasoned that the slavers were probably on the island lying south of the current one. The travel went smoothly. The troll only asked for a kiss from Brigid on the cheek and he left them on the northern island.
No weapons, no food, but at least they were a bit farther from their former captors.