Gin and Dragons #2
2021-04-26

Gin and Dragons #2

In the previous session (Gin and Dragons #1), the adventuring party was escaping slavers, through tunnels they arrived in the lair of a troll on an island. They tried to steal the boat of the creature, but that failed. After a small fight and some parley, the troll accepted to ferry them to the next island north.

As they reached the beach and set their feet on the ground, it became obvious that the hit inflicted by the troll to Alihandro was no small one. The Sámi had trouble walking. His new friends helped him walk away from the pebbles and stones of the beach and they noticed a young man looking at them from up the slope.

The young monk was a Pict named Malco, seventeen-eighteen like Brigid, Gerald, Alihandro and Beowyn. He spoke Pictish and some Norse, quickly the communication shifted to Pictish with Brigid. Malco was skilled in healing, he examined Alihandro and convened with Brigid that the wounded Sámi had to rest immediately, and for at least a month.

Taking turn supporting Alihandro the party walked east towards the other side of the island and the hermitage. When they arrived, Fintan, a middle-aged monk was busy decorating a stone cross lying on the ground. He dropped his chisel, welcomed the fugitives. Alihandro was immediately placed on a bunk, Beowyn volunteered to take care of him.

mini Fintan

After a prayer, the two monks and the four young people shared a meal. They all had time to exchange their personal stories. It seemed the monks had never seen any slavers around, they only had connections with the three families that they could convince to join the christian faith. Fintan seemed not to believe in faeries, he corrected the ex-slaves, judging that their pagan ways lead them to believe in gnomes and trolls. He urged them to join the christian faith and share in the redemption.

At that point, Fintan examined the old wounds of Gerald and I forgot to grant the saxon fighter 1d6 HP back.

Fintan agreed with Malco his acolyte and with Brigid, the pictish young girl, Alihandro had to rest for at least one month. Should the slavers come, the party should run for the hills and Fintan would parlay and protect Alihandro.

The party also learned that those christian families living on nearby islands were supposed to gather at the hermitage in a week time to celebrate a mass for midsummer. Malco explained that there would then be some eating and dancing around a big fire.

At some point, the conversation was interrupted by the noise of a pack of raven fighting somewhere on the next island. The birds seemed busy on the other side of the slope there. Fintan and Malco were curious, what could have happened? They explained that this island was were half of their flock of sheeps were grazing, under the watch of an old local shepherd named Olmod. The old man had adopted the christian faith after a life of theft, murder, and adventure and had become a sheep herder for Brother Fintan.

coracle pic on top of ref screen

Brigid and Gerald volunteered to accompany Malco to check what was happening. The crossing was done thanks to two coracles, one smaller and one large enough for a man and a sheep. Brigid expertly drove the skiff while Gerald watched his feet and prayed Donar not to feed him to the fishes. The distance between the two islands was a hundred meters.

On the other side were two more coracles, "Gerald, you'll be able to cross for yourself" "No thanks! Same arrangement next time!". The ravens were very noisy on the other side, Brigid and Gerald followed Malco as he switfly made his way towards the eastern side of Olmod's island.

The ravens were fighting over the remains of the old shepherd, a leg was missing and that's where the ravens were concentrating their efforts. The body was wet and cold, a hundred feet from the eastern beach.

They found an unset gemstone and a fine bracelet in a small bag at the side of the man, probably leftovers from his adventuring life. Malco made a final prayer for the old man. The party then gathered rocks and stacked them on top of the corpse.

"Father Fintan doesn't believe in faeries, he is dedicated to the christian faith and wants to lead men towards Christ. He thinks faeries are delusions, don't waste time discussing this subject with him", Malco seemed aloof in his faith, he was the one to have found the jewelry on Olmod, had Gerald not spotted him, Malco might have pocketed it all for himself.

valknut CC BY-SA Nils von Barth

The player behind Alihandro was now in charge of playing Malco, I had prepared the young monk's character sheet as I knew Alihandro would be grounded for a while.

The shepherd's dog was gone, as was the sheep themselves. They searched Olmod's stone hut and found no valuables. There was a big stone that once turned over revealed three intertwined triangles, "Maybe Olmod was hedging his bet for the afterlife" said the young monk.

The party crossed back to the hermitage to announce to Brother Fintan that the old Olmod had died. After saying a prayer for the salvation of the old Norwegian, Fintan asked Malco and his new friend to get back to the island and gather the sheeps, they probably flew to the southern part of the stretch of land. Gerald asked for some weapons, Fintan gave to Brigid a bow and ten arrows, and to Gerald a knife similar to a seax.

After walking half the length of Olmod's island, they spotted the sheep grazing. Malco was a bit puzzled "some of the sheep have a different mark", effectively, some of the sheep they came across had different ear marks.

Brigid pointed at a young boy in the distance and hailed him. After some hesitation, the boy approached. The conversation happened in Norse, the party learned that the youngster shared the island with Olmod for the last two year. Olmod didn't speak much, he probably thought it didn't deserve being mentioned to Brother Fintan. The "southern" flock belonged to people who made an arrangement with the boy's father. Those people were living in some keep further south.

I showed two 3d printed maps, one for the bigger picture and the other zoomed on the hermitage island

"Since the old viking is dead, how about I take care of his sheep for Brother Fintan?" The young boy proposed, requesting moderate wages and Malco happily agreed, warning that the agreement was temporary since it had to be confirmed by Brother Fintan.

"Did you see anything particular?" asked Gerald testing his Norse. "I saw Olmod's dog running south, he was running faster than the sheep, maybe he swam to the next island, he looked very scared...". Brigid queried further: "Any other thing out of the ordinary?" The boy thought for a while and answered "Maybe, two weeks ago, one of the goats was missing, the next morning I found its head on the eastern beach just over there, just the head, it was cold, although midsummer is close".

Malco wanted to get back to Fintan, but Gerald and Brigid thought it better to investigate further south. They followed the boy's indications and went along a goat path. They reached a place with two walls and a stone door. One could guess impressive carvings under the moss. There were narrow vertical slits facing the square in front of the door.

For our adventurers, the fanciest stone buildings they had ever seen were stacks of stone in the shape of a hut or walls supporting wooden frames. But clearly that was a door in the wall. They simply called.

three gnomes at the gate

A conversation soon started with someone behind the door. "What do you want?" It was Norse with some weird accent, but words were shared. Gerald had an idea and proposed trading Olmod's bracelet. They showed the piece of jewelry in front of the slit right to the door. The gnomes were interested, Gerald asked for a sword, they agreed. Brigid then proposed the unset gemstone, that raised interest as well. Soon the door opened and a gnome holding two beautiful swords appeared, covered by two bowmen at his side.

The swords were long swords for those people, but felt like short swords for humans. The party asked for other news, did the gnomes have seen anything particular? "We have heard rumours of a beast, it started a month ago". "Would you be interested in the carcass of such a beast? Would you have shields as well for us?"

The parley was getting easier, but the gnomes had to admit their shield were too small for humans, especially the handles. But yes, they were interested in the carcass of the beast, whatever it may be. "Show us the carcass, maybe we'll trade. Take good care of those swords, they are the fruits of our craft".

As they walked back north to the beach where the coracles waited for them, they started thinking about ways to bait and kill the beast. Brigid was able to extract a piece of information from the gnomes, she asked if the beast was scaly, hairy or bare. They responded that they thought it was more scaly probably.

Malco (blue) gets caught in a freezing spray

The party reached the conclusion that the thing was probably living in the sea and catching preys that ventured not far from the beach. This island being so thin was an ideal hunting zone for it.

They asked Brother Fintan if sacrificing a goat was acceptable to catch the beast, the monk consented. One more crossing and the trap was set up, a goat tied on the beach and Brigid, Gerald, and Malko keeping a watch behind a big rock with a fire and torches ready. They estimated that the beast was averse to fire and thus equipped themselves with torches at the ready.

Night came. Gerald was on the second watch when something in the water sprayed and froze the goat. The saxon woke up his friends. Malco and Gerald couldn't see much, Brigid spotted something, like two eyes shining in the sea. "Can you see them?" "No, can't see anything...".

Malco left the cover of the rock and went to investigate the goat. He went too close: a second spray hit him and he died instantly.

Brigid and Gerald, torches in hand, went out to check. The goat was gone and Malco was standing, frozen on his feet. They waited for the sun to come back to lay him down and cover him with stones, hoping he would find his god in the afterlife.

The session ended with Brigid and Gerald planning a bigger trap...