Tellurian Tales (vol 1a): Into the Cold

13 Oct

The party leaves at dawn with the merchant caravan. In the late morning, a small band of orcs is spotted in the distance, but it does not approach closer. In the early afternoon, the caravan passes the evidence of a battle between Blue-Eye and Greenback orcs. The bodies lies scattered on the plain, still being pecked by crows. They reach Newcastle shortly after dark.

14 Oct

The adventurers press on alone to El Dorado, through cold, heavy rain.

15 Oct

Learn more about the Alvorin.

Bearing a letter of introduction from the ambassador in Gitteras, the party seeks audience with Lord Khulvan. Impressed by their resume of saving Durik's Pass first from plague and then from orcs, Khulvan explains that the Alvorin hobgoblins on his northwest border have recently broken off all trade and forbidden any citizens of Dhunraven to enter their lands. The Alvorin claim they were attacked by the Dhunraven militia, which makes no sense. Without the trade or hunting access to the foothills, Dhunraven will suffer. If relations sour any further, fighting could break out, precisely when Dhunraven already has its hands full repulsing orc raids in the east. Lord Khulvan sent his nephew Allayn with a trade caravan in the hopes of settling the dispute. After leaving the fortified hamlet outpost of Cador two weeks ago, Allayn and his party has not been heard from again. Khulvan explains he'd like to send someone not (officially) associated with Dhunraven.

After a bit of negotiation, our heroes leave with a letter of introduction to Aelric, warden of Cador. Khulvan promises them 2000gp for the return of Allayn, or definitive proof of his end. He also arranges them passage on a patrol boat up the river to Cador.

16 Oct

The party sets sail up the Tarn River late in the morning aboard the Rhiannon, under the protection of Captain Hammish.

17 Oct

Near dusk on the second day, the river reaches a shoals recently augmented to form a sort of blockade. The air is suddenly filled with arrows from both banks, and Captain Hammish falls to the deck. Then grappling hooks follow, thumping down along the port side. Painted, Irontooth orcs can be seen among the trees, hauling on the ropes.

Sarah heals the dying captain, who then begins to organize his crew into some basic assistance. Invellios, shining once more, thins the ranks on both shores. As the boat is hauled closer to the shore, Luceo Color Sprays a few of the orcs, and then a pissed-off Rorik leaps shore with his waraxe, itching for some close combat. Luceo follows him.

Hammish's crew then pushes off again to try to clean off the other bank. Before they get there, however, the few remaining orcs start fleeing back into the trees. Invellios makes a near-impossible shot--across half the river and through about 20 feet of concealing woods, to fell the orc leader as he runs. More local fame for the party, especially from the men on the boat, who hadn't lost a hand!

When the boat returns to pick up Luceo and Rorik, Sarah realizes that Luceo has slit the throats of two unconscious orcs. Luceo worships Wee Jas, the exacting goddess of Death and Vengeance. He holds that, should a being attack you, it has proved itself to always be a potential danger. Sarah, a paragon of innocent Good and a strong believer in mercy and forgiveness, is appalled at this. She begs Luceo to show mercy to helpless foes in the future.

As some of the crew is injured and the shoals blockaded, our heroes continue alone on foot. The night is very cold. Luceo gets so cold as to be unwakeable for his watch. The party lingers in camp through most of the morning in order to recover.

18 Oct

Another day is spent hiking through pine trees and rugged hills, lightly frosted with snow. At one point, the adventurers spot a lone orc, but not a normal Ulann orc. This one is larger, and somehow more regal. He nods and raises an arm in greeting before slipping off the road into the trees. The party decides not to follow.

19 Oct

The party reaches Cador. They meet with Aelric, the local warden. He is earnest and keen to help, but has little further news to offer. Allayn hired a guide from Corwellyn, the local wealthy merchant with a lot of weight in town. The party buys a some cold-weather gear--tents, winter blankets, thick sweaters, etc--and a couple of the local variety of sturdy, shaggy ponies to carry it all. The ponies are named Hansel and Gretel. The night is spent in the Cat's Eye inn, the more comfortable of the two inns in town.

Most of this cycle's events, characters, and region comes from Keith Francis Strohm's The Dead Of Winter: Survival Of The Fittest adventure scenario.

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