You can now add “gnoll fort” to the list of items that I never would have thought I’d lay eyes on that I have. Like most of the items on that list it was pretty unimpressive. I would suggest that the word “fort” is a bit of a misnomer – it looked more like the sordid offspring of a freaky interlude between a termite mound and the sorriest earthworks you ever saw. It’s hard to say what was even holding the thing together. Gnoll snot most likely. I’ve heard that gnolls detest manual labor and looking at their mighty fortification I believe it. I think I’ve seen sandcastles with more military value.
Speaking of, isn’t the idea behind a fort that you stay in it and use its defensive nature to your advantage? That clearly isn’t the gnoll way because as soon as we were within spitting distance the gnolls came swarming out like cross ants. As you can expect it was quite a fracas. I don’t have much good to say about “adventurers” but when it comes time for the killing there’s none better. It’s an odd phenomena – if you wanted to take on an entire gnoll tribe like this with a traditional military force you’d want somewhere around a hundred warriors with all the attendant officers and logistic people and whatnot. And that’s the minimum, you’d feel a lot better with two or three hundred.
And yet sixteen adventurers accomplished the same thing. It makes some kind of sense I suppose. Most soldiers don’t actually do that much fighting whereas these murderous vagabonds are the product of hundreds of violent confrontations with all kinds of dangerous beings. Survival of the fittest and all that. I was observing all of this safely invisible at first but one rogue gnoll was able to sniff me out and I had to use my potion of Reduction to shrink down and hide as well. As a result I was drenched with blood and gore when Barrelhouse sliced him in half through the stomach. That guy really loves axing people in the breadbasket.
There were causalities of course – adventuring band number two in particular took it on the chin, the only survivors being the weasely guy’s girlfriend and the silk-wearing demon hunter. I kind of assumed that the old dude was with them because he wanted to die “honorably” in battle but he did not want to die AT ALL, based on all the screaming he did as he lay mortally wounded with a gnoll spear through his leg. He didn’t shut up until a pack of hyenas ripped him apart. I’ve always found gnolls keeping hyenas as pets kind of peculiar. If there was some kind of animal that looked like a lesser kind of human running around I wouldn’t want to hang around with them – I would find it grotesque.
Old Gutboy Barrelhouse himself was amongst the casualties – fittingly perhaps a gnoll that was eight feet high if he was an inch disemboweled the dwarf with a greatax that was made out of a giant thigh-bone of some sort. He called out to me as I walked through the remnants of the carnage – asking me to sit with him while he died. I might have if he hadn’t called me “lassie” as he did it.
I considered slipping into the “fort” for a little pre-looting before the rest of my companions had gathered themselves to get down to the serious business of pillaging but ultimately decided against it. Who knows what kind of dangerous things could be lurking in that slimy mudhole. I let Arlonni and Molly handle that fun little chore. They found a few bits and bobs in there but of course the mountain of army-gold they’re searching for was nowhere to be seen. I was hopeful that that would be the end of this wild goose chase but sadly “Godsend” and his engineers actually were a bit more intelligent that your standard adventuring band – they had captured a gnoll.
On the face of it there wouldn’t seem to be much point in trying to interrogate a pain-worshipping cannibal beast-man that doesn’t speak the common tongue but it turns out there’s two kinds of gnolls – the standard and then a rare smaller kind that’s more intelligent. These ones are called flinds – which also happens to be the name of a fine haberdasher back in the capital – Flind’s Fine Hats, check it out if you need a nice hat, you won’t be disappointed.
Argo and Deadeye were busy thinking of ways to torture this captive to get information, and I almost let them – torture doesn’t really work but I knew that a lack of information wouldn’t stop these yahoos, that would just result in more searching across the lands of the Scar, so I intervened. The best way to get information out of someone, assuming they engage with you at all, is just to talk to them – it’s not that hard to trip most people up. And while these flinds might be the smarter kind of gnoll that’s kind of like taking first place in a smell contest – a small victory if ever there was one.
I was able to learn that the gnolls had attacked the supply train and stolen the paychest as part of some underhanded dealings with my old friends the Królewna & Bonifacja Trading Company – they gave them the gold and in return K&B is gathering a bunch of slaves for them at Sluice.
“Thanks for the information. Well my friend it’s off to the next life for you – the good news is you won’t be lonely, all your pals are already there.”
With that Argo decapitated our captive.
Dusting off my skirts I turned to my traveling companions “Sluice is north of here right? How long will it take us to get there?”
Barjin blinked in surprise “You want to go after Królewna & Bonifacja? That’s generally not a good idea. They’re firmly in the grey area between merchant company and criminal syndicate.”
“I do. I’ve got an outstanding bill with those gentlemen.”
Funds: 9,863 gold
Inventory: Ring of Many Garments, Bag of Tricks (rust), Cap of Disguise, Secure Pocket, Resplendent Diplomat’s Palette, Secure Paypack, Skeleton Key, Brooch of Shielding, Pouch of Magic Stones, Masterful Grey Gloves, Black Marketers’ Bag, Biting Bracelet (Endless Ammunition), Boots of Escape, Bracers of the Glib Entertainer, Ring of Animal Friendship, +1 Falchion, +1 Greatclub, +2 Commanding Light Crossbow, Headband of Alluring Charisma +2, 4 potions of unknown wickedness, Manual of Quickness of Action, Bracer of Fire Resistance (10), Spear of Piercing Thunder
Signet ring, noble’s outfit, candlerod (9), masterwork dagger, succubi carving, Domiel family ring, walking stick, masterwork playing cards, spinel and peridot holy symbol of Kralten, diamonds (14), silver crown, waterskins (6), trail rations (7)
Potion of Invisibility, Potion of Spider Climb, Potion of Eagle’s Splendor, Potion of Jump
Silver ring, gold bracelet, gold and pearl pendant, gold ring, platinum necklace (2), mithril hair clasps (3), 4 small diamonds
Revenge List: Duke Eaglevane,
Piltis Swine, Rince
Electrum, watchman Gridley, White-Muzzle the worg, Percy Ringle
the butler , Alice Kinsey , “ Patch”, Heroes of the Lost Sword, Claire
Conrad, Erist priest of Strider, Riselda owner of the Sage Mirror,
Eedraxis, Skin-Taker tribe,
Kartak, Królewna & Bonifacja Trading Company, Hurmont Family, Androni
Titus, Greasy dreadlocks woman, Lodestone Security, Kellgale Nickoslander,
Beltian Kruin the Splithog Pauper, The King of Spiders, Auraluna Domiel, mother
Hurk, Mazzmus Parmalee, Helgan
van Tankerstrum, Lightdancer, Bonder Greysmith, Pegwhistle Proudfoot, Lumbfoot
Rumors : Exiled noblewoman (Reoccurring), vigilante “Litheria”(Reoccurring), murderous Halfling (Reoccurring)
Graltontown Buildings – Mill
Behind the curtain – I gave Ela the experience for the interrogation same as if she had defeated the flind in combat.