A few hours before dawn the spotted lions went silent. Everyone was near a state of panic, assuming that an attack was imminent. But none came. When the sunrise came the lions were nowhere to be seen. Everyone looked dog-tired and worn down to the bone. Missing a night of sleep isn’t the best, but more than anything it was the constant fear that had drained people of their energy. A continuous state of near panic can take your wind away more than anything. And once again even though I was as tired and frightened as everyone else it was up to me to get their spirits up and keep them moving. Just once I’d like to have someone else to lean on for strength while I took a moment for myself. I guess that’s the burden of being the strongest – there’s no one to shoulder the burden for you.
Eventually we saw a couple lions in the distance eyeballing us but they seemed to have abandoned stalking us. Still no one relaxed, jumping at every noise and expecting a lion to leap out at us at any moment. As exhausted as everyone was we pushed on without stopping and late in the day we spied the ruins of Gribyr. The Królewna & Bonifacja camp there was little more than a dozen wagons and half again as many temporary shelters but that was still far more than I had been expecting. I had Elgin and Davarro brought before me.
“This seems like a bit much just to provide stale bread and cheap wine to slaves – what’s the story?”
Turns out that Raster and Camin, known to some as “the Twins”, the cities to the east on the Compass river have gone over to Vieland, and Królewna & Bonifacja set up this waystation to funnel supplies to the Vieland military, the deal with the gnolls was just someone’s side action. It’s the time honored tradition of merchants playing both sides. Also known as treason. I’ve got K&B dead to rights if I can figure out a way to navigate this situation. Wiremu seemed to be legitimately just as shocked by this turn of events as anyone, I suppose as a lowly solider you don’t get clued in to these kind of things.
I questioned Haya, Elgin, and Davarro intensely but none of them seemed to know who was behind the stolen payroll.
“So when the gnolls came to collect the slaves what was supposed to happen next?”
Haya said that he had already been paid for the job and he had been hired by Kohm. Elgin and Davarro said that they got their orders from the quartermaster in camp, named Jalten, but they had no reason to believe that he was behind the scam – he was just the one that was in charge of the supplies. What a mess. Without a lot of options I decided to do something I rarely do – tell the truth. I turned over a dozen scenarios in my mind but this seemed to be the best move. As long as the person in charge of the camp isn’t the one selling Vieland soldiers into slavery we have a chance.
I went with Wiremu and the Vieland soldiers into the ruins of Gribyr while the rest of the group stayed at a distance. Our arrival caused quite a commotion, said commotion included a startling number of armed men from the camp. This wasn’t a situation for fighting anyway, but it’s never good when you see how heavily out-armed you are. Wiremu and I were taken to a wigwam of sorts where the commander of this outpost was seated cross-legged reading a book – he had spectacles and everything. He had a small, tidy beard, very closed cropped hair and wore and odd blue greatcoat. He was very amiable and told us to call him “Ollie”.
He listened very closely as Wiremu told him his tale about being taken prisoner by mercenaries after a battle and ending up in a slave pen. I realized that our new friend Ollie wasn’t asking any questions and I tried to take control of the conversation and steer it in a new direction but Wiremu didn’t pick up on it. He earnestly told Ollie that someone in his camp was acting against Vieland and they needed to be smoked out before they damaged Królewna & Bonifacja’s arrangement with the Vieland military. I was finally able to jump in.
“Actually we don’t really know what happened. No one knows for sure that Królewna & Bonifacja are involved, that’s just a theory that people gravitated to. Could be anyone for all we know.”
Wiremu frowned “What are you talking about, you . . .”
“Don’t listen to my friend here, he’s been through a lot lately, he’s not thinking straight. Honestly what probably happened here is some local lord made a deal with the gnolls, it was Vieland soldiers that were captured and a Vieland paywagon that was stolen – it makes sense that it would be someone worried about the Vieland army right?”
Wiremu grew more confused “But you said . . .”
“I said a lot of things, we all did, it’s just talk. Once you’ve rested up and had a good meal I’m sure this will all make more sense.”
Ollie smile faintly “Nice try.”
I smiled back at him “Look we’re willing to play ball here, there’s no reason we can’t all come out of this just fine right?”
That’s when the merchant guards came in with weapons drawn to take us away. Honesty is the best policy my ass.
Ollie shrugged apologetically “Sorry, I feel like we could have been great friends.”
I put my hand on his knee “There’s no reason we still can’t is there?”
At his gesture one of the guards pulled me to my feet and dragged me away. Wiremu looked at me, still perplexed, as we were dragged outside where his men were all on their knees with their hands behind their heads under the watchful eye of the K&B men at arms.
“What’s going on?”
I sighed “You’re not very smart are you Wiremu?”
Funds: 10,258 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, +2 Commanding Light Crossbow, Headband of Alluring Charisma +2, Manual of Quickness of Action, Bracer of Fire Resistance (10), Spear of Piercing Thunder, Handy Haversack, Amulet of Natural Armor +1, Cloak of Resistance +2 (2), Headband of vast intelligence +2 (2), Ring of Feather Falling
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), antitoxin (9), formula book, smelling salts (3), sunrods (3), thieves’ tools, tindertwigs (6), various and sundry inebriants and intoxicants
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