3 months had passed since our climatic battle with the Red Daggers thieves’ guild. The bounty on Blackgut the troll’s head was increased to 1,000 gp since during the Red Dagger battle he had destroyed the Gris-Mill and has since been raiding the town and farms in Blackwood. The town under orders from Lord Black-Eagle is building a watch-tower by the bridge to prevent the like of the past raid happening again. The Shadow Hands thieves’ guild, our sometimes allies, has since recovered and are growing in number again. The word on the street is that the remainder of the Red Daggers has joined forces with Blackgut and may be looking for revenge.
The staccato of the constant fall rains on the roof of the longhouse just helped to aggravate my hackles at the fact that not all of the Red-Daggers were dead. Tweena and Shieldmaster were away to see the Lord of Rockhollow (Black Eagle) the other two, Nema and Dolis, had left Rockhollow a few days after the raid destination unknown. I had just completed my spell research and finished recording them in my compendium. In the meantime till the others could return I scryed on Blackgut using a silver goblet I had lying around and could see in its waters carrying out the typically cruel and brutal pastimes of a troll, beating a ratling slave over a broken bottle of troll marriage salve, a partially rubbed young female hostage and working in his workshop where he pulled a lever near the door which, I assumed after hearing the triggers clack and click, armed a gauntlet of traps. Feeling a bit mischievous I cast Block of Stone above his head injuring him somewhat when it fell onto his helmeted head. He grasped a glowing necklace and my vision instantly ended. After that I began to straighten up my cellar laboratory and finding a plank of old wood walked up out of the basement.
The plank was an old mortarboard bearing an axe crossing a shield, a left over from a former tenant a fighters’ guild and was setting in on the gallery-porch when I saw that Tweena and Shieldmaster were just returning. They told me that the Lord had attached 50 gp per Red-Dagger head on top of the reward for Blackgut and they wanted to take off immediately to start hunting retracing our steps back to the troll’s lair (see A Mage from Poisonwood Pt.2). SO it was left to me to purchase supplies for winter before the town of Rockhollow shut up for winter, the freemen were already leaving in droves back to their homes. I managed to scrounge up 2 hogshead of ale, two 50lb. sacks of grain, two 50lbs. sacks of nuts, one 50lb. sack of stone fruit, 100 lbs. of firewood, 24 pieces of wood ware, 1 barrel of whiskey, one 50lb. sack of salt, 2 barrels of lamp oil, 2 carboys of Southland honey, 6 oil lamps, 100 lbs. of salted & smoked meat, a large iron pot and an iron skillet. After we planned to leave the next morning so we went to the tavern and on the way a faunic bard approached use promoting a fight between the reigning champion of Rockhollow Thistle Battlethorn and his man, Baenox Bloodaxe a half-faun Hill-lander. Shieldmaster tried to get the word on a possible match against the victor from the bard but decided to place a bet instead.
At the Lucky Traveller tavern I did some business with Keenor the fat merchant (see A Mage from Poisonwood Pt.1) contact slinging some lotus powder for 2,000 gp. Foolishly I bought rounds for the whole place afterwards dosing each drink with a dose of red lotus. The next day around high noon I found myself in a somewhat disagreeable state as I stomped along following the fresh and sober Tweena along with the equally mush-brained Vorox Shieldmaster, he was a few gems lighter after being led out the tavern the previous night by an itinerant prostitute though the lug was mounted on his dragonsuarus, Greyshadow. We left behind our longhouse under the care of my four hirelings, farmers’ sons, I was sure to pay them above the minimum wage but in flicks only, no precious metals for those mooks. The long walk was uneventful and by sundown my companions pitched camp. I left my sigil on a tree and teleported back to the longhouse to get a goodnights rest in my own bed.
At first light I teleported back to find the camp in shambles with the smoldering remains scattered abouts. I fanned the stench of burnt troll from my nose. My companions fortunately were none the worse for the wear. We continued eastwards into the woods (which were typical of that of the Westlands) dark, thick and as fall was upon us, very muddy and cold. Greyshadow stopped and twitched. A big faun stepped from the bush onto the road and into our path.
He was had a wolfskin mantle over his shoulders and wielding a wolfteeth club. His belly was painted black. We heard gibbering all around us the rapid, harsh tongue of the Otkid savages. Soon we were surrounded by 6 of the savages wielding clubs and spears draped in dirty animal skins all had their bellies painted black. The big guy charged Vorox Shieldmaster and Greyshadow. I cast Mass Paralyze and got 4 of ‘em while Vorox and the big Otkid exchanged blows badly wounding each other. Another Otkid, their shaman, stepped out from the bush and the next thing I knew was that I was a rabbit and Vorox, a rabbit in the saddle still atop his dragonsaurus warmount.
To Be Continued…