Dawn in the town of Aáhké in the land of Norusk, in their bungalow Maggia had just finished restocking her Dragon-Blood Potion supply and Vorwulf was just beginning to nurse a hang-over with plans on fetching “some hair o’ the dog” with breakfast when Grom burst in wild-eyed and full of new info. He had easily bested the corrupted trapper and sang all he knew about those who had paid him with gold minted in the far north. The shaman went on to tell the slayers about the group of adventurers that had bribed the trapper since they had desired to stay out of town and keep a low profile having him among others that trapped and hunted the far eastern parts of Norusk to purchase wagon-loads of supplies for them and deliver those to a staging area near the White Heath. The assumed enemy group consisted of the “sons of the red dragon”, led by a half-dragon human with a double-ended bipennis axe and a steel helm marked by a pair of antlers, a dragon-shaman human, a red draconian with a cloak of black feathers and strangely feathers on his leathery wings and lastly another half-dragon human, a hunter and bowman whom was the spokesman to the trappers for the whole scary lot. They were all marked with a specific scarification on their chests and foreheads but the trapper couldn’t reproduce it for the shaman.
Gil (Grom’s Player): “And that’s all he would tell me. So after the gates reopened I came back here.”
Cris (Vorwulf’s Player): “Let me get this straight you spent all night OUTSIDE?”
Gil: “Oh yeah. I guess I could’ve transformed into an eagle or grew some wings and flew over the wall huh?”
Cris laughed and Jenn (Magiia’s Player) face-palmed.
Grom (Played by Gil): “Y’know he wouldn’t guide us there even after I threatened to kill him. Then he ran away WEST.”
Vorwulf (Played by Cris): “That’s because they’re scarier people than you.”
Grom settled in to catch some sleep while Maggi and Vor went to the Red-Bull tavern for breakfast and beer where the Ferenoi (an Amazon from the Icefere and Feren civilization there) put a platinum piece on the counter and wanted change since all she had was platinum. After Vorwulf helped to break up her currency so she could spend it at the bar they turned and noticed the place was rapidly filling up with two groups each of a fair number. The milder group appeared to be fighting men each with an Acton quartered with white and light blue but with the lower white quarter obviously and hastily painted with red. The central charge lying at the center of each of their chests which was a pair of crossed black maces with one being spiked. Hanging from each of their belts were maces of varying quality. Maggi asked Ole’ Twist about them and he told her they were a local “security outfit” called the Black Maces which hired themselves out to guard the merchant caravans that traveled through town and those moving north and south. He pointed out their offices just down the street though she couldn’t spot the placard bearing the very same heraldry. It was then that the other group filtered in.
These were definitely a large group of former Black Soldiery, rough looking and somewhat in a general state of agitation. A couple of them bumped into the pair of Black Maces that were pitching blades and tomahawks at the toss board, the defaced wood carving of the Achaánal clan heraldry. The captain of these ruffians rudely tossed a small sack of coin on the board and ordered drinks all around for “his men” and slopped himself down at a random long-table smelling to Maggi’s nose a bit road weary. The men at the toss board were beginning to argue loudly until the brigand captain gaveled his large wood mug which he had just pulled from his pack on the table. His men relented and sat down though still mad-dogging the mercs. The tension in the place settled and the uncomfortable silence slowly retreated as all of the men began to drink. After breakfast Maggi ordered herself a second jack of whiskey. Vor settled in at a table next the bar so he could sit with his back to the wall determined to wait for the boar hunter in order to hire him as a guide to the White Heath.
Jenn [to Cris]: “Dude, aren’t you a tracker or something?”
Cris: “A ranger and we’re not in familiar territory and it’s not small.”
That was when one of the Black Maces, a little tipsy, bumped into a brigand and the brigand roaring with drunken rage lunged up and drew his sword and swung, but missed, at the Black Mace. Almost instantly the place erupted. Strangely enough nobody paid any mind to Vorwulf but Maggi stood up and used the butt of axe to assist the locals.
Vorwulf: “Man o’ man. This is going to be good.” And so he watched.
It lasted less than a minute Maggi had battered down virtually all of the brigands including their leader without even breaking a sweat. Only two from each side were actually severely wounded and were quickly dragged away by their compatriots.
Gil [to Cris]: “Wait. You were just sitting there? Drinking while they fought all around you?”
Cris [a toothy self-satisfied smile on his hairy face]: “Yup.”
Having gotten into the good graces of the Black Maces and receiving and turning down an invite to join the company consisting of the ever-inticing “we could make a lot of money together” eliciting a derisive laugh from Vorwulf, Maggi went to the market later followed by Vor to gather up various sundries the most noteworthy being a 1 gallon clay jar and some black paint. Maggi and Vor went back to the room where Vorwulf painted 6 wooden shields with the black icon of the Blackwings guild (with a Natural 20 untrained art-check btw) later he went back to his spot to wait “all day” if necessary. That night Grom stood watch at the tavern as the other two slept talking with trapper after trapper all night long finding the same answer from each when he inquired as to their services as guides and probably giving them too much information. “The White Heath is cursed and what fool would go’o dere when a dragon’s tak’n oop dere.”
It wasn’t until the next morning that the titular boar hunter had appeared, a Hill-giant dressed in a patchwork of bristly boars’ hides and a sledge full of dressed quarry. Vorwulf introduced himself in a long-winded manner titles and all then the group and the giant sat next to the tavern drinking and eating from the barrel of pickled eel Maggi had bought from a gaggle of fishermen from the shores of the freshwater Norusk sea to the northwest. They talked awhile and when the giant, named Jez, found out where they were going…
Jez the giant: “What? You want to find dragon? There!? You fools or somethin’?”
Vorwulf: “Hell Yeah! We’re dragonslayers! It’s What We Do!”
So Jez the boar hunter agreed (after the shaman paid him a large Lapis Lazuli and charmed him then Vor paid him a silver talon “for expenses”). They would meet up at high noon at the south gate; the boar hunter had some trading to do. They shortly met back up at the prescribed time and place and departed with the giant in the lead.
It was a day or so later while traveling straight east they had stumbled upon an old campsite which they assumed to be that of the Wasp and his companion The Outrider which was 5 days old according to Vorwulf’s tracking instinct just before they stopped for the night. They were in what appeared to be a wide open glade but in reality it was an area of rolling hills which rose somewhat and flattened gradually to the south, a deep hidden ridge lay to the immediate north. They set up camp in a flat area which the giant called the East Meadow. It was on first that Maggi spotted the night trolls moving rapidly towards their camp with something much larger following them and in the distance what appeared to be a large pack of hounds. It was the howls of the trolls when they realized that they had been spotted that alerted the party. The slayers sprang up and armed themselves though with not enough time to don their armor before the monsters were upon them.
To Be Continued…