Hammer and Anvil

Journal of Bryce Weyland 606AR part 4

Malleus 2nd Cinten 606AR
First day done, so far so good. We made good time and everyone is in good spirits. Most of my day was spent scouting ahead of the caravan with Mortlock and Gunnar. Tobias fell in with the ‘Fellig Irregulars’ a group of old ex-soldiers led by Captain Jarrett a retired trencher (I didn’t believe any managed to live long enough to retire until I met him) and Stern helped the Priestess of Morrow with the rabble of orphans that scurried underfoot.

Malleus 3rd Cinten 606AR
Things are never easy. We came across a stranger today bursting out of the undergrowth ahead of us before collapsing.Expecting treachery I was preparing to dispose of our new friend before Morty recognized is uniform as a member of the Black Thirteenth the most famous cadre of gunmages in the kingdom (and one Morty used to aspire to be a member of). Regaining consciousness he introduced himself as Nevyn. Apparently he had been stationed to the north when his unit was ambushed and taken prisoner by ‘underground dwelling spider-people’ before managing to escape where he has been fleeing south without stopping until he ran into us. As outrageous a claim as it sounds, he certainly shows the signs of deprivation that match with is story and I heard weirder tales of what roams in the depths of the Thornwood. It has also been brought to our attention that the food in one of the wagons has began to spoil quicker than expected. Thankfully we still have more than enough food to last the trip so no half rations just yet.

Malleus 4th Cinten 606AR
Nevyn’s arrival has taken some of the shine of the journey. The poor fellow is suffering from a brutal combination of exhaustion from his travels and shrieking night terrors from his experiences. It wasn’t too bad during the day, but last night he managed to wake up a sizable portion of the camp with his screams. More food has spoiled as well. Tobias has taken the precaution of switching which wagon holds the food to see if he can find the cause.

Malleus 5th Cinten 606AR
Another day another night’s sleep interrupted by Nevyn. The refugees are not amused. Luckily Nevyn has Morty looking out for him and so far their respect/fear of Mortlock the Mad. (I may or may not have spent some of the evenings spreading around the wildest rumors I could think of to see what stuck. My personal favorite is the time Morty got swallowed whole by a Dire Troll and had to chew his way out because his pistols had jammed) has kept them from making no more trouble that some glances and sullen muttering.

Malleus 6th Cinten 606AR
Getting bored of the road now. Walking all day everyday isn’t as fun as it sounds (and it doesn’t even sound fun). Food is still mysteriously spoiling, we may have to start tightening our belts at this rate! At least we as a group have eaten enough to empty the wagon, Stump even offered it up for the orphans to ride along in (he claims it’s because if he has to give one more piggyback ride he will be forced to test the sharpness of Matilda on and I quote ‘a wee kiddywinks headbone or two’, but we all know that he’s a big softy at heart.), but so far only the bravest has dared ride along on the Cursed Wagon (capitals intentional). Nevyn’s night terrors have lessened a bit now that he has had a chance to rest up, but still wakes up screaming as is he is being chased by a dragon a couple of times a night. I’ve suggested to Morty and Tobias to see if he is feeling up for helping out in the night watch rotation. At the very least he won’t be asleep as much to wake up from.

Malleus 7th Cinten 606AR
Tempers are beginning to fray now. Stern has had to break up a couple of scuffles between the refugees. He uses the curious method of stepping in and letting the aggressor break their fist on his breastplate (and in one case involving a particularly tall individual, on his forehead) and then unleashing a barrage of expletives more commonly heard streaming out the mouth of a Cygnaran Trencher Drill Sergeant, not a priest. But who am I to argue with it’s effectiveness. Other than that, today was pretty uneventful. Looking forward to getting out of the forest.

Donard 1st Cinten 606AR
It appears that we are cursed after all! The source of the corruption of our food has been discovered! It appears that at some point, the shards of Cryxian metal taken by my comrades in a minor scuffle I wasn’t part of has wrapped up in some old clothing and stuffed into one of the holdalls. The last time I had seen it was back in Fellig where I was running some alchemical test on it to try and determine its composition. I didn’t get very far, but what I had found was certainly enough to convince me that it really shouldn’t be kept near perishables. I can see three options how it came to be hidden. Firstly, it was simply an accident, Captain Nash or the unlucky soldier sent to collect our belongings simply saw it on the side, and stuffed it in nearby back. Secondly, it was maliciously placed there by Cryxian agents in an attempt to sabotage the expedition (it is theoretically possible that with some tinkering it would be possible to track the aura of corruption that has plagued us on this trip). Thirdly and least likely, the metal has become attached to us like the black penny of fae-story and simply appeared in the luggage one day despite being left behind. We disposed of it behind the abandoned waystation we stayed at (civilisation finally!), burying it in a hole, dousing it in a concoction of cleansing reagents I cooked up and wrapped up in a linen cloth inscribed with holy runes and blessed by Stern. We shall see how that goes.

Donard 2nd Cinten 606AR
Well it seems that the evil metal not only rotted food, it also kept away bears, who knew. Fortunately a few well timed runeshots empowered with thunder was enough to scare off the curious beast before anyone came to harm.The children are now happily riding on the empty wagon (only after a pantomine ‘exorcism’ performed by the Stump). The end of the journey is in sight, we should reach Fisherbook by sundown tomorrow.

Journal of Bryce Weyland 606AR part 3

Vendarl 6th Cinten 606AR
Most of today was spent dealing with the corpses littered about the Manor. The Khadorans were stripped (you never know when sixty Khadoran Winter Guard uniforms could come in useful), piled up and cremated. No use tempting the fates, it was enough trouble to put them down the first time. The Rangers have been set aside, ready to be returned to Felig and a military burial. Gunnar has left to report our victory and bring back a garrison to ensure Weyland Manor remains in the right hands.

Vendarl 7th Cinten 606AR
Events have taken an interesting twist. What should have been a restful night was rudely interrupted by the appearance of a veritable horde of giant two-headed wolves who surrounded the Manor until their master arrived in a swirl of arcane energies. It seems that the druids have taken an interest in me. Inviting our ‘guest’ in (she appeared out of nowhere, I was willing to bet that our wall, impressive they may be wouldn’t have kept her out so civility seemed the way to go) we broke bread and introductions were made. We had the pleasure of making acquaintance of Morvahna the Autumnblade, a seemly high ranked druid of the Circle Orboros who make the depths of the Thornwood their home. Pleasantries out of the way, Morvahna revealed that the Circle has had a long standing agreement with the Weyland family and it is tradition to renew the partnership when a new Baron comes into power (lucky me). It doesn’t seem to be compulsory to take the Circle up on their offer, my father seems to have refused and suffer no retribution directly from the Circle. The terms are simple, in return for the Circle’s aid in protecting the Weyland Estate they will ask for aid in various tasks. Tasks which as a founding member of a mercenary company I am entirely suited to handle. So I accepted the offer. For better or for worse we shall have to see how it plays out. The Autumnblade left shortly after along with her pack of monsters and told us to expect an envoy to act as a middleman between the Circle and us.

Malleus 1st Cinten 606AR
Another eventful day, Gunnar returned with word of reinforcements to garrison the Manor and a potential job to escort a group of refugees through the Thornwood to the safety of the town of Fisherbrook. Shortly after our liaison from the Circle arrived, on foot. She introduced herself as Aoryn, and at first impressions seems very pleasant and capable. In fact I think our dear Mortlock is a tad smitten with the young druidess, teasing her about her ability to control small birds, much in the way a small boy will pull the hair of his schoolgirl crush. Planning distribution of forces took up most of the morning, but in the end it was decided that we would allow a small delegation of human members of the Circle to hold the Manor under the guise of a company of Hammer and Anvil troops, while the more beastly elements of Aoryn’s force would roam the nearby forest. Shortly after details were finalized the garrison from Felig arrived I met with their leader a Captain Nash, a no-nonsense sort of fellow and briefed him about the situation. Along with the soldier there also came the baggage train of refugees escorted by Bronah and company and a small group of Laeleese nobles who were tagging along to Fisherbrook, but made it very clear that they were an entirely separate (and oh so much more important) entity. Plans for the journey were left in the capable hands of Tobias, seeing his eyes light up a the chance to boss so many people about was adorable. The wonderful Captain Nash also revealed that he has taken the liberty of collecting the belongings that we had left in Felig and packed them away in one of the supply wagons. I must admit, I was getting a little worried about leaving my alchemy kit alone for so long. Not only were my teeth starting to itch from not being able to continue with my experiments, but some of the compounds and admixtures I’ve been working with are very volatile and the sustained vibrations from the constant shelling may have an adverse reaction if left unattended too long. We leave first thing in the morning, at a walking pace it should take us nine days to reach our destination so I’m eager to get going.

Journal of Bryce Weyland 606AR part 2

Vendarl 5th Cinten 606AR
Victory is ours! Although not without some losses. The initial infiltration went according to plan and the stealthier members of the expedition (The rangers, Morty and I) we able to enter undetected and swiftly despatch the off-duty soldiers before they could raise the alarm while Stump and Tobias waited down below until they heard the signal. Some might say that slitting a man’s throat while he sleeps is dishonorable, but they are idiots and have never been outnumbered five to one with no hope of back up. I prefer to think of it as retroactively even the odds. Morty proved to be particularly capable in this endeavour, his ability to eldritchly silence not only his shots but also the effects said shots caused upon our foes. It is an eerie thing to see a man take a bullet, crash to the ground and bleed out in complete quietude, only the look in his eyes able to convey the agony that has overcome him.
The alarm was finally raised by the commander of the Khadoran forces who had taken the liberty of squatting in my parents’ old room. After being alerted by our attempts to unlock the door to the room, the coward hid in the privy while we disposed of the chambers other occupant and manage to fire a warning shot out of the window before we could finish him off.
After that things got a little harder…
Roused into action the remaining Khadorans (a depressingly large number still) soon pinpointed our location and we were soon met by a squad of the hulking bastards who I can only assume has been manning the artillery in the closest tower. The time for subtlety has passed and our first engagement soon descended into a brutal melee, the kind they don’t mention on the Cygnaran recruitment posters. Our foes were soon prostrate, staining the floor of my childhood home with copious quantities of their lifeblood, but that was just the beginning. Tobias and Morty took to higher ground to the engage the riflemen who had pinned us down. Although I was unable to witness this battle firsthand (being otherwise occupied by not dying) it seemed like that several Khadorans won a game of ‘Death by bullet’ despite the distance and cover protecting them. Taking advantage of the momentary respite from the hail of bullets the stump and I pressed forward, sprinting along the battlements like madmen before taking cover in a stairwell under the cover of a smoke bomb that I had concocted. We we soon joined by some of the rangers. Stump proceeded to storm the entrance to the next tower, trusting in the baby Warjack chassis that he calls armor and his faith in Morrow to weather the inevitable storm of munitions that awaited him. Meanwhile I, suddenly mindful that I had been rather lax in attending church recently decided that discretion was the better part of valor and broke off from the main attack group. Taking advantage a lifetime of memories growing up in this place and my trusty grappling hook I was able to swiftly make it to the base of the tower. Bursting in at the ground floor moments after Stump breached the floor above we were able to clear the room before the Khadorans could even swing the Field gun around. We regrouped with Morty and Tobias on the first floor taking a moment to catch our breath. It was then that the Widowmakers made their presence know. Say what you will about Khadoran literacy or hygiene, those fuckers know how to shoot and certainly live up to their name. Pinned down and with the remaining towers starting to shell our position we had no choice but to dig deep, say a prayer and attempt to kill every last fucker out there. Looking a little worse-for-wear Morty and Tobias took to the roof, where they quickly repositioned the mortar up and began to return fire, Morty seemingly able to enchant the shells with same arcane magics usually reserved for his pistols to devastating effect. Stump, amazingly still unharmed repeated his previous tactic on being a one man seige engine, charging the next tower, the sheer force of his faith knocking it’s garrison away from the ramparts giving him time to hack his way through the door with Matilda. Charging through the breach after him, we were greeted with a hellish swirling melee across multiple levels. Fighting my to the roof through a combination of skill, luck and judicious usage of alchemical acids I was able to engage the Widowmaker in a hand to hand combat, sadly (for him) his bladework was lacking compared to his marksmanship and soon there was another body rapidly cooling on the roof in the cool night air. However there was no time to savour the moment, with the loud krump of dueling mortars filling the air I descended back into the tower. Bodies were strewn everywhere, the Stump (impossibly still unbloodied) stood panting with exhaustion, the mystical runes of protection surrounding him flickering in and out of perception. Rotho the last of the rangers that I could see fell under the axe of a Winter Guard, but not before making an opening in his killers defence that I was able to take advantage of.
The next wave of Khadorans soon arrived, but the fight was beginning to leave them, one even surrendered rather than face our wrath. The rest of the night is a blur as fatigue began to win over the icy stab of adrenaline, but we persevered, digging deep into reserves of determination that we didn’t know we had, and as the first rays of morning light began to creep over the walls of Weyland Manor the final Khadoran surrendered. The final butchers bill remains to be tallied, but we paid a heavy price, the Ranger died to a man, Tobias, Gunnar and Morty all seemed more dead than alive, only Stump and I seemed to escape relatively unscathed. The others have retired for the morning (after a hurried triage) and I sit here on the roof of the main tower, keeping watch for any remaining Kossite woodsmen, enjoying the warmth of the early morning sun on my face.
I am finally home.

Homecoming: aftermath
4 Cinten, 606 AR

After one last charge against the North tower, The Stump matched against a Khadoran field gun unit, the guns fall silent. The keep is eerily calm. You realise that the day has only just begun; you started your assault at night, the sun rising as you fought along the battlements. You are all very, very tired.

Gunner reappears once it is clear that the fighting is over and the Khadorans have been beaten, announcing himself loudly from the Great Tower for fear of being shot. He looks much the worse for wear – as do you all – and is alone. He explains that, once the battle began, he and his companion began moving around the keep, taking pot shots at the fighters on the wall, more to give the impression that there were other forces around the keep than with any realistic hope of affecting the battle. They killed only six Khadorans on the walls, but did succeed in keeping the field gunners in position.

There were, however, Kossites in the woods around the keep; Gunner killed three of them, including the one that killed his companion. Gunner looks saddened when you tell him that none of the rangers survived, but reflects that they’d surely be happy that, against all odds, the keep has been secured.

Although you’re tired Gunner suggests that he and Bryce do a quick, but stealthy, sweep of the keep to ensure that there are no survivors (other than your captives). It’s a strange sensation for Bryce, seeing his old home again after so long, with so much changed. Most of the keep has been left to ruin; the towers themselves, made of stone, look little different from his memories of them, but in the central buildings the roofs are falling in and the walls are sagging, their wooden supports damaged by fire. Inside the baileys, the once carefully tended gardens have gone to seed and the buildings are covered by creeping plants.

It seems that the Khadorans had principally been using the Great and Wizards Towers as accommodation, with gun and mortar emplacements in the North, West and Red Towers and the Gatehouse. Both the Bailey Gate and the door between the banquet hall and the kitchen have been bricked up, suggesting that the Khadorans would, if besieged, have retreated to the east side of the fortifications.

A quick post-fight inventory (because I know you’ll be interested): 3 mortars; 4 field guns; 4 swords; 24 long rifles; 42 blunderbusses; 62 axes; 66 sets of light armour; 243 Khadoran koltinas (gold coins). And of course 70 bodies…

There is significant structural damage to the upper floor of the gatehouse, and to a lesser extent to the Great Tower. However, the keep looks to be relatively secure against ground assault.

Journal of Bryce Weyland 606AR
Gormin 6th Tempen, 606 AR

I learned several things last night. First of all despite my best efforts there are still poisons out there that can overcome my considerable resistance, secondly it’s not the best idea to run off into the woods after an unknown number of assailants immediately after discovering the first fact. I’d blame the intellect draining attributes of the poison, but I’m supposed to be better than that. It turned out ok in the end, our enemy was quickly dispatched although Bronah almost died as in the middle of a duel with Kaelynn the young woman we had picked up earlier in the day(who appears to have been in cahoots with the bandits all along) Morty decided it was a good idea to show off his marksmanship skills and shoot the blade out of her hand! I don’t know where he got the idea from, but I’m going to have to sit him down and have a word with him.
The rest of the journey to Fellig went by without incident, although the last few leagues brought out a curious feeling of homesickness, obviously a side effect of the previous night’s poisoning… Fellig has changed since the last time I laid eyes on it, the defenses are more imposing and there is a grimness to it’s people that wasn’t there before despite it’s checkered history. I bumped into my old friend Weasel (of Mrs Wickham’s sticky chickens fame) upon entering the city, now holding a position of rank in the Cygnaran military! Proof more than anything of how serious the situation has become here. He mentioned that there might be some work available, I’ll check up with him tomorrow. The rest of the day was spent with the group blowing off steam, now that they no longer under the threat of being ambushed at any moment while escorting essentially a giant bomb.
The new recruit Tobias (I shall look forward to getting to know him better in the coming weeks) parted company for a while with the intention of increasing his already impressive arsenal using his contacts in the military and from what I gather ruining some poor saps career/life. From the grin on his face I can only assume it went well.
Meanwhile using my local knowledge I was tasked with keeping Morty entertained/out of trouble and finding ol’ Stump a hand cannon, luckily the Meat Locker was up the job. Amazingly Morty not only didn’t start any fights, he also managed to end the night with more money than he started with!
We are now back in the inn, I’m bunking with Morty as I can’t stand the thought of another night of Stumps snoring. We will collect our payment for the successful delivery of our shipment and hopefully pick up another job. I’ve got a good feeling about tomorrow.

Gormin 7th Tempen 606AR
I was wrong. Today was not a good day. It appears that our apparent wealth and good fortune caught the eye of some of the many disreputable elements that frequents the Meat Locker and from what I can only assume was a group consensus that we would be better off sharing it with those less fortunate than us, at knife point. Now I don’t know if Stump is a bad influence on Tobias or vice versa, all I know is that our would be burglars had the distinct misfortune of entering their room first. It appears that our comrades-in-arms subscribe to the philosophy of ‘Shoot first, ask questions later’ or more accurately ‘Give warning first, wait until the intruder has stopped, possibly rethinking the entire endeavour, then shooting to kill, deal with the moral and legal ramifications later’, but the former rolls off the tongue better. So now half the party is languishing behind bars until a hearing date is set. Sometimes I wonder I would be better off going it alone. A man with my skills would be in high demand with the way the world is at the moment. I must say, I was impressed with Mort’s self control, if I didn’t know any better I would say I was rubbing off on him.

Vendarl 1st Cinten 606AR
We may be in Fellig for longer than was planned. The Khadorans have began their siege, the shelling started in the early hours of the morning and continued throughout the day. The hearing to free our incarcerated fellows has been pushed back indefinitely and any attempts to get them released to help out with the war effort have fallen on deaf ears. Determined not to let the day go to waste, I have began conducting some research in an attempt to create the poison that Kaelynn afflicted us with, partly to create an antidote in-case we run across it again, but also to make us of ourselves. So far I am coming up blank, but I have some interesting theories. I just need to get hold of some Crag Troll cerebral fluid, which may have to wait until the Khadoran’s have been sent scurrying back to their mummyland.

Vendarl 2nd Cinten 606AR
It seem’s our fortunes may be changing, whether to better or worse that remains to be seen. We met with Weasel in the morning, who passed on word that the Duke requested our presence. We made our way to see the Duke accompanied by the fanfare of exploding artillery shells. Once there we were swiftly escorted to the Duke who appeared to have use of our skills. Khadoran soldiers taking advantage of the artillery barrage have penetrated the Cygnaran battle line and are harassing the fleeing Fellig civilians. They appear to have made an abandoned manor in the Thornwood their bases of operations, and we have been tasked with their removal. Sounds simple enough, however that abandoned manor is home, my home. I have done my best to put my past behind me, worse things have happened to better people after all. But it appears I haven’t buried it deep enough and now to find out that some fucking Khadoran’s have holed up in my family’s ancestral home like a nest of rats is almost more than I can bear. Three things helped me make it through that meeting without my facade of calm collectiveness cracking was firstly the thought that soon enough I would be able to take out my frustrations on the perpetrators of such a crime, secondly the payment for the completion of the mission would be the return of my family’s holding’s to my name and finally the look on Morty’s face when he found out that I am technically nobility. We have been forwarded command of a squad of Cygnaran rangers, who will no doubt come in handy when storming a fortified manor filled with who knows how many enemy soldiers. We also secured the release of Tobias and Stump, albeit at the loss of the payment of our last contract. This will not go unaddressed, but for now there are more important things to attend. The rest of the day was spent in preparation, rifles and crossbows getting unassembled, cleaned and reassembled, blades getting sharpened, Mortlock and I requisitioned some ranger armor, the extra stealth it provides seen as a worth trade off for the diminished protectiveness. Tobias, seeming unfazed by his recent accommodations, went to work on his ‘Master Plan’, impressing me with it’s thoroughness. I also brewed a batch of Night’s Black to further increase our ability to go unnoticed until we ‘go loud’ as Tobias so quaintly puts it.

Vendarl 3rd Cinten 606AR
Today was mostly travel. The Weyland estates aren’t too far from Fellig but the effort to evade any detection from the woodsman or (even worse) Widowmakers who may be patrolling the Thornwoods surrounding the Manor meant it took up most of the day. We successfully avoided making our presence known and we are now camped out in the old escape tunnel that I last used to flee this place a lifetime ago. Although a part of me must have always been planning to return at some point, why else would I have kept the key all these years…

Vendarl 4th Cinten 606AR
Sleep came reluctantly last night and the bit I managed to catch was plagued with nightmares replaying over and over again that terrible night I lost my family and started down the path to become the man I am today. How can a place change so much and yet remain exactly the same? Everywhere I look I see something that triggers a memory, perfectly preserved like a fly in amber. We have been laying low, keeping watch on the guards patrolling along the tops of the wall trying to discern when they will be most vulnerable to attack. The opposition is formidable, they seem to have a least five mortars setup along with an equal number of field guns to make any frontal assault suicidal. We are outnumbered, at least five to one, but not a man among us has offered a word of complaint. I could not be more proud. We plan to attack in the early hours of the morning when the Khadoran scum will be at the most off guard with Mortlock and I taking the lead we plan to enter through the entrance to the escape tunnel and quickly and quietly take out as many of the bastards we can before they are aware of us, then the real work will begin.. My anger has cooled, become forged into a blade of hatred soon to be quenched in the blood of my foes.
[[:tobias-flint | Mortlock Graves]]

From the Journal of Cpt. Tobias Flint - Fellig at Last
Part #4 - The City of Fellig - 606 AR

We arrived at Fellig and reported to the garrison to drop off the wagon. Bronah was offered medical assistance by the contact we met, who turned out to be an old acquaintance of Bryce’s, who was now working for the military. The guy was nicknamed ‘Weasel’ and had the look of a street roamer about him. I’m not sure I trust him and we’ll have to watch our backs for any double crossing.

I had set my mind on getting a nice carbine, a while back and put a plan in motion back in Armandor to get hold of one. There should be plenty of officers here in Fellig now with some tasty kit that if it went missing they wouldn’t even know or care. With this in mind I spent the afternoon looking for a friendly face in the quartermaster’s area.

As it happened someone recognised me and we spent the evening catching up over the nice whiskey I bought for this very purpose in Armandor. His name was Jones. He was an old hand and was borderline retirement now, but they just couldn’t let someone with his amount of experience go, and to be honest he didn’t want to leave. He’d been in the army for so long he’d be lost without it. So Jones and I were reminiscing and the catch up was in full flow by the end of the first bottle. After a break for a piss and a bite to eat, I opened the second bottle and beckoned him to sit a little closer as I unveiled my plan. Jones knew what the score was and it wasn’t the first time he’d done something like this. I knew I could trust him as close to half a year’s salary in gold had a profound effect on someone of his moral fibre. Also there was always someone about who was dead wood to take the fall. Either too stupid or too incompetent to even be in the army yet here they were, every regiment had them. Getting them booted out of the army would be doing both parties a favour, as gods forbid that you would have to put your life in their hands in a battle.

The deal was struck and in the morning I would be the owner of a shiny new Radcliffe Heavy Carbine. Widely regarded as one of the finest weapons ever to come out of the Radcliffe Gunwerks, the workmanship on these pieces was exquisite and the action was as smooth as a wench’s bosom. It would give me the advantage at range that I had been missing so far.

After finishing the second bottle, considerably quicker than the first I might add, I tottered of back to the tavern to turn in for the night. An evening well spent, as I also pumped Jones for all the local scuttlebutt and told him to spread the word that we were in town and looking for work.

I felt bad for the guy. He was just trying to scrape by and things can’t have been easy around Fellig recently. But him and his mates definitely picked the wrong bear to poke that night, and only one of them would live to regret it. Still that night’s events might have been enough to scare him onto a more honest path. We had been jumped almost every night since leaving Five Fingers so you can hardly blame me. The stump must have been sleeping with one eye open to notice the buggers as they tried to sneak into our room in the middle of the night unnoticed. Stump even gave them a verbal warning, whereas my automatic reaction was to point ‘Thunder’ at the first chap and let him have it. In retrospect I was too hasty but we were all still highly strung after having been on the road for the past week, and add in the best part of a whole bottle of finest Ordian spirit and you’ve got a bad mix.

The first guy earned himself a fist sized hole in his torso and Stump redecorated the corridor with the second. The last guy rightly pissed himself but ran into the loving arms of Bryce and Mortlock further down the corridor.

The innkeeper called the watch and the Stump and I got to sleep it off in the cells whilst we awaited the magistrate in the morning.

Just our luck then that the Ordian troops decided to spend the next day shelling the town which delayed our hearing indefinitely. I spent the day playing ‘What does thy eye espy?’ with Stump and finding out his favourite colour and discussing effective methods for incapacitating scumbags barehanded.

We find out the next day that Bryce and Mortlock had met with the town bigwig and secured out release at the cost of our last mission payment. Bugger. On the plus side we did get a new job off said bigwig so I guess it all evens out in the end.

I headed back to the inn to collect my gear and apologise to the landlord, then ran off to meet Jones to collect the Radcliffe and a few ammo wheels. We then all met up and sat down to hash out a plan for the coming mission.

While we sorted out the details, Bryce cooked up some armour black for us all, as with this one stealth would be key. We would have a detachment of rangers supporting us which was a nice piece of good news, as those boys are handy to have in a fight. The job was evicting a couple of mortar crews from an abandoned mansion on the road south of Fellig. This lot were hampering the civilian evacuation effort and removing them would certainly buy us some goodwill with both the general populace and the military in Fellig.

The plan was to carefully sweep the woods surrounding the mansion and then locate a hidden rear entrance and then clear room by room inside.

It was only a day’s trek to the outskirts of the woods and as we cleared through them we took out a couple of woodsmen holed up there. We found the secret entrance easily enough and Bryce seemed to have a sixth sense as to where it was and his knowledge of the local geography was uncanny. What took the biscuit was him having the key for the door to the secret entrance. Evidently all is not what it appears to be with young master Bryce. The questions would have to wait until later, although the only not who seemed not to be bothered by these events was Mortlock. Something had transpired whilst we were in jail that they didn’t feel like sharing.

As we walked single file down the dark and narrow corridor towards the mansion’s centre it felt like the rabbit hole had, as yet, no visible bottom.

Bandits, Betrayal and Wolves - Oh my!
Part 3: The Road to Fellig; Tempen, 606 AR

The party met up with Bryce Weyland soon after leaving Armandor, and soon after met another person on the road to Fellig. Kaelynn was sat at the side of the road looking rather worse for wear after having been robbed and beaten by bandits. Offering her protection as she was heading in the same direction Kaelynn joined the group but surrendered her inherited weapons.

The day passed without event but the group employed Mortlock as a pretend drunken decoy as a ploy to lure the bandits that attacked Kaelynn. Reaching a way inn with nothing to show for their efforts it was decided to push on during the last few hours of daylight and abandon the decoy plan and set up a better guard pattern.

After camping at the roadside for the night the party was ambushed in the middle of the night by a vicious pack of wolves. Stump and Mortlock were on duty and with Stump’s ‘True Sight’ they were able to despatch the wolves without anyone else having to lift a finger. One wolf had landed a bite on Stump but the injury was quite minor. Whilst Bryce harvested some alchemical ingredients from the wolf corpses the rest settled back to sleep for the remainder of the night.

Another day’s travel passed on the road without incident and at twilight the party again pulled off the road to camp for the night. The party all sat round the campfire enjoying a tasty meal when suddenly they all, bar Gabe, began to notice that something was not right. Everyone felt their minds cloud over and a great fog weigh heavy on their minds. Poison! That thought was punctuated by a volley of arrows that soundly hit Stump and Tobias. The retaliation was muted due to most of party being barely able to function but Mortlock ran for cover and fired upon the attackers, landing a solid thunder rune that permanently disabled an enemy. Mortlock took servere return fire from the attackers and Tobias and Stump both charged into the trees to back Mortlock up. During his charge the Stump landed a solid shot from his repeating rifle before taking cover behind a tree. Bryce too charged into the trees leaving the wagon guards behind.

It was at this point that Mortlock noticed a fracas taking place near the wagon, and he charged back over to investigate. Tobias, frustrated that he could not see anyone to fight charged deeper into the trees firing as he went a shot that ultimately missed. Stump fired again with his rifle felling an attacker, before both he and Tobias turned to return to the wagon.

As Mortlock reached the wagon he observed Bronah locked in combat with none other than the damsel in distress Kaelynn. Needing time to asses the situation, he fired off two perfectly aimed shots disarming both Bronah and Kaelynn. Having also used a silence rune to mask his attack his presence went unnoticed but Kaelynn used the shocked state of Bronah to pull a knife from her boot and slip it between Bronah’s ribs. Bronah collapsed in a heap seconds before Mortlock vaporised Kaelynn with a devastating shot, but it was too late the damage had been done.

Hollering for a medic Mortlock moved to secure the perimeter as the Stump rushed to Bronah’s side to administer aid. There was so much blood and in the darkness and panic of the situation even Stump’s true sight could not help him staunch Bronah’s bleeding. Tobias came charging in shouting orders to Mortlock to fetch his surgeon’s kit from the wagon and coming to a stop next to Stump to provide assistance. Time blurred and eventually with the equipment and bandages from the surgeon’s kit and with Tobias’ cool headed advice the Stump eventually managed to stabilise Bronah’s condition. Looking at her ashen face and significant amount of blood covering the area it appeared that luck was on Bronah’s side that night.

Bryce meanwhile waited in the trees, well hidden, to provide instant response should a further attack be forthcoming. Shortly after, Gabe and Gunnar returned to the camp with Gunnar saying that he had finished off the last bandit with his dagger. Mortlock requested he lead him to the body and help him drag it back to camp so they could search it for any intel or information. None was found.

In a sombre mood, their heads still foggy from the poison and nursing their wounds from the ambush, the party proceeded to get what little rest they could from the rest of the night, leaving a minimal sentry guard to allow those wounded to rest up. The early morning passes quietly and the party await the new day with their confidence knocked after a bitter betrayal. Arrival at Fellig cannot come soon enough for they all wish to see the back of this accursed wagon.

The group gets 'jacked!
Part 2: Road to Armandor; Tempen, 606 AR

After the encounter on the paddle steamer, the journey for the rest of the day passed uneventfully. Mortlock was on edge though, consumed with a sense of foreboding after having had a most disconcerting dream. The tug steamed ever onwards, until Mortlock spotted something in the undergrowth on the river bank.

Convincing the tug captain to stop the boat so he could investigate, but not convincing Tobias who stayed behind on the boat, Mortlock and Stump headed out in the dingy to towards the river bank, and the two ominous black shapes concealed therein. Whilst Tobias observed through the captain’s binoculars from the tug, the Stump stopped the dingy short of the bank and Mortlock cried out for the shapes to identify themselves. No answer was received and so Mortlock sent a warning shot close to one of the shapes. Their only response was to emanate black smoke and to start moving within the brush.

Erring on the side of caution and discretion, Mortlock and the Stump made speedy progress back to the tug and the captain steamed immediately away. The captain also took this opportunity to make a snide remark about the foolishness of their little foray. Like a red rag to a bull the Stump was on his feet and took two steps towards the captain with the sound intention of knocking his impertinent arse off the boat. Whilst everyone collectively held their breath, Mortlock jumped in front of the Stump and quickly defused the situation and escorting the Stump away from the captain. The captain however felt haughtily smug, further reinforcing his opinion that his mercenary passengers were a total bunch of pricks.

The tug journey concluded without incident and the wagon and horses were unloaded quickly, with all present keen to commence the next leg of the delivery and very glad to be back on dry land.

With not long left until twilight, the wagon and crew sent scouts ahead to watch for danger and to find a suitable location to camp for the night.

The ruins of an old border keep presented themselves as the perfect campsite and all were relieved to be able to bed down and get some rest.

Towards the end of the first night watch, Bronah spied something approaching the camp and Mortlock quietly roused the rest of the group to make ready and prepare for a potential attack.

As the shapes approached the camp it became clear that they were the very same ones that they had encountered on the river earlier and at a range of 75 yards the group opened fire.

It became clear that the two things were bone jacks as they charged and closed the distance in the blink of an eye. The group focused their fire on the left jack, and Tobias felled it with a shot from ‘Thunder’ after waiting for the perfect time to shoot as it entered close range.
The team then switched target to the right jack with Mortlock’s arcane pistol wreaking havoc upon the bone jack’s armour. Then suddenly the left jack took a swipe at one of the wagon guards, Gabe. It wasn’t dead! Tobias then switched to ‘Lightening’ and put the left jack down for good this time with an almost point blank shot. The right jack was just about to launch its attack on the group when Mortlock got off another quick two shots and caused massive damage destroying it completely.

The group made all haste to clear the camp leaving just enough time for Tobias to tend to Gabe’s injuries sustained from the left jack’s attack. Having caused quite a commotion at the abandoned for but still in desperate need of rest the group resolved to travel up the road for a while then pitch camp again. Sentries were again posted and the rest of the night passed without incident. They set off later than usual and made the outskirts of Armandor by nightfall, where they booked into an inn and secured food and lodgings for the night. Setting a rotating guard on the wagon overnight whilst the others took advantage of warm food, good ale, hot baths and a comfortable bed.

The plan in the morning was to wait for Bronah to secure fresh horses for the wagon and to use those few hours to do some quick shopping in the nearer parts of the city.

The final leg of the delivery loomed ahead, and there was apprehension in the group as to what other attempts would be made to attack the party as they moved along at what felt like a snail’s pace.

Out of the frying pan & into the Golden Crucible
Part 1: Tempen, 606 AR

After deciding to fold the remainder of the Paulson Street Rovers into ‘Hammer & Anvil’ and appointing Brogan as interim leader of the newly renamed & redecorated ‘Forge’, a new arrival joined the company; Cygnaran Army Captiain Tobias Flint. Previously known to Mortlock after crossing paths many years ago in the military, Tobias offers his services in return for an equal share in the future endeavours of the company.

Soon after, a contact from the Golden Crucible contacted the company with an offer to transport a sizeable wagon-ful of blasting powder to the Cygnaran Military in Fellig. They ask that the delivery be made with all haste and to such end had chartered a steam tug to transport the cargo and accompanying guards up the river for the first leg of the journey. Progress afterwards would be made on horseback, with a short stop at Armandor to rest and obtain fresh horses before continuing on to Fellig.

The company accepted the escort mission and set out immediately on their delivery.

Progress up the river was swift but uneventful until mooring at nightfall. During the night watch, ‘The Stump’ saw the approach of a paddle steamer down the river, and he sensed that something was not right.
As the steamer drifted closer it became apparent that something was definitely ‘not right’ as the whole craft was shrouded in darkness and a deathly quiet hung over it.

It was then that shit really got whack, when a woman’s haunting singing could be heard emanating from somewhere on board. The trio of Mortlock, ‘The Stump’ and Tobias, all three having momentarily taken leave of their senses, decided that it would be a top idea to board the craft and investigate.

A quick scout by Mortlock turned up nothing but an empty ship, and the fact that the woman’s voice sounded oddly familiar, and that curiously, the singing seemed to be coming from the cabin they occupied when they were last on board. In another moment of lunacy it was decided to check the room. The three intrepid fools stood gaping in the doorway to the cabin stunned by the sight before them.

In the centre of their old cabin stood a tin bath, in which, sat, a witch. Who bore significant resemblance to the ‘white woman’ whom the party had encountered when last on the steamer. Oh and who Mortlock had made a pass at. Not good. To make matters worse the room was tastefully decorated with blood, gore and the severed limbs of the steamer’s passengers.

The woman looked at the three intruders, and invited them in. Regaining his senses Tobias drew his #1 slug gun ‘Thunder’ and unloaded a round into the woman from close range. Mortlock then drew, fired and missed. In that order. The woman retaliated with a attack that stunned both Tobias and ‘The Stump’ for a whole round of combat, leaving Mortlock an opportunity to show his quality.
Breaking with his previous trend of missing, Mortlock actually landed two fabulous freeze rune shots, on the white woman, in a row. This left Tobias and ‘The stump’ free to engage freely with #2 slug gun ‘Lightening’ and ‘The Stump’s great axe. The white woman stood no chance and Mortlock’s second freeze rune landed the killing blow.

After inspecting the scene and finding a eerily magic knife finely crafted from a passenger’s bones, the decision was made to leave it all and search the rest of the steamer. The trio found eight thousand gold crowns in total aboard, and after pocketing a thousand each they proceeded to hide the remaining loot under the floorboards of the ship. A not inconsiderable amount of time was also devoted to wrangling with the tug captain to somehow come to an agreement about getting the derelict steamer back to the gang in Five Fingers. But it was to no avail, as the captain was devoted to his mission and would not be swayed.

With heavy hearts Tobias, Mortlock and ‘The Stump’ sadly watched the steamer fade from view, curious to know what the next leg of their journey would hold.

Smoke on the Water
Tempen, 606 AR

The party were contracted by Gram, owner of the Regency Saloon and purveyor of Tarna’s finest hooga, to guard a crate of Regency Gold (the Saloon’s premium brand) as it was transported by river boat to Five Fingers. The buyer, the office of the Lord Governer in Five Fingers, wanted the delivery made in three days, and although Gram had no idea what could make delivery of a crate of cigars so urgent, he’s not one to turn down an offer of money.

The party and the package were booked passage on the Gambler’s Bride, a high-class floating casino captained by Odran Reno. The Bride was to make its way down the Dragon’s Tongue river, stopping overnight at Splintermill and Briv and arriving in Five Fingers on the third day.

Shortly after the Bride left Tarna, the party was approached by Lugo Vayne and four unarmed, but thuggish, companions. Lugo represented certain interested parties in Five Fingers and had a counter proposal for the party; deliver HIS parcel in place of the original one. The party refused, and Lugo left his companions with instructions to throw the party overboard. They failed, and the Bride’s cleaning staff will be scrubbing the evidence out of the decking for months to come, much to the annoyance of Captain Reno…

Berthing overnight at Splintermill, the Bride took on a gaggle of lumberjacks for drinking and gambling. The party noticed Lugo moving among the crowd, buying drinks and making suggestions, and so were ready for the inevitable rush on the Bride’s vault. As well as protecting their own cargo, the party’s performance redeemed them a little in the eyes of Captain Reno.

Shortly after leaving Splintermill the following day, Stern spotted a woman in white floating face-down in the water, and the Bride stopped to rescue her. It turned out that she had been left at the alter, and had tried to take her own life as a cosnequence. Mortlock gallantly gave up his cabin, and the woman stayed on board until the Bride reached Five Fingers.

The remainder of the day was largely taken up with Mortlock trying to find someone who would duel him. He was, eventually, successful, finding a Laellese duellist named Alain de Vassily. When the Bride docked at Briv, the two found a secluded clearing and fought: Mortlock shot first but narrowly missed; Alain’s shot found its mark.

Unfortunately, the duel had been for 150 crowns or Mortlock’s magelock pistol; he was not prepared to part with the latter, and did not have the former. Having until midnight to complete the deal, the party returned to Lugo and grudgingly took him up on his offer.

The following day, the party was called to defend the vessel when, as it was weighing anchor, a group of trollkin appeared on dock demanding the Bride pay an exhorbitant toll. Captain Reno wasn’t prepared to accede to their demands, but the party made short work of the trollkin, with Bryce’s grenades rendering most of them unconscious, allowing the Bride to depart unhindered.

The Bride arrived at Chaser’s Isle in good time on the third day, and upon disembarking the party were met by Darrick Rylo, one of the Lord Governer’s functionaries. Darrick spotted that the package had been switched in short order, and knew his master would not be pleased. The party took advantage of this, suggesting that they stage a heist, so that Darrick could tell the Lord Governer that the package had in fact arrived but had been stolen, and allowing Darrick and the party to split the fee for the package.

It was while the details of the heist were being finalised that the party was attacked byt the Paulson Street Rovers. The party dealt with the Rovers’ leader and his right hand ogrun in a spectacular and brutal fashion, and the danger (combined with the blood and brain fluid) sent Darrick into catatonic shock. This was only exceasserbated by finding the package missing after the fight, it having been moved by Bryce.

Nevertheless, the party was able to persuade Darrick that the plan still had merit – the crate had, after all, now been stolen for real – and shepherded him to his offices on Captain’s Island, where he presented them with their cut of the proceeds; 1,000 crowns.


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