Banestorm

Remedy

We need to save M’tan. He’s in bad shape. It seems the only recourse is heading into the Dark Forest.

I hope the invisible world will be accessible.

If my friend survives, The M’tan Forest and Azizabad shall flourish as a center of tolerance.

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**A Thick Red Leather Notebook Part IV**

The Personal Adventures of Halfling Scout and Brave Adventurer Fuzzytop Pathtreader

(a few weeks later…)

I awoke in the forest. Two tall folk were guarding a tree with an un-natural lump in it. I recognized it immediately as a tree magiked by Mr. M’tan to hide something. The guards were hacking away at the tree trying to break into the lump.

I asked them what was going on and they insisted that Mr. M’tan wanted me to join them down the road for a battle. I was not about to leave whatever he was hiding there with the two rogue guards, so I insisted they join me by threatening to tell on them.

We journeyed down the road, and found our companions in the thick of a major battle. Two soldiers were dragging Mr. M’tan behind a shed. He did not rise. I rushed to him to find out what was wrong.

An arrow, pierced through his arm, but stranger was the reddish poison traveling up through his body. I tried dispelling both poison and contagion to no avail. So, I dressed the wound and arranged for his evacuation back to the tree.

Once back at the tree, Mr. Carthage (an elf that took passage with Mr. M’tan and Mr. Aziz in New Jerusalem) had found a young elf who had been maimed by the Hospitalers named Erdolliel. She was schooled in the arts of herbology and she consulted with me on Mr. M’tan’s malady. She said that she had seen something similar in the past which her people contracted in the Blackwoods. It resembles a magical curse that can only be cured by elvish magic. We must either travel to the Great Forrest, or the Blackwoods for a cure.

The tall folk then debated for a while whether or not to take the risk to go to the Blackwoods. Eventually they decided to proceed, and we waited through the night before setting out for New Jerusalem. We met only one Hospitaler along the way, who seemed thick and did not see through our disguise.

We arrived in New Jerusalem in the evening, and made for an inn at the docks. We put Mr. M’tan in the bed and left Erdolliel to care for him. She seems smitten with Mr. M’tan as a child is with a beloved mentor. I don’t think Mr. Carthage is pleased with her showers of attention on the other elf.

Mr. Aziz and Mr. Carthage went to find the boat. I went to find a map at the library.

We meet the captain at dock 57. We load Mr. M’tan back in the wagon. And leave for the docks. The frustrating tall folk argue over money so that we can take the oxen, cart, and horses on board. Finally we board and I spend the night snuggled up with Fafner in the back of the wagon. Mr. M’tan is moved to the hull by the doting Erdolliel.

When I awoke in the morning, I saw the Captain slipping coins into the hand of a Hospitaler. He then announced that it was time to set sail and we shoved off.

The only rations on board were fruitcake, which is certainly one of my favorite foods. However, after breakfast, everyone seemed to have a very bad opinion of me. They felt that I should have eaten just one ration and one bottle of ale. I was shocked to hear this, as of course my people would never take the chance of trying to sustain ourselves on such meager sustenance.

To make amends, I decided to face my fear of the rushing river and try my hand at catching a few swimmers. The luck of the Halflings were with me today and I pulled out five plump trout. The men will be pleased with this fresh fare tonight! I best get to cooking!

I cleaned and filleted each fish, leaving the skin on and the cavity intact. I then chopped up a few pieces of dwarven jerky and sprinkled them inside for a touch of extra salty flavor. As a side, I sliced thin pieces of the fruit cake and served the two together.

The crew seemed well fed and satisfied with the meal. After dinner, we shared stories, raised glasses, danced and sang Halfling songs until we were hoarse.

With a full tummy and a light head, Fafner and I curl up in the hammock for a good night’s sleep. I cast my watchdog spell around us, so that Mr. M’tan is well protected through the night. Fafner will wake me before the ten hours elapses.

The journey takes us past amazing sights and cities. Craine is a vast city that stretches as far as the eye can see. I wonder if there’s Halfling folk there. These are the largest fields I have seen in all my days. In the towns, golden domes rise from the buildings and the sound of prayers drift out over the water. Ships crowd the river, and the world seems a bustle to me.

On the 11th day we arrive in Hyrnan on the edge of the Blackwoods. As we readied to disembark, three of the crew attacked us. The tall folk took quick care of two of them before I could even get a pain spell off. The third was just a kid and he was visibly quaking in his boots. He told us that Commander Terrance, the head of the Hospitalers in New Jerusalem had hired them to kill Mr. M’tan. Even unconscious his enemies are after him!

The captain arrived and was in shock to see the crewmen scattered on the floor. Apparently he had warned Mr. Carthage to watch out for them earlier in the journey. They were new to his crew he said. When the rest of the crew found out I had been threatened, they hauled them off into the bowels of the ship. I reminds a Halfling that a little kindness and good cookin’ always pays off, and sometimes in very unexpected ways.

We loaded our gear and disembarked quickly after the scuffle. We were not eager to wait around and find out who else had it in for Mr. M’tan. I really don’t know why tall folk hate him so. He seems to only help those he meets.

We find a room at the Inn of the Falling Leaf. I get a pint of ale right away. I’m parched from limiting myself to only one pint per meal. I treat the rest of the party to a hot meal, especially since I was too hungry to wait for them to haggle over it.

The dinner was delicious, but it left me wanting for something sweet. When I asked if he had any sweets he said that they didn’t bother to stock much because people where to afraid to come to Hyrnan anymore. He said the elves of the Blackwoods were expanding outward and that people who ventured into the forest did not return. Finding someone to save Mr. M’tan is going to be costly.

We spend the night and in the morning go out to gather supplies for the party. At the market I buy: 15 (12) apples (5 farthing) 2 (1.75) wheels of cheese (10 farthing) 10 loaves of rye bread (10 farthing) 16 (12) ale (72 farthing) 12 (11)eggs (2 farthing) 1 (.8) lb flour (2 farthing) .25 (.15) lb sugar (15 farthing) 1 pan (12 farthing) 72 arrows (60 farthing) 2 throwing knives (12 farthing) Total: 200 farthing

We set out. The female elf seems annoyed that I went out for provisions. I just don’t understand why tall folk are so grumpy.

The forest has an eerie sway to it. The trees bow and bend in unison. Instead of branches, they look like a uniform membrane. There are no sounds. No birds. No insects. I’m frightened.

The tall folk decide to camp in the forest. Once we find the clearing, I cast watchdog immediately. Then I start the fire. I dice some apples and mix them with some flour, sugar, and egg. Then I fry them up in the pan over the fire. I give each person in the party, one of these scones, a thick slice of cheese, and a half a piece of jerky.

While I was cooking, a creepy sense of dread blew through the camp. I curled up with Mr. M’tan and Fafner in the wagon to sleep. Mr. Carthage and Mr. Aziz switch off as a second watch.

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M'tan's travels - entry the ninteenth

I was shot by an arrow.

I remember that.

After that, things become strange. I think I could be dead.

<sleep>

I hear my friends. Ah, like all who pass, I wish I could speak with them again.

I feel passing strange though. At least I fell as I should, in a good fight. Sadly, I never really learned to fight. But so it goes.

<scream>

How long have I been dead? Do I still sleep?

The Forest. I will never grow the Forest. All of this was for naught. Maybe, at least, My Woods will live, and grow the Forest.

<sob>

I’m in the eternal shadow of a massive tree. It must be the Eternal. It’s whispering to me in a tongue long lost to the elves. She beckons me to come forward and embrace Her.

<what>

Knives held by human hands. My blood is on them.

<sweat>

I am not dead. I’m asleep and cannot wake. The Humans were right, there is a Hell but I am comforted by the Eternal in the Great Arbor.

<scream>

I am dying. The Forest will have to find another Defender.

<enemies>

I was too prideful. I am dead. A blessed wind through which She speaks revives me. I am in Her shadow and finally calm.

<sleep>

I heard the Mother of God and She is the Eternal in the Great Arbor. Christ’s resurrection at the hands of Her. I ache to be reborn in His image.

<scream>

An animal falls and the fruit is born, white and succulent. It heals and is the flesh of Him, reborn.

<sob>

Only through the Mother of God can the Son be reborn and the thousand trees replenish the forest.

<laugh>

May I be the Son, Mother?

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M'tans Travels - addendum

Unfair.

I have been forced to re-examine my behavior towards my companions since my most recent argument with Aziz.

He is disagreeable, yes. But he was always disagreeable. I befriended him full well knowing that he was disagreeable!

He has been my trusted partner throughout my adventures in the human lands. And a great one as that. It takes a certain level of patience and friendship to spend days in a 3 foot tunnel with one another and then fighting against all odds from under the ground, trusting that the other has done near perfect work – which we both almost always did.

All I want is for the Forest to grow and for some reason I have expected him to share my racial eccentricity, with no natural appreciation for it. I should be honored that he has put up with me for as long as he has, and continue to learn from him.

He wants the settlers for his Lands. Fine, I should be glad for him, else why did I help build, Azizabad?

He wants to get rich. Fine, he continues to help me with the forest, I help him with money.

He wants wood to build his town. He did not demand to cut down my forest! He only asked for wood to build with. Instead of refusing him I will grow him a sustainable forest and teach his people how to properly farm their woods so that, the woods are healthy, they grow to love them, they have all the wood they need and Aziz can make a Glorious City.

He wanted to work with Slavers. Who I am to judge another Tribe’s behavior? I made it clear that I would not abide them, and he made some moves to accommodate me. Instead of celebrating them, I pridefully threw them back in his face.

He does business with dangerous people who I advised him not to. So? I have done the same. Instead, I resolve to help him, so he does not drown in dealing with them. After all, he brings the structure and I bring the Earthquake! If he should be afraid of his business partners, then I resolve to help his business partners learn to fear him.

We have done good by the slaves, now let’s free the remainder, take the towns, end the War and then get home and build him an Azizabad to be proud of. A town which is centered on Equal treatment for all Sentients.

God (and the Eternal) help me, no matter what others think of Aziz, I am humbled by him. He, once again has helped me. This time, to learn to be more Christian in my dealings with friends.

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The Tool

My skills are clearly meant for the natural world and the calculus needed to manipulate it. If a river needs crossing, or a quarry holds stone, if a road needs blazed, or water brought to the desert, if the walls need to be stronger, taller, thicker, if you want the ore beneath the mountain, I can make these things happen.

By all indications, I have absolutely no sense for business, religion, respecting those not of my race or above my stature and clearly no idea how to recruit an army to be loyal, let alone fight at my side.

For the sake of my life and the lives of my friends and family, I shall stick to the things I know. I will follow the lead and instruction from my superiors to my fullest ability, without hesitation or question.

I’ve seen how a very wise, pious and traveled man had been told by the local authority that he was being a bit uppity and acting a bit outside of his proper bounds, that he was forcing the oppressors to oppress only because of the the blood in his veins, the color of his skin, the shape of his ear. And that was enough for them to want him dead.

I was disgusted by these men, and how they treated my friend. And I was also disturbed by how this encounter affected my friend.

I long for the Moon to change and the world to be invisible.

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M'tan's travels - entry the eighteenth

Aziz and I argue, as usual! We were preparing to head out on our way to “rescue” some humans that Aziz befriended. The arguements began almost at once.

I consider if I could actually get help from teh Archbishop of Phodius (as he sent a letter to the Head of the Order of the Hospitallers saying that I was coming into town.) After thinking about it and realizng that Hospitallers think elfs are the spawn of Satan, I decided it wasn’t a great idea.

Rather then review step by step our arguements I think I’ll try to put he and my disagreements in review. (During this time we can’t get along, some of our companions leave and we meet a great archer named Carthage – an elf at that! He helps control the remaining “troops” – 3 people – and he repacks the money so it’s not as noticible. A great fellow to meet! He’s an excellent tactical leader, able to speak directly to the men, in their day to day duites, that I or Aziz am not.)

On this day we have a long argument about slaves, the money, my conversion and if I treat him as a tribes man (my word, not his) (Oddly, during this arguement, he finally learns the Elven that I have been teaching him for years now.)

Slaves – we’ve long disagreed about Slaves on our Land. Aziz seems to think I’m untruthful for not wanting to save all slaves, where my point is that I recognize that humans have different cultures, it’s just that I will not have them in my home – that said, my main priority is always the Forest, the rest is a means to get there.

The money – Aziz was upset that I took all the money. I agreed that we should split it evenly (honestly I thought we already talked about this, but I could have well forgot – although, why did he not mention it earlier?) after we got the necessary troops and paid for the War, I agree that we should

My conversion – he seems morally offended that I might not be telling the entire truth about my conversion. I am telling the truth as I see it. God is an expression of the Eternal. Worshipping the way the humans do builds their trust and allows me to repopulate the Forest. That is what’s important. It serves my purposes, the tribe’s purpose, our Lord’s purpose, our King’s purpose and allows us to live well, and in turn, bring better lives to those who depend on us. I do not care if I worship through a man who was killed on some Holy Wood or the Deep Forest and the Eternal. Especially if it allows humans to allow the forest to grow and build’s the human’s trust of Elf’s.

Treatment as a Tribes Man – I have housed him, been his battlemate, healed him, lent him money, saved him from certain death (as has he me) and travelled with him for years. And he still treats me as if we just met and that I am a tool to be used. He is unpleasant, ungrateful and worst of all, unrespectful. The sadest part is that I have always considered him a friend but he refuses to cease arguing.

My complaint – I truly fear that he is trying to get us killed – I fear he is dangerously psychotic, pressing the limits of flaunting authority (specifically, refusing to mask his lack of religion, only mildly hiding whatever his monthly malady is, being deliberately offensive to people in positions of power, and rude to those in positions of influence – I seems to me like he is deliberately driving towards getting us killed or removed from our positions of influence – if he does this, I cannot help the forest here, and I will have wasted these years and broken my word to my friends, the serfs of Wallace, the people in M’tans Woods and Lord Wallace, who I find wanting to respect Aziz and I.

In the midst of this we decided to help the prisions (it is the only troops I will be able to muster in time, Aziz seems upset by my practicallity – which is odd, because he constantly complains about my lack of business sense.) The he goes to the Iron Something Tavern to meet Samir.

While he’s away I build Carthage a arrow holder out in a tree (what a wonderful regular Mana area) – I also find out Carthage is a Mage himself, and we offer to teach one another spells!

Aziz comes back a bit later, we are to go to the West Gate an hour before sunrise. We go there and discover Samir mulling about. We return to the camp to talk and plan. Lost guy helps us -

We make our plans (to rescue as many of the Pit workers as we can) – We begin with a 5 mile circle around the location. (It’s June now) Our plan is to tunnel and collapse, which we do, there is a lot of fighting, with the Archer being notably profecient, Aziz having an off night fighting wise and our spell / building combonation going off well.

All in all we resuce a goodly number 300 or so Caithness and 498 people from the (presumably lost Flight 200) (Are they Air Mages?)

Even with our bickering and my frustration with Aziz, we still manage to do good for people, ourselves and our Lords.

Now that Aziz speaks Elven I think I will attempt to resolve our issues, in the interest of Brotherhood. Let us hope we can talk as the men who toppled much that stood against us.

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M'tan's travels - entry the seventeenth

Winter remains difficult. On travel as well as on the nerves. I wonder if Joshua Tariq Aziz and I will ever be friends again. We seem to grate on each other to an extreme degree.

To me he seems to only delight in pushing others from their goals and has no (benign) goals of his own. But perhaps the winter is long and I am curlish. Or perhaps I should break with him. Either way, I will let slow Wisdom rule my mind.

What has transpired…

The letters I wrote went from Phodius, where we were able to procure horses.

After the battle we arrived in late February or early March, who can tell with all the damnable snow.

By the time we made Phodius I had realized that the halflings would not be able to make My Woods in Winter, with that many, slow, travelers, it would be month’s in the Good Seasons, and sure Death in the Winter so we determined that they would have to wait outside of town, they would have to be refugees.

I entered town, and (after being viscously mocked for being an Elf), we went immediately to the Church (beautiful as it is!) and were told, graciously, that we could see the Archbishop the next day.

We decided to stay with the halflings at the refugee camp in Tenly Park.

I talked to the halflings, thanking each of them for their service, I received a mostly neutral reaction, with only one old soul angry, and I certainly do not blame him.

Next day we went into the church. It was opulent, an extremely beautiful compound with a beautiful, light covering of snow.

We were met by officials, and taken through many a beautiful building (one with amazing purple marble floors) Eventually we were taken to the right of an entry way, brought to a small room with a wonderful fireplace, wood paneling and gorgeous artwork. We were privileged to be allowed to contemplate the room for an hour when a monk comes in, letting us know that the ArchBishop would see us!

The monk took us to him, he had a lot of priests and attendants present along the way.

We were taken to a room with double doors, opulent double doors where we met the ArchBishop. A man with a big hat, white robes, a bit older (in his 60’s.) But, Blessed Be! He was a manicured human! Clean an groomed and kind and wise!

We talk with the ArchBishop Tenly, who agreed to house the halflings until they could travel – at the Church’s expense! (He implied that he would like to see me win and help bring an end to the Civil War, but of course, the Church is Neutral…)

The ArchBishop let me know that I had been promoted to the rank of Baron and that if I were to aid in the cession of hostilities I could win myself a Lording. What an Honor!

Aziz, the Christian, openly lied to the leader of the Church of Caithness and continued to build his (and my) base of allies.

I left, horrified that another Lie could have caused one of the most influential people in the Land to despise us. He claims that I am naive and then disrespects the most powerful human we have ever met??? Only the ArchBishop’s kindness kept us whole.

We meet with Fuzzytop Pathtreader, wonderful Fuzzytop! I give her the ring I found and she puts it on. She seems to like it very much. I am glad!

Fuzzy, Aziz and I talk about the Curia, specifically how they have gone above and beyond for the halflings. During the conversation Fuzzy mentions that Aziz is “grumpy” Which starts another tado with Aziz. He states, “Im not grumpy, I’m professional and proficient, I don’t lay about.” and insults the halfling. Why must he go out of his way to cause his friends pain?

(Note: the letters sent total – 3400f)

We get superb pastires and cider from halfling merchant and then prepare to travel. Aziz has met some “soldiers” who are going to help us. He whines and moans and pleads and convinces us to stay. Amazingly, it turns out he has read the situation incorrectly and we have to flee the city. It turns out the “soldiers” were “theif’s”

When I express my anger at his lack of security he expressed astonishment. Stating that he could have easily betrayed us for the money so this proves his loyalty. (Who would ever bring up betraying their tribe? I’m sorry, the human word, “friends” – Who is this hu-man?)

We run, we set up traps, at my direction. We’re lucky, they work. A majority of our time is spent fighting theif’s we need not have met.

(Although my traps and plan went quite well – to be fair, Fuzzy was awesome and Aziz was… present.)

Another 17 days are spent (2 days delay because of rain) traveling, but we make the outside of town.

When we get there I Wait outside of the walls. I have a letter of introduction from the Archbishop, but I’m concerned that this is a Hospitaller stronghold and I will not be able to get the troops promised.

Because I am road weary and sick of Aziz’s company he goes into the wall alone and comes out with more Mercenary’s. He claims to have visited the Iron Towes Inn looking for troops. He brings out a man (who looks like his grandfather) who claims to want only Land for his people to fight for us (they are Hindi’s.)

He, Samir, claims to be from Earth. Brought from the Banestorm recently. Aziz promises them work in the Quarry (i.e. slavery) for their help. I am too weary to contribute. I will talk more the next day. We just leave to look for their “friends” (I will likely immediately turn back, as I do not trust Aziz… and it pains me to say so.) We left two guards at the inn and are traveling with my package and 8 more guards.

I will slog though whatever nightmare I must to put an end to this Civil War. Sad that it seems to cost me Joshua Tariq Aziz.

(Unattended note – Max Bailey – a name of someone we met)

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**A Thick Red Leather Notebook part III**

The Personal Adventures of Halfling Scout and Brave Adventurer Fuzzytop Pathtreader

A year has passed….

The elf has created a beautiful city in the forest. I passed my time sitting with him, lending him energy to build as much as possible in one year’s time.

Lord Wallace has sent us to Oakwood to start up some trouble for the Lord in those parts. It seems that Lord doesn’t support the creation of the parliament as Wallace does. I grew tired during the journey and fell asleep on Fafner’s back. When I awoke, I was in a cozy little Hobbit hole.

I sought out the kitchen and found a lovely woman making breakfast. She served me a plump cinnamon roll, glinting with white icing; coffee and apple juice. The woman had a tattoo on her arm, which I was curious about, but I lost myself in the cinnamon roll’s deliciousness.

Mr. Aziz recognized her tattoo as from an Egyptian cult that the Nazis tried to infiltrate and steal their power. Lilly’s clearly nervous to talk about the tattoo. She fled to her room crying.

Her husband returned. The tall folk immediately made him nervous with talk of the demon cult. They forced him to tell us that he was a follower of Amun-Shakulal, who sent them to gain favor with the king in this land and spread the word of their god.

Mr. M’Tan turned him into a sunflower and put him in a vase. They sent me upstairs to fetch Lilly and try to convince her to talk. She confessed that her husband was in charge of the sect in this town and her brother Odo is his lieutenant.

She was relieved to find out that we are sympathetic to the followers of Amun-Shakulal and began to make second-breakfast. I stayed behind to help while the tall folk went out to smoke.

She confided that the djin are looking for a gate to Yearth and that’s why her sect has been sent to this area. M’Tan and Aziz have a plan to trick the followers to gather in one location so they can destroy them all at once. They try to convince Lilly to divulge the location.

(6 weeks later…)

Fafner and I had been spending several weeks in the forest. When I returned to the Keep it had been sacked. The Halfling village was in flames, the Community Tree an ashen stick, and some of the Halflings were even enslaved in chains. The banner of Lord Marsden now flew over the Keep. Lord Marsden was caught running pirates on the river and was disciplined by the King. He then joined the resistance against him. He’s a dastardly character.

Somehow I got separated from the tall folk. The Halfling village is in shambles , so they may be dead. Somehow I doubt it. I decide to head to Photius to see if I can find my friends.

Photius is a beautiful city with a huge white cathedral in the center. As usual, my first order of business was to find a Halfling outfitter for some sustenance. The shopkeeper gives me 4 blackberry and 4 raspberry pastries and a grog of cider. It seems these Halflings don’t drink. Curious…even suspicious behavior.

He directs me to Tenny Park where the Halfling refugees of Oakwood have established a camp. He said that Mr. M’Tan took over the Keep and then lost control of it to Lord Marshall. If that is so, I should think he’s trying to make it right. I may find him there.

I see Mr. M’Tan’s horse at the park and inquire if he is about with his guards. He is not, but I leave word that I am looking for him and take to relaxing by the pond. My pastries are truly delicious. I eat them all and wash them down with the cider. After that, sleep overcomes me. I lay my head down on Fafner’s back to rest.

Mr. M’Tan and Aziz return to the camp. We are joyously reunited! M’tan gives me a Halfling ring he found too. They are forming a party to defeat Lord Marsden.

We set out for New Jerusalem to assemble the army. It is winter.

Mr. Aziz mistakenly gets mixed up with some nefarious tall folk who want to steal our gold, so we rush out of town. We fortify ourselves in the woods and wait for them to catch up with us.

We easily defeated them and found that the thieves guild in Photius hired them to steal our gold. Mr. M’Tan then had them all executed. It was a very unpleasant and tiring battle, and it made me sleepy. I climbed up on top of Fafner and went to sleep.

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M'tan's travels - entry the sixteenth

We began by plan to travel to Phodius then New Jerusalem, if necessary, to recruit the troops necessary to attack the town during the winter, when it was unexpected.

While we were making the plans, a sad side effect of the removal of the demonic Halflings happened. All of their kids, with their parents missing – were in need of food, shelter and love. In all their are 18 children 16 aged 1 – 7 and two 13 year old girls who are caring for the other little ones as best they can.

We sought out the Halfling ruler of the area, one Sheriff Goodbody (the human leader, Mayor Bark Matley was rumored to be very cozy with Lord we were trying to depose.)

After asking around we learned that he was based out of the town hole, we went there, but no one was present, it turns out everyone was helping to save the Center Tree (that had been damaged in the mudslide.) There are humans present so we decided to help out with the tree digging. One of the more gruesome aspects of the mission is the body retrieval, as there is no way to pull out most of the bodies. We salvage 2 or 3, but they are in poor repair.

During the third shift of tree duty we meet Pete Hornblower, we chatted with him for awhile and learn that aside from the children’s conditions, the loss of the Western Halflings isn’t all that bad, as they were rabble-rousers.

Thanks to helpful Pete, we were introduced to the Sheriff (who is a very fancy dresser), the Sheriff is busy so we return to talking with Pete. I ask him if the Halflings are close to their human leadership? Pete says, the Lord doesn’t like halflings. Pete says the Lord’s father was a very nice man, Lord Harren. Sadly, he recounts, Sir Harrow, died in the Magallen invasion and when Lord Harren died, the Lording was given to his nephew Brance. Pete seemed to be getting a little put off by my line of questioning so I switched to a much easier one and asked what he does for a living. It turns out Pete makes pastries, he’s a local pastry chef. Sadly, Aziz the Diplomatic immediately begins to make him ridiculously uncomfortable with open talk of rebellion. Pete quickly breaks off the conversation and invites us to come have one of his pastries sometime.

We prepare to go talk to the Sheriff, but I must mention that throughout this entire time period, Aziz the Loving, keeps trying to get me to agree to enslave the children of the diabolists. Sometimes I fear that Aziz belongs more with people like the Inquisition, rather than people like me. Enslaving children because their parents are evil? It is the same as the Inquisitors who took us.

Nevertheless, we go back to the town hole and wait for Sheriff Goodbody. For quite some time he talks with human guards. After about 45 minutes the Sheriff returns to the hole and, very kindly, invites us for dinner, where we promptly lie about our involvement with Mr. Illwind, letting the Sheriff know that we were business partners with the Illwinds.

Our talk eventually Lord Brance, and the Sheriff tells us that the Lord dumped all the Halflings in together with the Western Halflings.

Additionally, the Sheriff lets us know that he reports to Reeve where he lets him know of the weeks goings on. I can see this is beginning to go the way of the Pete interview, so I try to tell him stories, and, just like the Pete interview, Aziz presses him for information. After a bit of this I ask about a stable, one outside of the Keep where Aziz I could purchase or rent horses. He gives me the location of one.

Aziz the Subtle then, asks numerous and specific questions about police force, number of deputies, their loyalties, etc. Eventually the Sheriff let’s us know that he has 4 deputies. continues to ask about their loyalties to the crown. The Sheriff lets us know that it’s nice to have visitors who are not scared of the Law in a strange town. I am able to switch gears and I ask the Halflings if they would like to hear an elven song, the Sheriff and his GoodWife agree.

To set the song up I talk about the Great Forest and all times I have had there, the different Elven tribes, the creatures of the forest and their freedom. I also mention M’tan’s Woods as a place that is open for settling for Halflings. When the Sheriff heard of it he initially scoffed because he heard that the burrows were under trees. But I tell him, the tale that I heard was that it was made by a powerful Magus and that the leaves part for the sunlight to allow the Halflings the warmth of the Sun and the Protection of the Woods. He says he will pass the word, but that Halflings do not like to move. After that we laugh and then I sing my song. A song about Freedom, in its pure sense, not a a revolutionary jingle.

At the end of the song, Aziz the Influencer openly asks what if everyone got angry at the Lord, might they might revolt. The Sheriff reiterates that he is please to meet visitors who are not afraid of the Law. The Sheriff agrees that we can stay at the Illwind’s place, as we were business partners and it is Winter. He arranges for a local party to search for the money (which I already had safely hidden, it is to be our War Purse) but they find nothing. We begin to spend our time in isolated work.

We first build the tunnels (Rolls: 6 /6/ 9 / 3) and we are able to get tunnels done in 3 weeks, making it January.

During the month which goes by we each spend our free time on our own studies. For me, it is Area Knowledge, the study of Leadership and the Spell which I constantly use!

I also pack the money, hidden as food stuffs. For purchases in town I make sure to buy things with only local money. There is no reason to draw further attention to ourselves.

Finally we go to buy the horses and, what luck, the merchant doesn’t like me, and he quotes a 2K price. Luckily Aziz the Merchant seems to have improved his haggeling skill and he gets involved and quotes 1K, the merchant responds with 1.2K, which Aziz get to include feed and tackle. The final price ends up being 1.5K for the horse, bit & tackle and saddle.

The horses are assigned as follows:

1) Aziz – Oliver 2) M’tan – Aulae 3) Pack – Stan

The next day we head out, with the money at dawn’s first light. We ride onwards through the winter heading towards Phodius. Although there is the possibility for great trouble (i.e. Ray roll’s a lot.) The ride, while uncomfortable is primarily uneventful, except for riding in the dark! A difficult task, at best.

When we arrive the City Guards let us in and direct us to the 3 Bells Inn. We go there and get room sleep through the day. We wake late, but decide to wait for the nest morning when we head out to find the Mercenary’s Guild.

Aziz has used his hard earned experience to learn the ways of the street. A long way from when he simply lied and pretended to be streetwise! We spend our days in the following ways:

Day 1 – we fail to find a contact. Day 2 – in the morning, Aziz finds a guy and gets a meet for 6 pm. We go to the place very early, around three PM, we check out exit routs and I rent a room. At around 5PM 2 big guys come in and get set up. At 6:05PM a guy comes in with a big fat human with dark complextion. They come in and Aziz using his merchant skills, determines that the man looks rich. We talk with him, and after I almost blow the deal, M’Tan the Wise, Aziz is able to use his superior merchant skills to talk with him. He trusts him and we agree to the financial terms – 500 in 2 weeks – 1000F paid. He will go recruit who he can and will meet back up with us in a week to report.

We wait in town, one week later he returns with a status report. He has been able to recruit:

50 shortbowman 50 medium infantry 400 light infantry

The second week of recruitment sees no further recruits.

I will now break down troop movements and the associated War Costs:

Overall a cost of – wk = 6750f (monthly = 27,000f (156,000f) Second week muster – 375 (-5100f) (50 are command – extra – 5000f) 4 days – weapons – (-900f) he asks – we agree Oxen (2) – (-280f) Ox Cart (-200) Muster area – town open field – (-200f)

Aziz takes 10 guys with him to 2nd muster area We then travel – (100f bounus after battle)

All troops march there – 4 days 2 enemy scouts are captured I give my plan and my leadership study has paid off, the men respond appropriately! I lead them into battle. The troops are dispatched into the 4 tunnels At the precise time – the attack begins, the fires are lit and the smoke comes up. Our tunnels work, the ground opens up and the walls come tumbling down. An unmitigated success. Attack won and the raping is mitigated Fritz – and men (-1200f) (-500f) for [[:Commander Joshua|Commander Joshua]] award The Halflings participate in and are happy about the result. The local Human population is surprised, but seems long used to the Civil War. Oakwood is won. We have [[:Lord Deneral|Lord Deneral]].

We spend a week in some revelry and helping the locals. (light troops are on the way – 250 more – in 3 weeks ) A crow goes off to Wallace.

Lord Donalas arrives with his troops. We are overjoyed! An Ally at last. He demands to speak with Lord Deneral. He goes and speaks with the prisoner. He’s of a higher social status and an ally so I allow it. He comes back out and let’s us know that he’s no longer with Lord Wallace and that Lord Marsten will have back up troops there in two weeks and that he is seizing the castle. He asks if I will surrender and I tell him exactly what he can do with that surrender. He laughs at us, says he will see me on the field and leaves. He mocks our not fortifying our position (in a week, against an ally? He almost got inside my head and made me doubt myself, but he was already on the road, hoping to get here first. I suspect that word got to him while we were recruiting and that we have aggressively fucked his time table. I am not the child he thinks he faces.)

I do the only thing I can, facing an force of 500 fresh medium troops with armor and support I quickly assess the situation and call Aziz and the Lieutenants and let them know we are affecting an immediate withdraw and retreat. I send a goodly number of the men to accompany the halflings North to M’tan’s Woods (I explained the situation to the Sheriff, but he already well understood the implications for himself and his people.) They immediately departed for the North.

We secure the Lord Prisoner Brance and I go to help the Ravens’ Master, who is gone. Also, the homosexual illusionist has disappeared.

The retreat is going fine, the other Lord’s troops are still moving in, slowly. Far and away I can see a Crow landing on the one remaining, unstable tower, the illusionist is there, sees me, an laughs…

I pay off the remainder of my troops and tell them to disperse, which they do. I take Commander Joshua, an unconscious Aziz, 10 men, the now dead body of the Lord Prisoner and we run during that disbursement of troops.

My purse is in hand. My confidence is not shaken. I am charged with ending this Civil War for my Lord and I shall do that.

I am now their Enemy. And they will learn to Fear Me.

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Justice

They won’t be opening any gate. The only remorse I have is not getting to put them to work in the quarry.

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