Trouble in the MooT

Holy Imposter, Natina!
or what to do when you give away your secrets

After the skirmish (that’s what you call a short fight, right?), all the useful items were gathered in one of the oiled tarps used as a shelter and Geddragg dragged it while the unconscious bandit was placed in the small skiff and it was used as a travois. Back to the river, north to the ford and returning to the village of Grunhugel. As they got to the ford, the prisoner regained consciousness (with a little splash in the river) and was made to walk. Passing the shrine, Salvik stopped to look for signs of Ovilar while the rest marched the bandit to jail.
Salvik (great scrutinize roll) found a folded sheet of parchment under the corner of the bed that Ovilar must have dropped in his hasty departure. Then he continued on to join the rest.

Once at the constabulary, the prisoner was locked up (Geddragg had previously used “Robber’s Misery” on the lock to prevent picking) Salvik shared the Letter found in Shrine with everyone. Immediately, Geddragg set to deciphering the letter and Bookmark. (special reward of 1 Skill Level in Ciphers). Four got a couple pack mules and headed back to the bandit camp for the bodies and whatever else they could salvage. Natina and Mitiliago used their healing skills on the wounded.

The next morning, Salvik, Rheinhardt, Gozbert and Mitiliago went to check out the cemetery and tower while Natina and Link stayed back to question the prisoner. Geddragg was finishing up deciphering the notes.
The prisoner refused to answer questions, spitting on Link and Natina, either saying he didn’t know what they were talking about or writhing around in fits of anger trying to get free. Geddragg completed his deciphering and Natina left to join the party in the cemetery with the new information.

Meanwhile on Watch Hill, Gozbert checked the tower while the rest checked more in the cemetery. When Natina arrived with the new information, they discovered the Grave of Vorrik Foulhammer.alone on the hill. Salvik headed back to the jail to relay the information.
Just as Salvik was arriving, Geddragg had decided to scry with his newly acquired bag of runes. As Salvik was entering, the runes were tossed. Five runes lay in front of Geddragg, the last rolled out the door and into the road. Geddragg looked at the runes in front of him, grabbed them as he mumbled something and ran out the door to his stray rune. “DWARF”, he shouted, as he picked it up and broke into a dead run. Link told Salvik to follow and he would guard the prisoner.
Geddragg ran full speed to the only other Dwarf that he knew in town, Kinstaag Grimmhammer, the smith. Geddrag explaine about the runes, the ones inside foretold death or murder, the one that rolled outside meant “Dwarf”. He had the bad feeling one of them would be murdered! They shared an ale and Geddrag asked if he had any “properly sized armor” that he could purchase. Kinstaag looked around and found an old heavy smithing apron that could be quickly modified. A deal was struck and Kinstaag quickly donned an old (but very well taken care of) set of battle chain that he pulled from a chest. “Been years since I wore this”, he said with a grin. They headed back to the jail, just as Salvik arrived, passing him in the doorway. Changing directions, he huffed after them.

Up on Watch Hill, the Grave of Vorrik Foulhammer was being inspected, poked prodded and tested. Rheinhardt used Gozbert’s spade to dig where the grave should be. There was no sign of anything buried here. Mitiliago thought something looked “odd” about the stone, Natina looked closer and they all realized the cracks were actually well crafted carving made to look like cracks. Mitiliago discovered the three cracks that crossed the top of the stone disguised three notches cut into the stone to different depths. too thin for a dagger, but just right for a stilleto …. or the three silvered throwing knives found in the hidey hole under the other gravestone.

Back at the jail, Salvik finally caught up to the Dwarves. (If you hadn’t noticed, Salviks’s racial trait lowered his movement speed) He told them about the grave of Vorrik Foulhammer that they had found and the race was on again! Salvik and Link shutting the door to the constable’s office and following as quickly as possible.
The group at the stone had discovered that the three silvered throwing daggers fit well in the slots in the stone. Even more inspection noticed the identical little notches in the daggers and if you lined up your sight down those notches, it pointed to an obscure spot downhill toward the river. It was raining, so their vision was limited, but Natina took the previously discovered spyglass, lined it up with the notches and looked …. discovering a partially hidden rocky outcropping in an otherwise un-rocky area of the wood.
Just then, the Dwarves arrived, noting the name on the stone, foully spitting on the stone. In un-written Dwarven lore, Vorrik Foulhammer was a necromancer and dealt with the von Carsteins of Sylvania. No more would be said.
Everyone walked down to the rocky spot. There they discovered a “false” oucropping of rock which was most likely Dwarven stonework disguising some sort of door. Two holes were discovered behind loose “rocks” with latch mechanisms. Natina and Mitiliago reached in and turned the latch and a crack formed in the rock stonework with a soft thunk. A swarm of bats flew out through the crack.

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Rumors (13th of Sigmarzeit, 2522)

Conclave of Light 
Karl Franz hosts a grand Conclave of Light at his capital of  Atldorf and invites heads of state from across the Old World to a conference where he explains the situation of Archaon’s invasion and asks for aid. Conclave lasts 30 days. In the 30th day the High Elves finally arrive with Teclis himself. The Dwarfs and High Elves pledge to assist the Empire in its time of need, as do many others, such as the Tzarina of Kislev. At this Conclave of Light, plans for the defence of the Empire are laid out, and ancient alliances are renewed.
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There is huge fire in the Shantytown, Nuln. Part of the district is burned down. There are also rumours of mutants and cultist activity in Nuln.
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Every pass through the Worlds Edge Mountains becomes a battlefield and every throng is mustered for war. Under the leadership of High King Thorgrim, the Dwarfs honour their alliance and defend their holds. High King commands king  Alric Ranulfsson to clear the Silver Road of Goblins and attack Mount Gunbad. Without the fighting power of the Orcs to oppose him, King Alrik settles many grudges with the Goblins and recovers many long-lost treasures (Dwarf year 5522/7045).

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What's in the box
and who is Ovilar Bendt

The adventurers took their cart of bandits and books and box and first stopped at the shrine to bind and clean up any scratches they had. Ovilar stayed at the shrine while the rest continued to the inn. Natina, Salvik, and Old Man Rheinhardt continued on to Natina’s newly inherited office with the books to pour over their contents.

The book “Ciphers and codecs” seemed to be written in a foreign language (later found to be Strigoi, an old Stirland script), but even when the language was learned, the order of the words made no sense.
“History of the People of Averland and Stirland” was just that at first glance. History and maps of wars and border skirmishes fought in this region over the past 250 years.
“Houses of the Empire”, a who’s who of the Empire. Houses, their crests and sigils and where they hail from. One of these sigils looks kind of like 1/2 of the symbol on the coin and gravestone found in Aver March. House Zhent of Stirland.
“One Foot in the Grave”, grim stories of events concerning Sylvania.

By that time, the rest of the group had showed up to share the information and loot they had found. Geddragg managed to open the puzzle box and let gas escape in the room. Salvik must be particularly sensitive to it because he passed out again. The acid covered contents were dumped into the ashes in the fire to neutralize the acid as much as possible.

While that was going on, Gozbert found a journal of Sty Lum’s titled?
“Who’s Who of the Grand County of The Mootland”
a short history of The Moot
A Journal by Sty Lum, Constable of Grunhugel

The bookmark had lettering on it described as Dwarven Letters, but not Dwarven words.

This all took several hours and it was past sunset, Gozbert and Salvik heard a noise from in the back of the jail and went to discover a burning, smoking ball that had been dropped in through the barred window of the cell. As the crew reacted they discovered the front door barred from the outside. Quick wits and actions covered the fire with wet wool blankets and the side door was unbarricaded for an escape. A crowd was starting to assemble outside due to the black smoke coming out of the jail. The adventurers played the incident down. Most of the townsfolk returned to their homes, but Ovilar arrived from the shrine asking if any help was needed. The offer was declined and Ovilar went away.
Old man Rheinhardt thought he noticed something on Ovilar’s robes as he turned to stride away. A dark smear, possibly tar. He told Natina, who had become the groups “leader” (she was the Constable, and they were but deputies) to softly spread the word and slipped out the back to tail Ovilar. The others in the group, as they learned this new information, remembered minor unusual things about Ovilar. Someone remembered that he had only been in Grunhugel only about a month. One remembered, or rather DIDN’T remember, this Shallya Priest never actually was seen praying during all the healing of party members. Another noted that he always wanted to be with the party as they investigated Sty’s murder. It appears that Ovilar was a wolf in Priest’s clothing and “Old Man” was tailing a possible murderer.
Rheinhardt followed the Priest to the shrine where he was overheard whispering to another person. This person, a human, left the shrine and headed toward the river … Rheinhardt followed. At the river, the man was seen to pull a small boat out of some bushy overgrowth, and paddle downstream and out of sight. The Old Man returned with the news. All seven stayed at the Constable’s overnight, uncomfortable and on high alert for another attempt.
In the morning, everyone quickly ate and Link and Salvik went on ahead to the shrine to “have their injuries checked” and to see if Ovilar was still there. Nobody was in the shrine, though it appeared that all of Ovilar’s belongings were still there. The rest caught up a short while later and they all headed to the river to “track” the human. It was a dreary, rainy morning and Rheinhardt led the part down the river bank until he smelled the smoke of a campfire. He went ahead and sure enough, there was a camp with half dozen figures around a campfire and some temporary shelters.
To make it short, the rest of the party wasn’t quite so silent and a skirmish broke out … some bad wounds and 10 minutes later, the adventurers prevailed, one “bandit” bound, the rest dead.

… and this is where we leave our heroes …

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Hidey hole
Secret, secret, who's got a secret

As it was getting dark, the new constable (Natina) and her deputies returned down the hill to the healer’s shrine and after shooing away some curious visitors entered the shrine to discuss the days events with Geddragg, Salvik and Ovilar. (Link and the Old Man were missing from the adventure tonight) After talking about everything that went on, including the Watch List they had found, they decided to investigate more thoroughly the next morning and returned to the Laughing Cow to get a good night’s sleep. Geddragg and Link stayed with the healer to recover.

The next morning, Salvik met Geddragg at the healer’s shrine and, along with Ovilar, went to the cemetery to find the stone (they hadn’t been there) A short time later constable Natina, Mitiliano and Gozbert followed from the inn. Arriving, Gozbert showed how to open the headstone. (4 keys inserted in 2 neighboring headstones deactivated wards that latched the stone shut) and Geddragg, Salvik and Ovilar went down (Ovilar slipped and fell half way) into the bunker where they searched. Parchment on the table was dry and brittle, but there was still ink in the stoppered inkwell. The skeletal corpse on the floor was most likely rat and insect eaten. The clothing tattered to shreds. The scrolls on the shelves were mostly crumbled, but the books and tomes were salvageable. There were four in good enough shape to save as they were loosely bound between covers of wood. They were titled:
History of the People of Averland and Stirland
Ciphers and codecs
Houses of the Empire
One Foot in the Grave

Geddragg had JUST discovered a loose stone behind one of the books when a shout came from above … “Bandits! We need your help up here!”
Four bandits had almost gotten the drop on the three standing guard by the stone. Constable Natina had an arrow cut her shoulder enough to start bleeding. Being small and frail, she had to bind her wound fast. The enemy was using grave markers to their advantage for cover.
Salvik, knowing he was slow (movement of only 2) let Geddragg up the ladder first. Geddragg hustled up the ladder and behind a monument where he cast a protection spell on himself. Salvik got to the top of the ladder but no further, Ovilar yelled impatiently from below Salvik.
The battle raged … well, it plunked. Natina managed to bind her wounds and make two archers drop their bows. Salvik made it out just before the wards on the stone reactivated and the stone closed leaving Ovilar cursing below. (The first group had already discovered that it closed on its own accord after a short time (about 10 minutes) but had not told Geddragg or Ovilar.) In the end, the bandits were killed, the bunker reopened and Ovilar tended to the wounded while Gozbert and Salvik looted the bandits. They must have recently robbed a caravan or something … they had a good amount of silver for common thugs. One even had a flintlock, though it was in poor condition.

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Arrive at Grunhugel
Job opening, fast promotions, see Sty

Upon arriving in Grunhugel, our cast of adventurers dispersed in every direction to take care of their needs.Geddragg, and Salvik to the healer, Link to buy supplies, Mitiliago to find silvered darts,, Gozbert headed to the inn to drink. That left Natina more or less alone out walking around the village streets. That’s when she met Sty Lum, the constable of Grunhugel.

“Did you and your group just come from Mama’s? No need to answer, I saw you myself”. He was quick to answer himself. “I’m sorry, but I have to put you under arrest.”
That’s the way it started out anyway. By the end of the conversation, he had deputized Natina so she could help arrest the rest of the group, and the jail was too small for all of them, so he’d get rooms at the Laughing Cow Inn and they would only be under “house arrest”
Geddragg would have to stay at the shrine under the healer’s care to hasten his recovery. Mitiliago actually found some silvered darts at Potsen Pans, a mercantile run by Merrybell Potsen, and purchased 4 of the 6 she had. Merrybell mentioned how constable Lum enjoyed darts also and that he should seek him out for a game or two. Gozbert sat unobtrusively and watched as constable Lum led Natina in and arranged for rooms. ….. No, not that kind of rooms!
One by one, all except Geddragg found the inn. After all, it was the only inn in town. And one by one they were surprised to learn they were under arrest … and had rooms for the night. Ale and a good time were had by all.

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Mama's coaching inn
And so it begins ... ding dong the witch is undead

Acting as "guards" for a tinker's caravan, run by Samil and Arthurfl Tinbender (two Gnome travelling tinkers and shippers), the characters arrive at Mama’s around evening, only to find a large pyre surrounded by a good sized croud. When asked what the excitement is about, they are informed that it is a witch burning. Mama, the mother of this witch and owner of the inn is also a witch and that a witch hunter is, even now, inside catching her.

No sooner said, flames and smoke are seen coming from the inn. Panic ensues as several figures run out of the inn and head northwest toward the woods shouting "She escaped!" and "Find her!"

The crowd, mostly made up of caravaners and staff, broke out of their daze. Some headed for the inn to put out the blaze, some to save their belongings. Others, like Gozbert (Halfling diabolist) thought it better to fade away and find a place not too close to a witch hunter. Sam and Art went to help put out the fire.

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Times in the Grand County of the Mootland

The Moot, homeland to the Halflings, a generally peaceful folk, but the recent past has been less than peaceful.  With Black Fire Pass to the south, Nuln to the west and Sylvania to the east, it hasn't been easy living in the Moot.

It was just three years ago that greenskin hoards got past the Dwarves and through Black Fire Pass, crossing the Aver River and making it all the way to the Moot. They were defeated at the Battle of a Hundred Cannon just outside our fair county. What a ruccus!

Then, a year later, was another battle. This one did not get as close. I think it was called the Third Battle of Black Fire Pass. My Dwarven friends assure me that the Pass is well taken care of and Bugmann's Brewery was not in jepardy.

Two years of peace and quiet have been nice, but I have a bad feeling behind my eyeballs it won't last ……

 

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