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Old Sep 30th, 2011, 08:53 PM
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Common Game Thread

As soon as we get the third player we will begin the campaign. In the meantime, these scenes will get the two of you started...

Last edited by Landifarne; Sep 30th, 2011 at 10:46 PM.
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Old Sep 30th, 2011, 09:53 PM
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Introduction:

 

Last edited by Landifarne; Sep 30th, 2011 at 11:32 PM.
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Old Sep 30th, 2011, 10:19 PM
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Aeric and Jonlin in Willim's Abode:

Aeric stumbles onto a familiar figure:

 


After a fine meal and some pleasantries, Master Willim has much to say:

 

Last edited by Landifarne; Oct 1st, 2011 at 11:24 AM.
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Old Oct 1st, 2011, 11:33 AM
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Jonlin & Aeric Meet 1 Week Later (2 weeks before equinox)

That night, Aeric brought the subject of Harl possibly accompanying the apprentice before Willim, stressing that his longtime friend had no real prospects in Highwold and that Harl would not be a burden along the way. Knowing that Willim was peaceable by nature, the apprentice had no illusions about mentioning Harl’s desire to eventually turn to a martial trade (Harl wishes to become a soldier in the King's army). Instead, Aeric discussed with his uncle Harl’s plan to become a groom in Stormhill, the kingdom's southern ouotpost. Seeing the truth in his ward’s statements, and knowing better than Aeric the mellowing effect that the simple Harl had on his impulsive great nephew, the apothecary relented, with the stipulation that Aeric secure Jonlin’s consent. Advising Aeric that the decision regarding Harl’s accompanying their journey ultimately lay with Jonlin, master and apprentice sat down to pack Magister Dolgrim’s materials.
The next evening Jonlin returned to Highwold to purchase supplies and to make further plans of departure. Upon seeing the ranger, Aeric raised the question of Harl’s possible participation in their journey. Perceiving the addition of any friend of Aeric’s as an undue and unnecessary burden, Jonlin initially refused the apprentice’s suggestion.

But then he thought twice on the matter and, for once, they had an amicable exchange... [THE GAME BEGINS]

Last edited by Landifarne; Oct 3rd, 2011 at 03:55 PM.
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Old Oct 3rd, 2011, 03:46 AM
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Jonlin moved about the dirt and grass covered grounds as a predator hunts his prey, subtle movements but efficient ones. His eyes never left the young apprentice's face, the look upon his face wasn't annoyance or loathing, it was more the look of a soft-throbbing headache having taken residence within his skull. He had spent the previous night in thought and ran about his usual mundane tasks of preparation with an air of ease... something he had done a hundred times before.

The fool, Aeric had posed an interesting question concerning another companion on the venture. While Jonlin was initially dead-set against allowing this Harl along, the more he considered the use of an additional level-headed peer a boon rather than the fact that they two shared some genetics. If the lad was everything that Willim had suggested that he was... then Jonlin had little left to do but to accept the youths offer.

But Aeric didn't need to know that. Jonlin stood before the lad now, waiting for some ludicrous explanation or sap-sorry story about kith or kin. Likely just enough complaining and moaning to convince him to allow Harl to join. Jonlin would enjoy making the young apprentice fry like a slice of pork on a morning fry.
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Old Oct 4th, 2011, 11:34 PM
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The Heros Begin Their Journey:

During Aeric’s four years as an apprentice he had often accompanied his master on small jaunts into the mountains surrounding Highwold. Their trips were ostensibly for the collection of the many plant specimens and mineral ingredients essential to the apothecary’s elixirs and potions. Yet, for Aeric, the sojourns were always preceded by eager anticipation because they allowed the youth to marvel at the wealth of experiences to be had in the world. The young apprentice relished climbing high peaks in search of mineral veins, digging through rotten undergrowth for hidden boletes, rooting out corpse finders, coursing across meadows and streams, and learning ancient lore from old Willim while sipping mulled wine over a warm campfire. Indeed, Master Willim had found his nephew to be an enthusiastic naturalist and Aeric always pleased the apothecary with his youthful exuberance and quick study.

Unlike Aeric’s leisurely-paced trips of the past where master and apprentice had normally left Highwold around the mark of noon, on the day of the companions’ departure the apprentice’s body rebelled against the predawn chill. Snow still covered most of the ground this late in winter, and the youth was not accustomed to the lingering night air that painfully insinuated its way into the deepest regions of his lungs. Exhaling the palpably thick atmosphere actually seemed to take effort and each breath sapped a bit of the boy’s energy. Neither was Aeric particularly enjoying the newfound aches that wracked his ankle and knee joints. The chill that clawed its way up his benumbed legs made the young apprentice grateful that Master Willim’s arthritic condition had always forestalled such early departures. Jonlin would have thought him a coddled child if Aeric complained of the cold, so the youth bit his tongue and hoped that the current state of affairs was not a portent of things to come.

Aeric was waiting with the woodsman in the village’s main square, standing alongside the Silver Tankard Inn. It was rather disquieting to see the large establishment so silent, as the common room of the place was usually in a bustle. Only the innkeeper’s overworked sons were scurrying about before dawn, drawing water and tending to a few animals penned in the adjoining stable. The rest of the inn’s staff was wise enough to still be indoors.

The sun still had another hour before making an appearance and a constant breeze blew from the north, down the Djorsalng Pass. That arctic wind froze the marrow in the companions’ bones despite the layers of clothing each wore. Jonlin visibly shivered beneath his oiled, rainproof leathers, but managed to stoically face the cold without complaint. On the other hand, Aeric’s thick woollen robe seemed to admit every imaginable draft and the boy complained incessantly of becoming frostbitten. The apprentice’s ears felt as if they were icicles ready to break off and to add to his growing discomfort, the boy would have gladly loosened his breeches and relieved his uncomfortable bladder if the damned wind would not have assuredly frozen his member solid. Altogether, it was perhaps the most unpleasant morning Aeric could remember experiencing. He stomped his feet, blew on numbed fingers to regain something remotely resembling feeling and swore by Bellash’s balls that Harl would lose his own set of jewels if they found that the stable boy was still snugly wrapped in bed.

By the gods he had to piss!

Languishing in the square for another fifteen minutes, the two stalwarts decided to make the quarter-mile trek to Duralain’s estate and unearth the missing Harl. Predictably, Jonlin had begun to chafe at leaving and did not wish to waste another minute of approaching daylight. Aeric obliged the older man’s suggestion to find Harl because it seemed moving about would probably restore some semblance of warmth to his frame. Yet, to the apprentice’s chagrin, the brisk walk only aggravated the pressure that had been building in his loins. Avoiding most of the ice-encrusted puddles that dotted the pitted road, the two arrived at the manor’s servant gate, where they met the presently departing, strangely accoutred Harl. The stable hand was waving farewell to a slight figure outlined by light streaming from inside the manse’s open entrance. Seeing his two companions coming up the frozen track, Harl greeted his companions and hastened to provide an explanation for his tardiness.

Heya, Jonlin, Aeric. Sorry to keep you waiting, supplied Harl. The steward promised me a letter of introduction, yet had put off the writing of it. I had to press him this morning to compose the letter, and he was in a right foul mood. Believe me, he is not a man to pester in the morn, before the household is fully running. But I got it! Finishing his words, the unassuming boy opened a voluminous pouch dangling from his belt and brought forth a scrap of thick, folded parchment.

You’re sure you haven’t been spending the last half-hour bouncing Mallin? ribbed Aeric, who never found it stale to tease Harl about his homely sweetheart. His spirits buoyed, Harl took Aeric’s jibe in good fashion, even though the two had nearly been to blows over similar jests in the recent past. Mallin had lately been a touch-sore subject with Aeric’s friend, but it apparently seemed that leaving Highwold would put an end to that.

And where did you get these? asked Jonlin, poking at the recent acquisitions which made Harl’s appearance so unusual. Aeric also looked intrigued.

One of Duralain’s thegns heard that I planned to travel for Stormhill and become a soldier. He gave them to me, the stable hand explained. Smiling happily, Harl shifted the battered wooden boss-shield that was strapped to his back to a position the others could examine it. Seeming rather ill-used even in that near-nonexistent light, the shield’s worn linen reinforcement was obviously tearing and pulling away, while its chipped and splintered edges looked as if the device would break asunder at the first cut. Nevertheless, Harl stood proudly and rested his hand on the tarnished grip of what seemed to be an equally shabby blade, a two-foot shortsword called a langsax. With the weapon’s frayed scabbard completing the ensemble, their companion looked more like a young and destitute barbarian than a fearsome mercenary. Aeric and Jonlin eyed each other, but held their tongues. If his hanger’s tired sheath reflected the blade’s quality, it seemed that Harl would be better off finding himself a sturdy stick. The watch used to use the shield in weapons practice, and Hauscarl Thurlan said that he’d rather see someone of Suevi blood carry the sax than have it melted down, the earnest lad remarked.

Let’s get moving, advised Jonlin. At such an hour he was in no mood for some prattle about playing soldier.

Well, at least Mallin thought to send me off with some warm rolls, ventured Harl, forestalling Jonlin. Opening a small bundle that he had been tucked beneath his travelling cloak, Harl offered a welcome treat to the frozen travellers. Indeed, Jonlin and Aeric discerned five golden, butter-glistening loaves bundled in a square of crudely sewn lace. Forgetting their previous peevishness, the two reached out greedily. And, being the pleasing man that he was, Harl happily gave his comrades two rolls each, wolfing down his own with relish.

Ahh, now I feel warmed enough to chance a piss, Aeric offered, his mouth scarcely empty. Stepping off the road, the scoundrel fumbled briefly with his garments and let out a steaming yellow stream. This accompanied by an audible groan of pleasure.

The three young men departed Highwold that morning, leaving behind the last of its homesteads just as the first rays of sunlight trickled through the valley forest’s snow-covered boughs. Griping about the cold, Aeric asked Jonlin what they should expect in their forty-league journey to Blacktop Vale, the home of his future master.

For his part, Jonlin wondered how Harl had managed to secure a letter of introduction from Gromlic, Duralain's steward. Having dealth with that old bastard on several occasions, Jonlin knew the man would rather sell his mother to a pimp than perform a favor for an underling.

OCC Spoiler:
 

Last edited by Landifarne; Oct 9th, 2011 at 10:44 PM.
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Old Oct 5th, 2011, 09:26 PM
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Mmmmm.. Mallin's Warm Rolls... the line was obviously a ploy at his friend's stoic silence, as Aeric too, was feeling the weight of the journey before them. Thinking about his new life with a new 'Master' of the Arts was making his head hurt with the drudgery of change which loomed upon his brow.

See there Sir Jonlin, I'm sure your already wanting to thank me for talking you into letting good ole' Harl come along with us for our trek. finding his smarmy smirks were met with nothing but Hrumphs or Eya'hum's,

Aeric feels the uncertainty of his own personal inner dialogue being compounded by the awkward silence of his troupe. Trying to keep his hands occupied, he feels doing a final gearcheck may help calm his nerves. He rummages through his pouches first somewhat methodically, muttering incessantly as he goes; Medicinals, Vials, ink and parch, no quill -uhm whatsth- ah HerringJerky! oh thats Kelp Paste. Yeuck. but soon degenerates into what looks like a man possessed of some terrible affliction... Flint and Tender?? WHERE"S my TENDER?!? Oh- he finds a smallish pouch hanging low -Got it. Damn why did I have to bring my Mortar 'n Pestal? It's like carrying a brick. Heavans I wish we found a caravan to 'Escort.' -right Jonlin? he had meandered to within breathing distance of the man during his tirade, and gave him friendly nudge in the ribs...
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Old Oct 10th, 2011, 06:28 PM
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Thinking long and hard about what he brought, Harl let his hands roam about his pack. Flint, tender, the usual extra pair of undergarments he was constantly reminded to bring... A mane brush and rubdown cloth?!? Old habits die hard, he guesses. A few feet of sturdy twine, an old whetstone for the Sax, chipped on one corner and having seen better times... A needle and thread to fix the left bootsole when, not if, it comes apart again... A few strips of jerky purloined from the larder and wrapped in an old cloth... And finally, "his pride and joy", wrapped in the softest square of leather he could find. Best to leave THAT wrapped up and safe at the bottom of the pack. No need to let the others rib him about more than the sax and shield he brought!
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Old Oct 10th, 2011, 08:52 PM
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The party moves south...

The road that trundled its way from the small hamlet of Highwold down to the distant town of Rifford could be more accurately described as a rutted track than a proper byway. Few wagon trains plied the route, as the townsfolk of Highwold were generally a self-sufficient lot, in need of few trade goods. The refined silver that Lord Duralain’s retainers sent southwards every few months was packed out on sure-footed mules that could make better time than any wagon team. In return, the mule teams brought back bundled leather goods, spices and exotic liquors that could be bartered with the region’s dwarven allies. Because such goods were not terribly bulky, the mule trains were sufficient and neither Duralain nor his master, King Lornall, saw any need to spend good coin maintaining the highway. The rulers’ lack of interest showed in the road’s awful condition.

The companions generally stuck to the path provided by the road, but found their way often impeded by thick stretches of mud, freshly cut gullies and flowing rivulets of water all created by the watershed’s melting snow pack. Streams of running water carved great fissures across and along the highway, the eroded soil resembling red, gaping wounds in the earth. Since these obstacles were often five or six feet deep and too wide for a man to leap across, the three frequently found it necessary to forge a trail off the road, avoiding the path entirely.

Highwold was situated six thousand feet above sea level and its high elevation made the climate cold much of the year. Thus, during this last month of winter, drifts of exceptionally deep snow were still evident in depressions alongside the road and banked against the large fir and pine trees that grew more thickly as the pass widened into a valley floor. The group's path wound down from Highwold through the gently sloping and heavily timbered Djorsalng Valley, a wide glacial cut that eventually opened into the Norwold some fifteen leagues to the south. Highwold stood near the very top of the valley, and besides working the silver veins that ran through its rock, the people of the region harvested barley, oats and root vegetables, trapped animals found in the immediate vicinity and raised goats and sheep. Moving down through the valley, a patient hunter could spot an occasional deer or bull elk and, if extremely lucky, bring down a twelve or sixteen pointer. Forage for animals was plentiful during the milder months, and Jonlin had always known the long valley to promise both bounty and beauty.

The wet, green season of spring had not yet arrived, but the mountain man was still pleased. Leaving his charges a short distance behind him for much of the day, the woodsman had the pristine and tranquil valley all to himself during this time of year, and to the introverted ranger, that counted for much. Even if he was not currently interested in bringing down a large buck, Jonlin could enjoy his journey because of the solace it brought. The young man would relish this break from the goats that he and his mother tended, and the journey promised to free him from the daily chores and responsibilities that occupied most of his time while at home. Jonlin was going to cherish this temporary respite, and as long as he kept within earshot of his two childish charges, he could immerse himself in the natural environment he so loved.

Four days to Rifford, Jonlin thought to himself. A short stop there to replenish their rations, then a continuation of the journey to the east, just south of the River Lorkyng. That stretch should take a bit less than a week, if everything went well. Then, leaving the others with Dolgrim, I'll skirt Rifford on the way back.
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Old Oct 15th, 2011, 12:48 AM
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The Trio Moves South...

During that first evening away from Highwold the three companions took their time choosing an appropriate location to bed down. At the ranger’s insistence, the site was situated well off the road, so as to be far from any groups unlikely enough to be moving about during winter. Jonlin preferred to camp in dense copses during the summer and fall because of the protection they offered, but he demonstrated to his companions how the present season guaranteed the ground at such locales to be covered by impossibly deep snow. Accepting their situation, the men were forced to spend a little time searching for a suitably dry outcrop in the hills lining the valley. This sheltered the travelers from the freezing winds that blew down the pass, screened their campfire’s light and provided some sense of security due to their defensible nature. The three established a routine where Aeric prepared a fire and meal while Jonlin and Harl dragged in underbrush, piling it high for additional protection. Although the youths permitted themselves the luxury of a fire, Jonlin ensured that it was banked and kept low, not wishing to attract any unwelcome visitors.


The ranger also spent much time away from his charges the second day, searching for signs of game and preferring to keep his own company. Hoping to catch a hare, or perhaps a few ptarmigan unawares, the woodsman spent most of the daylight hours paralleling the highway, keeping the two younger men behind, but within earshot. Jonlin reasoned that the terrific din the youths created along the road would probably flush some game his way. If so, there was a chance that the trio could enjoy some freshly cooked meat at night, but only if the woodsman could get in a good shot with his bow.

That afternoon found Jonlin waiting silently, hidden behind a deadfall of pine logs surmounting a large snowfield. Situated as he was, at the crest of the last foothill spilling out of the Djorsalng, the woodsman could see from his position that the day’s travel would bring the group into the broad expanse of the Norwold. Listening carefully, and patiently searching the blanket of snow for any signs of movement, a combination of heightened senses honed through years of stalking prey eventually alerted the hunter to the presence of a small animal scurrying his way.

Scanning the surface of the snow, Jonlin detected the faint outline of a hare some thirty paces away. Fleeing the approach of Harl and Aeric, the animal was nearly impossible for the hunter to make out against the patches of glaring snow. Keeping still and breathing shallowly, the crouching Jonlin carefully knocked an arrow but waited for the animal to come closer to him, his thoughts keenly focussed on the need to maintain a hunter’s patience. The hare scurried from the shadows of one fir tree to another and then paused, sniffing the air. Standing up on its hind legs, Jonlin’s prey twitched its ears visibly and the hunter knew the animal was testing the region ahead for noise or scent. Apparently, the tenor and man-stench of the two lummoxes encroaching upon it from behind startled the creature enough that it threw caution to the wind. The hare bolted away from Jonlin’s companions, in a line oblique to the ranger’s vantage. He would have preferred an almost guaranteed shot against an unmoving animal, but after a brief moment of hesitation Jonlin loosed his arrow, firing at the point he perceived the long-ear would be at an instant later. Experience played its role and the ranger’s arrow flew true, piercing the animal’s left hind leg and forcing it to tumble, rolling much like a snowball would if impaled by a stick.

Jonlin dropped his bow and was up in an instant, concerned with losing his precious missile more than a fresh catch. Pouch and quiver a’ bouncing, the woodsman caught a second bit of luck when, after recovering from the initial shock of being struck, the hare subsequently tripped. His projectile was now hampering movement in the animal’s other limb. Pouncing upon the hapless prey, Jonlin gripped the small animal tightly and quickly twisted its neck.

Pleased with himself for hitting such a fast target on the fly, Jonlin extricated and cleaned his arrow, carefully molding its fletching back into position before returning it to his quiver. Cutting into the animal’s neck with his long knife, the woodsman allowed the carcass to drain of blood before setting to skin and dress it. Lopping its feet off with quick chops of his knife, Jonlin then made a single incision in the skin up and around the creature’s head and then back down from sternum to the anus. Four subsequent cuts perpendicular to the first, along the insides of each leg allowed a flat pelt to be had. Carefully inserting his left hand between the carcass’ dermal layers and muscle tissues, the young man methodically tugged at the body of the dead hare, feeling the fatty connective tissues holding the pelt gradually give and separate. Rewarded a minute later with a whole piece, Jonlin’s inspection revealed only the one blemish occurring on the left hind leg, where his arrow had gone through. Rubbing both sides of the pelt with snow, the hunter cleaned its outer and inner surfaces of stray blood and then draped it from a tree branch.

The job of dressing the kill was much easier than that of skinning the animal and required a less gentle touch. This simple process entailed gutting the carcass and then washing and packing it with snow. Jonlin would normally pull an animal’s brains out for consumption since it was really the only source of fat in such lean prey, but since his party had a good store of food the woodsman limited himself to harvesting only the carcass’ heart and liver. Smiling to himself for a job well done, Jonlin pulled an empty sack out of his travel bundle, filled the bag with snow, and buried his future meal inside. Tying both the sack and the pelt to a quickly trimmed sapling for easy handling, the hunter adjusted his kit and shouldered his new burden. Walking back to his traveling companions, the hunter felt at ease with the world.

Being in a much better mood, Jonlin walked with his two companions for the rest of that day, going so far as to even participate in their endless banter. The village-raised lads were mightily impressed by his tangible demonstration of skill and even offered to carry the carcass so that Jonlin’s hands would be free to work the underside of the rabbit pelt with a wooden scraper. Finally spending a fair amount of time with the two younger men, Jonlin came to notice Aeric’s awkwardly stooped stance and Harl’s constant fussing with the great sack which hung over his left shoulder, clear indications that the younger travelers had loaded their gear improperly. Their guide had negligently overlooked these tendencies, as the ranger had been avoiding the friends’ company during the previous day. Upon realization of this, the woodsman became irritated with himself for shirking his responsibilities and insisted that they immediately stop. Resting on a fallen log, the three set to repacking both Harl’s and Aeric’s belongings.
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Old Oct 23rd, 2011, 05:34 PM
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Harl had come to realize that he was woefully out of shape, and underprepared for this adventure. He had thought that his meager belongings were packed right, yet here he was, listening to an angry woodsman lecture him about how he had stuffed everything in his "sack" impropperly. A sack, he calls it. I'll have you know I made this BACKPACK myself out of some discarded leather saddlebags and horse blankets! You try making one from scratch using a 2 year old memory from a backpack seen propped on a chair in the kitchen on a blustery winter night!" Harl felt better after silently getting that off his chest, and patiently sat and listened to Jonlin's lesson on properly packing for a cross-country trip in the middle of winter. "Jonlin's not so bad and overbearing, once you get past the surly expressions and the "who-passed-gas" rumple of the forehead."

Last edited by MicFad; Oct 23rd, 2011 at 05:49 PM.
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Old Oct 24th, 2011, 12:50 AM
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Traveling in Comfort...

Although he knew himself to be in the wrong, Jonlin was taken aback by the stableman's words. Like most Highwolders, the woodsman had always thought of Harl as rather timid and blundering. And now, the young man was showing altogether different sides of his character. Not only was Harl speaking up for himself, but the younger man caught Jonlin off guard with the quality of his leatherwork. Harl's rucksack was constructed as well as his own, and the stable hand had made it himself. "Sorry, Harl, I was commenting on the overly large sack you're carrying, not your rucksack," the woodsman stated. "It looks quite uncomfortable. As for your pack...well, I have to say, that is some quality work you have done. I did not know you had such skill. It looks better than my own."

Jonlin explained to his companions how their possessions were improperly stored and slung. Being more experienced, he was able to shift their loads into more efficient positions, despite the over-abundance of what the woodsman considered nonessentials. Aeric was especially bad in this regard, carrying an assortment of oilskin-wrapped bottles, quills, rolled parchment, several smallish tomes, bunches of dried herbs, cooking equipment, clothing, food, a small coffer, and many tiny, filled pouches. All of this was in addition to the sealed box meant for the warlock Dolgrim. However, when Harl produced from his great sack a particularly large bundle wrapped within the remnants of a tattered blanket and stuffed with straw, Jonlin took particular notice. Clearly the cause of most of Harl’s discomfort, the ranger was completely taken aback when his sheepish companion revealed, of all improbable things, the tarnished and lengthy head of what appeared to be a boar spear. Plainly hoping for his companions' approval, the stableman timidly held the two and a half foot monstrosity up for inspection.

“Gods, man!” choked the incredulous woodsman. “What are you carrying this for?” Never in his life would Jonlin have thought of bringing such a thing along on an extended journey, especially in a sack. As long as his arm, and with two tremendous quillons radiating from its pole-sheath, Jonlin was amazed that Harl had even managed to fit the object into the oversized bag.

“Between your pig-sticker and Aeric’s bottles, I do believe we could open a city bazaar,” mused the ranger as he ran his fingers over the old weapon’s curiously sharp edge. Meant to completely halt a massive animal’s forward progress, it was decidedly a vicious-looking thing. In a rather quizzical tone, Jonlin continued. “I don’t see what you can do with it, Harl. A proper shaft for it will be a dozen feet long, the size of a pike.” Seeing that no explanation was forthcoming, the woodsman shrugged and handed the spear point back to his companion. “Well, perhaps you can set it on a short pole when we get to Rifford, or when you get to Mittlefeld. It would make a rather evil close-spear. In the meantime, I suggest that you tie it along your shield grip. You can’t have it digging into your back all day.” Strapping a few of the younger men’s belongings to his own rucksack, Jonlin led the somewhat lighter-stepping youths along.

Finding a decent campsite before dusk was a bit harder that afternoon, as the companions had left the Djorsalng that morning. But, a spot was eventually found underneath the boughs of a thickly foliaged fir tree. Before the sun had set, Aeric had a small fire going and set to making a fine rabbit stew. The three companions had determined that the ample provisions they had brought for this leg of the journey were sufficient for eight days, rather than the six it would take to reach Riverford, and they decided to feast on their excess that evening. Aeric tenderized Jonlin’s rabbit with a knife and simmered the carcass in his small pot, until the meat came easily from the bone. Taking an hour in his preparation, the apprentice mage diced their supply of mealy potatoes and parsnips, added them to the pot and created a thick base of ground jerked meat, flour, dried herbs and mushrooms. While their mouths watered, Harl cleaned and mended several torn garments and Jonlin finished scraping the remaining tissues from the rabbit’s pelt. Satisfied with his progress on the fur, the woodsman began the curing process by stretching it and rubbing various salts onto the skin’s underside. Several days of such gentle treatment would yield an acceptable fur, suitable for barter when they reached Rifford. Deeming his meal complete, Aeric ladled stew into shallow wooden bowls and the three companions amiably ate and talked into the night.

As during their previous nights, each of the youths took a turn guarding their camp while the other two slept. The slim crescent moon had been setting within a few hours of sunset each night and had not been particularly useful for marking time. Therefore, Jonlin had taught his companions an alternate method of tracking relatively bright constellations across a quarter of the sky before changing guard. This proved an equitable way of ensuring that the companions each received at least six hours of sleep at night.

 

Last edited by Landifarne; Oct 25th, 2011 at 11:33 PM.
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Old Oct 25th, 2011, 08:25 PM
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Harl was mesmerized by Jonlin's curing of the rabbit pelt. He had only worked with suitably prepared leather and fabrics in all his handcrafts. To see a fresh pelt being worked over from skinning to curing! "Jonlin, could you teach me to prepare fresh pelts like you do? I'd gladly repair any of your leatherwork in exchange", Harl said. While waiting for a reply from the taciturn Ranger, Harl took some of his ever-present leather strips and began fashioning a secure mount for the spear tip inside his shield boss, next to the grips. Since he had been using and repairing leather goods since he was an apprentice groomsman, his mind began to wander while his well trained fingers got busy. Harl the Bold, whipping out a short bear-sticker and using it to slice and dice a humongous group of goblins raiding a nameless township.... Yeah, that's how he imagined it. Not like reality, tripping over his own feet while turning his head to speak to Aeric...
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  #14  
Old Oct 29th, 2011, 12:50 AM
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Landifarne Landifarne is offline
Unfinished Mosaic
 
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Landifarne Landifarne
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The Third Day Out, A Discovery

The party moved into the Norwold proper on the third morning. And, as southern road became hedged in by the thicker stands of evergreens, visibility was quickly cut to a few hundred feet. The sun’s weak winter rays had to work diligently to filter through the forest canopy. Jonlin, still rubbing salt onto his new pelt, returned to his habit of forging ahead. But he also seemed to retain the better, more familiar humor he had possessed the previous day. That morning passed uneventfully for the companions, and they made good time. Even though the flatter ground of the forest was more susceptible to pooling water than the pass had been, there was less snow covering the ground, and moving one’s feet was no longer so strenuous an activity.

Coming upon the waiting woodsman around noontime, Aeric and Harl noted that for the entire time that they had been approaching him, Jonlin had been squatting over the same spot in the muddy forest track. The man had put away the rabbit pelt, apparently concentrating upon something new, his gaze sweeping the forest before him, intent and keen. Carefully picking their way around the puddle-filled ruts and mud slicks that threatened to engulf their feet at every step, the two friends eventually reached their companion and peered down to see what had engrossed him so.

“What do you two make of this?” asked the older man, glancing up as they approached.

Aeric wrinkled his brow, seeing in the mud an impression clearly made by a person’s bare foot. Confusion clouded his face.

Pointing at the edges of the impression, Jonlin explained his concerns in low, grave tones “It was certainly made recently, but no man left this print. It is somewhat shorter than a human print, but you can see here, along the sides, that the foot which left this splayed mark is a finger width wider than that of any man of similar height.” Smoothly rising from his crouched position, Jonlin rocked slightly to return circulation to his legs. He continued, gesturing left and right, “Other than a few deer, I haven’t seen any tracks along the road since we set out from Highwold. But this, and several more prints, appear in the forest to either side of us, in the snow and mud. Some of the feet were roughly shod, but others were bare, like this.” Moving slightly off of the road, the three peered into the depths of the forest. The younger lads were able, with Jonlin’s help, to make out several more impressions.

Last edited by Landifarne; Oct 29th, 2011 at 02:27 PM.
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Old Oct 30th, 2011, 06:05 PM
MicFad MicFad is offline
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"Jonlin, would you say that the bare-footed tracks are from someone heavier, yet shorter, than a typical man? If so, wouldn't that make them Dwarf tracks? Do you think it's from a Dwarf, Jonlin?!?" Harl never seen a Dwarf, but he'd heard fireside tales of them. He never thought he would get the chance to see a real Dwarf. "Jonlin, are there Dwarves in these forests? Have you ever seen one? Do you think we will," gulp...," meet one?!?" Harl starts feeling around himself for his Sax and shield. Not having the slightest idea if a chance encounter with a Dwarf or two would be safe or decidedly deadly, Harl imagination started going a mile-a-minute.

Last edited by MicFad; Oct 30th, 2011 at 06:06 PM.
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