No Judgement

Session 2 part 2
Session 2 part 2

Veiling truth in mystery

“Finally” Nevyn sighed to himself. They had eventually found the campsite of the lost patrol at the third “likely” location that Zeiv had proposed. They had been gone from the keep for fourteen days now and if it had not been for Thorlak’s and the ranger’s ability to find food they would have had to turn back by now.

Thorlak kicked the half finished fortification. This was a good location for a defensive forward post he thought to himself. Atop a small rise, with boulders forming a natural protective position at the pinnacle the veteran barbarian thought he could hold the hill, or at least make the blood price high. Then why were there no signs of bloodshed or the patrol? They were able to find a tiny fire pit, some preliminary attempts at fortification, plenty of boot prints, including a trail of kicked over rocks and broken branches leading east.

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Session2
Session 2

Everything has its evil but not everyone sees it.

Rubbing his hands together Tilby felt satisfaction as he took a step back to admire his handy work. His nimble fingers had secured the old lady with rope fast around her hands, feet and neck. Now they could question her safely, when she woke up….

Funnily enough nobody had even asked her name. Jin thought this was an ominous sign. When she regained consciousness their captive told a story of being a young trapper’s daughter cursed into this repulsive body by witches, and being forced to lure the party under threat of harm to her father. Thorlak was keen to kill the “old lady” there and then, but much to Nevyn’s relief the rest of the group backed him up when he refused to allow such an act. Rather, they could use her as a guide to learn the fate of the lost patrol.

From behind a tree Zeiv watched the group. He could hear the arguments well before he could see them. Three days from the outpost, in the middle of hostile territory was not a wise place for loud noises the ranger thought to himself as he observed. “City folk” Zeiv sighed as he realized that the heated debate was about whether to have a fire for a hot lunch.

Twice in two days! Nevyn thought to himself as a shadowy figure stepped out from behind a tree to interrupt the bickering about lunch. “Zeiv?” Tilby said once he got over the surprise. He hadn’t seen the bounty hunter since they had located a bounty in the city of Cralton about 2 years ago. Zeiv introduced himself, handed Nevyn some correspondence from the outpost and then held a private conversation with Tilby. Whilst the Halfling and the stranger were talking, Nevyn read the letter, gave a small sigh, called Jin over and explained to the foreigner that he would have to return to the keep by himself.

Nevyn really didn’t see much of their first fight. Somehow he had slept through Thorlak’s warning shouts, then managed to put an arm in the head hole of his scale mail vest , get stuck, then get hit by two spears. By the time he was standing again the forest was quiet, and by the moonlight he could only just makes out Thorlak and Zeiv about 30 foot away. “Kobolds are much better at dying that fighting” Tilby said as he appeared from the bushes from the opposite direction. All told they had defeated four of the creatures.

The rest of the party had crossed the narrow rope bridge, about ten feet above the river. This rickety rope and wooden structure crudely made by an earlier patrol was the point most commonly used by scouting parties to cross the river. After everyone else had crossed, Thorlak took a tight hold of the rope tied to the old lady’s neck and marched her across. Almost directly in the middle Thorlak’s captive kicked a peg on the side of the bridge and the bridge broke clear in two. Instinctively the big barbarian dropped the leash and tried to grab a hand hold. Missing by millimeters he fell into the cold, turbulent water and was quickly washed downstream.

It happened so fast. Thorlak’s cry caused Zeiv to look back at the bridge just as the large barbarian fell out of view, at the same time he heard the whistle of an arrow fly past and smack clean into Nevyn’s unarmored chest. Zeiv turned back to the dark forest just in time to catch an arrow in his leg for his troubles. Instinctively Zeiv threw himself behind some small boulders that backed onto the creek to get some cover from the woods. Shouting for Nevyn to do the same the ranger drew his bow and peered around his cover to try and spot their assailant.

Running along the river bank Tilby could see Thorlak easily swimming across the current making steady progress towards the bank. Tilby freed the rope from his bag and was just about to throw it into the fast flowing whitewater when Thorlak’s progress downstream suddenly stopped.

Taking a deep breath Thorlak duck dived to exam the net that had stopped him. From what he could tell it was anchored to the river bed about 12 feet below, and extended from the riverbank that Tilby was standing on to about two thirds the way across.

Ignoring Zeiv’s cautioning shout Nevyn discarded his scale mail shirt to the ground in disgust, drew his scimitar, and turned to face his opponent. The half naked cleric clearly saw a hooded tall figure step out from behind a tree and release an arrow directly at him, then grunt as Zeiv’s arrow hit the assailant in the shoulder. Just as Nevyn was registering the pain from the arrow sticking out of his chest he was forced to parry for his life as a large wolf attacked him.

Before Zeiv could get off another shot the hooded attacker whistled loudly and vanished into the woods with his badly wounded wolf.

That night the frustrated party huddled around the raging campfire. After regrouping from the bridge affair and realizing that they had lost the prisoner they followed the tracks of the bleeding wolf into the afternoon. As the day wore on the tracks became less distinct and more time consuming to follow.

Following heavy dew the previous night Zeiv could not locate any tracks aside from those of the large boar that had wandered into their camp at around midnight. Consulting Nevyn’s map the experienced ranger proposed that given the area the scouting group was supposed to monitor there were three likely spots that could make sense to use as a forward reconnaissance base.

Sixty feet in the air Tilby’s arms trembled as he held on. He was almost at the top, but the effort of the challenging climb had sapped his already limited strength reserves from his arms. The Halfling cursed as he remembered a time when he could easily have made this climb. After his second fall Tilby retreated to the safety of the ground and reported that he was unable to see any signs of the patrol.

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Session 1
Session 1

To know the road ahead, ask those coming back

Tilby shook his head as he tried to shake the mud from his expensive leather boots. Lifting his eyes to survey the military outpost he couldn’t help wonder if he and Thorlak would finally find Carlisle here. Judging from the recent ten foot timber wall and fortifications this placed needed men, desperate fighting men to be precise, just the place to lie low for a while. The Riverlands never changed thought the halfling, a place of great opportunity for those who would take it, and equally, a place for the desperate or wanted not to be found.

In slow deliberate movements Jin’How repositioned himself into the praying mantis pose. Taught muscles moving slowly into the precise forms of Khung Foo always helped Jin centre himself and reflect upon the way forward. Ever since being escorted into the make shift military outpost Jin had never felt so alone. Only the efforts of the lordling Nevyn Rednut had stopped Commander Elyjah from having him locked up and tortured as a spy, for now.

Still smarting in embarrassment Nevyn stormed from the Commanders quarters. He fumed as again he had been shown up to look the fool by the wily old man. The outlying reconnaissance scouting groups had not sent birds in over a week, and now the crazy old fool had ordered Nevyn into the wilds to investigate. Deep down, the cleric knew he did not have the skills, training and knowledge to hold such a high military position as was charged with in the keep. It was only through the church positioning for power, his modest family ties, and a brief stint as a squire did he end up in this position. It was no wonder that the old fashioned commander hated him so much.

Of course they would not have found Carlisle in the outpost, that would have been too easy. Naturally they missed him by less than two weeks. AND, it went without saying that Carlisle’s patrol was now missing somewhere in Gods only knew where. Thorlak had plenty of time to rile against the injustices of his position as he stalked quietly through the lush forests two days out from the garrison. He could barely see Tilby flitting in and out of the woods in front, and he need not bother to check for the location of the Captain, the constant metallic sounds of his ornate armor constantly gave him away. No guide, a rough map ending only in certain danger was all they had. Somehow, he, a battle proven warrior had ended up on commission, as part of a scouting party looking for a missing patrol, under the command of a cleric of questionable experience, a Halfling, and accompanied by a foreigner who did not wear armor or even carry a weapon. With a wry smile the towering barbarian thought that this sounded like the start to a joke

Derek’s slow drawl was beginning to get on Tilby’s nerve. Ever since the scout had surprised their group the previous night Tilby could not help feel something was not right. Either way, the promise of woodsman spiced rations was appealing, and Tilby would forgive much for flavor so he was more than happy to share an evening meal. Tilby was just relieved that they had found the scout who had led the party they were now looking for. Finally Tilby’s luck had turned.

Needless to say Tilby was mildly surprised when the big barbarian casually sidled up next to Derek, then grabbed the scout in a rough bear hug. Even more surprising was when Derek disappeared, yet Thorlak could clearly be seen wrestling something. With a battle cry to Sarenrae Nevyn hurled himself bodily into the fray and Jin began throwing punches that sensai would have been proud of. Assessing the situation, Tilby quickly grabbed a rope from his pack and after several loops around the tussling group had successfully entangled all bodies.

Once the tussle subsided Thorlak almost began gagging when he could see what he had hold of. Black greasy hair, large hooked nose, eyes not on the same level, slightly sharp teeth, and boils all over her wrinkled smelly greenish skin. All she needed was a pointy hat. Before anyone could question the old woman any further Jin How squatted only inches from her face, looked into her eyes and quietly said something in his native tongue. He then slowly raised his balled hand and smashed it into the temple of old hag. “What did you say” Nevyn demanded. In his exotic accent Jin quietly replied, , "my old sensai would say “those skilled in war bring the enemy to the field of battle and are not brought there by him”

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