War and Pieces part 3

Dast spent the next couple of weeks meeting people and exploring the area of the Fort and its surroundings. He continued his efforts to learn of the mercenary group the Grey Riders, bit other than the fact that they had gone to the east into the wilderness and not returned, he gained little knowledge.

Cragthor.jpg One day the henchman of the merchant named Blend abruptly approached Dast. Cragthor was a bruteman, a race of people Dast had not encountered frequently. From all accounts, brutemen were tribes of warriors and raiders, with some even recruited into the ranks of the ogre armies, so to see this “Cragthor” on the side of the common people was a little puzzling to Dast.

Cragthor strode up to Dast in an intimidating manner and bluntly asked the warrior “What care you for mercenaries? "

Dast did not back down as The bruteman approached. “I have nothing against most mercenaries, in fact I used to be a hired spear myself. I merely seek answers and I have heard the Grey Riders may have them. Who is asking?” Dast slowly moves his hand to his sword not sure what to make of this creature.

Cragthor just snorted at Dast’s slight hand movement, and slowly removed his greataxe and lowered the head to the ground, leaning upright on the long handle. “Cragthor, last of the Gray Lions, you challenge me?”

Dast makes a placating gesture at Cragthor. “I do not wish to challenge you. There are some that I wouldn’t want to know of my search. Do you have any information on the Grey Riders?”

Cragthor leaned towards Dast just far enough to make a point, but not enough to shame Dast into conflict. “Cragthor was part of Grey Riders. Owe Blend blood debt. Fighting with this clan better…more exciting.” Cragthor looked at Dast and said. “Mercenaries killed my tribe. Mercenaries neither good nor bad. If you fight, you fight to win, yes?”

Dast smirked at Cragthor’s words. “Is there anything else worth fighting for? Of course I fight to win. Any information you have on the riders would be appreciated.” Dast notes the mention on Blend and thinks it might be worth his while to seek him out.

Frederick was briefly startled.

“Nitram, what are you doing out here? Is everything all right back at the fort?”

Nitram wiped the look of parental concern and frustration off his face and responded to the bard, “Yes, everything is fine at the fort. But, everything is not fine out here. There are ogre and goblin raids all across Falconaire. I would have thought your experience with your land sharks would have made you a little more wary of wandering off by yourself. What are you doing out here anyway? You seem to be randomly wandering around, which might not be the best thing to do by yourself right now. I hope you found what you were looking for…we should get back to the fort. If you want to explore further, please take an escort. I’m not sure we can afford to lose you…” The ranger continued the thought internally, “but it’s still up for debate.”

Frederick gave a short bow.

“My apologies, Nitram. I was not wandering, but had been drawn to a source of energy that is tied to the land itself. After a brief consultation with the Book of Kells, I successfully bonded myself to it. Not entirely certain what that entails, apart from the ability to practice some magics that have been thrown against us. I also encountered what was potentially a sprite, though it disappeared and neglected to communicate with me in any fashion.”

20 Angel, Spring 509 PE (Year of the Ravens)
1300 Thunderday
two weeks after the battle of Trogdor

Rumil had since returned from the Aelvinwode some days past, and the majority of the group had decided to gather together on this day to sum up the most recent events.

Many points were brought up and discussed, with some of the most relevant ones being;

The ogres had broken up their main camp (that Blend had infiltrated) and retreated into the wilderness.
The other groups of ogres and goblins continued to harry and raid across the eastern border of Falconaire at least as far west as Castrel.
Luis Marcosa was assisting duBlade from the keep at Castrel

There was also discussion about what was the cause of all of this war and strife;

The ogres had re-discovered blood magic and were in cahoots with a coven of witches
Harbor Freight had been assisting the ogres in the trafficking and selling of blood magic items, either for a nefarious purpose or simply profit.
The grain crop this year was stunted and yielded little of value, and coincidentally(?) Harbor Freight had been corning the market on stockpiles of grain.
The ogres were burning grain fields and farms wherever they came across them, but consistently enough to be suspicious.
Toreador and the Toreadoran Merchant’s Guild had the next largest supply of grain. (Coincidence or seeing the trend?)
There were other ideas, that may or may not be connected to the overall plot;

The blood magic ogres and the elemental ogres didn’t like each other.
The Grey Riders were very interested in old ruins located east of Farhills. They had a mysterious benefactor with unknown motives.

Several maids brought in flagons of wine to the meeting room, and the group began to discuss amongst themselves (RP time) once more.
As Rumil sat quietly, sipping on his offered goblet of wine, to the groups assessments and concerns, a strange thought crept into this mind – he had missed these newly found comrades while he was visiting his people.

He had heard of defenders that never returned, finding the life outside of the forest too exciting to simply devote the rest of their days to defending against the next threat. Rumil failed to understand this reasoning, as he has come to understand that while these men fought hard for all that life had to offer, their flame was but a mere flash of light in comparison to his own.

He was glad to be back, glad to be useful, but he knew his heart belonged to Corellon and his People. He would remember this group for centuries to come, Corellon willing, but could never truly feel at home in this keep.

When the group brought up the old ruins, he listened with keen interest. He had found that area to be quite fascinating – heavy in magic, worth his darker cousins fighting and dying for, and for some reason unknown to him, of interest to these Grey Riders or their benefactor. Very interesting indeed…

“So, my thinking is that if we corral the blood magic usage, we might be able to slow the enemy’s progress in some of their other ventures. Maybe might make it harder for them to operate at the scale that they’re at. Though I’ll admit to being the most ignorant of strategic measures and counter-measures.” said Frederick.

Pouring himself a glass of wine, Nitram addressed the others, “I’m sure it comes as no surprise to any of you, but I think our primary effort is to determine where the ogre army disappeared to and how we can reduce or stop the raids to the north or us or many will likely starve. If the ogres are using blood magic to teleport across the Kingdoms, we need to find a way to stop it or no one is safe. We need to increase patrols, both in frequency and distance and a cavalry unit will give us this ability. Rillifane willing, we can afford one.” He paused a moment to let his comments sink in before continuing.

“Once the area is more secure, I suggest we try to pick up the trail of the blood witches. They may be able to lead us to the source of all this blood magic or at least get us some more information on it…for the bard.”

Nitram quickly shifted his attention to the merchant, as if a thought had just popped into his head, which it had, “Blend, were you able to uncover anything of interest in the ogre camp?”

Before Blend could answer, and with an apologetic nod towards Jonas Rolandoval Lt Gentry spoke up.

“There seems to be quite a few Toreadorean units helping hold the ogres back, especially here and around the Gloaming Hills. Not to look a gift horse in the mouth, and I certainly do not questions the motives of Jonas, but they are quite strategically placed, and it is no secret that Toreador has always claimed that this area should be one large kingdom. Do we think this is a concern at this time?” he asked as he sat back down and poured himself a glass of red Varencian #8.

Frederick muttered to himself “Oh, grand, Big Bads knocking at the world’s doors, blood magic and gods’ cussed landsharks to boot. Why wouldn’t there be some kind of court drama nonsense in this tale?” Lt Gentry, who apparently was within earshot of Frederick, raised an eyebrow, and his wine glass in the bard’s direction with a slight shrug.

Frederick flushed briefly, nodded his head in return, and opened the Book in his lap, keeping an ear to the conversation should it wander into one of his many fields of knowledge or expertise. “My father saw a landshark once” a young serving boy whispered to Frederick. “Said it was the size of a hill!” The young lad then wandered off picking up cups and dishes.

War and Pieces part 3

Unconquered Kingdoms SkidAce