G01 — Session 3
Season, Week, Day
Jeepol the Innkeeper and Acting Chief of Ironspike
Moreena, head woman and probably –not– a dryad
Old Man Solace, formerly retired chief of the Oakleaf clan
Kargin, definitely not a dwarf
Gaius, almost certainly a Decent Lunar
Broan, a lad with a peculiar accent
The party stay at the Broken Tree Inn in Ironspike, a place known for the dirty great big Iron Spike that is stuck through the oak tree in front of the inn. The iron spike is rusty and greenish and everyone seems to step around it in respect. While most of the group sleep in the inn itself, Serala and Finarvi keep the horses and mules company in the stables.
The inn is very well built and sizable, considering Ironspike is in the middle of nowhere. It seems to be a hub for trade and the centre of government in the region. The keeper, Jeepol, is the acting chief of the area, and his wife, Moreena, is the priestess. The pair run the place with an iron fist. It hosts a market where the local clans can trade the proceeds of their mining, hunting farming efforts. A lot of goods flow through here – Lunar goods among them.
Jeepol meets with the party and Jorrim tells him their message from the Queens. He looks ‘what now’ at the news, rather than eager to serve his Queen. The serving boy fetches Finarvi and Serala from the stables and into the back room where the can discuss matters privately.
Jorrim overhears the keeper telling the boy to bring them the cheaper wine and cheaper cakes and doesn’t hesitate to share this information with the others privately.
Jeepol and his wife join them and ask what the news is from Boldhome and Starbrow. When Jorrim tells him Starbrow won’t be sending any messages he looks shocked, but his wife remains serene. Jeepol says Starbrow’s brought trouble, the Lunars more so. Life’s difficult here. He implies there aren’t many warriors left in the tribes hereabouts.
Jeepol may be in charge, but it’s clear his wife Moreena is the one who says how. Under their guise as Harmless Traders (™), Finarvi discusses trading salt for goods and information on the local clans. He trades salt for a reasonable amount of bronze, lead, furs, carved goods and a few small ingots of silver.
Ivalla and Jorrim wander around the village and chat to the locals. They are told: “Don’t hunt in the woods without The Lady’s permission. Cut no wood.” When asked, the locals confirm The Lady is the earth priestess married to Jeepol, and that they tend to hunt in the mountains instead as it is further from the Hollow.
Finarvi gets his goods in trade from the warehouse and makes sacrifice at the shrine to Issaries.
Finarvi and Ivalla worship for most of Wildsday, while Jorrim creates some books so they look like legitimate, established traders should any officious Lunar come snooping.
Serala goes out for a ride of the surrounding area. The village is surrounded by the woods, a few little fields, not much else. From the outside it’s not that well defended. There are some archery butts off to one side, so clearly take their training seriously here. The woods are quite well spaced and free from undergrowth. Serala trains Pag in riding through trees, and Uhnta follows.
Later, the party regroup and head out of the village, sharing what they have learned free from prying ears. A small boy runs up from the village. He has a message from Jeepol that strangers are coming. Serala gives him a ride back as the group return to the Inn.
Everyone in the village are looking conspicuously ready and handy should anything happen. At Jeepol’s suggestion, the group stable their horses and Finarvi sits with Jeepol for some wine and to discuss the salt contract. 10 Lunar soldiers run in, more beyond, in all 30 soldiers slope into the village. Not deserters, though their armour is dull and tarnished and their uniforms are discoloured.
The leader, Gaius, seems familiar with Jeepol and he with him, clearly this is a regular patrol. They check the village for spies etc. And find none.
Tarshite mule handlers enter the stables where Serala is brushing down the horses They look more knackered than their mules, but their beasts are well cared for so she shares food with them.
Meanwhile, in the inn itself, 25 Lunar soldiers are kicking back in the bar, drinking beer and smoking hazia. They look lazy, laid back, relaxed, but they’re not drinking heavily and the youngest is mid-20’s. All veterans. They’re respectful, disciplined troops, not troubling the locals. They’re watching the doorways and the locals. They’re cautious. This is bandit country, as far as they are concerned.
Next morning the Lunars leave at dawn without incident. Later, Jeepol comes to Finarvi to finalise matters and shares a little about the leader of the Lunars, Gaius, a Lunar centurion. At least he was. Jeepol says he is a clever warrior, wise in the way of men.
Jeepol sends a boy to show the group around the local clans – a lad named Broan. Broan is quite brown. Brown skin, brown clothes, green eyes, shock of blond hair. He tells us there are three clans nearby – Oakleaf clan, Dark Iron clan and Blue Deer. He’ll take us to the Oakleaf clan first.
Oakleaf are hunters but want metal goods, salt, news from outside. Broan says Jeepol founded the inn as a trading centre because Jeepol knew a lot of people, but most of Jeepol’s old trader friends are dead now. He adds that the chieftain of Oakleaf is named Solace. His son was chief, but died in the wars so old man Solace is in charge again.
On arriving in Oakleaf, old man Solace welcomes the group from a litter. He invites them in for food and gives them simple fare. Finarvi discusses trade – Solace wants Clearwine and salt, and trades fine furs for it. Finarvi talks to him about raising the fyrd but the old man is reluctant, having lost his heirs fighting the Lunars. He will stand with Sartar if the fort falls, but not until.
Broan says there are two Clans the group can reach from here, Blue Deer (hunters and farmers) and Dark Iron Clan (miners). They need furs, so Finarvi uses some of the FHQ’s gold to buy more warm furs for the miners.
Movement in the valley ahead. Serala sees the Lunars again – the same group from Ironspike, loitering on the path, watching. The Humble Traders (™) saunter innocently down the valley and exchange polite words with their leader, telling them of their intention to trade furs to the good miners of Dark Iron. Gaius asks a favour, to remind the good miners not to be making any weapons or armour up there for him and save him the trip. Gaius is lying, knows the Grazelanders and their translator are lying and he really doesn’t care.
He waves them through, but Serala gets riled and makes Pag rear, at the very moment Finarvi tried to kick her in the shin to remind her to keep her cool. Fin falls off his horse and is helped up by Gaius.
Ivalla and Serala spot that there are other Lunars in the trees, ten either side. The rest are further back with the mules. Serala says there are over 40 Lunars now. They didn’t bring their whole force into the village. Gaius is a good commander, deploys his troops wisely.
Dark Iron Clan have walled off the whole valley with a big stone wall, effectively fortifying it. Broan says they trade with the Dwarf, or used to. They have crossbows.
A man with a huge greatsword and very fancy armour greets Arim as a fellow Humakti. They flip swords at each other. The crossbows are uncocked, the travellers let in and the gates are barred behind them. Dark Iron clan’s village is a quarry with stone huts and a small stone keep. Their chief is Kargin, a bearded man in armour with an axe across his knees.
Jorrim launches into a rousing song about the events of the Battle of the Queens. (Rolls a 1). Mead and wine is brought forth. A lively party ensues.
In private, Jorrim tells Kargin of the meeting with the Queens and with Gaius the Lunar commander, and delivers the centurion’s message. Kargin leads them into a tunnel in the cliff and shows them an armoury stuffed with swords, spears, armour. Enough to arm an army.
Kargin’s clan is ready to rise up against the Lunars. He offers Dark Iron as a muster point. On hearing the Oakleaf clan will only join in if the Lunar-held Fort falls, he suggests raining a landslide on the fort. Possibly in concert with an attack, as a distraction.
Business done, everyone enjoys the party.
Arim: sings “Shove an iron spike right through the old oak tree…”
Jorrim: “He means he’s seducing the innkeeper’s daughter.”
“This is an ex-Starbrow.
Bereft of life, she rests with Humakt.”
“If they hadn’t speared her to the ground, she’d be pushing up Ernalda.”
Arim: “We have them outnumbered 1000 to 2.”
Jorrim: (translating) “He wishes you to know he’s not trained in statistics.”
“Now I have a greatsword too. Yippe kai aye, Motherducker” – Arim
“A very Orlanthi village is up ahead. It’s kind of Heidi meets Asterix.” – GM
“I don’t think 98 is a Fumble. Oh… yes it is!” – Arim
GM: He has his sword drawn, hand on the blade. As if he might draw it.
“You did say he had his sword drawn too, and we’re all a bit confused. Maybe you want to try that again.” – Jorrim
“ROCKS FALL.” – GM
“Finarvi makes his mark. Looks a bit like a little face.” – Finarvi
“A happy or sad face?” – Serala
“An inquisitive face with a big nose, maybe.” – Finarvi
“Funny. I’d have thought your mark would have been rather bigger.” – Jorrim
“He was doing a nice Cornish accent for our guide.” – Serala
“I got Somerset.” – Jorrim
“I was getting Swahili.” – Arim
“If the Starbrow forces the pass, or the fort otherwise falls, we are with you. You have my word.” – Solace
“He’s being over-the-top polite to the point of being rude.” – Serala
“He’s being over the top polite to the point of being polite, which is subtly different, and he can use it to make us angry, which we are not going to fall for.” – Jorrim
“I am going to fall for it!” – Serala
GM: “Some of the Lunars have pipes and are lighting up hazia.”
Arim: “Hazia steals manhood.”
GM: “No Lunars seem to notice that remark.”
Serala: “Any reason why some people don’t like the bottom way?”
Broan: “Well, sometimes there’s trolls.”
GM: “Is it a named meat?”
Arim: “No, that’s only for the honeymoon suite.”
Jorrim: “Calling it John Thomas does not make it any more edible.”
“Are you here for war, or peace?” – Humakti guard
“Yes.” – Arim
“OH FOR GOD’S SAKE,” – a voice behind him.
“Big beards, and helmets, and not necessarily any other clothing, and fire!” – GM
“So, aloe vera next time we come here trading.” – Jorrim