Sunday, March 24, 2013

Postscript - Adventure of the Slavers

Extracts from the diary of Brother Rowan:

It is to my great surprise and relief to discover that Brother Jacor is alive! After he had succumbed to the spider's venom, I had thought him dead. I then went on a mad charge against the slavers that ended in my captivity. Fortunately, the young lass that we had rescued brought relief from the Temple. They found that Brother Jacor, while unconscious and paralyzed, still had a breath of life in him. They managed to nurse him back to health. The One be praised!

I have returned today from an assault on the slavers' stockade in the swamp. When I made my return and reported their whereabouts, the Prefect mustered our knights to march upon the slavers. Alas, our venture would prove anti-climatic. Alarmed by their master's death, the slavers abandoned their stronghold. When we arrived, the place was as quiet as a tomb. We presume that the unfortunate captives have been sold downriver to the slave lords of Talmatia. Because they enjoy the protection of the wicked Queen of Doria, our Temple has no influence in that benighted realm and we can do nothing for the victims at this time. I do hope, however, that we can strike a blow against the slavers in the future.

Just a note that the abandoned mansion that served as the slavers' hideout in the city has been cleaned out. It has fallen to the care of the Temple. I believe the Prefect intends to turn it into a hospital. It will be pleasing to see the place associated with good rather than evil doings.

Escape at Last!

To the Prefect of the Scotsile Temple


I am pleased to be back home and to be able to present to you this final report of my adventure among the slavers of the swamps. In my last letter, I mentioned that Varn and I had found refuge in a hermit's hut in the middle of the swamp.I do not know how the hermit did it, but one morning after we had healed, he presented us swords, a shield, and light leather armor. We were set for our final foray into the swamps. Yet our benefactor pressed upon us to wait just a bit longer.

The next morning, we were visited by a young, beautiful lady named Lyla. She came with news that the slavers were approaching the hut, but she offered to lead us to safety. Our host assured us that she could be trusted so we set off.

We had been walking for some time when we entered a wooded area in the swamp. The trees were covered with thick, sticky, spider's webs. Lyla warned us to watch our step, but I was careless and found my leg entrapped by a web. My struggles alerted the denizen of the web - a giant spider. Lyla began an incantation; I then realized that she was a druid, a follower of the Old Gods of nature. Her attempt to pacify the creature was in vain, and it leaped to attack her. She stepped back to avoid the creature's bite and I stepped forward to shield her. Varn circled around and stabbed deeply into the creature's back. In rage, the spider lunged at the nearest person - me. It sunk its fangs into my flesh, pumping poison into my system. I said a prayer to the One and continued to fight. Lyla then commanded the winds into a powerful blast that killed the spider.

We continued our journey. I grew a bit queasy, but my prayers were answered and I overcame the poison. Later in the day, we heard the baying of a dog behind us. Looking back, we could see a man (one of the slavers) leading a large hound. It was unerringly following our scent! We ran but to no avail for the duo gained ground. Finally, we turned and prepared to fight. The man released the hound and it charged toward Lyla. As it lunged for her, Varn was able to stab it in the back (lesson - do not turn your back on Varn) and it crumpled to the ground. I rushed forward and with one slice I struck down the slaver.

As we progressed through the swamp, Lyla proved to be an effective guide. Once, I was about to slosh through a shallow pond that blocked our way, but Lyla grabbed my shoulder to stop me. She pointed to bubbles breaking the surface of the pond. As we took a detour around the pond, I turned back to see a large crocodile surfacing.

Finally, we exited the swamp and I could see a small village a short way off. Then to our horror we heard the baying of dogs. From the direction of the village we could see two slavers with hounds approaching us. Behind them towered a giant of a man, clad in armor and carrying a wicked-looking sword. I recognized him as the leader of the slavers at the stockade. We steeled ourselves for one last desperate fight. The slavers and the dogs rushed us, while the huge man lagged behind shouting orders. Lyla bent down, placed her hand upon the ground, and spoke some arcane words. The ground began to shake! We managed to remain standing but our foes fell upon the ground! We hacked at them and killed one dog. The enemies regained their footing but we struck down another dog. We then sparred with the slavers. Varn took a serious wound, but we managed to disable our foes.

Then the huge man rushed into battled, madly slashing his massive sword. I was hit, but my armor deflected the blow. I give thanks for the hermit's gift or armor, for without it I would assuredly be moving on to the next world. I struck a mighty blow, and then Lyla again called upon the winds to buffet our enemy. The slaver stumbled and faltered. I pointed my sword at him and commanded him, in the name of the Templars, to surrender. He sneered at me, laughed contemptuously, and then lunged at me. I ducked his blow and drove my blade into his midsection. He crumpled to the ground, dead. The One have mercy upon his soul and the upon the souls of his followers.

We found refuge in the village. Lyla departed back to the wilds, while I stayed to tend to Varn's wounds. Once he was rested, we made our way back to the city without incident.

Your brother in service,


Saturday, March 2, 2013

An Update from Rowan

To the Prefect of the Scotsile Temple


I am pleased to report my escape. Currently, I have found sanctuary at a hermit's lodging deep in the swamp. My host assures me that I am quite safe as long as I remain here. I plan to recover my strength and then continue my journey home. The hermit has agreed to use a friendly owl to deliver this missive.

I was able to escape due to the assistance of a man named Varn, whom I befriended in the slavers' camp. He confessed to being a thief, but he put his nefarious talents to beneficent use. He acquired a dagger and the handle of a broken pick, which I have used as a club. On a dark, moonless night, he picked the locks of our shackles and the door to our hut. We then sneaked to the wall of the stockade. I said a prayer to the One and He cloaked our passage so that we remained unseen. His guidance was with us further, for we found a hole in the stockade wall and were able to crawl through.

There was a wide open space of murky ground between us and a line of cypress trees that offered us cover. We stealthily crawled by guards patrolling this area and were almost to the shelter of trees when a guard dog jumped upon me. He clamped down upon my left arm, which was fortunate for it prevented the beast from barking. As I tried to shake it loose, Varn dispatched the creature with his dagger.

We fled into the cypresses and ran as fast as we could. After a while, we took a short break and I healed my wounded arm. We then continued. Unfortunately, we were walking through a muddy expanse, leaving a trail of footprints that formed a veritable beacon to our location. Thus, we were tracked by a fell monster, which I have learned serves the slavers. At the time, though, we were surprised when the gargoyle swooped down upon us. It wounded me, but I smote it with such a mighty strike that it flew off. We penetrated further through the swamp, beating off a crocodile that tried to make us his morning repast. Later, a slaver tracked us down (now we know that he was aided by the gargoyle). His war dog attacked me, sinking its teeth into my exposed flesh. I clubbed the animal senseless but the slaver was immediately on me. Varn came to my rescue and plunged his dagger into the man's neck. We continued to travel until it neared dawn. We then spotted the isolated little hut of a hermit. We knocked, and were rewarded with the holy man's assistance, which we are still enjoying.

I hope to leave soon. I have included a rough map of the location of the slaver's stockade. If I do not return, I hope that this account will at least be of use to you and that you will end the slavers' nefarious deeds.

Your brother,
Rowan of Scotsile