Valerie, Lucius, Cassie, Tarvis, and Boudreaux along with Mirasandra the paladin of the Silver Flame headed West from Waterview to try and track down the Big Bad Wolf.
Gathering up some supplies as well as calling on the help of Donkeyxote the Mule of La Mancha they followed the river towards the forest. It wasn’t long until Aurum, Lucius’ faithful Dragonhawk spied something strange stuck in the river. Pulling their horses aside to investigate the rapids the group discovered a traveling wagon that had apparently slipped from the path near the top of the bank and gone careening into the river.
Eleanor (being a Spinosaurus with a swim speed) and Tarvis (boosting himself with a Bulls Strength) swam out to the carriage to take a closer look. There were indeed two ponies that had been pulling the cart. Both horses were still strapped in place though it looks like they had been pulled under by the surging river and drowned. Tarvis cut the straps and let the bodies continue down river.
Judging by the spacing of the shelves it looked like it was inhabited by small size humanoids and the various equipment (axes, pickaxes, wet paper, inks, roped, camping supplies) all pointed to some sort of expedition.
Tarvis did manage to find a hidden compartment that contained some kind of Emergency First Aid kit with some healing potions in it along with a single potion of expeditious retreat. Wrapping some rope around the carriage the combined strength (with mostly Donkeyxote leading the pack) of the group pulled the carriage out of the river and up onto the bank.
Boudreaux took a look around the scene looking for tracks (this being the first of really high rolls my players made tonight, they were on a decent hot streak when their rolls really mattered.) and pieced together the situation. The carriage had been traveling alongside the river. Some medium sized humanoid tracks approached the carriage. The carriage stopped, and the small sized humanoids stepped out. Something spooked the ponies and the carriage slipped off the side of the bank and into the water. The medium sized humanoids left the scene, their foot prints weighing heavier in the damp ground than when they began indicating they took the small humanoids with them.
With Boudreaux leading the way and calling upon the tracking abilities of Balinor, lord of the hunt via the spell Deadeyes’ Lore the group moved at full speed into the forest. The medium humanoid tracks split up at teams – meeting back up at others until finally they appeared to move into a small clearing that contained two log cabins.
Off in the distance the group heard arguing, one loud brash voice full of cursing, and another equally loud voice though distinctly more calm. Heading over to investigate the group saw that the nearby river took a sharp turn in its path opening into a lily pad covered pond with several recently chopped down trees dipping their branches into the water. Mist curled around the branches and seeped out across the top of the water.
A good thirty feet away from the bank stood a group of lumberjacks (And They’re Okay) whose leader was shouting angrily at a figure sitting in the pond. That figure being a young girl with a slightly blue and green tint to her skin whose head was just above water that was responding in a much calmer vocabulary but was equally as loud.
The girl as it turned out was Melianse, a Nixie whose home was the pond. She was rather upset at the recent felling of the trees that surrounded her home. Trees that were over 200 years old. Trees that Melianse had been trying to protect by peacefully attempting to shoo the lumberjacks away with threats of ghostly calls at night and ominous fog surrounding the local area. But it was to no avail, and the trees were cut down. In retaliation for disrupting the look of her home Melianse charmed two of the lumberjacks to protect her as she forced a showdown between the two.
The lumberjacks were led by a gruff salt-o’-the-earth man with a bushy beard named Corax and he didn’t take kindly to some fairy workin their witchcraft on his men. Course he was going to cut down the trees this place was a fantastic site to setup a lumber mill. The trees gave great lumber and the proximity to the river allowed for fast delivery of supplies.
Boudreaux acted as an interpreter for Melianse, while the majority of the diplomatic situation was resolved by Valerie. The ruler of the country has been slowly coming into her own as a practiced diplomat and took the time to hear the arguments of both parties.
Valerie pondered for a moment, considered her options and resources and came to a conclusion.
Regarding the trees, Boudreaux was pretty sure that he could concentrate a Plant Growth to help regrow the trees that had been cut down but only because this particular area had a stronger connection to the natural growth of the world (in addition to spending an Action Point to make this possible). That would satisfy Melianse for now – though she would not give up the lumberjacks until the trees were restored.
Regarding Corax and his company, Valerie revealed their identities as part of the ruling council of Valdrik and their desires to expand westward into the forest and establish a sawmill in the Narlmarches forest. The group could move slightly down river to not disturb Melianse’s pond and still have access to the water. If Corax was willing to agree to these terms they’d look into a contract for manning the sawmill for Corax.
Tarvis, having taken a lesson from his experience with the Silver Flame decided to sit out on the negotiations this time.
However for the time being peace would be maintained and it seems like everything will work out. While Mirasandra had been traveling with the group she had mostly been silent, allowing the ruling council to decide things for themselves. A nod and a smile to Valerie gave indication of her appreciation for the pursuit of peace in this instance.
Back to the matter of tracking down some small-people kidnappers and the Big Bad Wolf. Corax had encountered a traveling group of gnomes led by one Jubilost Narthropple that had been mapping out the local area, but hadn’t seen them lately. While Corax had built the two local cabins, he and his men used one and typically rented out the other to travelers for a bit of extra money.
Boudreaux and Valerie asked Melianse if she had seen anything strange recently…anyone coming through possibly carrying small sized people…maybe a seven foot tall killing machine calling itself the Big Bad Wolf? The Nixie went quiet at the mention. “We don’t talk about him.” she said but she did lean in conspiratorially, whispering “Don’t stay in the other cabin…”
The other group renting the cabin was currently another group of lumberjacks that came and went at random times but often traded information with Corax regarding good spots of lumber in the forest. Otherwise there didn’t seem to be any sighting of something weird going on. Things still seemed off though…our heroes didn’t want to break into the other cabin to investigate especially with trying to foster a good relationship with Corax. Peeking through the windows seemed okay though. Finally after giving a knock on the door and hearing a thumping noise on the other side the group explained that they were looking for dangerous criminals – enough to give probable cause to Corax to lend them the master key to check out the other cabin.
Suspicions were confirmed through a cursory once over of the insonspicuous cabin…in addition to being the ruler of the country and a talented diplomat Valerie was also familiar with how to search for deadly traps, find hidden doors and on occasion, break open a lock or two. There was a place in the floor that was slightly more hollow than the rest. A closer look revealed a locked hidden door that had been rather crudely made…leading into a 10 foot pit filled with several beaten, manacled, and gagged gnomes. The pit seemed a mix of dirt and rock and appears as if the gnomes had managed to climb on each others shoulders to try and open the lock.
While the gnomes’ hands were manacled their feet were not. And about this time as Valerie and Boudreaux were helping the gnomes out of the hole, Tarvis decided that this would be a really awkward time for those lumberjacks to show up again…and wouldn’t you know it eight of them came wandering out of the nearby woods. This was about to get seriously awkward.
Confrontation was going to be inevitable. Tarvis’ diplomatic skills continued to be as delicate as a minotaur in a sarlonan antiquities shop flatly pointing out that they had followed them here and discovered the gnomes in their cabin.
The leader of the lumberjacks looked rather angrily at another…an alpha to a beta apparently. Reaching up to leave a bleeding claw mark across the others cheek as a sign of his displeasure. “You don’t hunt the wolf. The wolf hunts you.”
“Well that doesn’t seem true considering we hunted you here.” -Tarvis
And with that, the lumberjacks dropped their axes and transformed into seven foot tall killing machines.
Wolf Pack vs. Our Heroes, Mirasandra, and a group of confused and scared lumberjacks and gnomes.
“A Delicate Situation” Melianse and the Lumberjacks – 4545 XP
The Narthropple Expedition – 3600 XP
Quest – Replacing Melianse’s Trees – 2000 XP
Total Gained 2020 XP Each!