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[D&D 4E PbP] (IC) Keep on the Shadowfell+ - Chapter 1: The King's Road

124

Posts

  • KayKay What we need... Is a little bit of PANIC.Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    After removing anything of value from the kobold corpses, the small lizardlings are dumped at the side of the road, and the company mount up (with some complaints, most notably from Nolar) to continue their journey.

    The night's usual sounds are soon heard once more, and Ezekiel's lantern keeps the darkness at bay from his position at the rear of the column. The road's quality improves as you approach Winterhaven, and a couple of hours after the violent encounter, the lights of the walled village are visible atop a broad, low hill in the gloom.

    When the group arrives, the detail on the walls is more apparent - weathered rock topped with defensive palisades, with a handful of guards keeping watch. Not much of the village can be made out, thanks to the heavy wooden gates barring entrance, but a tall, somewhat rickety tower can be seen above the walls, in the rough center of the settlement.

    "Who goes?" are the first words that greet the party as you ride up the shallowly inclined road to the front gate. "And why, at this time of night? Ghosts haunt the Downs at night, the dead monks from the Abbey! And other things too, scalesnitches and quickclaws!"

    As the guard atop the walls yells down at the six travellers, a small door in the side of the gate opens, and two pikemen exit, spears levelled at the group warily. A flash of the seal of Fallcrest, and some friendly words from the golden machine-man quickly reassure the milita, and entrance is granted.

    7wJpq.png

    Tara recalls the map of Winterhaven in her travelling pack (and indeed, there are two more, in Ezekiel's and Godfrey's supplies), which has the major areas of interest marked upon it.

    "You'll be wanting Wrafton's Inn, first buildin', straight ahead. Stables are opposite it, along the southern wall. Only public house in Winterhaven, but the beer's good, the food's fillin' and the beds are warm." one of the Guardsmen offers.
    Spoiler:

    ew9y0DD.png
    3DS FCode: 1993-7512-8991
  • DracoGriffinDracoGriffin Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Tokul stares at the vocal guardsmen, abruptly stating, "Dragonborn are not lizards. Dragonborn are dragons made mortal."

    He dismounted from his steed with a loud harrumph, as if he proved some mighty declaration. He grasped the horse's reins as he led his mount into the city, headed towards the stables.

  • hippofanthippofant Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Tara breaks the awkward pause by asking, "Did someone say ghosts?"

  • AegisAegis Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    "Likely mistook Goldie 'ere fer a possessed statue, prolly nothin' lass," Nolar responds, rubbing his hands together, "Now then! Oie heard mention o' an Inn."

  • KayKay What we need... Is a little bit of PANIC.Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    At the stables, Tokul is greeted with a dark, mostly empty structure. Two horses stand at rest in the last stalls, and its not until his own steed stamps its foot impatiently that a stableboy peers over the edge of another.

    "A sivver fer yer hoss, suhr," he says, sleepily. After rubbing his eyes, and peering past the dragonborn to see the others congregating near the inn, he adds, "Three sivvers fer alla youse, uh."

    The youngster leans forward, and looks more closely at the Warlord, before squinting back up at his long face. "En't never seen wun o'youse afore. Dun' look like a big dragonsqueek. Youse one o' those Argh... aah... dragonmen, right?"
    ~~oOo~~

    The main village road bends to the left, and the large building directly opposite the entry gate has a couple of sputtering lanterns on the narrower side, facing the trail. A large sign proclaims it to be 'Wrafton's Inn', and a plaque on the wall proclaims it to be 'Winterhaven's Finest Inn'. Someone has struck through the word 'Finest' in chalk, and scrawled 'ONLEE' above it. Inside, the only light is especially dim. Perhaps a candle or two. The village itself is quiet, with the usual nocturnal noises breaking the near-silence from time to time.

    ew9y0DD.png
    3DS FCode: 1993-7512-8991
  • DracoGriffinDracoGriffin Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    The dragonborn adjusted his eyes as he scanned the inside, spotting the horses nearly instantly. His eyes focused on the stablehand once his voice was heard, offering his hand outwardly with the horse's reins.

    Tokul's head cocked at the boy's words, his fingers deftly searching his money pouch. He pulled out a single gold coin, gently placing it in the stable lad's outstretched palm.

    "Mmm, yesss," Tokul hissed jokingly, "Dragonbornsss are not the 'sssqueakersss'. We have honor and true ssstrength. Dragonborn alssso known to tip!"

    He smiled hideously, followed by an unusual laughter as if he were attempting sarcasm or teasing. He patted the child on the head before heading out of the stables towards the inn.

  • FiarynFiaryn Omnicidal Madman Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    "A visit to the Inn is past due I think. It is there that we might best evaluate the fate of Douvren, at least insofar as his time here goes, amongst other things hmmmm?"

    Soul Silver FC: 1935 3141 6240
    White FC: 0819 3350 1787
  • AegisAegis Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    The dwarf tugs his horse along to the stables and notwithstanding the time of night and long journey, he seems to be in the brightest of moods. Waving happily to the stable-boy after seeming to just deposit the horse there and tossing the kid a silver piece, Nolar saunters over to the Inn, entering and proceeding directly to the bar and/or reception desk. "Good Eve!" he yells, slightly boisterously to anyone that's already there or to anyone that shows up shortly thereafter, "Oi'll take yer best dwarven ale on tap!"

  • KayKay What we need... Is a little bit of PANIC.Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    The inside of the inn is dimly lit by a pair of candles at the end of the bar. Nolar's enthusiastic entrance causes a young lad sporting a few wisps of not-quite-beard to raise his head, and grimace. "Two silvers for a room, breakfast included," he mutters. "You want a meal now, 'fraid all y'can get at this time o'night is a slab of cheese, saltpork and black bread. Can get an ale though, but... bit quieter. S'really late."

    He puts a tankard below the nearest keg, and pours a thick, dark ale for Nolar. "This is Coalstriker's favorite," he says, sleepily, sliding it across to the Runepriest. He peers into the back of the room, and counts quickly in his head. "Separate rooms for the lady, and the lords," he guesses, counting on his fingers. "You want one of the bigger rooms between you, or separate? At least two of you got to share, though. Only got five rooms open right now. Only got six rooms total, heh. Can give you all five, with an ale and Ploughman's each... one gold. Or ten silver, iff'n you like. And welcome to Wrafton's. I'm Bill Wrafton, Salvie's brother."

    ew9y0DD.png
    3DS FCode: 1993-7512-8991
  • FiarynFiaryn Omnicidal Madman Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Godfrey doffed his hat as they entered the establishment, taking in the sights with characteristic enthusiasm. As the Wafton's offer was made, he nodded his head and handed over the necessary funds in the name of the group.

    "All five rooms it is, my good man. I shall double up with someone. Being as I lack a need for sleep, everyone gets a bed all to themselves this way. Simply smashing wouldn't you say? he declared in part to the sleepy innkeep and in part to his comrades in arms.

    "Ah, before we all take to our rest though...would you have perchance encountered a man by name of Douvren? An archaeologist from Fallcrest, we believe he might have stayed here for a time."

    Soul Silver FC: 1935 3141 6240
    White FC: 0819 3350 1787
  • KayKay What we need... Is a little bit of PANIC.Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    "Aye, he's got the last room," Bill states, as he pours four more dark dwarven ales, and after a moment's thought, a glass of white wine for the lady. "At least, his stuff's there. He en't been back in ages. Only got his stuff in there still 'cause he paid in advance."

    Once the drinks are sorted, the lad takes a set of keys from under the counter. "I'll put these here now, but you all want feeding, right? Won't take too long, then y'can get some sleep, an' talk t'my sister in the mornin'."

    ew9y0DD.png
    3DS FCode: 1993-7512-8991
  • hippofanthippofant Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Tara smiles demurely at the man. "My name is Tara. Thank you for your hospitality." As she speaks, she reaches out her hand past the glass in front of her and instead takes hold of the mug placed before Andrei. After she swallows a large gulp of the ale, she continues, "Douvren is a friend of mine, actually. He's one of the reasons we've come. We're concerned that some misfortune may have befallen him."

  • AegisAegis Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    The dwarf's face has a sense of relief wash over it at the mention that this Inn does in fact have ale. He grabs the mug with a smile and downs half of it in one gulp before glancing to the rest of his party, "Perhaps Douvren's things can tell us somethin' o' where he had gone. Course, we'd have ta rifle through tha man's room."

  • KayKay What we need... Is a little bit of PANIC.Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Bill purses his lips. "Somethin' t'ask Salvie in the morn," he states, before disappearing into the kitchen to hack up some bread, meat and cheese.

    A few minutes later, he returns with a plate for each member of the party, as well as two jugs of water, and some more tankards. The meal is satisfying, if cold, and the rooms are clean and tidy. The night passes without incident, with everyone enjoying a good night's sleep after a whole day of ritual-enhanced travel, capped off with a kobold ambush.

    And then, morning.

    The smell of frying bacon is on the air as people drift downstairs as and when they have awoken and washed. A petite woman with brown hair, tied back and braided, is tending the bar. The common room is otherwise empty, but there are sounds in the kitchen that suggest activity.

    ew9y0DD.png
    3DS FCode: 1993-7512-8991
  • DracoGriffinDracoGriffin Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Tokul awoke from his slumber, making his way to the common area. He sat in one of the far corners with his back to the wall, so that he could have full view of the room. The dragonborn had spent his youth in the wild, teaching him to always keep an eye on the surroundings.

    He tapped his foot somewhat impatiently as he waited for his morning meal.

  • AegisAegis Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Nolar wanders into the common area, scratching as his beard which has managed to weave its way up, down, and around his face and shoulders over the course of the night. Yawning and stretching, he plops up on a stool near Tokul, "Always good ta havin' a proper night sleep after walkin' cross tha land. Who're was it we're supposed ta talk with about tha man's room?"

  • AcratiaAcratia Registered User
    edited June 2011
    All washed up, Zeke walks into the room with a brush of his hand through his hair, not placing the hat on his head for now due to being indoors. Noticing the woman at the bar, he flashes her a rakish smile on the way by. He catches the end of the dwarf's question as he approaches the breakfast table, answering as he sits.

    "Salvie Wrafton, the innkeep. She'll probably be able to fill us in on a few things, too."

  • FiarynFiaryn Omnicidal Madman Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Godfrey springs to life in his and Andrei's shared room, having been in a slumped deactivated position in the corner of the room for the night. Unblinking, eyes open. Always watching. As life returned to the construct he placed his jaunty hat upon his head once more.

    "Rise and shine my good man! I can already hear the others below, snapping at the coattails of adventure! Up up up!"

    Not waiting for a response he exited the room to join the others with gusto, "Good morning! Oh, food. Right."

    Somewhat deflated by this unfortunate impediment on the roadway to more important sections of the narrative, he nevertheless took a seat.

    Soul Silver FC: 1935 3141 6240
    White FC: 0819 3350 1787
  • KayKay What we need... Is a little bit of PANIC.Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    The woman looks up from where she's cleaning the bar as she hears people making their way down for breakfast.

    "Breakfasts're on the way!" she calls, before turning to call into the kitchen. A few moments later, two younger girls come from out back, arms laden with plates. The four seated at the table are presented with a large, wholesome breakfast. Bacon, black blood sausage, tomatoes cooked in their own juices, and some interesting fried potato patties that none of the group have likely seen before. Salvie herself follows, with a jug of water in one hand, and another jug of warm, spiced milk.

    "I'm Salana Wrafton, proprieter. Anything else you'd like while waiting for the last two? We do have herbal infusions for steeping, if that's your thing. Bill tells me you got in late last night, after the gates were closed. Welcome to Winterhaven, and the Wrafton Inn."

    ew9y0DD.png
    3DS FCode: 1993-7512-8991
  • RiusRius Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Andrei wakes to the sound of a very heavy construct walking about in his room. Groggy, he looks around for his axe only to realize that it's Godfrey and how the hell did he get in here and oh, he's leaving. Fantastic.

    He eventually makes his way down to the common room and sits with the others, nodding at Nolar, smacking Godfrey upside the head and helping himself to large portions of blood sausage and those unusual potatoes. He seems to eat quite a bit for a rather fit man, devouring the food with something perilously close to socially reprehensible speed.

    Midway through the first sausage he looks up as Salvie walks in. "These are delicious, madam; are they your recipe? Do you have some preserved for the road, perhaps?" He nods as she holds forth the jug of spiced milk, flipping one of the cups in front of him over.

  • KayKay What we need... Is a little bit of PANIC.Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    "A man of taste, I see!" Salvana says with a laugh. "Aye, we can sell you some for the road, preserved ones are thinner, though. Not fat slices like these. The secret, though? Use pig and cow, now just pig," she says with a wink.

    She busies herself pouring milk and water for the group - the only patrons in the inn, at present, and then asks, "Bill tells me you were asking after Meister Staul? Wonderful man, very spry for his age, and a decent swordsman, if old Eilian and the sage are to be believed. We've kept his things, but haven't seen him for some days."

    ew9y0DD.png
    3DS FCode: 1993-7512-8991
  • DracoGriffinDracoGriffin Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Tokul rushed through the meal, hungrily devouring each portion without regard to social etiquette. He attempted to pick at the others' plates during the many conversations, hoping to not be caught.

    "Staul, yes, quite spirited," he managed to spurt whilst gulping down a carafe of water. "Looks deceiving."

    As the dragonborn licked his plate clean, he grinned at the hostess, mischievously. He crooned, "May we have seconds?"

    He spoke in a deeper voice, "It's been some time since I've enjoyed succulent flesh as this." One could not help but be somewhat disturbed by the eerily spoken words out of the mouth of such a beast.

  • hippofanthippofant Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Tara tromps in making low grumbling noises from her throat and plants herself in a nearby chair, purple robes a-swish but immaculately arranged. "Mmmmmmrrrrrrgggggrrrrrrrr."

  • AegisAegis Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    "Have an idea o' where tha' lad might have last been off ta? Been asked ta follow up on him and it'd be useful ta have a place ta start without wanderin' bout these mountains fer days. Then again, would do all these tall ones good ta get some strong mountain air in their bones!"

  • KayKay What we need... Is a little bit of PANIC.Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    A cup is filled with water as Tara sits, and another plate of fried meats, eggs and tomatoes is produced. One of the serving girls comes out with a bowl full of garlic-butter fried mushrooms, and places it at the table's center with a serving spoon beside it.

    "And good morn t'you, Milady," Salvana says with a grin, as she pours Tara some spiced milk. To Nolar, she shrugs. "I was usually too busy to talk about specifics with the Meister, but if you can find old Eilian..." she looks around the room, as if he might be hiding in a corner, "He'd probably know. Him or Valthrun. They both spoke to him at length, with great interest. Only the sage really understood him though, I feel."

    She sets down her mug of hot spiced milk, and wipes her hands with her apron. "Eilian was in here last night, threw him out an hour before the gates closed. He should have made it home, but with the amount he drinks... he might have collapsed in an alley someplace. He has a farm, outside the town walls. But he's in here most nights, spending his savings on ale."

    ew9y0DD.png
    3DS FCode: 1993-7512-8991
  • FiarynFiaryn Omnicidal Madman Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Godfrey, direly lacking in anything to do in this accursed biological festivity known as breakfast saw fit to resume investigations.

    "If you might indulge my curiosity m'lady, we are searching for a number of friends of ours. Did, perchance, a convoy of sorts pass through this town recently?"

    Soul Silver FC: 1935 3141 6240
    White FC: 0819 3350 1787
  • KayKay What we need... Is a little bit of PANIC.Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    "Meister Staul didn't have neyone but the two 'pprentices he arrived with, he travelled in with a trade caravan for protection though. But that's not what y'meaning, is it?" Salvana asks, tapping at her chin thoughtfully.

    "Are you not eating, Sir? Or removing your helm or armor?" she then asks of Godfrey.

    ew9y0DD.png
    3DS FCode: 1993-7512-8991
  • FiarynFiaryn Omnicidal Madman Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    "Not what I meant indeed, but never you worry. What I speak of would have been hard to miss, and it having been missed is information itself!" Godfrey responds. It was a start, and he would have been surprised if the convoy had been waylaid between Winterhaven and Fallcrest.

    "And ah...no. The armor and helm is me, I am a golem my good lady. Your concern is quite appreciated all the same."

    Soul Silver FC: 1935 3141 6240
    White FC: 0819 3350 1787
  • KayKay What we need... Is a little bit of PANIC.Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    "Golem?" Ms Wrafton asks, as her eyes flick up towards Godfrey's forehead. "Do you soak up the sun's rays like a plant, perhaps? Rest your feet in water?" She seems more curious than worried by the revelation, though not too curious.

    The Innswoman then nods towards the other breakfasters. "Anything else I can get you fine folk?"

    ew9y0DD.png
    3DS FCode: 1993-7512-8991
  • DracoGriffinDracoGriffin Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    The dragonborn perked up at the unusual bowl of food, not knowing what these 'fruits' could be. He plucked the spoon nearest the bowl, greedily scooping more than it's capable of holding as he drew it closer to his maw.

    The smell was overwhelming delicious, his mouth salivated just as his tongue forked out to the utensil. The entire spoon went into his mouth, as he began to savor the delicacy.

    Promptly followed by a loud "Uggggh" sound, spitting up his entire mouth's contents onto the empty (licked clean!) plate in front of him.

    "Aaaggh... how can this be eaten? It's horrible!"

    He eyed Tara's plate with a sinister smile, "Tara, you do not like meat, correct?"

  • AegisAegis Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    "Be thinkin' the lass be tryin' ta communicate, tho I cannae speak human," Nolar snorts with a chuckle before smiling to the waitress and turning to the rest of the party after he thanks her, "Ye been a great help, miss. So, after some o' us be finally up and conscious, what say we track down tha men mentioned by this 'ere lass and ask about tha bookman's travels?"

  • hippofanthippofant Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Tara is incomprehensibly muttering responses to the conversation taking place, while idly sampling the food in front of her. Belatedly, she looks up at the sound of her name, turning to Tokul and staring at him for a moment while trying to blink the fatigue from her eyes. Maintaining her gaze, she jabs a piece of bacon into her mouth, chewing deliberately, before using her other hand to nudge her plate towards the apparently starving dragonborn.

  • KayKay What we need... Is a little bit of PANIC.Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Tokul's reaction to the mushrooms causes Salvana to glance sideways and grimace. She nods to a serving girl, who takes the Dragonborn's soiled plate, and quickly replaces it with a fresh one, full with food.

    "The golem's share for the dragonman," she says, by way of explanation, while nodding her thanks to Nolar. "Should I keep the rooms open for you, for tonight?"

    ew9y0DD.png
    3DS FCode: 1993-7512-8991
  • DracoGriffinDracoGriffin Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Tokul murmured at Tara's action, casting his gaze towards to rest of the party. As soon as her plate moved towards him, he grinned immensely as he began to engulf the plate's contents.

    He even managed to chirrup in excitement as a serving girl served him Godfrey's portion of breakfast.

    The dragonborn stifled his loud chewing, small bits of food still managing to fall from his maw. "Mmm, yesss. Rooms will be good to have. Delicious... good idea to not have to sleep in stables. Ahh! This is prepared wonderfully."

  • AcratiaAcratia Registered User
    edited June 2011
    Eating at a more reasonable pace than the rest of the party either wolfing their breakfast down, barely eating anything, or not eating anything at all, Ezekiel adds his inquiry into the mix.

    "Would you mind if I took a look around Douven's room? He might've left something behind that'll give a clue to his disappearance."

  • KayKay What we need... Is a little bit of PANIC.Registered User regular
    edited June 2011
    Salvana nods to Tokul's approval of room-holding, then turns towards Ezekiel. "There is not much, really. Just his clothes, some texts, and some tools. He took his journals with him, though I believe their might be a map in there. Once you have finished your breakfast, I can take you upstairs."

    ew9y0DD.png
    3DS FCode: 1993-7512-8991
  • AegisAegis Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    "Oie! Map be a great start...assumin' any o' us can read it."

  • KayKay What we need... Is a little bit of PANIC.Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Once breakfast is over, Salvana shows the way to the room Douvren was previously occupying.

    "There be not much in there," she repeats, "But perhaps you'll find something of use." She unlocks the door, and then grants the group access.

    The room is quite neat and tidy, with a few papers stacked on the desk, and a small pack beside it, containing spare tools. There are also clothes in the footchest - nothing of interest. The papers on the desk seem to be rough maps, not particularly useful on their own, but it looks like Douvren was using them to create a larger composite map. There's an old, most annotated map of the Gardbury Downs, held together with hope and cunning folds. Tied to this with a slim ribbon through a cross-shaped slash in the top corner, is a rough, near-illegible map that shows Winterhaven, a rough approximation of the snaking line of the King's Road, and a large circle with 'sumwere rund heer' scribbled beside it, in a very unpracticed hand. There's a corresponding mark on the old map of the Downs, with a questionmark beside it.

    ew9y0DD.png
    3DS FCode: 1993-7512-8991
  • FiarynFiaryn Omnicidal Madman Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    "Gardbury Downs eh? M'lady Wrafton, would you or any other local be able to tell us a bit more about that location perchance?"

    Godfrey tapped his chin, intrigue was afoot!

    Soul Silver FC: 1935 3141 6240
    White FC: 0819 3350 1787
  • hippofanthippofant Registered User regular
    edited July 2011
    Standing near the centre of the room, Tara closes her eyes, tilts her head to one side, and makes a tired moaning noise.
    Spoiler:

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