The story of Gnosha Curosinei

TotteTotte Posts: 11,966
edited April 4 in Art Studio

The story of Gnosha Curosinei

This is a new story from a small and fun RPG adventure in Pathfinder 2E

Meet Gnosha Curosinei, investigator and freelancer forensic expert. Mr. Curosinei, or Gnosha to his friends, is a Gnome, born and raised in the town of Forkbridge. Forkbridge is located where the two rivers, East Thanus and West Thanus join to form the River Thanus. The town was built around a majestic bridge, the fork bridge, that connects all the three pieces of land. The bridge was built a long time ago by the Dwarven stonemasons of hammerfast, many days to the north. The bridge is guarded by the bridge guard, and merchants had to pay a toll to pass the bridge. The toll has been a good source of income for the town of forkbridge. 

Gnosha, being a Gnome, has been obsessed with invention all his life, and he early became obsessed with solving crimes, and his innovative mind has given him an advantage in the field. His deductive capabilities have given him quite a reputation. He has worked for the townguard of forkbridge for many years, and the last two years of his 43 years young life, he has worked as a freelancer. One of his clients has been “Master Didethor” of the temple order, where Ghosha solved a complicated theft and helped the temple Paladins to arrest the thief and return the invaluable artefacts to the temple.

 

Now, Gnosha has got a letter from Master Didethor, telling him to travel to the Pickles and Plough inn, a week of travel to the North, on the way towards  the town of Erast. At the inn he will meet the freshly examined Paladin, Aered Ealchfrilen of the temple order. Master Didethor writes in the letter that Paladin Ealchfrilen is a very devoted young man. Gnosha’s task is as a forensic expert and investigator, to assure that Paladin Ealchfrilen makes the right decisions and arrests the right people, as he might be a little over ambitious.

The morning after they have met up, they will travel another two days to the Town of Erast, where they will meet up with the Captain of the guard, Ennet Woode, who will explain the problem in more detail. The consulting fee is 10 pieces of gold, and the order, through Paladin Ealchfrilen will handle all expenses, to a certain extent.

 

Gnosha.jpg
1131 x 1600 - 108K
Post edited by Totte on
«1

Comments

  • TotteTotte Posts: 11,966
    edited April 4

    A week and two days later, Gnosha sits at the tavern of the Pickles and Plough inn, quietly looking around. He sees peasants, adventures, some bandits acting as common folks, and a lot of merchants from Hammerfast passing on their way south and staying the night. The merchants often travel in caravans, and hire adventurers as guards. Suddenly the door to the tavern opens and a tall man, or rather a grown boy, in Paladin chainmail armour stomps in. He stops, looks around, and picks up a small parchment from a pocket and says in a very loud voice: -”Who of you here are Gnosha  ehh, hmm, Curo.. Curios?

    Gnosha raises his hand and whistles and says: -”Over here Aered, have a seat”, and the young Paladin walks towards Gnosha’s table, but passes the tavern keeper at the bar and picks up two tankards of beer on the way. Gnosha introduces himself and Aered replies: - “I hope you know your stuff, I’m gonna catch some bandits and hang some murderers.” Gnosha thinks: -”Ok, I’m the brain, he’s the brawn, good we sorted that one out. How old can he be? Not a day over 18, maybe younger.” Aered hands over a tankard and says: -”Beer is good for bravery and strength, cheers!” They have some goat liver ragu, and then Aered asks if Gnosha has booked a room yet? When he hears that Gnosha hasn’t booked one yet, he says: -”Good, we can share a room, I sleep on the floor.

    They finish their dinner, and retreat to the room for the night. Gnosha sets a little bell in a string on the door, so he will hear if someone tries to enter. They go to bed, but suddenly, in the middle of the night, Gnosha wakes up as he scents fresh air, like the window has been opened. Gnosha has a very sensitive nose.

     

     

    gnosha-inn.jpg
    1600 x 900 - 164K
    Post edited by Totte on
  • JOdelJOdel Posts: 5,731

    Nice! 

    I'll admit to being a bit more familiar with Elizabeth Moon's iteration of Gnomes. Hers tend to be a bit rigid, but, then, their society is extremely legalistic. Her Gnomes are also beardless, so a number of people confuse them with young Dwarves.

  • TotteTotte Posts: 11,966
    edited April 5

    He looks up, and sees the shape of a man, in dark clothes, on the way into the room through the opened window. Gnosha looks at him and assets the situation quickly, and sees an opportunity to attack the intruder, but he needs to grab his rapier from beside the bed first and stands up, in his nightgown. He says: -”Aered, we an have uninvited guest, arrest him!” Aered jumps up from the floor in his nightgown and tries to grapple the intruder and catch him and Aered says yield several times with no effect.  The intruder has a friend outside the window, who picks up a rock and throws it at Aered, but he misses. 

    The intruder pulls out a knife and tries to cut Aered, but misses. Gnosha realises that a rapier will not be any good against the man outside the window, so he picks up his hand crossbow instead, and loads it. Aered tries to wrestle the knife from the intruder and almost succeeds, but instead the intruder slips away from his grip. The intruder attacks several times with the dagger and misses and then tries to push the Aered away. The person outside the windows throws a roof tile and hits Aered in the head. Gnosha tries to see an opportunity but none comes so he fires anyway at the man outside the window, and misses. The intruder tries to stab Aered again and hits him in the shoulder, then he tries to flee through the window, while his friend throws another roof tile in Aereds head, Aered looks pretty shaken now. 

    Gnosha sees the neck of the fleeing intruder, aims and shots his crossbow, a perfect hit, and the intruder falls down on the floor and stops moving. Gnosha makes a quick battle medicine and checks Aereds wounds. He ties a piece of clothing over the bleeding shoulder and washes the wounds in the head with some room complimentary rum. He quickly gives Aered the nickname brickhead and Aered replies: - “Ok, you can interrogate him…” pointing at the dead intruder with a bolt through his head. Gnosha replies: - “Catch the other guy” and Aered jumps out through the window onto the little roof below and sees a dark shape entering through a window a few rooms down the corridor. Meanwhile Gnosha rushed out through the door into the corridor heading for the stairs, still in his nightgown.

    roofchase_aered.jpg
    1600 x 900 - 228K
    Post edited by Totte on
  • TotteTotte Posts: 11,966
    edited April 7

    Gnosha hears something behind him, turns around and sees the other intruder and says: - “Stop or I place a bolt in your forehead!” The intruder turns around and rushes back. Gnosha shoots him in the leg with the crossbow, the bolt scratches the lower leg before it digs deep into the wooden floor. Aered now steps out into the corridor through the door the intruder recently came through, and Aered blocks the whole corridor. The intruder pulls a knife and attacks Aered but misses, and then he tries to push him aside, but that fails too.

    Gnosha now takes his rapier, puts the pointy end in the neck of the intruder, and calmly says: - “Drop the knife and yield”.

    corridor_capture.jpg
    1131 x 1600 - 206K
    Post edited by Totte on
  • TotteTotte Posts: 11,966
    edited April 9

     

    The intruder obeys and he is quickly nicely tied up. People are woken up by the noise and look out from their rooms and the tavern guards arrive from the lower floor together with the tavern keeper. Aered says to the tavern keeper: - “We want a new room, we have vermins in our room.

    They quickly introduce themselves to the tavern keeper and explain their business, and then Aered questions the intruder while Gnosha analyzes the information they get. They learn that the intruder had learned that a gnome would arrive and that he would be trouble. He was paid 50 silver coins to prevent the gnome from travelling further north. The person who gave him the offer was Frori Thratelch, known as the bandit king. He travelled with a company of about ten people, and they were about to rob the intruder and his friend, but gave them this job offer instead.

    The tavern keeper, Luan Konnor sends a stable boy to fetch a scholar of law, Alfred Derwood, and a quick court is formed, with Aered the Paladin, the Luan Konnor, Ghosha and Alfred Derwood. The intruder was sentenced to be hanged by the neck until death occurs, by dawn for attempted murder.


     

     

    TheCourt.jpg
    1600 x 900 - 335K
    Post edited by Totte on
  • mindsongmindsong Posts: 1,566

    your lighting is very very well done.

    the story grows on me.

    (I hate to interrupt the continuity with my comment, but perhaps the feedback is useful, and maybe you're glad to know we're following your adventures).

    best,

    --ms

  • TotteTotte Posts: 11,966

    mindsong said:

    your lighting is very very well done.

    the story grows on me.

    (I hate to interrupt the continuity with my comment, but perhaps the feedback is useful, and maybe you're glad to know we're following your adventures).

    best,

    --ms

    Hi and thanks!

    It will hopefully come some more soon, once we got to continue play this adventure. I have at least one more entry to make from the story as far as we have come so far.
    This is, as all my stories, logs from games we play, and I play the character who is the leading character in the story. 

  • TotteTotte Posts: 11,966
    edited April 14

    Early in the morning, the tavern keeper Luan Konnor, together with the tavern guards, hang the intruder and assassin, Wallace Bizethier, in a tree along the road. The dead intruder that was killed by Gnosha’s crossbow bolt, was identified as Gideon Shepherd, is buried in an unmarked grave on a nearby hill.

    Aered and Gnosha talk with some of the people at the breakfast in the tavern and they accept to travel as caravan escorts for a merchant with two wagons travelling North. The payment will be in food, not in silver coins, but that is ok with both Aered and Gnosha. Gnosha is just happy to not have to walk for two weeks, and Aered is on a mission from god, he almost denied the offer of free food but Gnosha stopped him. The small caravan will set off as soon as everything is packed and ready for the weeklong journey to Erast. Food and water needs to be loaded, not every body of water along the road contains drinkable water. The caravan will consist of two wagons, one covered and one without cover. The merchant is the dwarf Grugnir Emberfury, his wife Selma and the hired escort, Brozin Abrezig. Grugnir said that the addition of a Aered the Paladin and Gnosha to the caravan will really increase the odds of getting to Erast without any troubles on the road.

    readymorning.jpg
    1600 x 1000 - 455K
    Post edited by Totte on
  • TotteTotte Posts: 11,966
    edited April 19

    Aered and Gnosha load their packs on the wagon, which makes walking even easier, but Gnosha still needs to walk with haste to keep up. Aered on the other hand, enjoys strolling ahead of the wagons, checking for potential ambushes by bandits. They all take terms walking, both to be scouting, and to keep fit, sitting all day in a wagon just makes your bum hurt, Aered said. Gnosha picks up his case book and writes down all the details and leads they learned the past night, then he analyses the information to connect the dots. 

    The journey is like most journeys, the sun slowly passes over the sky, and the caravan takes breaks often not to tire the horses and themselves, so the journey will take a while, maybe even more than a week at this pace. In the evening of the first day of travel, they stop at a trail shelter for a sleep. Further north there might not be any trail shelters,  they just will raise tents in a higher spot. Night watches are taken in terms, everyone has to take one watch, and in the morning the last watch prepares breakfast.

    nightcamp.jpg
    1600 x 900 - 306K
    Post edited by Totte on
  • FirstBastionFirstBastion Posts: 5,360

    Another fun story of yours to follow.  Excellent!  I like the small details you included,  like them taking turns standing guard at night, and the possibilities of no other rest areas as they head further north.  It makes the story world engaging.

  • TotteTotte Posts: 11,966

    Hi and thanks First Bastion!
    I might most probably use some of the sets I have from your catalogue in the story, they can often be used quite dramatic.

  • TotteTotte Posts: 11,966
    edited April 21

    On the second day of the journey to Erast, the road got even worse. it was no longer even a road, but a trail leading across open hills and dense forests. The road was sometimes covered with different kinds of stingy plants that needed to be cut away to prevent the horses from being injured by the thorns. There were signs that people had passed recently, like small heaps of dead plants to the side of the road, but the plants seemed to grow fast and retook the ground cleared by previous travellers very quickly.

    So far there were no signs of ambushes, but the journey was slow as they needed to scout ahead several times to be sure that there was not an ambush by bandits waiting ahead. They saw some remains of old nightly camps, often located on hills with a fair view around. In the afternoon, they met a merchant and his three guards on horses with a few mules tagging along behind, loaded with goods. They had not passed through Erast, but came from the Eastern road, so no tidings from Erast could be exchanged. They had not seen any bandits on the road so far, and they were happy to just be a day from Pickles and Plough inn, horseback speed.

    The group was quite pleased with the journey so far, they all shared duties. Grugnir believed that sharing duties would make a group tighter, which was good when, not if, something bad happened. People who know each other and have shared burdens are more likely to fight to protect each other and go beyond the line of duty when required. Grugnir had spent many years in the military service and knew what would keep you alive when things got real. He also knew that a group working together is stronger than every man for himself, old sergeant’s wisdom.

    northroad.jpg
    1600 x 900 - 720K
    Post edited by Totte on
  • TotteTotte Posts: 11,966
    edited May 2

    Later on, the road was even more narrow, and it was sometimes hard to steer the log wagons in the sharp twists and bends. The landscape went to low rocky hills and the road bent around the stone rocks, and Aered and Brozin took turns scouting ahead.

    At a narrow pass between two rocks, there was a huge statue laying beside the road. Gnosha looked at it and said, this is no statue, this is a petrified giant. He remembered reading about a Basilisk making the road to Erast unsafe some fifty years ago. If he remembered correctly, it was finally killed by a brave party of adventures after several groups had tried and failed. The bounty collected for the dead Basilisk had been huge, something like ten thousand pieces of gold. 

    Both Aered and Brozin looked confused about what Gnosha had said, and Gnosha explained that Basilisks are huge reptiles, and if you look into their eyes, you will be turned to stone, and only powerful magic can save your life. If you are petrified for too long, you will be dead. There is one way to fight them, and that is to have a large mirror, and make the Basilisk to see itself in the mirror. The mirror has to be close to the Basilisk, and when the Basilisk sees itself in the mirror, it will believe that it is a rival and attack its own reflection with its petrifying gaze, and hopefully petrify itself.

    Gnosha says that he has studied this in detail, and has been working on a Basilisk trap, but still needs to solve the biggest problem, to have a mirror that is polished enough to work, and still tough enough not to break when the trap is dropped on the ground. The problem is that a glass mirror is too fragile and a massive silver mirror too heavy.

    giantheadwagon.jpg
    1600 x 900 - 356K
    Post edited by Totte on
  • TotteTotte Posts: 11,966
    edited May 3

    They continued along the road, and they did not move very fast with the wagons. Brozin kept swearing about the concept of taking wagons, especially such large four wheel wagons, on a road like this. Most merchant caravans  going north just use donkeys and mules to carry the goods. 

    In the evening, the group started to look for somewhere to camp for the night. They were all getting a bit hungry after a hard day's work. The landscape was still hills and rocky hills, covered with endless forests. Gosha spotted something that looked like a ruin on a hilltop not very far away from the road. A good spot for a night camp he suggested, but there would be a bit of a struggle to get to the ruin with the wagons, as there was no real trail leading to the hilltop. They would have to go cross country, which better suited people on foot or on horseback.

    After some discussions about the pros and cons of taking the wagons over at least two hills through the sparse forest, the head of the caravan, Grugnir Emberfury, decided that this would be the solution.

    castledistance.jpg
    1600 x 900 - 479K
    Post edited by Totte on
  • TotteTotte Posts: 11,966
    edited May 5

    After some swearing and cutting down several small trees that were blocking the wagons from moving, the group finally reached the ruin. It looked like some kind of guard tower, but the tower had collapsed many years ago, and the stones lay overgrown along the hillside. Maybe it had been torn down by the giant the saw earlier, or weather and winds had weakened it. Gnosha saw some remains of an old campfire, probably a month old or so.

    The tower and the little cottage both seemed to be remains of the once great Empire that collapsed some one hundred and fifty years ago. The Empire had watchtowers and guard posts all over the land, to keep both enemies and rebellious peasants at bay.

    What caused the collapse of the Empire is not fully understood, at least in the mind of Gnosha. Internal power struggles might have divided the leadership into several fractions, fighting each other rather than the enemies after the death of the last Emperor. Most people didn’t bother with politics or great events, they struggled with day to day burdens of getting enough food for the winter for the family to survive, and to keep animals and family safe from raids by orcs, goblins and bandits. Most men had served at least one year, often more, in the army of the Empire, which depended both on militia units formed from peasants and regular army formations of mercenaries. After the fall of the Empire, militia units were still formed, but their duties were more local, protecting a town or a village. The regular armies or mercenaries shrunk dramatically when the money to pay for them ceased, but there were still units protecting the close borders of the civilised parts of what was once the core of the empire. Gnosha had understood that Grugnir had served as a sergeant in such an army unit.

    Gnosha has studied a lot of subjects during his education in Forkbridge, but political history was not one of them.

    NightRuins-close.jpg
    1600 x 900 - 322K
    Post edited by Totte on
  • TotteTotte Posts: 11,966
    edited May 6

    After supper, when Aered and Brozin prepare for the night watch together with Selma, Gnosha and Grugnir talk a little in the heat of the fire, before laying down on the ground to catch some sleep. Grugnir, who has served in the army, had stories to tell Gnosha about the Empire and the fall of it: - “The last Emperor was a demigod of epic proportions. He lived long and ruled the Empire with an iron fist for almost hundred years. When he died from age, fighting began for the power, which escalated into a civil war and split the once great empire into small self serving regions of civilisation. Most humans have no idea as this was so far back in time, that those who lived then are now long gone. Elves do not care, but we Dwarves remember and we care.” 

    On several occasions during his time in the army, Grugnir came in contact with cultists of the Whispering Way.  These cultists believe undeath is the truest form of existence, and life is meant to be spent in preparation for transition to a more glorious unlife after death. The cultists seek methods to become undead, oppose those who seek to destroy undead and protect necromantic secrets. The cultists are fanatics and they do not fear death. They are fearsome and cunning enemies in battle, and they have powerful allies spread across the former Empire. They believe that the only thing that can bring the Empire back to its former glory is to use necromantic to bring the last Emperor back to life as an undead, and rule the Empire forever. They do not show themselves in the light, they are secret and carefully avoiding the eyes and ears of nonbelievers.

     

    fireside chat.jpg
    2000 x 1125 - 464K
    Post edited by Totte on
  • TotteTotte Posts: 11,966
    edited May 11

    After this long story about the history and the present of the former Empire, Grugnir asked Gnosha about his whereabouts to Erast. He had already understood that Gnosha was no ordinary mercenary, far from it. Gnosha told him about his career in Forkbridge as an investigator and how he had helped the townguard to find and capture several bandits and even murders, just by using some of his own inventions.

    Gnosha told him that most of his methods were based on science, like alchemy or physics. He described how he got this assignment, working for the temple order taking direct orders from Master Didethor, and then he told the story about how he helped Master Didethor to capture a thief, a very clever and intelligent thief, in the heart of the temple.


    “About two years ago, almost right after I had decided to start my own investigation business, I was contacted by Master Didethor of the temple, head of the order. Master Didethor was a very good friend with Alderman Owayne, Captain of the Forkbridge townguard. Several townguards had after their service gone to become Paladins of the temple, and the Paladins had on several occasions assisted the Forkbridge townguard. Master Didethor had over a dinner brought up a very delicate matter, thefts in the temple. He was one of the few knowing about it, and he suspected that the thief came from the outside, as they had found occasional windows opened. He had tried having double guard duties, without any effect. The thief kept stealing gold, silver and valuable items from the temple. The only other persons that to his knowledge knew about these thefts were Father Lar Chavatillon and Warder Knight-Errant Ezvin Proudblood.

    When he contacted me at my home, I could see the sorrow in his face, he was a very sad man. I decided to try some of my new compounds that I had been experimenting with, an almost invisible powder made from Blight Basil, a rare mineral. When the powder catches the light of the flames of a burning Troll Snot candle with a Cockatrice Lock wick, it illuminates in a bright yellow colour.

    My plan was to spread the powder outside the door leading to the temple inner sanctum, after the last prayer. Then early in the morning check where the tracks would lead. To cut a long story short, the tracks led to a window that was opened, and then directly back to Father Bernardo Coelho’s room. When his room was searched, most of what had been stolen was found, neatly packed into travel ration pouches. They got him in time as was about to set out for a pilgrimage in just a few weeks. He confessed and was banished from the temple and was never seen again.”


     

    finding_footsteps.jpg
    2000 x 1125 - 316K
    Post edited by Totte on
  • TotteTotte Posts: 11,966
    edited May 17

    The night comes, and Grugnir takes the first watch, after him is Gnosha’s watch. The sun has set in the west behind some forest clad hills, and air becomes cooler and more damp. Sounds of distant animals can be heard, a howling wolf in the far distance. When the stars become visible in the night sky, everything goes silent for a short while, then it continues and the sounds of the night are closing in. Gnosha walks around the camp, keeping some distance from the fire to avoid crippling the eyesight in the darkness, always looking away from the fire. Gnosha looks into the darkness and even uses his formidable nose to try to smell if something is coming closer, but suddenly he sees two fist sized spiders climbing up his right boot. He tries to identify the spiders before he sweeps them away with his rapier. They were swarm spiders, they lay hundreds of eggs and they sometimes hatch at the same time. They are venomous, especially in huge swarms. Gnosha looks around and sees that spiders are climbing on Aered and the other sleeping as well. He rushes and wakes Aered and says: - “Spiders”. Aered wakes up and kicks the spiders away and wakes the other by shouting: “Spiders! Spiders!”. Grugnir and Helga wake up and run to the animals to protect them. Brozin wakes up, jumps into his boots and sets off into the darkness screaming in fear. Gnosha shouts “Brozin! Stop!” and Aered says “What a weakling, scared off by some spiders.

    Right then, a large hole opens up in the ground just a few yards from Gnosha and Aered, and a huge hoard of spiders comes from the hole. Hundreds and hundreds of spiders.

     

    spiders.jpg
    1600 x 900 - 305K
    Post edited by Totte on
  • TotteTotte Posts: 11,966
    edited May 19

    Spiders bite both Gnosha and Aered and it hurts. They both kick away spiders from their legs. Gnosha realises that you cannot fight them with arrows or swords, they are too many. He also remembers that Brozin has been bragging about having a bottle with an Alchemist’s Fire In his backpack. Gnosha doesn’t waste any time, he rushes over to Brozin’s backpack, grabs the bottle and throws it at the opening in the ground. A huge fireball explosion turns the spiders into crisps and the air into a foul smell of burned spiders. A few surviving spiders quickly disappear into the night. Aered hears a sound from the hole and looks down. He sees a staircase, and a pair of lifeless eyes staring up at him. Aered shouts: - “Who’s there?”, and he sees the evil slowly walking up the stairs, an undead skeleton risen from the grave. Aered, only wearing his padded under armour, is attacked by the skeleton, who slashes Aered over the chest with an old and rusty scimitar. 

    Gnosha tries to remember what he has learned about fighting skeletons, but cannot recall anything right now, his mind is just blank. He just tries to stab the skeleton with his rapier but the skeleton dodges his attack. Aered strikes back, but wishes he had studied more and learned how to smite undeads, but he knows how to perform a lay on hands, with which he can heal the living and hurt the undead. He reaches out with his sword hand and touches the skeleton. The skeleton resists the rush of life energy but still is damaged. Then Aered attacks the skeleton with his long sword, but he notices that the sword does not bite as it should. He now remembers his training, that you should use hammers or clubs against skeletons. Aered shouts to Gnosha: -”Use a club or branch to attack it with.” The skeleton slashes once again against Aered with its rusty scimitar.

    skeletonfight.jpg
    2000 x 1125 - 446K
    Post edited by Totte on
  • TotteTotte Posts: 11,966
    edited May 20

    The skeleton misses Aered as he blocks the scimitar with his shield, then the skeleton tries to grapple Aered but fails that attempt too. Gnosha studies the skeleton for weaknesses but can’t see any obvious ones. He picks up a branch from the fire that is burning in one end and attacks the skeleton with that, but misses. Aered slashes once again with his long sword, and cleaves the skeleton from the shoulder to the hip, and the skeleton explodes, sending small fragments of bones all around it. The bone shrapnel hit Aered but Gnosha dives behind a stone and is not hit. Silence is coming back, and in the distance they hear the voice of Brozin: - “Where are you? I want to go home”. Gnosha replies: - “We are here, the spiders are dead, and the skeleton too.” Brozin says: -”Aered, can you hand me my backpack?”. 

    The dwarves return and say that they will change nightcamp, but Gnosha wants to examine the hole and what lies beyond those stairs. Aered says: - “I do not fear skeletons, they fear me.

    Brozin and the dwarves start to move the camp, while Gnosha takes a look at Aered’s wounds in the shoulder and in the chest and puts bandages on them. Grugnir says it’s ok for Gnosha and Aered to examine the hole, but they will move the camp first. Brozin says that the spiders were the scariest thing he had experienced in many years. Gnosha replies: “Something to tell the grandchildren”, and  Borzin replies: -”Only if you live to have any children, and grandchildren”.

    Aered says he needs to pray a little  to gain some strength before they can go down into the hole. Aered then borrows a few nails from Grugnir and makes two crude spiked clubs, one for him and one for Gnosha. An hour after the spiders first appeared, Gnosha and Aered light one torch each and start to descend the stairs into the unknown.

    going_down.jpg
    1600 x 900 - 342K
    Post edited by Totte on
  • TotteTotte Posts: 11,966
    edited May 24

    The stairs lead down in a long turn to the right, and end in a large cave. The cave is covered with cobwebs, and several sarcophagus are placed on both sides of the cave. Aered is ready to abolish any evil, and Gnosha sees that it looks like something has spread from one of the sarcophags, something dark and sick and evil. The lid of that sarcophagus is slightly pushed to the side, and Gnosha whispers to Aered, there is something of great evil in that sarcophagus, something is looking at us with dead eyes.

    Gnosha is ready to strike with the crude spiked club when Aered tries to push the lid away with his swordhand, but not even Aered is that strong. He has to push with both hands, and he pushes the lid aside. Up from the sarcophagus rises an undead being, fleshy with dead eyes and it attacks Aered and takes a firm grip around his throat.  Gnosha strikes with the club, but misses. Aered is fighting the diseases the undead is trying to spread to him, and Gnosha realises that it’s a zombie, a very deadly and powerful undead. Aered tries to get out of the grip the zombie has around his neck, but the zombie is very strong and keeps trying to strangulate Aered. Aered uses his lay on hands ability on the zombie and Gnosha sees how it burns the skin of the zombie, but not enough to make it release it’s grip around Aered’s neck.

    zombiearise.jpg
    1414 x 2000 - 486K
    Post edited by Totte on
  • TotteTotte Posts: 11,966
    edited May 26

    Aered successfully gets a strike with his sword and cuts off the zombie’s left leg, not that it seems to bother the zombie at all, as Aered is bitten in the throat and starts to bleed, and falls down on the floor with the one legged zombie still holding both hands around his neck.

    Gnosha tries to assess the situation and sees that a strike with the rapier to the zombie’s eye would be the best attack, and so he does. The rapier exits through the back of the zombie’s head and the zombie loses the grip around Aereds neck. Gnosha kicks the zombie away from the lifeless Aered and tries to stop the bleeding but fails. The wound was just too complicated, Gnosha needs more time to seal this wound, time that Aered might not have.

    Gnosha tries again, using pieces of his and Aereds clothes as bandages, but the bleeding just will not stop, and Gnosha knows he cannot tighten too hard or Aered will not get any oxygen and will die from that.

     

     

    saving_aered.jpg
    1600 x 900 - 344K
    Post edited by Totte on
  • TotteTotte Posts: 11,966
    edited May 28

    After ten long and stressful minutes, Gnosha finally stops the bleeding and Aered sits up, groggy and pale, but feeling much better, than being on his way to the kingdom of the dead. Gnosha had stitched his bleeding wound with a needle and some thread and checked that the wound was not mortal.

    Gnosha looks down in the sarcophagus, he sees that it is filled with that sick and poisonous rotten decay, except for one corner, where a small box is resting. The walls on the inside of the sarcophagus are covered with strange writings and symbols, the writings of the whispering ways, the undead cult. Gnosha picks up the little box and they both return to the surface. 

    They went to the new night camp location, and Gnosha examined the box.  Aered had to remove his chainmail as it was hurting his wounded neck and shoulder. The wood in the box was almost like compact dust, and the lock and hinges were rusted beyond help. Gnosha just opened the box by digging the wood out with his hand, and in the box was a small vial with holy symbols on it, a vial of holy water. And there was a small pendant, shaped like a tear. Gnosha tried to figure out what it was, but he had no idea. Aered looked at it and said that it was a crying pendant, as it reflects the light from the fire with a green sheen. The pendant will help anyone treating wounds to avoid making a catastrophic failure, a failure that might even kill the person being treated. It is a one time usage, and after it has saved a life, the pendant’s magic powers will cease to exist.

    lookingpendant.jpg
    1600 x 900 - 271K
    Post edited by Totte on
  • TotteTotte Posts: 11,966
    edited June 1

    After some hours of restless sleep, Gnosha goes out  at dawn to look for clues regarding the events during the night. He walks carefully in larger and larger circles around the tower ruin hill. While the rest of the group eat breakfast and pack up the camp, Gnosha is determined to find what could have caused the night’s events. 

    It’s a beautiful morning, and if you were not aware of last night’s horrible events, you would just happily look at the sky thinking that everything is wonderful. Gnosha knew that something was very wrong, someone or something had been disturbing the dead.

    After about half an hour, Gnosha finds what appears to be the remains of a campfire, just about a day or so old, as there is still some heat from the ashes. Carefully Gnosha pokes around in the ashes, looking for something that could give away who was here the night before. He also looks around in the area around the fireplace, and under a dense tree, he finds a badly damaged parchment that probably was thrown into fire but got taken by the wind and blew away. Ghosha uses a pair of tweezers to pick up the parchment. There are some writings still visible, but Gnosha realises that he will need to have access to his forensic laboratory to try to make the now hidden text readable.

    The readable fragments of the text are “Frori Thratelch …… Tarasha the …. Odan …” which does not make much sense, except one name, Frori Thratelch, also known as the Bandit King, and the person who organised the attack on him and Aered at the Pickles and Plough inn a few days ago. The two other names, Tarasha and Odan, don't ring any bells yet, but will surely be investigated once they arrive in Erast. Gnosha thought to himself, “Mr Thratelch, I will take great pleasure in hunting you down and see to it that you will be sentenced to death.”


    finding_parchment.jpg
    1600 x 900 - 535K
    Post edited by Totte on
  • TotteTotte Posts: 11,966
    edited June 2

    Gnosha carefully rolls the parchment and places it inside a leather covered metal scroll tube of that kind wizards use to keep their important healing scrolls from turning into ashes when they accidently cast fireball too close to themselves.

    He continues to carefully scrutinize the area around the campfire. After some meticulous searching, he finds footprints in the soft grass, leading away. He follows the footprints and they lead some stones, about two hundred yards from the campfire, in a denser grove. One of the stones has been painted with strange symbols and colours, looking evil by the looks of it, and Gnosha understands that some kind of occult ritual has been performed here, and the ritual has a connection to the whispering way, most probably a ritual to wake up the undead.

    Gnosha starts to look through his notebooks on religion but he cannot figure out how the ritual has been performed. He decides that this will have to wait, but he picks up his large notebook and tries to draw a sketch of the symbols to bring with him to analyze it later, and he is really proud when he looks at what he did. It looks like his years of studying and practicing art have paid off. 


    Just when Gnosha has finished his drawing, Aered comes through the woods looking for him, shouting: - “There you are Mister Curosinei, we started to get worried about you. It’s time to leave, we have a journey to continue. Master Emberfury is getting a little grumpy. So, come on, hurry up now.

    ritualstone.jpg
    1600 x 900 - 392K
    Post edited by Totte on
  • TotteTotte Posts: 11,966
    edited June 4

    When Gnosha and Aered hurried back to the already packed wagons, ready to leave, Grugnir shouts: - “Hurry up! We have a long journey still ahead of us. Did you learn anything useful?” Gnosha climbed aboard the wagon driven by Grugnir and replied, after catching some breath: -”Yes indeed I did. Someone seems to be very keen on preventing me and Aered from reaching Erast.”

    Gnosha wrote a little in his diary:
    This is the third day of travel, and so far it has been quite an eventful journey. This person, Frori Thratelch who likes to go by the name The Bandit King, must be connected to The Whispering Way. My guess is that Tarasha is the name of someone in The Whispering Way, someone who is in contact with Frori. Odan might be the person writing the letter. 

    Gnosha goes back to study the sketch he did of the ritual stone. He will need his library, or access to a monastery library, to be able to figure out the full meaning of all those cryptic glyphs.

    Today, Gnosha is rather tired, and so is Aered. They both spend most of the time on the wagons while Brozin has to do most of the point scouting. Aered takes a few turns, but Gnosha spends all his time trying to figure out the meaning of the ritual. He knows it did awaken the undeads, but how did the scribbles end up inside the sarcophagus in the closed crypt? There are so many questions here that need to be answered, but one thing is sure, this involves some very powerful necromancy. Gnosha really looks forward to arrive at Erast and to setup a study where he can work. yes, he likes being in the field, but he has always had his study, his library and his laboratory close by. Without them he feels a little lost.


    riding and reading.jpg
    2000 x 1125 - 815K
    Post edited by Totte on
  • TotteTotte Posts: 11,966
    edited June 7

    During the journey Aered asked Gnosha: -”Did you find anything interesting?” and Gnosha showed Aered the drawing of the ritual stone. Aered looked at it and confirmed Gnosha’s theory that it indeed is an evil ritual to wake the dead, probably connected to The Whispering Way. He also told Aered that Frori the Bandit King seems to be keen on preventing him and Aered from reaching Erast. The Whispering Way is most probably involved. Gnosha also tells Aered about the burnt parchment, and that he needs a lab to be able to see what’s more written on it, and Aered replied: - “But it’s burnt, what can you do with it?” Gnosha explained that using his knowledge in Alchemy, he might be able to show what the fire has hidden, and Aered just replied with a silent hum. Gnosha said that the sooner they could get to Erast, the better, but they still had several days of travel ahead of them.

    For three uneventful days the take shifts scouting ahead, passing forests and occasional ruins of since long abandoned buildings. They decided to make night camps as far from ruins as possible, Brozin was sleeping very ill the following nights, having nightmares about spiders. He said to the other at breakfast the fifth day. -”Why did it have to be spiders? I am deadly scared of spiders, have been since I was a kid. Nothing else scares me as much as spiders.

    In the evening of the fifth day, they approach a farmstead. A large winged building with fences all around and an additional fence making the yard even more secure. The main building seems to be the main building, and the wings houses stables and barns on the ground floor, and what looks like living quarters on the upper floor. 

    They asked the farmer who was taking in some cows if they could stay the night, and for six coppers a piece they would get to sleep under a roof, and get a hot soup, and the horses would be stabled and cared for at the cheap price of 3 coppers a horse. Grugnir decided that it was worth the cost, they all needed a good night’s sleep. The farmer , Mr Lurasaer, welcomed them to his home. He told Grugnir that lives here with his wife, five children and a stable boy, an orphan and a friend of one of his sons.

    TheFarmStead.jpg
    2000 x 1125 - 633K
    Post edited by Totte on
  • TotteTotte Posts: 11,966
    edited June 8

    There was one other person staying at the Lurasaer farmstead, a Halfling named Gilme Goodbelly. Gnosha decided to talk a little with him and learned that he was travelling south, leaving Erast so Gnosha decided to try to get some news, without sounding too interested. Just when they had started talking, Aered came by from the stable and looked at Mr Goodbelly and said: - “Hello, Mr Shortchubby”. Mr Goodbelly instantly became a little stiff and uneasy, but Gnosha quickly said: - “I am so very sorry for my travel companion’s manners. He has had a very rough time recently.” Gnosha then ordered a tankard of mead for Mr Goodbelly and they continued to talk.

    Mr Goodbelly, or Gilme, is travelling on foot, he is a traveller, and he goes from one place to the next for work or to sell things. Right now he has nothing to sell so he is heading south for work. Ghosha asks a little and let’s Gilme do most of the talking. Gilme tells Gnosha that there will soon be a market fair in Erast, the Winter Pelt Festival, in about two weeks. It’s held every year at the end of the summer, when the hunters in the North come down South to Erast to sell pelts and skins. Merchants come to Erast to sell tools and other crafted items, even oil and candles are popular products to sell at the market, and food and livestock too. People come from far and near to buy or sell. There is a lot going on in the market square during the week, and whatever is not sold during the market week, the people of Erast try to buy at bargain prices, as nobody wants to bring unsold items back home again. 

    Now Gnosha understood why Mr Emberfury is heading for Erast at this time of year, the Winter Pelt Festival, not that it’s any of Gnosha’s business, but you can never have too much knowledge, the more you know the more reason things will make.

    evening chat.jpg
    2600 x 1463 - 580K
    Post edited by Totte on
  • TotteTotte Posts: 11,966
    edited June 9

    Gilme says he has been to the Winter Pelt Festival once, and once is enough He decided to leave before the taverns and inns raise their prices in time for the festival. Gilme also mentions that Dutchess Jacobina Maimux of Erast has been very upset about something, even worse than usual. Something has happened and rumours are that something really horrible has happened. Gnosha did not tell Gilme that this terrible thing that has happened to the Dutchess is most probably the reason he and Aered are headed for Erast. 

    Then Gilme starts to talk about something else that has happened, Northwest of Erast, something really horrible. There is a large band of bandits or brigands and they burned down a whole village, burned it down to the ground. It’s a very tragic event and people living North of Erast are scared.

    Finally, when it’s getting late and time to go to bed, Gilme talks about a group of heroic adventurers who rode to the East from Erast and prevented the undead from rising and saved the village of Winterhaven. There are four adventurers in the group. One huge and strong warrior, one older and careful man, one even older man who seems to have gathered a lot of wisdom and experience during his life, and finally a mad dwarf wielding an ax and a sword. The dwarf has axes attached all over his armor, on his back, on his chest and on his legs.  They fought and won over some kind of death cultists, something like the whispers way or something the death cultists call themselves. The children sing songs about these heroic heroes. 

    Gilme says: - “I bumped into an undead once, many years ago, and we killed it dead again, me and my friends. So, it’s getting late, and I have to get going early tomorrow, it was nice talking to you Gnosha, safe travels, I hope we meet again one day.” That night, Brozin slept like a child, he had so much sleep to recover from the past two nights of nightmares.

    sleeping brozin.jpg
    2000 x 1125 - 542K
    Post edited by Totte on
  • TotteTotte Posts: 11,966
    edited June 11

    The next morning they set off early to try to reach Erast tomorrow evening, to avoid one night in the open. Gnosha is doing a lot of scouting, and when he is not scouting, but riding one of the wagons, he carefully writes down notes from the conversation yesterday evening with Mr Goodbelly. Slowly, piece by piece, the puzzle is unwrapped, but still too many pieces are missing.

    The road was more travelled in these parts and it followed one of the many streams, rounding hill after hill, so they travelled faster and it was still very nice summer weather, even though the further North you would get, the faster the winter would come upon you. Erast was still located way South of the real North, the lands mostly populated by hunters and many different tribal folks. Ghosha lost himself in thought 

    The day is quite uneventful, which everyone is happy about, and when the evening comes, they find a small lake along the winding stream that the road had been following for most part of the day.

    It’s a good place for washing yourself and your clothes, and Aered, not at all a shy person, jumps into the water as god created him embarrassing everyone except himself. After Aered had taken a very long bath and washed his clothes, he was in a splendid mood, singing to himself. They all took turns for the nights watch, but the night was as uneventful as the day.

     

     

    Aered_diving.jpg
    2000 x 1125 - 519K
    Post edited by Totte on
Sign In or Register to comment.