Gavin’s Jolly Knights waken from a well-deserved rest after the rescue of young Jon. The knights are refreshed (mostly) and ready to continue the search for Sefa’s daughter Hope.
A knock at the door brings a letter from Father Myer, a representative of Tyr. It thanks the group for going after the children when no one else would, and fans the flame of resolve to continue the search for Hope. It also bares the request to take along the messenger, the son of a local noble, Aaron.
With an early start Kadrin wastes no time backtracking to pick up the young girls trail, not to mention teaching Aaron some of the finer points of tracking which includes tips like:
- Tracking is as much about what you can see as what you cant.
- Don’t let the fighter trample the trail before you have a chance to examine it.
- Koblod’s are @#$-holes.
A brief break so that Gavin can have 2nd breakfast leads to an interesting conversation with Aaron, and the revelation that if in danger Hope may make her way to Auntie Marta’s a local herbalist, who lives near the Taganrog swamp to the east.
Auntie Marta is helpful in identifying two groups of men had passed by and talked to her. Five pleasant priest stopped by and evangelize the coming of a world change, the transformation of Tyr, to a greater truth. They also were more than happy to take Hope back to her mother. Several hours later Father Myer and pretty boys stopped by in their pressed white uniforms, looking as pure as ever, almost angelic. They seemed very concerned that she had sent Hope off with these other priests, but assured her that Hope would be fine.
After accepting some of Auntie Marta’s cider Kadrin led the Jolly Knights into the Taganrog.
Several hours of bug bites, mud caked boots, and a smell they will never get out of their gear our heroes were attacked by Giant Frogs!
Kadrin was traversing exceptionally soggy ground, holding the end of a rope to guide the rest of the party around the worst of the muck when he is attacked by Giant Frogs that can smell his swamp stink. With one hand holding the rope taunt and his axe in the other he holds his ground, and like all great thing that come in small packages Gavin tight rope runs double flips off and plunges his blades into the amphibians waxy skin, to which the great beast croaks and dies, or as Gavin would tell it later, he pulled a double croaker.
Gavins Jolly Knights make short work of the other two wary beasts.
As the sun climbs past mid-day in the Taganrog and the Jolly Knights look less Jolly as the heat, smell, and bugs only seem to get worse. Kadrin is the first to notice that Aaron is not as bothered by the insects as the rest of them. He shares that he has been applying Auntie Marta’s Swamp Ointment every couple of hours. Otto Black volunteers to share the ointment, and asks if anyone else would like to partake… Kadrin, and Sivas decline.
Several more hours of slogging through the Taganrog, and Kadrin leads the party into a partial clearing where Lizard folk are spotted on the other side entering at the same time. Weapons are unsheathed, and sheathed as both sides gauge the temperament of the others. After a few minutes Heidan offers up a Battle Horn purchased in Windbergen, and Otto yells, “TRADE?!?” using the universal translation provided by shouting.
Ssslevin the leader of this patrol, hisses, “Yesss, trade with pinkies.” He offers a necklace of teeth of some swamp beast, pulled from around his own neck.
Heidan thanks the man-lizard.
Heidan , and Otto ask if the group has seen any men, “Pinkies” traveling with a small “Pinkie” and points at Gavin.
Ssslevin says, “Pinkie’s in Black with small Pinkie head to Stone Place”, and he points in the direction that Kadrin determines is north.
Otto draws the shiny longsword purchased from the dwarven forges (a shiver runs up Sivas spine) of Mecklen, and whispers, “trade?”
Ssslevin and the other members of the patrol bring forward a half dozen gourds of a noxious syrupy substance.
Otto shakes his head, no, and says, “take us to the Stone Place”
Ssslevin and the other lizard folk all say, “Bad, no go to Stone Place pinkies”
Otto says, “Map”
Ssslevin draws a crude map in the dirt, and Kadrin studies it closely, and points at several feature, or landmarks, asking what are these.
After each time that Kadrin points at something, Ssslevin and the others say, “Bad”
Kadrin asks, “How long to Stone Place?”
Ssslevin hold his scaly arms up in the air forming a pie shape as an indicator of an amount of time, or distance the sun must travel.
The two start to head their own way with Gavin and the Jolly Knights selecting a path heading north.
Ssslevin hisses one last time as the two groups part, “Black Scale friendssss” (The fourth “s” indicates he meant it).
The Knights continue to track another group headed north that brings them to a large lake of standing water.
Kadrin is carefully picks his way through the muddy shore, working his way around the lake, and holding the rope so that the rest of the group can safely cross behind him.
Just as Kadrin pauses to catch his breath, 3 tentacles snake out of the water and slam into him, one of which wraps him up, pinning his arms to his side.
Gavin with no fear shows the courage of his people, and runs out across the rope, leaping off with blades drawn, only to have a tentacle welcome him into it’s slimy embrace.
Sivas pulls eldritch energy from a dark plane, and arched it out across the shoreline over the tentacles and Gavin, top no effect, and Gavin’s relief.
Kadrin escaped one tentacle only to be grabbed by a second one, Gavin follows suit, slipping through a tentacles grip to be grabbed by another one.
Sivas calls down a dark attack of energy and sustains it until his companions are released, and the tentacles have withdrawn. The party makes it to the opposite side of the lakes shore, what is assumed is safety, and watch as the waters churn indicating a great beast in it death throws, or a regroup for a second attack.
The party races into the swamp continuing north before anything else can go wrong.