2nd of Calistril, 4712AR
Today was intense to say the least. Even as I write this journal entry I can barely keep my eyes open but I need to get this all down before I forget any of it.
This morning Aramis was making breakfast over light conversation with our kobold friend. This included the topics of branding and the decision of whether to turn him into boot or gloves. Eventually he came to the conclusion that a younger kobolds would be needed for the suppleness that he demanded. I noticed that a handful of the kobold’s scales have been burned. Schmidtaki told me that our kobold friend had agreed to take us to his clan. On the ride back to the kobold camp Schmidtaki and Aramis ended up talking about the kobold.
Schmidtaki, “So he said that there were something like 300 kobolds back at his camp.”
Schmidtaki, “And we… Uh and by we, I mean you, spent the better part of the night threatening to turn him into gloves and burning his scales with a hot knife.”
Aramis, "Well I believe your miss representing things a bit. First off it was boots, he’s entirely too old and rough for gloves. Second, the little vagabond was stealing from us, that makes him bandit and…
Schmidtaki, “And now we are just going to walk into his camp.”
Aramis, “Wait, oh. Hold on a second.”
Aramis then rode up next to the kobold who was tied up on our pack horse.
Aramis, “So um, kobold what was your name again?”
Moretek, “You never ask name, just burn me.”
Aramis, “Yes, yes, and there will be plenty more burning if you don’t give me you name.”
Aramis, “So Moretek, exactly how far are we from your camp.”
Moretek, “It is Sootscale Clan. And we just almost there. Just to South of here, maybe one more hour.”
Aramis pointed, “Just to the South. Straight this way.”
Moretek, “No no, this way.” He pointed just a little to the right as Aramis hung back a bit, pulled out his rapier.
Aramis flexing and examined it, “Oh perfect. Then we don’t need to you any more.” Aramis skewered Moretek, killing him. Schmidtaki then rode up next to him.
Aramis, “So it seems that noble friend Moretek was slain by some evil bandits.”
Schmidtaki plugning his own blade into the kobold quickly wiped it off, " Yes and his dying wish was to be brought to back to his clan. Oh and don’t forget to wipe your blade off."
Aramis, “A shame we couldn’t save him in time.”
I was a little horrified at the actions of my comrades. Though I can’t complain too much as our entire campaign to pacify these lands have been pretty brutal. Not the least of which is my propensity for collecting skulls as an example to the other bandits.
True to the kobolds word we arrived at the Sootscale camp. The plains became rocky and sandy and there was a large rocky crag jutting out of the ground. The craggy outcropping loomed over us as we approached. The frozen ground covered in countless kobold tracks and dotted by snow covered piles of dirt and broken rock. In the distance we could see the little lizards scurrying from mound to mound keeping an eye one us. We spotted a cave opening that they seemed be heading to. As we approached it a single kobold ran out towards us waving his hands. He looked carefully at the ground, stood his ground and called out to us.
Kobold, “YOU STAY THERE. WHAT YOU WANT.”
Aramis, “We are here to return one of your fallen warriors.”
Kobold, “YOU KILL SOOTSCALES?!”
Schmidtaki, “No it was bandits.”
Kobold, "Bandits? We have truce… Why you bring us dead sootscale?
Aramis, “Wait, you have a truce with the Stag Lord?”
Kobold, “YOU ANSWER QUESTION.”
Schmidtaki, “He told us to bring him here as he was dying.”
Kobold, “YOU WAIT HERE.”
The kobold ran back into the tunnel. It was now flanked by four kobolds brandishing spears and sheilds. Something like five minutes later another kobold came out. This kobold was dressed in leather, decorated in red and black feathers. He wears a helmet made from kobold skull and decorated in the same red and black feathers. Several of his scales are pierced by silver rings, and others are inlay with silver to form draconcic characters. He strode out to the to the same spot as the last kobold and called out to us from.
Chief Sootscale, “I AM CHIEF SOOTSCALE. YOU WANT BRING US FALLEN SOOTSCALE. GOOD. YOU BRING HIM TO US. BUT ONLY ONE OF YOU COME.”
Aramis, “Let us two of us bring him.”
Chief Sootscale, “NO, ONLY ONE. MORE COME AND WE FIGHT.”
Schmidtaki got off his horse and brought the dead kobold to the chief. Two kobolds ran forward to grab and drag off the body. The Chief began to walk back and towards the cave, “You come with me we talk.” Cautiously Schmidtaki walked into the tunnel now filled with kobolds. As he disappeared into the cave the kobolds followed.
Later he relayed what happened to him in the cave. He had to crouch to get into the cave, but it opened up quickly. There were ledges and tunnels all around. The kobolds surrounded him but kept there distance, with the exception of Chief Sootscale. Even at half his height the Chief stood proud and intimidated.
Chief Sootscale, “I am chied Sootscale. What you doing here?”
Schmidtaki, “We are returning your fallen warrior.”
Chief Sootscale, “Why human care?”
Schmidtaki, “Well were good humans and it was his dying request.”
Chief Sootscale, “How sootscale die?”
Schmidtaki, “Bandits, bandits killed him.” At this the kobolds began to mummer loudly amongst each other.
Chief Sootscale, “WHAT! We have truce with Stag Lord. Why bandits break truce.”
Schmidtaki, “We just walked in on them being attacked.”
Chief Sootscale took his time looking Schmidtaki up and down before replying, “Why we trust you? Sootscales don’t know you. Who are you?”
Schmidtaki, “Because were good humans?”
Chief Sootscale smiled widely or at least what passes for a smile with kobolds, “I have idea, you do us favor, you go to Old Sycamore. You go get us Old Sharptooth Statue from the crazy mites under big tree.” Again the crowd began to murmurer.
Schmidtaki, “That’s it? A statue and a handful of those evil smurfs. Sure. No problem. We’ll get it done and if there are any real tasks you need done, you let me know chiefy. I talk to you later.”
Turning to leave, the kobolds blocking his path did not move until their Chief barked out an order in draconic. Schmidtaki returned to us. He told us that there were a lot of kobolds in there and, “So the Chief told us that he doesn’t trust us. But that if we go get his statue from nest of mites then he will. I figure if we get their trust we could pit them against the Stag Lord.” Considering our previous encounters with mites this should be a small errand.
Finding the tree that the Sootscales described was an easy task. Looming over all the hills in the northern Kamelands, a graying hulk of a sycamore tree clings precariously to its last years of life. Well over a 100-foot-tall tree is visible for miles. Standing around a gaping hole at the roots of the tree we could hear terrible giggling coming from inside. Looking at each other one last time we jumped in one by one. We left Geronimo on the surface to guard the horses. The narrow corridors and low ceilings of the lair would prove to be almost as big a hazard as the fey themselves.
In the first room we entered there were three crude, wooden workbenches occupy the center of this room, their tops strewn with various tiny tools, metal and wooden hardware, and blocks of wood. Four mites scurry about the room engaged in a strange competition using a new device they’ve built. Using a miniature catapult rigged out of bones and branches, the two take turns firing caltrops at one anther’s open mouth. This resulted in the room being covered in caltrops.
The mites gleefully attacked us with knives and darts. As we fought them, two of them began to wiggle their fingers, weaving there sinister magic. The vines and roots around Schmidtaki began snag around him and tie up in knots. The other mite caused oil and slime to bubble out of the ground under our feet. In spite of these distractions and the low ceiling that we kept bumping our heads into two we were able to kill two of the blue creatures. The other two escaped into opposite tunnels. Not feeling threatened we split up. Mitchel, Chet, and I headed right, Aramis and Schmidtaki headed left.
Jumping down, I found myself in a egg-shaped cavern, obscured by thick tangles of long, pallid roots. To the east, the chamber opened into a wide, root-filled chasm. A group of six mites are joyously tormenting a captured Sootscale kobold. One of four black-scaled kobolds who have been tied into the roots along the wall. The other three already hang limply by their bonds, dead from the mites’ torment. The last kobold shrieks in pain as the six mites take turns poking it with sharp stick, each shriek eliciting a fresh wave of giggles and cheers from the mites. All the while the mite we chased into this room was trying to get the attention of the others. When I attacked them they slowly began to realize that they were in danger. Again and again I either snagged in my feet and arms on roots in the cavern to the delight of the mites. From behind me I could hear a familiar voice whispering a prayer that ended in loud refrain. The shocking sound stunned many of the mites and the captured kobold slumped limply in the roots that held him. I charged forward to take advantage of the stupefied mites. They quickly came to their senses to retaliate. The ones I faced jabbed at me with tiny daggers while the ones behind them gleefully filled the air with darts. As they began to surround me I could hear the sound of music behind me followed by a loud thud. It was Mitchel.
Mitchel strode forth and fiddled the violin furiously, its crescendo shattered and sliced the flesh of the mites. Again and again he broke that note slicing and killing the unsuspecting mites. Finishing off the tune with a flourish that revive the tortured kobold.
I began to untie the kobold when I heard Arimis screaming from above, “Oh gods! There everywhere. There in my hair! Please its hideous, kill it with fire! Fire please!” It was immediately followed by, “Oh gods! I’m on fire! Why, why!”
I could then hear Shmidtaki yell, “Quick stop, drop, and roll.”
Aramis, “Ouch, ouch! Why am I on fire rolling around in caltrops.”
After releasing the kobold, I crossed a chasm. A deep and ominous chasm splits the passage. The chasm was a few yards wide, and twice as deep, but thick ropes of tangled roots fill the entire area. The passage continued on the far side of the chasm, and between the two ledges, numerous loops were tied into the roots to serve as hand and footholds. As I crossed I noticed that several of the loops were rigged to fall apart and called back to Mitchel, “Watch out some of these hand holds are traps.” Once on the other side I looked back to see Chet and Mitchel scurrying thier big dwarven butts back up towards the others yelling, “We’ll be right back.”
At this point I realized I was alone and turned to see what awaited me. In this room there were rows of wooden pegs lining the earthen walls, some hung with tiny, filthy cloaks. In the center of the room stood a rickety table held together with twine, covered with a filthy red checked tablecloth with two figures sitting at it. On the table was an bloodstained ivory statuette of what looks like a crouching reptilian devil. Sitting at the table was a small man covered in a dark cloak and a dressed in rags. Next to him, a human sized mite with a white beard, white hat, wielding a flaming club. There was one more mite in the room and it was riding what I believed to be a giant tick.
With a wave of his fingers the white bearded mite cause webs to spring up behind me cutting off my escape. The giant tick charged me and latched on to my waist. The rag covered creature and the white bearded mite began to laugh and chuckle as they watched me struggle with the creature. I just barely managed to hold and keep the mandibles from gnawing me to death, but still its rasping tongue drank deeply of my blood. The two figures laughed and laughed as I managed to free my self and I scrambled back wards towards the web. The raged figure raised his hand and suddenly everything went black.
The darkness was absolute and I could feel the insect latch on to me again. The monster drank my blood but again I managed to keep it’s mandibles from inflicting even greater damage. I could feel myself growing cold and weak with blood lose. Then from the table and laughter was I could hear a loud long whistle. From behind me, in the chasm there was a loud chattering and the scuttling of many many legs. As I fought with the giant tick something very large and flaming hot passed by me. I could just barely managed to make out two glowing red eyes and three large flaming interlocking fangs. I could hear the webs burning away behind me. After the large thing passed I managed to break free of the tick and crawl away from the creature. My only hope was to start crossing back across the chasm.
Pale and week I managed to meet back with the little kobold. The small reptile helped me steady myself and we climbed back up the tunnel with the tick following us. Once we arrived at the opening to the surface the kobold took off. I ran to the supply horse and drank a potion of bear’s endurance to regain some of my strength. Geronimo looked at me curiously as I guzzled potion. I then tried to get him to follow me. Tilting his head to one side then the other the cat followed me albeit a bit confused by my flailing hands and unusual calls. I shuddered briefly as I prepared to delve back into the tunnels hoping that Geronimo would join me. The last thing I saw before I jumped was the kobold running off in the distance.
I was immediately confronted by my thirsty tormentor. I prepared myself to attack and Geronimo jumped on top of the giant bug. Between the two of us we were able to kill the bug and its rider, though Geronimo did the lions share of the damage. The beast was finally dead and in a strange twist of fate, it was still my blood that spilled all over the ground. Geronimo and I locked eyes for a moment and nodded at each other with approval.
We both pressed on towards the shouts of friends and gleeful giggles of our enemies. Going through a narrow cavern we enter the room. The floor was wet-looking and crisscrossed by several shallow trenches, each containing trickles of putrid looking fluid. Six foul mounds of compost and dung lie heaped about the room, each studded with small spherical eggs. There were countless broken and burned centipedes strewn about the room and we could hear the sounds of combat coming from the tunnel on the other side of this room.
Rushing forward we made our way through another narrow tunnel into a damp room haphazardly cluttered with broken beds, chairs, wagon wheels, and an assortment of worn, tattered, dingy, and broken objects pilfered or salvaged from big folk. A row of bookcases stands crookedly propped against the far wall, the shelves filled with bits of bone, feathers, and dried centipede legs. Old window frames, cracked and splintered, hang upon the wall like works of fine art. The entire room was covered in small darts, I would soon find out why.
In this room I was reunited with my companions. There were also a dozen or so mites. On the far side of the room I could see a giant centipede at least twenty feet long with three giant flaming mandibles dripping with black venom. Behind him I could see the rage clad figure and the larger mite still laughing hysterically at our misfortune.
The white bearded mite covered us in webs with a wave of his fingers. A moment later he snapped his fingers sending a spark into the center of the web. The webs burst into flames with us in it. This was all to the delight of the other fey. The mites full of mirth attacked in concert. Suddenly the air was filled with darts flying haphazardly in every direction. Between the low ceiling and the tiny size of our targets the mites proved almost impossible to hit. Again and again the air became thick with darts. Eventually the entire room was covered in darts. This fact made sure that the mites were never out of arms reach of another dart.
Slowly almost carefully, the giant centipede made its way through the crowd of mites to join the fray. The centipede lunged forward with its flaming fangs striking Aramis in the chest, leaving three gaping bloody holes. The centipede whipped its long twin tails at Aramis almost tripping him. The pain of the bite nearly dropped Aramis to one knee but he steady himself quickly. Chet and Mitchel managed to heal Aramis as he dueled the giant monstrosity. Aramis could not seem to connect properly with his nemesis. Again and again his rapier glancing off of the centipede’s thick chitinous armor. Schmidtaki took this moment to jeer him, “3, 4, 5. Are you planing to hit that thing some time today?”
Aramis was struck again by the giant centipede and its flaming mandibles sizzled, extinguishing themselves in his flesh. Even more darts filled the air and the mites cried out, “La la la la-la la. Happy things will come to you. La la la la-la la. Smurf the day away!” Then Geronimo charged into the rescue. With Chet and Mitchel’s healing abilities nearly exhausted Aramis slowly began to retreat. Fighting his way back a bit, he drank a healing potion and we all made our way back out of the room. But not Geronimo. Geronimo flew into a furry and would not retreat. We could hear the sounds of the terrible centipede and the tiger battling.
The centipede slashed and tore into the great cat and the cat returned the favor. The darts rained down in all directions accompanied by the laughter of the mites. Geronimo deftly avoiding the missiles and bit of the giant insect. Then finally an errant dart landed in Geronimo’s meaty flank and he finally collapsed under his wounds. The last one of us to leave the chamber was Mitchel who let out a cry of sadness at the sight of his friend falling. But he would not let this be the end. Playing his piccolo one last time before leaving the room the great cat was granted a second wind.
Back in the room with the egg piles the remaining mites had doubled back on us. Here we had a better time of fighting them as we could get on either side of them to flank. Below we could hear the mighty mountain lion and the centipede’s battle rage on. Schmidtaki and Aramis tore the tiny creatures apart. Clearing the room we took positions to attempt to ambush anything that came from the direction of the centipede. Then the battered Geronimo clambered out of the small tunnel closely followed by the centipede. All together we pounced on the monster. The centipede shuttered under our assault and let out a terrible roar that shook the cave, nearly collapsing it as it died.
The body of the beast clogged the tunnel and we all together grabbed its legs to pull it through. We charged back into the cave that we were chased out of a moment ago. With their insect champions destroyed and their number reduced we pressed through the mite ranks. Forcing our way towards the white bearded mite and the ragged dark figure. The dark rag covered figure finally unsheathed a blade was smeared with thick black poison and attacked. Aramis and Schmidtaki dualed the two. Before we knew it the rag covered figure was impaled on Aramis’ blade and it burst into flames and light. The sudden light blinded the white bearded who swung furiously with his macabre faced flaming club. Together Aramis and Schmidtaki killed the mite leader. Suddenly the laughter that had permeated this entire battle stopped. The mite leader collapsed and then began to shrink back down to regular size as the rest of the mites looked on. The mite leader let out a final sigh and the rest of the mites ran out of the cave screaming and sobbing.
The tunnels were silent except for the sound of us all gasping for breath. Eventually we all broke into laughter because we survived the terrible encounter. We sorely underestimated these tiny fey and their vermin champions. Searching the cave we found a bag of treasure underneath the ragged table and the armor and weapons of the mites. Mitchel gathered up every dart he could find, they were everywhere. We found the statue that the kobolds were looking for. It was a blood stained ivory statuette depicts a crouching horned devil, of fine craftsmanship but not magical in the slightest.
When we emerged from the tunnel Schmidtaki pulled out a crude map written in the mites strange language. He was not able to properly read the language but pieced together that there were two columns on the map. One labeled “Us” and one labeled “Them.” The “Us” column lists only two things: “kobold statue” and “lots of spears and coins.” The “Them” column lists “magic dust,” “lots of coins” and “shiny human ring".
Schmidtaki, “Shiny human ring, could that be the wedding ring were looking for?”
To which I replied, “Lets get this damn statue back to the Sootscales. We can ask them. And once we get back to Oleg’s I am buying as much lamp oil from him as I can. Barrels if he’s got it. We are coming back and burning this disgusting tree to the ground.” Everyone agree that this was a good idea. It wasn’t even noon and the Sootscales were only an hour or so away so we set off.
We approached the Sootscale cave and again we were greeted by kobolds watching us from afar while darting between mounds of snow covered dirt. As we got nearer one kobold ran towards us waving his arms and yelling, “Hey, hey!” The little kobold walked next to my horse as, he was the one that I untied in the mite cave.
“Hi, I Mikmek. You humans that rescue me!”
I replied, “Yes, We did and now were on our way to return the statue. Then later were gonna burn that damn tree to the ground.”
Mikmek squealed in delight, “Ya, stupid mite. Burning them is good. So you get statue?”
“So you return statue to Chief Sootscale or Turtuk?”
I said, “Well since I never heard of this Turtuk character, I am thinking we’ll end up returning it to the Chief.”
Mikmek cheered “Death to Tartuk!” before clapping his hands over his snout. “I go get Da Chief.” He then ran towards the cave opening.
The Chief emerged after a few minutes. As he got closer Schmidtaki unceremoniously tossed the statue to Chief Sootscale.
“So Chief, lets talk reward.”
“Yes reward, you are now friends to the Sootscales. You come with me, your horses will be taken care of.”
Aramis, “Well thats more like it.”
Chief Sootscale barked out orders in draconic and the kobolds guarding the entrance put their shields and spears down to take care of our horses. As we entered the cave Chief Sootscale held the ivory statue high above his head. Walking through the narrow tunnels the kobolds looked on at the Chief and the statue with fear and dread. Several of the kobolds scurried off at the sight of it.
Our procession stopped at an larger cave. The walls of this cavern were decorated by a rickety wooden frame formed from clean-cut branches lashed together with gut and twine. Banners cut from two-foot-wide strips of old blankets and horse hides hung from floor to ceiling, covering much of the walls. The sloppily painted banners bear dozens of primitive icons and mystic symbols. A large cauldron filled with bubbling red liquid boils in the center of the room. A purple skinned kobold stirred the cauldron. Decorated in green and black feathers, necklaces, and fetish. At his side, a wicked looking sickle with a lizards skull as its hilt. The blade protrudes from the skull like a tongue. He was flanked by a handful of kobold guards.
Mitchel, “This place could really use a plant…”
Turtuk, “So you have brought Old Sharptooth back to me.”
Chief Sootscale, “No, Humans bring it. These good humans.”
Turtuk, “You dared to let their soft, scaleless fingers defile Old Sharptooth. This will not please Old Sharptooth. This will not help lift the curse on our tribe.”
Chief Sootscale, “No, not your tribe. My tribe. I have Old Sharptooth now. I AM CHIEF SOOTSCALE. I LIFT CURSE AND FREE TRIBE FROM YOU!”
At this moment Chief Sootscale smashed the statue in the center of the room and charged at the purple kobold. The Chief dashed to the side of the medicine man and viciously bashed in his head with an ornate bone club. Aramis always ready for a fight charged forward. As he did the ground under the broken statue rippled, distorted, and stretched downward forming a square pit. Aramis was just barely able to stop himself from falling in. He then turned to face Turtuk’s guards. As these events unfolded I for some reason I was staring at the floor.
I was brought to my sense by Mitchel, of all people, barking orders. “Rainfall! Rainfall!!! Stop looking at those socks!! I know they were on sale and they fit you just fine but they’re just socks!! The giant army devil demon summoned from the fiery pits of hell commanded by the worst of of devilkin and all that we hold unholy to us is emerging from the cauldron in religious fashion and you’re just staring at your socks! Oh and if any one needs this flaming club just grab it from me!”
Mitchel continued, “Watch out for that pit. This pit is decidedly square in shape, I do not believe this is natural. Unless that is a pit made of antimatter cubic crystalline lattice material… or whatever.” I have no idea what I he meant by this.
Schmidtaki let out a frustrated sigh before joining the fray. Ducking back briefly to make it seem that he hand left the battle and he reemerge to let loose an arrow at the Turtuk. Chet grabbed onto the macabre flaming club and the two of them briefly fought over it. He then attacked one of guards. Moments later the sand and dirt around the pit began to churn and move as if caught in fierce winds. The bubbling cauldron split over and its liquid burst into flames burning the kobold guards and Schmidtaki. The dirt piled up around all combatants, friend and foe, impeding our movement. To my suprise the guards even attacked Chief Sootscale, these must have been Turtuks personal guards.
Chief Sootscale continued to battle Turtuk who was being pushed back a narrow tunnel. The Chief landed another vicious blow and Turtuk collaped. As we continued to whittled away at Turtuks guards, Chief Sootscale stood over the fallen Turtuk and killed him with a final blow. Turning around to face the swirling sand and the mysterious pit Chief Sootscale cried out to his tribe.
“I AM CHIEF SOOTSCALE! TODAY I BREAK CURSE! I BREAK OLD SHARPTOOTH! SOOTSCALES FREE!”
The remaining guards fled or dropped to their knees to beg for mercy. A few moments later winds and sand died down, the distorted terrain shifted and bended back into its normal form.
Chief Sootscale, “No mercy for kobolds that betray tribe to Turtuk.” He walked up next to Aramis and killed one of the kobolds kneeling in front of him.
Aramis joined him and killed the kobold next to that one, “What the hell is wrong with me today. All this fighting and I only killed one thing and only because it knelt down in front of me!”
Schmidtaki, “Ok seriously Chief Sootscale, I believe there was talk of reward. I mean this has been one hell of a day.”
Chief Sootscale pointed to the corner of the room piled up with various treasures, “There. Turtuk made us pile up all treasure. Offering or else curse get worse. You take what ever you want from there but you leave us silver. Silver is metal of Sootscales.” He pointed proudly to the scales on his shoulder that were inlayed with silver. He then left the room.
In the pile of treasure we found a great meany copper, silver, and gold pieces. There were even a few platinum pieces. A pair of find boot, flaming crossbow bolts, and a soiled bag. Mitchel was immediately drawn to the soiled bag. He dumped out the sack into the pile of treasure and carefully looked over the bag. A plain brass ring set with a single pearl fell out and rolled across the floor. Exactly as Svetlana described her stolen wedding ring. On Turtuk’s limp corpse we found two wands, the cold iron sickle, magical bracers, and a book written in a strange language. We looted the room but left the silver as instructed. After we were done Chief Sootscale returned. (Oh and we totally made level 4, DING!)
Chief Sootscale, “I have to restore order. Have to make law in tribe. You are my friend now. All of you help Sootscales very much.”
Schmidtaki, " Alright Chiefy we gotta have ourselves a little talk. We got you your statue, now you may not be much of an art lover but we brought it."
Chief Sootscale, “Um, ok.”
Schmidtaki, " We even helped you get a hold of your tribe and kill this Turtuk character that has been giving you all sorts of problems… apparently."
Chief Sootscale, “Yes! You good humans friends now.”
Schmidtaki, “Ya so these attacks on caravans have to stop. You guys want to attack the bandits thats fine. Remember that the Stag Lord broke your truce. Well we want that truce.”
Chief Sootscale, “Ok… yes. Turtuk make us attack caravans and traders.”
Schmidtaki, “Good, well then I will draw us up a treaty.”
Aramis, “Yes and as leader of this group, I umm, well, approve. Yes it meets with my approval, carry on.”
Chief Sootscale, “If you want us attack bandits, maybe you take off stag necklaces. So kobold no mistake you.”
Using our map making kit Schmidtaki was able to draw up a fairly official looking treaty in the same style as our charters. Chief Sootscale signed by dipping his entire hand in ink and pressing it to the paper as his signature. With the treaty signed Schmidtaki quickly switched his diplomat hat for his quartermaster hat and began sniffing out the next sweet deal.
Schmidtaki, “Well now that that’s all done, maybe we could do a little trading.”
Chief Sootscale, “Ok. What do you want.”
Schmitdtaki, “Well first off I would like to offer you these shields and spears as an offering of good will.”
Aramis, “Good will, what the hell are you talking about. Seriously I can’t believe you.”
Schmitdtaki, “So next we would like to get some prices for silver weapons.”
Aramis, “Wait, why are we leaving the silver again? Can someone explain this to me?”
Chief Sootscale, “Ok. we talk with smiths. You show us what weapons you want.”
Aramis, “I still can’t believe you gave away those things. If we sold them, that’s like half the price of a new outfit.”
Schmitdtaki, “I appreciate you trying to impress me, Aramis, but I am just not that way.”
Aramis, “What about silver sheen, do you have any of that?”
Chief Sootscale, "No, don’t know what that is?
Aramis, “It’s magical!”
Chief Sootscale, “Ya, no we no have that.”
Schmitdtaki, “I mean I know I ‘approach from behind’ and all, but I am just not into that sort of thing.”
Things continued like this for a while, eventually we had gotten prices for versions of all of our weapons but did not buy any. The sootscales have an interesting habit of making all trades and negotiations in silver pieces.
Not a bad day considering it was only just after noon. We were weary from all of the fighting so we decided to head back to Oleg’s for the day.
As the sun began to set we could make out smoke on the horizon. A lot of smoke, too much smoke. Something was wrong. Now with a sense of urgency we raced towards the trading post. We passed by the sign post that I had hung the bandit’s skulls from and a copy of our charter from. It had been burned down and the skulls taken. As Oleg’s began to come into view we could see the extent of the damage became clear.
The main gate had not been breached but they were severely scorched. Kesten Garess let us in, he like all of the inhabitants was covered in soot. All of the buildings had sustained some sort of damage and barn had burned down completely. Two of the guards had died in the attack. Flaming arrows were used to try and set fire to the trading post. Kesten told us the Stag Lord himself made an appearance. “It was the Stag Lord that killed the two guards.”
Chet immediately flew into an over dramatic rage, " Jhod, they were in you hands. They counted on you!"
Aramis followed suit, “Little disappointed Chode.”
Jhod, “It’s Jhod.”
Aramis, “Sorry, Chode, its my accent.”
Eventually Bokken stumbled out of the sleeping quarters, “They burned everything down, my shop.” The strange man was even stranger in the wake of the destruction of his potion shop. The bandits let him live because he never resisted giving tribute. He told us that they burned his shop because his potions helped use.
The trading post was over come with a sense of dread and foreboding. The sun setting and all of use exhausted from either battling mites, kobolds, or fire. It was at this moment when everyone was at their lowest Schmidtaki did something incredible. He walked up to Svetlana and wordlessly held out a ring. She broke down in tears and everyone looked on. She put the ring on and while crying tears of joy hugged Schmidtaki. This heartfelt moment struck a deep cord with everyone, lifting our spirits.
Despite Schmidtaki’s previous sexual overtures towards Svetlana he totally didn’t make the hug creepy, at first. While holding each other Schmidtaki whispering, in his most comforting voice, “who’s your daddy? who’s your daddy?”
After we had all recovered from this emotional event, we sat down to a dinner of bread and stew. The day was not over yet. Mitchel had a final announcement that he gave while doling out pints of watery beer. “Geronimo II, in the past weeks he has fought bravely for us. Just today he risked life and limb to save us. In honor of his selflessness and I have decided to release him back into the wild where he can spend his days ranting about how much he hates Maltese men and how he wants to eat Goosio.” The rest of the meal we spent feeding the great cat, petting him, and singing his praises.