Waking the morning after taking the Lorebook away from Cortez The Five rescue a half-dozen cattle. Starting on their way back to Telse they know that they will move slowly. Maurice heads off on his own to scout the road. There is some concern that the Western Tower of Telse may be held by non-friendly forces. The rest of The Five (now actually five) start the slow trudge through lands as a light fall of ash continues.
Around noon the ash stops falling. A few homesteads are out in this land, but it is mostly wild. A light forest is off to the North while the right side of the road is a rougher land of hill and rock. Off to that wooded side Saffron notices a mix of men and canines rushing from stand of trees to woods. She can’t make much more out than that, but does warn the group.
Onward they travel, a bit more wary and unworried. An hour or so later, Samul in lead position sees two canines and two men. They are then joined by a third wolf. Shonie stops the cattle. Samul walks steadily forward. This is too simple to be a trap.
Saffron recognizes one of the men from the Village of Nak. These are enemies. Behn and Saffron ready their crossbows. Samul readies his chain, slamming it into the ground as his left foot hits the ground. Aamar and his bear cub Bernie move through the cattle preparing to help.
Action is swift. The wolves fly forward with two rushing the barbarian and another targeting Saffron. Behn lets a bolt fly. It’s a miss. Everyone is rather surprised.
Samul enters a frenzy, whipping his chain at the two wolves. Both strike him as he misses. He shrugs off the wounds. Saffron utters dissonant whispers. The wolf charging her whelps turns 180 degrees and dashes off into the woods. The wolf rushes past the man that she recognized. The wolf and man can’t run away fast enough. The man’s fear is from recognition. The wolf’s fear from that spell.
Samul’s chain whips into wolf, this time ripping through the fur, tearing out flesh. It’s human companion cringes, as his bond leaves the living world. Aamar speaks the healing words of Quar and the minor wounds from the wolf bites are gone. The rival acolyte of Nak hit Aamar with his second scared flame. Aamar dodged the first.
The Bard speaks a quick rhythm, inspiring Samul to success as she charges the remaining battle. Samul takes out the acolyte. When Saffron reaches the conflict a single stab of her sword is all it takes. It’s over. A few seconds of fury and a clear signal that Nak’s followers weren’t entirely eliminated.
They march onward and camp prior to sunset. Overnight, on the final watch, Samul notices a herd of elk leaving the ashen lands of the northwest for more fertile lands around the Ferments.
By morning all are rested, healed. A ranch on the road’s right seems a good spot to offer the cattle. Aamar sells them at a below market rate, but the group takes in some gold for their efforts.
Maurice returns from his scouting trip, winded.
“Ahead, the Telse’s Western Tower, it’s no longer under the town’s control,” he spits out between heavy breathes.
“Who took it?” Aamar asks.
“Obscon’s followers. There are dozens. Some laborers still work for them.”
“Not all, but most.”
“We should go around,” Aamar suggests.
“Why?” Samul’s thoughts are simple.
“To the North or South,” asks Saffron.
“Maybe we get closer and see what path would be easier?” Shonie questions. The group nods. That’s the plan now. Mo scribbles out a tiny map. If the approach makes it clear that they cannot risk trying to go through Obscon’s annihilationists they can head into the hills to the South.
That’s the path. A few days of construction and the fence towards the Sheljar Gate has made more progress. The rougher lands to the south will provide more cover. The group turns towards the Ferments giving space to Obscon’s faithful. Popping over a crest they notice a man and a female goliath hunched over at a bush.
The two don’t seem hostile. Their robes indicate that they are local circle of druids, plucking herbs.
“Ho!” calls out Aamar.
The great goliath gives greeting back. Her bird flutters about her shoulder. “You’re the group searching for the Book! Are you back?”
Aamar answers, “we’re on our way, but the tower was taken.”
“Yes, Obscon’s followers were forced away from the West Gate by Piyu and Allison. But, that group took the tower and the Guard isn’t enough to take it back.”
“Is the gate safe”
“Yes, we will return through the West Gate when we go back to our apothecary.”
The druids are left to their gathering of herbs. The Five (actually six) head towards Telse. They reach the gate with others who’ve had to go overland rather than along the road. Trade with the Western Wildes will be greatly diminished with Obscon’s people taking over the gate and a volcanic eruption. When they left the guard numbered four. Now there are eight from the Guard and eight militia as well.
Walking into the city along the Western Street the group passes the stables where those with larger bonds leave them under highly paid care. The streets bustle with dogs, cats and birds. Bernie gets some odd looks. Bear cubs are not typical companions. They pass houses and shops with Telse’s unique mix of halfling houses, human houses, goliath homes and those with entries that accommodate all. As they approach the Market and the Font of Two Paths (the Everflow) The Five pass Allison’s house and Barracks. The Mayor’s office and rooms are across the street along the edge of the market.
The Mayor’s is a multi-racial building with 14 foot stories and a sequence of doors and hatches for Kin and their bonds. Aamar knocks. Kellamon answers. The portly halfling asks them to enter. “I will write you a script that you can cash at the money changer. You will be paid. Take the Lorebook to Ollium. He knows the local scholars that can study it safely.”
Aamar, Saffron and Samul’s players were present for this session. The group is considering an attempt to convince Bishop Ollium that they should remain in control of the Lorebook. They’ve found that book, but they didn’t get answers, only more questions.
The remaining Nak cultists, wandering herd of elk and druid herbalists were all rolled random encounters. The group was about to charge through the Towers but the quickly sketched map started to sway them away from the simple action. Rather than take a wide path their narrower route did result in more random encounters, but the one that hit provided some story rather than violence. The elk were another such story device, that showed how the events in past sessions change current ones. Encountering more members of the Nak group gave the clue/reminder that not all of that faith were destroyed.