Chapter 1: Chaos in Saard, Episode 2

Sabatine the 17th, 1216

After spending two days in a nearby cave to escape the storm that had quickly developed in the area, Gramorn explained that after the storm has waned, he will go his own way. He explains that he was hired to bring them to the forest, which is exactly what he has done. However, Valentia decided it was time to confront Gramorn about what she saw with her Witchsight on their travel to the forest days ago…

She was direct with her words, explaining that she used her magics to see that he was just as her, an empty husk. He seemed intrigued, yet fearful. The two conversed for quite some time until Gramorn explained that he had been betrayed by Valsus some time ago. He had also made the mistake of signing a blood oath, just as Valentia had. Only in Gramorn’s case, his daughter was kidnapped after he declared he would no longer be working for Valsus. Gramorn was then beaten and tortured until he was forced into compliance. Luckily for him, Valsus and his men were taken care of by Valentia and Face, making his escape possible. With his regained freedom, Gramorn explained to Face and Valentia that he was on a mission to rescue his daughter from the Cult of Chaosium, the people he believes are in possession of her.

Now joined by a similar goal, Valentia proposes traveling together to improve their odds. Face, uninterested in the intricate details of such demonic magic, is willing to help a friend in need, and also needed to recover the growing mystery of the White Olive Root for Solisma.

The three head out early the next morning, after the rains have subsided. Gramorn proposes traveling toward the Quickwater River, which is the unofficial border of Korantine lands from those of the Jekkarene. From there, they might be able to determine if any recent activity has taken place in the area. A couple of hours heading south toward the river bring them upon an odd stack of stones amidst an otherwise untouched natural scene. On top of the stacked stones is a small doll made of thistle in the shape of a man. Just below the thistle doll is a small bowl filled with what appears to be rainwater.

“I’ve never seen such a marker out here. I would be careful, it could be some type of trap”,  Gramorn nearly whispers.

inukshuk

Valentia quickly draws a symbol into the air and casts a quick Witchsight spell. She sees nothing out of the ordinary, but retains a suspicion…

Face, on the other hand, feels the need to approach the cairn and drink from the bowl. The water is fresh. Then he is overcome with euphoria as the soft voice of Solisma whispers into his ear, “This is the location where I desire to create a new Grove. Return here with the White Olive Root and bury it underneath the cairn here. We will be together soon.”

Face regains any lost motivation, and the three continue past the odd marker toward the Quickwater River. On their way past the cairn however, Valentia notices a set of tracks… too worn away by the previous days rain to follow or get detail on, she quickly notes that they are large tracks, roughly 2 feet long in either direction.

Now midday, they finally reach the Quickwater River. The river is wide and deep with numerous rapids and dangerous drops. In a small eddy on the north side of the river, Face spots a white log of White Olive wood. He picks it up and is now aware that the wood he seeks is not actually wood… it is a spongy material that has the appearance of wood, but feels like flesh. He takes a bite into the material and finds that it is rather unpalletable. Gramorn and Valentia agree that this part of the river is much to dangerous to cross after finding no sign of activity in the area. They then decide to head upriver, heading east until they can find a suitable crossing.

A few hours later, the river becomes quite calm and half as wide, easily able to be crossed. Valentia makes her way across the river first. She pulls herself up onto the other side when she hears a faint cry. Hidden amongst some river plants and the roots of a large tree right at the edge of the river is a small creature with beady black and yellow eyes. Covered in a white flesh, the top half of this small creature is a featureless countenance. The bottomo half is a slowly ripping lump of more white flesh. It slowly rips off of the creature, splitting it in half. The bottom half floats down the river; It is a piece of White Olive wood.

Excited, Face swims across as quick as he can to examine what he believes to be a White Olive Root. Gramorn finds an easier crossing just up ahead of a bend in the river and decides to use the crossing rather than swim across.

Face brings himself waist deep into the river where he picks up the defenseless creature. Face begins to work his way out of the water when his foot accidently hits something. Suddenly, multiple sets of glowing yellow eyes are visible from underneath the water surrounding Face. Leaping out of the water onto dry land, and many others emerging from underneath the water, slender reptillian creatures covered in hard shiny scales surround Valentia and Face in just a moment: Lizardmen, a blight on farmers and local settlers. Seeing no real method of defeating such an overwhelming number of enemies, Valentia quickly draws a rune into the air and establishes a crude mental link with the creatures. She explains that they will leave this place if they allow them to leave unharmed.

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“Leave. Now. All of us. LEAVE!” is the only message Valentia manages to get out of the creatures before they all duck back underneath the water.

Then silence. Face gets out of the river onto land, which is when Gramorn comes into sight, further down the river making his way toward them. A terrible bellowing growl echoes through the area. Valentia and Face then look southward, toward the direction of the sound. A hulking bipedal reptillian creature the size of a Dire Bear has hurled a massive stone toward them. With only a moment to react, they both attempt to dive out of the way. Valentia dives out and lands on her stomach at the last second, but Face is not as lucky. The stone strikes his stomach and shoulder as he braces himself, nearly knocking him over. Face, battered and likely a few broken bones, stands strong against the cripping attack. Driven by adrenaline, he maintains his position.

The giant creature, known to Valentia as a Slargr (a male no doubt), rushes toward her on all fours with incredible speed. Gramorn rushes toward Valentia to protect her, but knows he will not reach her in time. The Slargr continues its charge, but Face meets the creature’s charge with a well timed club attack, penetrating the thick scale armor covering its head. Blood rushes out of the creature’s head, but its charge and momentum have built too much to stop him. Valentia ducks out of the way literally at the last possible moment, narrowly avoiding a certain death from such a velocity.

Gramorn engages the creature head on. The creature towers over Gramorn, but he, with sword and shield drawn, pushes his blade toward the Slargr’s midsection, only to be deflected by its massive scaled arms. The Slargr grabs on to Gramorn’s shield and crushes it, trapping Gramorn’s arm. Valentia crawls away toward a tree to draw a rune into the air, invoking a fiery spark upon her arrows. Before Face can prepare a second attack, he is witness to the Slargr’s might. The creature easily overpowers Gramorn, and evicerates his arm, removing it from his body. Blood paints the floor around Gramorn’s body.

Forest Slargr

Face engages the Slargr and swings his spiked club, but the Slargr meets Face’s attack in a simar fashion as Gramorn. It grabs onto the club, preventing Face from taking another swing. Using leverage and strength, Face manages to maneuver his weapon free just as the Slargr swipes at him with a massive claw. He places the club in between his body, preventing its claws from piercing his sides, though his club is damaged. Face takes a step back and puts all his force into what he knows will be his last chance to land a killing strike on the creature…

The Gods do not smile upon him. His weapon is once again grabbed by the bloody Slargr. Not having the energy to wrestle his weapon free again, he prepares for the inevitable bone splitting strike. Just as its claws are about to sink into Face’s flesh, the creature falls on a knee. Three Lizardmen have jumped from the river to attack the Slargr, picking at its weak backside, consuming the flesh underneath. More Lizardmen jump onto the Slargr, making use of the opportunity of an easy meal at the expense of other’s wounds. Valentia, now releases her Rune infused arrow, a flaming shrapnel of metal led by a strong wooden staff strikes the Slargr’s bleeding head wound, immediately felling the beast.

Without a word, Face picks up Gramorn and heads downriver followed by Valentia.

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