The noise in the Blunt Nail Tavern starts to steadily rise as time ticks away. More and more merchants enter demanding service and getting deep into their cups. You must lean in closer to be heard and hear the words of the grizzled old man.
Aye, eager to go but unsure why. I remember being young. It is kinda like remembering the sun rising on the day of your first born. You can picture things and feel the strong emotions…but it’s all a picture in your head now. A head with heavy brows and an awful ringing from too many blows to the head.
The Northreach is no place for the weak. There are beasts out there that scramble over the hills from Mith and from Lodd. It’s not some fancy Sunday stroll in Thrayce that’s for damned sure.
I will tell you this. Don’t be afraid of the Braumen. I know they are strange and don’t worship the one true god
He glances meaningfully at Talton
But they been living here since the first men. They are the closest think we have to the Northwatch now. So heed their warnings and listen to their council…should they even deign to to talk to ya. Try to stay friendly with the tribes. All of the tribes.
Now he tries to stare meaningfully at Lornaal; but, must snap his fingers a couple of times to draw his stare.
The Gulch isn’t the only pass. You must make sure to be respectful to the other tribes no matter how many times you have made war with them. This is more important than petty squabbles…thing about the last Harvest of Souls…how far did you have to go? Did you step foot into the Dun wastes? Did you see the Bone Yards of the forgotten beasts? Something is afoot.
Looking at Cora and her quick questions he balks a little and make’s a quick stifled laugh under his breath.
I’m not trying to steal your purse here darling, I’m just an old man with too many scars and not enough lovers.
How do I know you? The whole town knows you. Take a look at yourself Lass. You walk in a group of eight, armed to the teeth and you’re not bloody well dressed in blue woolen leggings.
Aye, lad, I have maps.
Bringing his eyes to bear on T’alen
And I’ve been beyond the Spine. For there is more beyond the Spine than there is before the Spine.
He laughs heartily.
So…it kinda be like saying ‘have ya ever dipped your toe in the ocean’. Course, ya don’t usually have to bath in the blood of orcs to go put your foot in the ocean!
He laughs even harder and it quickly breaks into an intense coughing fit that doubles him over until he can once again catch his breath.
After a few brush offs, you get used to the Ulnoran accent that tempers the staccato trade common the wenches speak. They don’t seem too impressed by charm…but seem to respond well to authority. Grabbing the wrist, and twisting slightly, of a young blonde with ice blue eyes and the hard stare of a raptor you start to understand the give and take of this community. Filling yourself with the house wine, you are sure that by the time the ice eyed wench is off her feet, you will have her on her back. With that you slouch back into a corner to listen to the conversation mulling over the change in tactic you must employ this far north. You are more than a little glad that you didn’t proffer coin…not that you would be ashamed; but, you aren’t sure you would have survived the eminent battle.
Observing the man with a great deal of scrutiny you can now tell that it isn’t a cane on the floor with his hand on the top: he is resting his hand on the haft of a great axe. Peaking beneath the black wrap on his neck you see two necklaces peaking out: one appears to be a holy Symbol for Pelor…while the other some sort of Brauman token.
He is obviously a hardened warrior…even at his very advanced age. There is an air of an orator to his voice and a cadence to his speech that leads you to believe he has spoken to great crowds many times. There are several small belt pouches adorning his belt that you would normally associate with a wizard; but, there is no acrid smell of components. Similarly, his hands are gnarled and blunt as opposed to long and thin hands of a mage.
Strangely, a half-open bag at his feet seems to contain a collection of many pairs of shoes.
Asking about his younger days is bittersweet, you find he has a fond wish to head back but a bitter disappointment of deeds left undone…or broken. He will regale a few inconsequential stories but nothing that tells you of whom he is or how they relate to the problems of the north. For such an open man he seems to be quite the closed book.
The old man looks aver at Matrim.
The direction? Head west then North. This man should be able to show you the way.
He point to Lornaal.
The question isn’t really how…but why? Is it in your heart to deal with the evil that will eventually corrupt this very land? Are you the right tool to suppress the plight that may change the fate of the entire Northern Kingdom? Are you brave enough to step and become the leaders that this world sorely needs…not driven by fancy silk and the latest jigs? I may be an old fool; but, my eyes are open: I can see the assets you possess—I just can’t see the will of your hearts.
The Tavern is obviously not used to the quick wit and raunchy manner of the south. You imagine you would get a rousing ovation if you broke into your most morbid dirge. But, sometimes the rhythm does get ya. You rock it. You’re hitting notes that you don’t normally tackle. Your banjo seems to be helping you out and you feel yourself running the room as if you were on fire…the fire of rock.
Halfway through the song you start to feel the room. It’s beginning to cave. Those stiff white faces are beginning to loosen up…a little bit of colour from the draughts are tickling their humanity. With the influx of a few extra southern merchants the room is yours…people are swaying,singing, and cheering you on. The sound easily doubles and as the sweat starts pouring down your forehead you know you are in the zone…and are committed to the performance: mostly because you are not sure what this northern crowd would do if you suddenly stopped.
You casually take stock of the room. After listening to the old man for but a few minutes you have a feeling the party will be heading north. Committed to that, you decide to find some extra wine. With a stroke of pure luck Sebastian starts playing to the dull room making it easy for you to walk across the tavern. After only about half a minute the music is causing a full bore ruckus…perfect.
You quickly run over to a cellar door you spotted at the far corner of the room. Eyeing it up professionally, the large iron hinges are a crusty red. Though the noise in the room is getting louder you don’t want to temp faith with an ear piercing squeal from the door in the floor. Finding your special oil from your kit you lubricate the old hinges and wait the few seconds it takes to settle.
Taking one more glance around the room, you yard on the door to peek inside the cellar. It takes your mind a couple of seconds to comprehend what you are seeing. There seems to be a flood…there are no shelves…oh, you are looking at the bottom of the dock this ramshackle tavern is built on.
Shaking your head, you close the door. It still looks like nobody has seen you. You walk the perimeter of the tavern: the only place they have any stock is behind the bar…which could be done…but…the temptation of an unguarded, secluded, perhaps well stocked, outside storage calls your name.
Walking out the door casually, you look around the building. Sure enough, a very narrow walk on the far side of the tavern leads to a shed at the farthest corner extending over the dock. The docks are busy, and people could see you; but, you know to take on an air of workman-like importance so that nobody takes any notice. Getting to the door you put your ear to the door carefully.
You hear the deep low growling of what you can only assume to be a very large dog. Checking the door you see it is unlocked. Opening the door and peeking in you see what appears to be the biggest dog you have ever seen. Chained to the far wall an old grey-haired wolf is laying down with one eye open toward the door growling in a deep steady tone. The height of his shoulders are the same height as yours—while laying down.
Matrim surveyed his companions around the table. A decision hadn’t been vocalized, but the feeling was there that they all yearned for adventure. Maybe it was a calling for a higher purpose that had brought them together; maybe it was fate that entwined their paths. Matrim knew that he would always be on the lookout for the beasts that destroyed his quite life on the farm. But if that hadn’t happened, would he be on the verge of setting out for the Northreach, entranced by the tales of a grizzled old adventurer? The lure of treasure and riches was enticing, but not the main reason for Matrim’s interest.
I’m going to turn in for the night. Shall we meet at the West gate at dawn?
Turning to the old man, Matrim tipped his wide-brimmed hat.
Glad to make your acquaintance. I think your tales have done more than entertain our party. You know what we are, as I believe you were or are the same. Where will the morning find your feet walking?
T ’Alen places his hands on the table and slowly links his fingers together
Thank you for your tales old one, Since we are to go north based on my companions reaction to your tales, what would it take to procure the maps you have of the north?
Terrances’ face can not hide his excitement of this Quest. As the Old Warrior talks, he thinks to himself…..
My dreams of the North and the battles I, and my colleagues, have faced are not coincidence. The name of the this old tavern was not coincidence either. For this old man is an important “key” to this quest. The word of this quest this will spread all over the lands. Maybe….maybe even my family will hear of my deeds and maybe I could return home.
His excitement becomes slightly mixed with the sadness but he does his best to not show it. He has learnt that a warrior in a crew so tough, one does not show his age and his pain.
In a flash the memories of being home, his family, the wonder of where they all are and how they are, constantly haunt him. Being away from home for such a long time and at a young age has been its own trial. Life hasn’t always been easy for a child in cruel world.
I, like my father, will go forth and battle evil and bring honour to himself. Maybe after this trial I can return home. Maybe after this trial….
He supresses the feeling and focuses his attentions to the old man again and says,
I apologize for myself and my group. You tell us all these great stories and have inspired us to follow the cause you once took yourself but we have yet to ask you your name sir.
Pauses awaiting for his answer. Then kindly introduces everyone. Pauses. He notices one is missing.
Now that that’s taken care of we all can see you are obviously a seasoned warrior and knowledgeable of many things that we must encounter in the North. You have made many allies and I’m sure you would love to join us. But I understand the reason of telling us these tales as well. I’m sure I am not alone in saying we will finish the task at hand. The map you mention, would we be able to see or even borrow it for our travels? I assure you we will bring it back.
Smiles at the old man.
And I gotta ask, what is with all the shoes?
A GIANT WOLF!?!?! Cora thinks as she quickly closes the door.
What is the hell is a Wolf that size doing in a wine cellar.
Cora says as she is gathering her thoughts cause she wasn’t expecting to see something so huge.
Screw this I’m not going to be eaten by that for a couple of bottles of wine Cora thinks as she begins to walk back to the tavern.
Unless there is something in there more important that just a few bottles of wine in there.
Cora says to herself as she turns back towards the the door. She can feel the curiosity building as begins to imagine the wonders that could be inside that shed. She looks in and see this vicious wolf grumbling at him. The curiosity takes over as she reaches into her bag and pulls out a chunk of meat she had for Sam(her dog) and one of her oils of Taggit and begins to apply it to the meat. Once she is complete she toss it inside with the wolf.
Sleep time Mr.Wolf
As she closes the door and hides while the poison takes its effect.
Oil of Taggit
Ingested : DC 15 Initial Dmg: Nothing Secondary DMG :Unconsciousness