Baron sees us immediately upon our return. Very happy at our success and loves the idea of the relationship with the bugbears plus the siege engines his people can repare. The fort is well placed as a lookout toward Norcross!
The church will begin fixing the temple area and reconcecrating it. We leave the church to take care of Krelar's ghoul fever while Beorn works on ours. If anyone still gets bad, they get the cure potion.
Krelar gets the true seeing helm, the church gets the statuette. We also give them the holy cup to keep a regular creation of holy water going, with us having free use of it.
Kaelen requests and gets a lunch with Qualten tomorror.
Next day, Baron iivites us to stay and dine again. He offers the 300gp bounty, but we decline. His friendship is what's important here.
We pass out all of our loot.
Ogrumat has to drink the cure potion.
Kaelen lunches with Qualten. He's different, something bothering him. He snaps at an acolyte before apologizes. He says only had a solid hour of sleep throughout the night. Been like that a lot lately. Kaelen offer her trustworthy ear if he should need to speak about anything, now or in the future. He says all he's seen in his life keeps him from sleeping a lot, and is sure it will kill him eventually.
Tonight, dinner with the Baron. He thanks us graciously. He and his wife Fairwind are very impressed. Its a feast! Loriel puts on a fairly good peformance for those in attendance.
We get to see Grellis' sword, he's in full ceremonial regalia. He has a flame tongue! Carried by First in days past; all drink a toast to us. The daughter is in hero worship mode on us, starting to talk of adventuring when she grows up. She is currently learning spellcasting, tutored by Pelitar and church [priests both, as she is also a devout member of the church.
Its a good old time for all.
The talk comes to the orcs. The orcs struck while we were away, but fortunately no deaths. Only killed some horses and cattle of a homestead on the way to market. We say give the bounty to this and the other to a good cause, not us.
Key figures of town are invited as well. Krelar is here in Qualten's stead. He offers to release us from our charity obligation, but we are all in on that.
We meet the wife of Grellis' cpt Gelpis.
This night, an evil double of Kaelen sneaks into the Baron's castle where we sleep for the night. It came from the mirror. Kaelen does not wake; however, sleeping at the foot of her bed on the floor, Clyde does. He leaps up to guard Kaelen vs the intruder and begins to gibber.
At this sound, Kaelen wakes up.
Evil Kaelen is halfway through the room toward Clyde who springs upon her, but she is ready and stabs him with a vicious looking dagger. Clyde's bite hits home as well.
Kaelen gets up and grabs for weapons.
Evil K hits Clyde again and he drops.
Kaelen then tumbles in, catching it off guard 13.
She makes a grab at Kaelen, whose AoO hits, ruining the grab.
Kaelen tumbles to her rear, but she reacts fast enough to ruin the move. The crit still hits home.
Evil K reaches into her vest pocked, and throws a smoke bomb onto the floor filling the room with smoke.
I can hear her feet moving in the smoke. Kaelen hurls a dagger in that direction but it hits the wall.
Kaelen pinpoints her movement and hits with another dagger 6.
The smoke is clearing some. The door opens fully and Geoffrey, Een and Christofer are backlit in the doorway. Kaelen moves for the window in the room to cut off her only escape route. Evil K tries to tell everyone I'm an evil doppleganger, but I tell them "look at the dagger, it's not even mine".
"That's exactly what an assassin would say."
"Look, one of you just get Clyde out of here at least."
Christofer rushes in and pulls Clyde out. The others freeze, confused.
"Ok, which one of us was concerned about Clyde?"
Geoffrey and Ean then rush the evil Kaelen on the floor. Eansfring stabs her to KO. But, upon hitting 0hp, it bubbles, skin sliding off, insides liquifying into a puddle on the ground. A mirrored liquid, then evaporates.
The dagger is gone as well.
Must have come from the mirror that only Kaelen looked at herself in.
Christofer "Best send word to the bugs not to look into that mirrior." We will do so tomorrow morning.
Now, Geoffrey asks "does the mirror create a good version of an evil person?"
Visit the armorer Alton after breakfast. He is not there, as sign on the door tells he is at our tavern!! We go straight there.
Alton and Fiona are there, as is Smythe.
Kaelen "Everybody's taking the morning off."
Half dozen other fold and passersby.
2 guys in cloaks are here, drinking in silence. There are often these types of guys here, he always fills their drinks and they never pay. Very generic in look, can't tell if rangers, thieves, or something more normal.
Few words even pass tween them and Falko. They are generally gone after one day or night.
We go straight for Alton. He is up for whooping on the orcs since it directly influences the town. Both the cave and their other base, too! We say we are heading out in a couple days likely, and will let him know the night before.
Ean casually mentions that he thought he saw Volcifar talking to Smythe, what was interesting was he went back to bar for drink while we were sealing deal with Alton, SMythe went and talked to one of the hooded men a couple words and then went back to own table, finished eating and left.
Alton's wife is very concerned. Kaelen promises her his safe return.
"I'll use him wisely."
She doesn't like to see him 'in his moods' as she likes to call his berserk rages.
We have our own breakfast then rest up.
Kaelen sends Volcifar, Ean, and Martin SE to spring glade to investigate the Ettin/giant rumor. She tells Clyde to join them.
Kaelen, Chris, Geoffrey, and Loriel lunch at Feldman's. We want to see if he is a First. He has lots of food and drink from the continent.
Now that we have money, we can eat for real!
His grandson Yelda is one of Pelitar's apprentices.
Feldman thanks us for taking out the necromancer and offers a bottle of port on the house. We drink.
She is pretty sure he's a First.
She asks him to come drink tonight at Falco's. He agrees and meet us there later.
He is half First, half an elf. Slight but not noticeable point to ears, only a bit of elf eyes. He's 187 years old.
He was being groomed as a mage when young, but his elf aloofness was too slow going. His master let him choose his own way and he became a chef. Especially treats and sweets. His little magic training helps augment his finished product.
His wife was a half elf, had kids, she's dead for some time now. Those kids have passed on as well. The kids are all human.
Yelda is 16 and is quite the magical prodigy.
He recalls the first Crimson Path forming in the church as the Crimson Brotherhood, monks who sought to organize a supposed purist sect. Seemed nothing unusual at time though more diehard than others. Nobody saw it coming, though.
About 20 years prior to Master Vanishing, over half the cardinals were Brotherhood members. From there was organized a Crimson Path for people to follow, later caused a schism tween the central church and the Path churches. The following grew, and was a difficult movement to stop when they started getting weirder. Now, we see the side effects. In the fringes like our island, less centrality leads them to more freedom.
He says most of the augments who live around here live in the countryside.
He and Qualten, even prior to Grellis taking over, had taken them in secretly many times to hide them. This is a great guy. We tell him to stop by our inn often.
At the glade, they do find that there is an Ettin living there! Seems just one lone Ettin! Not an adult, though. Maybe equal to 12 year old human. It lairs in a cave at the glade at the base of the hill.
They return and report. the next night.
Off to Bald Hill.
We set up a trap. At camp, partying away, are Kaelen, Geoffrey, Loriel, and Christofer.
Clyde watches the cave to report their movements.
Ean, Martin set snares around the camp. WIth them hiding to ambush are Volcifar and Ogrumat.
We were hoping for just a squad, but they attack in force.
They are geenskin wood orcs. Special wilderness experts but for the leader who is a black orc.
We make quick work of all but KRellis and Gorarg. Gorarg the thief is the last left, in a one on one with Ogrumat. Immediately after Geoffrey kills Krellis the chief, Ogrumat brings their thief down. Both were crits!
Clyde is down but stable, Alton at 0 hp exactly.
We go to the other lair where there is only a band of 6 more orcs. They give up.
We loot them and their bases:
We leave 2 of the ko'd orcs alive to take back with us, Gorarg and one of the archers.
mst broadsword +1 att
girdle of str +2
hardened leather (studs equivalent) but as light as leather
mst longsword +1 damage
Collection of heads, human, hanging from the walls
10 blood drop amulets, same amount as the heads on the wall
Back to Restenford.
To the Ettin. We see Grellis first to report about the Ettin to see if he wants us to make a deal. He says go for it.
Kaelen diplomacizes. His clan of 6 were originally from east of here. Several weeks ago, band of cavalry came from the city (we figure Norcross) and killed and scattered them. He, er they, came out here and found a healthy looking spot to live.
Also figured the cattle around here would be some mighty fine eating.
It succeeds. They will work peacably for food and safety. He, they, are Snitch and Narc.
The gnolls apparently harassed them, he notes he hasn't seen them recently. We tell him we killed them wholesale, which makes him happy.
He says if we ever come across any Ettins from his clan, talk to them first and tell them we met Snitch and Narc. Or even dead bodies. If we find a great 'bonking' club, his father's, bring it back would make him very happy.
Agreed all around.
Back to town.
Baron gives us the rundown on Saltmarsh.