A Father’s Plea

Miklos looked back to the amulet. It didn’t look particularly beautiful, quite ominous in fact. “I don’t think this is stolen. It’s quite a depressing image, though well wrought. I think one of the goblins bore this as a special mark. Perhaps a chieftain?” He eye’d the bulky trussed goblin. “Worth a question, but I doubt you’d get the truth from him.”

Miklos stood to one side as Stephan pressed the chieftan with this further question. “Perhaps a spell at Highforge might loosen their tongues eh?” he remarked. “I’d suggest we get them and a message there as soon as possible. If anything to warn the dwarves of the potential theat to their trade route. They’ll have to set up highly armed trade caravans and double their guard at the least.”

“I hope Highforge isn’t besieged.” he added darkly. “I don’t think we have the luxury of time anymore. Two clans are ahead of us. A rogue human from the raid. My guess is our presence is well known to our enemies, from the bandit raid and the bloodied clans. But who do we chase?”

Miklos tapped his fingers. “Lets narrow down the options. One; the human has three days on us since the raid to my mind, it may be possible for Hasan to track him but even with his skill we will not move as fast our quarry. If we choose to follow him each minute lessens our chances of success. But we may learn something useful from where he has been.”

Miklos jutted a second finger up. “Two; we follow the clans and learn something of their size, organisation and disposition and report this to the relevant authorities and Highforge and Specularum. Three.” Miklos’s third finger waved. “We go directly to Highforge and deliver the captives for further interrogation. Give them all of our information and then perhaps let the Dwarvern scouts follow up on our leads and continue on our main mission to Threshold.”

“I agree those are the way forward for us,” Hasan worried. “But what about Pyotr and the rest? We must assure their safety. And so, I fear we may need to wait out another night, for we cannot leave them here alone or send them to travel at night. The trails our enemies leave will fade even more. As such, I think our only option is to follow the most obvious quarry, and likely the slowest as well, and pursue the goblins.”

“Well, all roads lie east of here.” said Maruc, “The Clans may already have destroyed what trail the human had left. I agree with Hasan, we must see the family to safety if that is their wish. I would not presume that they would wish to leave after building such a place and devoting their lives to it. True, they have had losses, but they are not weak and have shown undoubted character and perserverance. My words atop the tower were not vain, this place is sacred, and abandoning it would be no easy thing, despite the threat. I wouldn’t imagine the goblins would return here too swiftly.”

Maruc sighed. “My advice would be to wait until morning, a fresh start with fresh blessings. But I see the logic in Miklos’s comments, each moment that passes reduces our options and brings the fruition of our enemies plans closer. But a lack of preparation causes greater delays.”

When Stephen’s questioning began to meet resistance, Feldard stepped forward and delivered to the goblin some much needed ‘incentive’ to talk.
“What does this marker mean? Who bore it? Where is Vlaak’s den? How many other clans are in involved in these raids along the river?” Feldard grilled the chieftain and his second with these questions until he was satisfied that the answers were honest. It took a LOT of ‘incentive’ to be satisfied.

It was clear that High Forge was in no danger. The goblins had been directed to attack the human settlements in the immediate area. The amulet did not belong to any of the Red Blade clan. It seemed likely to have been dropped during the course of the night, most likely by one of the hobgoblins, perhaps even Vlaak himself. Vlaak had rallied the tribes of the goblins and ordered the attacks, apparently, according to rumor, at the behest of some human organization, likely the Iron Ring. The settlements were to be left intact, and survivors to be rounded up for enslavement.

In the end, the dwarf was satisfied that he had been able to get the goblins to answer his questions to the best of their knowledge. The Red Blade clan had always been the weakest of the goblin clans in this section of the Dymrak, and now it was no more. Such had always been the goblins’ blight, to be pawns in the dark schemes of more powerful forces.

Pyotr stood quietly in the room. He was a practical man. His heart was full of sadness and rage, but his head knew that perhaps these goblin scum held some valuable information as to why this tragedy had befelled his clan. He waited until it was clear that the goblins had no more to offer, and then he struck. He gutted the Red Blade lieutenant—a lethal blow, but one that would lead to a slow and painful death. Then, with deliberate speed he moved to the king. Gnhass, clanhead of the Red Blade, pleaded for his life as the mighty Traladaran approached. His cries turned to gurgles as Pyotr wordlessly cut his throat.

Pyotr dropped his bloodsoaked blade and approached the others.

“Brother,” he began, “these creatures have attacked our land, killed our kin. It seems there are unseen forces at work, and my son, your nephew, has become a casualty of something we do not yet understand.”

He turned to the others. “I have to stay here, to guard my kin. You have already done so much. It pains me to ask for more, but my loyalty to our clan and to my son demand it. Hunt these retched creatures down. Find those who were behind this attack, and make them pay for what they have done.”

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Filed under D&D, Dungeons & Dragons, rpg

8 responses to “A Father’s Plea

  1. Maruc

    Maruc nodded, “Blessed be your house Pyotr, it was always our mission to rid these lands of the darkness that covers it. I think I speak for us all that we will pursue this darkness with all the wit and courage gifted to us by mighty Halav until they are confounded. May your clan live on for many generations unwithered.”

    “As for our help, you have no need to thank us, but your blessing is welcome. We would not stand idly by and watch a house burn if we could help. But revenge darkens the soul, I continue because that is the will of Halav. Do not let hate consume you.”

    He addressed the others, “The Iron Ring. Slavers. Is it not a little convenient that this excuse is used for this brazen attack? Since when have they acted on this scale? Using goblin clans to cover their tracks? If only Nicolai had not fallen, he might have provided some insight. Why do they have a sudden demand for manpower?”

  2. miklosdostevar

    Miklos clasped Pyotr on the shoulder in a gesture of solidarity, “Maruc is right, we would always help if we can. However, I fear we must leave immediately. Our only option now is to follow in the wake of the clans and if we pick up the trail of the human, who may well be a member of the Iron Ring or an agent of the Darker Brotherhood, we can make a decision then. We are lacking facts so we must seek them.”

  3. Maruc

    Maruc was about to protest but a swift look at his commrades faces further delays were out of the question. “Could we restore our supplies from your store please?” he asked Pyotr, “But only what you can spare. I would not see you starve.”

    Gathering the supplies he repacked, armoured up and shouldered his gear for the road ahead, whilst the other busied themselves with their own preparations. As they gathered at the ruined doors he turned to the clansmen and women. He had no words that had not alread been said. He clasped Pyotr in a mighty bear hug, waved to the others, turned and followed Hasan as he lead the way into the forest.

  4. miklosdostevar

    It took the mage less time to pack. The after-effects of the poison still making him dull and light headed but he was much better. The shade of the trees in the afternoon looked almost welcoming, but he was a town man born and bred and could never quite see himself living out here especially with the goblin corpses that littered the ground. He bade his farewells and followed in the shadow of the priest.

  5. Maruc: 10xp
    Miklos: 10xp
    Feldard: 10xp+10xp
    Hasan: 10xp+5xp
    Stephan: 10xp

    TOTAL:
    Maruc: 18,220/24000
    Miklos: 18,295/20000
    Feldard: 18,300/34000
    Hasan: 17,385/32000
    Stephan: 17,200/32000

  6. Hasan

    Hasan turned away at the cruel treatment of the prisoners. He would remember the fickleness of the Susikyn, who survived thanks to the grace of strangers, but could show no grace themselves. The elf packed quickly and wordlessly led out of the homestead and into the forest. Had he followed the Quiet Way of his people, he would have never sullied his soul fighting on behalf of men such as these.

  7. Feldard

    The dwarf, was not as squeamish as the elf. He watched seemingly satifisfied as Pyotr finished off the goblins. All goblins were vile creatures and those two in particular deserved no better death than they got.

    Feldard nodded brusquely to the Pyotr in answer to his plea.

    With his supplies packed and his armour adjusted for a long trek, the recently healed dwarf took rearguard. Feldard had already tried his hand and tracking and figured that was a duty best left to elves.

    He was quiet as the companions began their journey. His mood seeming sullen and grim. There seemed only one bit of fair news in all he had learned from the goblins. Highforge, and thus his bride, was likely safe – for now.

  8. Stephan

    A steely resolve settled on Stephan’s countenance. He looked hard in his brother’s eyes as his new companions pledged their service to his elder kin. When they finished, he pried something off his finger.

    “This is our father’s ring, brother. Our family ring, just as the one you have.”

    Pyotr’s ring matched Stephan’s.

    He handed the ring to Pyotr and took out his knife. Hold the tip on his finger where the ring had been, Stephan began slicing deeply into his own finger marking in blood where the ring had just been.

    “This scar will remind me of my duty to our family. By the grace of Havlav and the companionship of these new, might folk,” he nodded in turn to Feldard, Hasan, Miklos and Maruc, “I shall see these creatures vanquished and your household restored. At such time, I shall reclaim our father’s ring.”

    Turning to Maruc, “I shall assist you with gathering supplies. We leave tonight.”

    After seeing that Pyotr and his family were well prepared and ready to travel to safety, Stephan paid a parting pledge to each. His eyes welled at the sight of the little ones, Matvey and Garina. He muttered the Havlav Prayer of Protection for each and seeing the light in the baby Garina’s eyes told him that Havlav’s grace was upon them and that all that transpired was for His purpose. He gently placed the babe back in Masha’s arms and allowed his kin to depart.

    His new friends stood near, respecting Stephan’s emotions at the parting of kin. Hasan, though, stood to the side and kept glancing at the foliage, plotting the course.

    “I owe you all a great price. I pray that one day I can do as much for you as you’ve already done for me and my family. Let us away!”

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