To Rifllian

Maruc laughed goodnaturedly, “Ninety crona indeed? Indeed you are a merchant. Very well, I have no desire to ride into the north without some idea of what is ahead.” Maruc delved into his pouch and produced the money. “This may save us much trouble of one sort or the other.” He counted the money into his hand. “Please, tell us how you know of us. Who has been asking and all you can of Golthar the Yellow. Where and when you came by this information. Also the dangers on the road ahead.”

Miklos paled as he watched the priest just hand over enough money to keep his church in Specularum going for a week. However, he couldn’t fault his logic, merchants can be bought, but it is rare. They usually try to remain neutral in most affairs, or so his father had taught him. It is bad for business if your reputation for honesty suffers. His word was probably good.

“Indeed, a mage in yellow has recently appeared in Kelvin. Just as we were preparing to leave, he was visiting various bars and establishments in the accompaniment of a tall dark woman. I believe that one went by the name of Jolenta. Together they made inquiries about a unique group of wanderers that, as described, were most strangely like yourselves,” the Thyatian grinned. “As for the dangers ahead, there are increasing reports of bandits on the road between Kelven and Threshold. A number of caravans have failed to arrive. As you can see, I take no chances in this regard,” he said, gesturing proudly to his guardsmen.

Taking leave of the caravan and its wily host Miklos skirted the train helping the marshal the horses under Stephan’s direction. He pulled in beside Maruc as the northward road to Rifllian stretched before them.

Hasan dropped all pretense of horsetrading immediately. “How long were you in Kelvin? When did you hear your story? Quickly now, man, we haven’t all the time in the world.” The rat-a-tat nature of the questions, and the elf’s lilting accent, weren’t new to Feldard, but the dwarf guffawed rather loudly none-the-less at the world’s most impatient elf.

The merchant was no stranger to this sort of questioning, and he provided more answers, though they did not shine much more light on the situation. He did not know where Golthar or this Jolenta were still in Kelvin or headed to some other location. He had seen the two with his own eyes and some of his crew encountered them in other venues as well.

Feldard shook his head at the priests lack of bartering skills. The man could have easily been brought down to at 70 crona if the priest and elf had sounded less desperate. He had his doubts as to what the merchant knew and his source. The dwarf moved away from the group, sidling his mount nearer to one of the caravan guards. “Ahiktos has a rather loud mouth,” he commented quietly to the man, “Is he worth the bother to listen to? Or is he as full of himself as he seems?” It was a means to test the loyalty of the merchants retainers and a measure of the merchant himself.

Stephan maintained his silence, listening carefully to what Ahiktos had to say. He kept his eyes on the horses and on the rest of the merchant caravan. To hear that the party was already marked was troubling.

To Hasan he said out of Ahiktos’s earshot, “We must leave the road. Our first encounter and we learn of us being marked already. We should seek the shelter of the woods.”

Ludo herded the horses past the caravan, when out of earshot of Ahiktos he said “it will be difficult to move these horses through the woods, I think we have no choice but to keep to the Duke’s road and make our way to Rifillian as quickly as we can”. When we approach the town, Stephan, Maruc and I shall take the horses to the market, sell them and then we move straight onto Threshold, meeting up with the others on the other side of Rifillian. Golthar and his cronies will be looking for seven of us, including a Dwarf and an Elf. If they are not visible, there is a chance we can move past Rifllian without being reported on or attacked and give Golthar the slip.”

Stephan took in Ludo’s plan. “Aye, good plan, Ludo. If we’re to stay on the open road, perhaps some of us may ride in the woods so we don’t look like a party of seven at first glance.”

Hasan listened admiringly to the humans’ plan. It was a sound way to disguise the group, and splitting up might be helpfully tactically if it came to combat. But first, they needed to hear from what may lie ahead. “Out with it now, Akitos. What have you heard of the fall of the great tower, or the Scourge of the Iron Ring?”

Word had not spread yet of the battle at Xitaqa. The members of the Iron Ring were not known for gossip or naysaying, and they had not left many goblin survivors to tell the tale. Thus, the Ring had kept a lid on its recent troubles. However, Ahiktos had learned of the recent decimation of the goblin clans in Western Dymrak, but the details had been vague. “With all the carnage you have left in your wake,” he said, “it is no wonder they are hunting you!”

* * * * *

On the far bank of the Windrush river, enfolded by the Radlebb woods, lied the elvish village of Rifllian. An outpost of the Callaari elves, it served as a trading post for those wishing to do business with the elves. The buildings in the village were all made of wood and stood two stories high.

It had taken three thankfully uneventful days to complete the journey to reach the elven village of Rifllian. As they arrived in the early afternoon, a magnificent vessel, almost 50 feet long, was just casting off from the jetty. As it moved out into the river, its sail unfurled revealing a rearing unicorn emblazoned across it. At the head of the ship stood an elf dressed in dazzling armour and a surcoat that also bore the rampant unicorn symbol. Soon, the wind caught the sail and the vessel glided down the river toward Kelven.

Stephan had been here quite a few times to trade with the elves or as a stopover on the way to Threshold. He was a frequent guest of the Silver Swan Inn, a friendly establishment run by a halfling innkeeper named Stubbs Plattermann. Another person he looked forward to seeing was Prestelle, the main trader for all wishing to buy and sell goods.

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Filed under D&D, Dungeons & Dragons, rpg

7 responses to “To Rifllian

  1. 11am, Soladain, the 4th of Flaurmont, 1001AC
    Windy, sunny and warm

    Maruc: 10xp+10xp
    Miklos: 10xp+10xp
    Feldard: 10xp
    Hasan: 10xp+10xp
    Stephan: 10xp
    Ludo: 10xp+10xp

    TOTAL:
    Maruc: 23,825/24000
    Miklos: 23,835/40000
    Feldard: 24,105/34000
    Hasan: 23,285/32000
    Stephan: 23,100/32000
    Ludo: 22,610/40,000

  2. Stephan

    Stephan, Maruc and Ludo drove the horses on to Prestelle’s establishment. Having separated prior to entering Rifllian, the three making their way to Prestelle’s hoped to meet up with the remainder of party on the other side of town.

    “It’s midday,” Stephan declared the obvious. “A good time to sell horse. This way to Prestelle’s.” He lead the horses and companions to the stables on the south side of town. Dismounting in the yard, Stephan grinned at seeing Prestelle already engaged in horse trade. From the looks of it, his old acquaintance was making a pleasing deal. This bode well for Stephan’s trade. The woodsman dismounted and approached Prestelle from behind.

    “A sunny day and sunny deal, Prestelle?” The proprietor nearly jumped out of his boots. Turning, he recognized his old friend and grinned.

    “Yes indeed, Master Sukiska! Yes indeed! A very bright day indeed! And brighter now that you grace my humble shoppe.” The tall elvish horseman quickly stowed what seemed to be a bulging pouch of coins before taking Stephan’s hand in greeting.

    “I’m glad you’re here, Master Sukiska.” He peered beyond Stephan to take in the equine goods he’d brought. “What have you here, lad?” he said dispensing with formality. Prestelle moved with alacrity to the first horse and began assessing the creature.

    “Ah, but my manners are lacking. I see you have travelling companions…”

    “Paid hands only,” Stephan lied. “Jobe” referring to Ludo and “Balen,” he indicated Maruc. Prestelle eyed them with suspicion. A seasoned trader in horses and aged elf was no fool. He could tell these were more than hired hands. But out of respect for his loyal customer, he let it go.

    “Well met, sirs. I trust your journey was smooth and not overly taxed with horse droppings,” he grinned at his own jest.

    Turning back to the horses, “Fine mounts. Yes, fine horses. As usual from House Sukiska. A little worn from the road,” he said walking around the horses. “In need of a rub down….hmmm,” he leaned in scrutinizing a bolus on one of the horses’ haunches.

    “A bit of balm should take care of that,” Stephan offered. To be expected from a horse that just made a trip from the south. And in the rain.”

    Stephan and Prestelle engaged in friendly barter until they reached an agreeable deal. As hoped, it was already a good day for Prestelle so he was willing to make a good price for the horses.

  3. Ludo

    Ludo nodded to Maruc that it might be better to leave Stephen to engage in bartaring banter with Prestelle, together they walked down the street to the local inn – the Silver Swan. As they entered the inn a smiling halfling approached them, wiping his hands on a apron. “Greetings young men – what can I get you today”? Ludo fumbeled in his pocket for a list of supplies that they would need for their travels on to Threshold and asked the Halfling inn keeper ‘Stubbs Plattermann’ if he could fulfil the order. In particular he was keen to get some ale for Feldard, Ludo noticed that if Feldard went without ale for any great lenth of time he got quite grumpy.

    As he purchased the supplies, Stephen entered the Inn looking quite pleased with himself – no doubt the sale of the horses had been completed and Stephen had got a good price.

  4. Stephan

    “You have returned, my old friend!” declared Stubbs in a voice too loud for Stephan’s liking given his current mission. Several patrons cast unwelcome eyes on the woodsman as he crossed to the bar. “Will it be the usual, Master Sukiska?” Stubbs asked while grabbing a large flagon from what looked like a little-used cupboard. “What brings you to Rifllian?”

    “Horse trading, my good Stubbs. Horse trading. It’s good to see you again. Business looks good. Oh and, yes, the usual please.”

    Stubbs poured generously into a large stein a rich brown malt brew. Stephan thanked the jolly bar keep while placing two slivers on the bar. He drank deeply of the nutty brew. The effects were pleasing. Nearly instantly, he could feel the positive effects of the brain-metabolizing substance. His limbs, right down to the finger tips, felt energized yet relaxed. He remembered why he loved this diminutive brew masters so much.

    “Ah. This is impressive Master Plattermann!” He threw another silver on the counter. “I’d almost forgotten the pleasure. The best in my travels, for sure!”

    Stubbs beamed with pride. “It is an old clan recipe. The techniques are, shall we say, meticulous, in the brewing of it.”

    Stephan cast his eyes about the place noting, he hoped without a flinch, the presence of Ludo and Maruc.

    “Yes,” he said turning back to Stubbs, “your establishments seems to be doing well. I’m glad for you. But I’m sorry to say my time in Rifllian is short. I must be away and soon.”

    Stubbs appeared crest fallen. “Surely your travel has engendered some degree of hunger. Can I have Pruddy prepare you some bangers before you flee?”

    Stephan could smells the goodness of the cookshop in the back wafting through the pub. “Well, I suppose some sustenance is in order. Yes! I’ll refill the gut but then must be on my way.”

  5. Maruc

    Maruc had kept quiet throughout Stephan’s negotiation with Prestelle nodding only briefly at the traders acknowedgement. He had no background of trading like Miklos to offer support and his eyes betrayed the subterfuge Stefan was espousing during his introduction. He was sure the Stephan trusted Prestelle, equally he was sure that the elf knew or guessed that the trading was only part of there reason for being here. The less Maruc said or did the better. Maruc shifted uneasily and was pleased when they were free of the elf trader.

    He stalked out next to Ludo as he left. “That elf guessed something back there but I think we can trust him as far as our journey ahead goes. My guess is that Golthar is ahead of us anyway, so if Pristelle is false he is unlikely to get a message to Golthar before we get to Threshold. The question is will he be there to greet us? Or is he elsewhere?”

    Maruc followed Ludo into the bar.

    ***

    at an appropriate moment in the conversation with the halfling…
    “So Mr Plattermann who did the rather ostentatious barge belong to that just left the jetty?”

  6. miklosdostevar

    I’m guessing this action would probably occur before Maruc & Ludo reach the bar as they went to sell the horse first.

    Miklos agreed with the idea of splitting up and motioned the Feldard. “This Jolenta intrigues me. Another wizard perhaps? Golthars apprentice? Either way this complicates things but also confirms that we are on the right track. He is still throwing his resources at us to slow us down or slay us. We must be vigilant. Even now we may be being spied upon. Let us find an inn.”

    It was not long before they made there way to the Silver Swan. “Hello Barman.” Miklos smiled at the halfling behind the bar Two draughts of ale please and here is an extra coin if you can tell me if you have seen a man in a yellow robe or a tall dark woman by the name of Jolenta?

  7. Hasan

    Hasan watched the elf king push off from the Rifflian quay. He ached to see his tribe restore itself to this glory, for surely that was their destiny in these times. How lucky was he to see such a sight, a clear sign of the path before himself and his folk. For he had no doubt, the time of the Elyan was near. In the meantime, he swallowed his pride, and remained carefully hidden below his cloak, trying to remain anonymous in the Callarii waystation.

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