Kidnappers will Rue the Day

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Scribe Notes by Aurora Steelwind

GM: Helen Saggers Session: Autumn 806

Mission: To go to the Plane of Rue and rescue a group of kidnapped boys.

Party

  • Starflower - Elven female mind mage and were icedrake
  • Drum - Namer Giant and part time dragon
  • GoK - Elven male warrior
  • Serra Angelus - Female elf earth mage
  • Sooty Elven male scorched fire mage
  • Gerrad - Male human illusionist
  • Aurora - Female elven air mage.

Events

1st Fruit 806

Wasn't sure what to go on as there didn't seem much on offer but I wanted to try out my new spells in the field. After some deliberation I followed Cousin Starflower to the meeting room where a representative from Guild Security was waiting.

Basically a message had arrived from Grendel who was currently on the Plane of Rue. The message was brief but, basically there were some missing boys and he wanted a party to go look for them. A messenger was on the way with transportation, but him or her hadn't arrived yet.

Anyway, after I briefly interviewed everyone so that everyone was introduced, (Did I tell you I work as a reporter for the Seagate Times? I might write an article on Gok this mission, interview him for the next issue), we decided on party leader, military scientist, and scribe. Gerrad was the leader, Drum the military scientist with Starflower and Sooty as backups, while I was the scribe.

A short time later, there was a banging on the door and we were told that the messenger had been detected. When we looked out the widow, all I could see was an indistinct invisible form flying in. We were told it was a dragon. Starflower and Drum went out to talk to it. It was a young one and was accompanied by its babysitter, a female human called Emma.

Both the dragon, now in the form of a halfling, and Emma were shown into the meeting room. Emma told us that there were twelve boys missing from Bald Hill. They had gone out riding but had not returned, however the horses had been found. So far there had been no bodies and no ransom. The dragon, was to be our ride back.

Starflower took me and some of the others to a farm where we got Lesser Enchantments from an Earth mage called Basalic (-600sp). Upon my return to the Guild, I also obtained a ten point Greater on my spellcasting (-1000sp).

2nd Fruit

Drum had taken the dragon and Emma up the river a bit, so the rest of us flew out to meet them. Once there, we settled on the dragon as Drum tried to use a ritual to send us, and the dragon back to its home plane. It took two tries before he was successful.

We appeared next to a cube like structure that Drum explained was a portal. So we all got off the dragon and the entire party crowded inside it. Drum touched one of the symbols, said something, and ZAP. We found ourselves in an identical structure somewhere else, surrounded by a burnt forest. I felt sad for all the trees, but when Drum said the dragon overlord had done it, not the destructive humans, I felt better.

Drum produced a map and Starflower did her finding ritual. When she had finished, she said that the missing boys were somewhere in the forest north of Bald Hill. So, I tried to renew all the flight spells but managed to hurt myself. However Serra's healing touch made me better again to recast the spells and we flew off in the indicated direction.

It was lunch time when we landed again. Starflower brought out the teapot and we had a picnic. I then had an idea and tried to summon a cloud for us to ride on, so we could leisurely overfly the area. It took me two gos to get it right but after that, we were on a cloud, drifting high in the sky. Fortunately I was able to get a Wind Whistle spell going otherwise we might be drifting in the wrong direction.

The flight took us into the night. Nothing bad happened.

3rd Fruit

Still drifting on the cloud. Had drifted off course but got a Wind Whistle to carry us back.

As we drifted over the forest, maps were drawn and more Finding rituals done. Finally Robert was tracked down to some sort of fortified encampment up a side tributary of the main river. Drum flew down to check it out while some of the others scryed with crystal balls. Three boys were found in a cellar and there was evidence that a large group had left a short while before, presumably with the other kidnappees.

At dusk, we landed the cloud and made a base camp about 20 miles from the fortification. An anti-scrying field was placed on the area while fish and blackberries were obtained. The plan was to retreat to this point.

4th Fruit

Walked through the forest towards the fortification. Got about halfway and made camp. During the night, Starflower detected company. Unfortunately by the time I was awake, the curious fey had gone away. Apparently they were wondering what elves were doing so far from their usual forest.

5th Fruit

Made a camp across the river, and spent the next few days watching and scrying, gathering intel. Finally a plan was made to assault the place to rescue the boys.

8th Fruit

Late that night, we executed the plan. Serra boosted us up and I put fly spells and feather falls on those who wanted them. Sooty went up a tree. Gerrad and I rolled in fogs across the entire campsite while Sooty added smoke. Sooty then put their fires out. Meanwhile Gok and Drum were using shadows to make their way through the wall. Starflower and Gerrard were also sending in phantasms and nightmares to really stir things up.

Gok went straight to the cellar and started using mouse skinchanges to transform the boys and put them in a cage for easier transportation. Meanwhile Drum was in the process or creating havoc. He was also looking for a leader type to grab.

A bell started tolling in the main tower but a well aimed grenado took care of that. There was another explosion near the main gate that none of us took credit for so Sooty took the opportunity to summon a salamander in the area for more havoc.

Drum found an NCO type in the barracks, bullying soldiers to 'get out there and DO something'. However, he had to wait until the NCO was outside. It was also known that there was a wiccan inside the office block but, by the time that was raided, the wiccan had fled, presumably flown out the still open window. Sooty dismissed the salamander then he, Starflower, and myself took to the air in an attempt to intercept the wiccan but he could not be detected.

Gok returned with the three 'boys' in the cage and Drum had also collected two NCOs - as hedgehogs. Starflower had collected 'evidence' to assist in finding the wiccan and we bugged out.

9th Fruit

We all ended up at the base camp and Drum wandered off to do a 'dragon summoning', attempting to obtain Emma as a translator. While he was doing that, the three boys were un-moused and fed. Of course, the third one was Robert.

Robert knew some of our language, since he had dealings with the previous party, so we were able to conduct a rather rudimentary interview. Once we had managed to figure out how to use a device for comprehending another's language, by passing it back and forth, we were able to get a more comprehensive story.

All the boys had been captured at the same time, from the swimming hole that they had ridden to. A whole bunch of men with swords showed up, snatched them, then bundled them all on a boat. The boat was sailed down the river then the boys were offloaded and marched through the forest to the camp where they were locked in a store room. Initially all twelve were there but a few days later, three were removed, followed by six more a few days after that. A subsequent escape attempt was foiled which was why we found them in the cellar.

The first three being: Brett, Phillip and Ralph, were sons of major houses where as the following six: Richard, Regenald, Melvin, Peter, Oliver, and Samuel belonged to minor houses. As well as Robert, we had Jeffery and Everet.

Robert wasn't sure why he had been snatched, although we suspected it was because of the on-going conflict between the Lords and the Merchants about shipping rights and taxes. Apparently the flag flying at the camp belonged to one of the merchant groups. Also there was some sort of vote coming up about taxes in the near future. Robert said he also saw what appeared to be fire magics.

Once Drum returned, it was decided to take Robert home to Bald Hill. The other two boys could then be transported to their families. There was some concern about spies in the town so it was decided to do this as discretely and in some sort of disguise .. at least the boys.

I summoned up a cloud. The first attempt failed but, I was very surprised when I got a cloud that was big enough to carry everyone. So much for all those arguments that were going on about who would ride and who would fly.

It took us most of the day to get to the vicinity of the town. On Drum's instructions, I landed the cloud in a nearby forest and we walked the rest of the way. Our first stop was the Temple where Drum asked for a priest called Thomas. Apparently elven is used here as a religious language. Thomas wasn't there but it turned out we didn't need a translator as Sir Warren, Robert's father, spoke elven.

So we headed for the keep. Upon arrival, we were conducted in then waited for a bit until Sir Warren, Sir Manfred, (the local ruler) and Hans (his earth mage) arrived. The boys were turned over, and so were the NCO's - still as hedgehogs - for questioning. Drum and Sooty were going to assist.

The rest of us searched the rooms that the boys had been assigned to, looking for something that would help Starflower with her Finding ritual. All the rooms had been cleaned etc, but we finally settled on using buttons from their clothing. Those rooms were also now allocated to us, one each, and many of us had desires for hot baths and clean clothes.

   Sera - "You take your clothes off and throw them at them. They'll get the idea"

Starflower tried her Finding ritual with the buttons but they all failed. Either they were off the map, they were dead, changed, or in an unscryable location. Given that wiccan were involved, the third option seemed the most likely. We were also invited for dinner, in a side hall. Also there was Roland the healer and a certain hobbit (aka a young dragon). During dinner, Drum drew a very large overview map .. but that also failed to reveal any useful results.

From what we were able to ascertain from the prisoners, the boys went off in caravans, three to the north, and six to the east. The three were to have been 'found' and returned by the merchants who would then claim a favour off the major Lords. However, it looked like the six were heading towards a life of slavery. It was decided to try and find them first.

10th Fruit

Flew above the river in the possible way the caravan went. Spent the night half buried in hay in a barn, in a small village.

11th Fruit

Flame ran to the town of Stone Mountain, however the guards there hadn't seen a caravan come though in the timeframe we expected. However, we were informed that there's another caravan route that is 400 to 500 or so miles north that goes though the forest.

We flew East following the trail from Stone Mountain. After about 300 miles we came across a rather mishmash mix of a town, located beside a river on a fertile plain - even though there wasn't much evidence of farming. Clearly we were in the middle of nowhere. The town itself was a mixture of permanent stone structures, hastily erected structures and tents.

We landed nearby then walked in, hoping they had some news, assuming we hadn't beaten the caravan here. After a bit of miming with the gate guards, we found out they wanted a silver coin each to let us in. There were all sorts of people here ... and smells. This place was starting to remind me of all the stories I had heard about Sanctuary. Already raggedty urchins were following us.

We did manage to find someone (a Dwarf) at the river docks who spoke a language we understood (Dwarvish) but the news was not good. No caravan had been through here recently.

12th Fruit

The night had been spent on the cloud as we traveled north over the river. Flew all day and landed that night near a copse of trees in close vicinity to a side river branch. Nearby was a village.

13th Fruit

Near the copse was a house and orchard, surrounded by a fence, and it was decided to go there in order to get information. Well, I think we managed to scare the occupants but we did manage to get water (a cup was poked out of the door at the end of a pitchfork) and directions (the pitchfork waving in the direction of the village). At the village we found the church, well more like a small shrine, dedicated to Mithros. Inside was hanging a rusty sword so Drum and Sooty set about using magicks to make the sword shine like new. There was no one there to talk to so we left, leaving some coins behind.

The rest of the day was spent flying over the river. I was trying to play in the wake of the dragons (Drum and Starflower)

14th Fruit

More flying. Reached the town at the end of the river at the sea and landed nearby. Drum scouted the place and discovered several areas that were scryshielded. So he, and a few others, set to work dissipating several of them. Once that was done, Starflower was able to detect one of the missing boys in an isolated warehouse on the docks. Using a crystal ball to see inside, showed lots of metal bars.

Plans were made to assault the place. Flys, Featherfalls, and Strength of Stones were cast all round. Shadowforms and Invisibilities were also added then, upon arrival, a Quickness and a Mind Speech were added.

I landed on the warehouse roof and prepared my longbow while Sooty dropped an Extinguish as Starflower and Drum went in to take out the guards inside. Drum made a mess of his whereas Starflower was neat and tidy. Meanwhile, Gerrad created a fake wall across the doorway.

On the entrance side were three cages containing respectively: 6 men, 10 boys(including the six we wanted), and two centaurs. The other wall had five cages along it: 10 men, 4 more men, 3 little girls, 8 women, and another group of ten men. Drum dispelled the alarm ward on the locks while Starflower opened them, starting with the centaurs and working along the row. Unfortunately, the cage with the six men in it, turned out to be guards and, as the cage was opened, they attacked. Drum dropped a Forbidding in front of the cage to slow them down while Gerrad and Starflower tossed in some Nightmares and Phantasms respectively. One of the guards must have been a Namer as one phantasm vanished before it reached its target. The group of four also turned out to be guards.

Outside, a bell started tolling. I shot the bellringer while Sooty set the bell rope on fire to sever it. However a guard started running the wharf so I used him for target practice. Gerrad joined in on that and scored a good hit. Soon, that guard was out of my sight line so I shot at the next one coming.

Gerrad (during battle) - "This isn’t friendly"

I had a Flying spell on me so I took to the air in order to get a better vantage point. Meanwhile Drum finished off the guards inside and headed out the ‘wall’. The two centaurs were already through the wall. As he did, guards were coming up, off the nearby barges. Also a lightning bolt impacted on Drum from one of the two larger boats.

The battle got really complex after that as the mages on the boats joined in .. and more guards. Firewalls were dropped on each end of the wharf to slow down reinforcements. A fog dropped over the large ship to obscure those on it. I had landed on the keel barge in order to make sure there was no one left onboard, as we wanted to ‘borrow’ it. There was no one there but, when I went to take off, I realised it was going to take a while for the winds to pick me up, so since I had one of Drum’s Bane grenados, I ran towards the firewall at the end of the wharf where the two big ships were and threw the grenado over the firewall. I then had to stop myself from running into the firewall.

While I was helping get the ex-captives out, and onto the barge, Drum and co were causing havoc with the guards and the boats. Finally the boats pulled out, especially after Sooty set the sails on fire. Finally we were clear to leave, with all the captives on board. Drum pulled us up the river.

Once far enough away, we let all the ex-captives off, apart from the six boys who had been moused. Two guards had also been skin changed. We then spent the next two days flying to Bald Hill.

16th Fruit

Arrived at Bald Hill that evening and made our way to the Keep and into the parlour where Roland was summoned and the boys de-moused. The captive guards were turned over for interrogation. We then got some rooms and slept.

    Sera - "Part of it is breeding, part of it is training"
    Drum - "And you have no breeding and they have no training"

17th Fruit

After purification and breakfast, I spent the morning exploring the gardens. After lunch, we flew back to our scryshielded camp in the forest. It was night by the time we got there. Sooty's extinguish fire ward was gone, but the scryshield was still in place. Several new tracks were also in evident, much of which appeared to be goat. We suspected fey in the area.

After Flys and Invisibilities all around, we headed back to the river near where the kidnapper's camp was. Crystals balls told us there was an old man sleeping in the upstairs bedroom. According to Starflower, he was dreaming of money.

While the others went in to assault the camp, as we were looking for clues where the final three boys were, I hovered in the air with a prepared bow and arrow.

Pandemonium broke out ... again. Gok must have triggered a ward or something as he ended up hiding in a cupboard being attacked by animated furniture. Meanwhile Sooty tossed no less than five salamanders into the camp. Basically the camp ended up being burnt to the ground. Two people were captured, the old merchant and another person. Drum, in draconic form, also grabbed an NCO right out of the bucket line.

It was fortunate the Sooty was able to confine the fire to the campsite as I was worried the forest might catch alight. However, it was fun riding the resulting thermal.

Finally headed back to our camp to discover Gok had made his way back but had backfired himself blind. So Drum set to work removing the curse. Meanwhile I watched out for the fey. Starflower believed they were satyrs.

18th Fruit

Gok and Starflower took the moused prisoners back to Bald Hill for interrogation while we went to see what was going on with the camp. It was totally destroyed and what was left of the occupants were heading south. We also discovered a trail that headed north, which may be where the three still missing boys were taken.

19th Fruit

When they got back, they had the news that the merchants had a line of camps running between two rivers, presumably as an overland supply path. However, there was another one that was isolated and lay in a north easterly direction from our present location. This may be where the boys went. So we decided to go and look for it.

20th Fruit

So we followed the river on a cloud, using a windwhistle to push it against the prevailing wind. The river also curved in that direction and got smaller as we progressed to it's source. Soon we lost sight of it amongst the trees. We kept going a bit further, mapping all the way but no sign of a camp did we see. So we decided land the cloud and make camp for the night.

Gok summoned some wolves. I stayed up a tree .. just in case. They told him that there was a human camp north of our position. Later on that night, I spoke to an owl who reported humans close by to the south and east. However, when Starflower scried the areas with crystals, they were just ordinary villages.

21st Fruit

Flew north looking for a camp, or an area that was under illusionary terrain or scryshielded. Finally we found one near a river, a smaller one than the one that had been burnt down. So we made a nearby campsite and checked it out. It wasn't scryshielded and Starflower could not detect the missing boys. I was wondering if we had found one of the camps on the supply line.

Starflower decided to divine for the nearest skin changed individual. To her surprise, she found one nearby. So Drum went to investigate and came back with a squirrel. It wasn't one of the missing boys though. This person had been skin changed for several years. When Drum countered it, we had a middle aged male human.

He told us he was a hunter and had been turned into a squirrel by an evil witch from the next village for straying into what they claimed was their territory. He had been heading south, looking for an anti-witch and trying to avoid people with thoughts of squirrel stew. He also told us there were centaur, satyr and dryad camps nearby. There wasn't much else he could tell us, so we gave him some supplies so he could get home.

Starflower then tried divining for the nearest scryshield. She detected one but, by the time we went to investigate it was gone, at least we couldn't find it. As it was getting late by now, we made camp for the night.

22nd Fruit

We broke camp and started walking, looking for scryshields. Gerrad turned us into a party of elves, including making Gok look like my twin brother. Finally we reached a valley in which a stream was flowing, and down the end was an old campsite with a scryshield. Further investigation led us to the conclusion that it might be cantaurs, and the shield had been there for the last two months.

We gave up on this as we were getting more sure we were way off course and just working in the dark, as the humans would say. So we flew back to the river fork and looked around there. No trail was found. Feeling rather frustrated, we finally flew back to the burnt camp and camped near there for the night.

23rd Fruit

More trail blazing, literally, as we were wild firing up the north trail from the camp. The trail went north then turned west. We kept going, following the trail until the spell ran out. More casts, more running, and another day later, we reached the banks of a large river. I was wondering if it was the river Swan.

25th Fruit

We kept fire walking, following the river north, reaching a fortified village and a ford at the end of the first cast. After the next one, we were at another river near another merchant camp. Again it was a square fortified camp, similar in design and layout to the first one. This could be the start of the supply line.

That night, Gok snuck in the camp and ab-duck-ted their accountant, as well as purloining the ledger he was working on. The accountant was brought back as a skinned changed duck. I just hoped the experience did not drive him quackers, or that he did not present us with a bill for causing him undue distress.

It was decided to interrogate the accountant a fair distance from the camp, ten thousand feet straight up to be precise. I summoned a cloud and, while we hovered in the vicinity, the others did just that, with the help of a Compel Obedience and Gerrad's Ear of Comprehend Languages.

He didn't know of any secret camps but there was more than one line of camps, the one we had burnt down being the start of another one. And, yes, he had heard of that incident, presumably from the wiccan who had escaped. They had at least three mages in the camp, two of which were Namers, the third being an unknown quantity. They were listed as 'specialists' in the records, and unfortunately those details were in the payroll ledger. We had only taken the trading ledger.

He also told us that the Guildmaster's son had gone overseas and had studied magic. When he returned, he started bringing back others, mages who could do things that the local ones couldn't, such as fly on broomsticks and carpets. Starflower got the name of both the wiccan and the son and discovered they were holed up in a villa near Beacon Hill. About 30 odd mages were there.

The other interesting thing was that of the caravan that had been attacked by bandits, wielding centaur weapons. The bandits hadn't been seen and no one was killed and nothing taken. He thought that was odd as well, especially after it was uncovered that the 'bandits' had been supplied with centaur weapons from the merchants and were ordered to go and attack the caravan. Smelt very strongly like a setup, trying to stir up ill feelings against the centaurs. They had been stirred up by Konrad but, since he vanished, it had been getting a bit peaceful. Sooty called it 'plausable deniability'. The weapon transactions were in the stolen ledger.

Starflower moused the accountant and there was some argument about what to do with him, starting with pushing him off the cloud. I'm beginning to wonder if a forced relocation to Seagate would be required. Finally we decided to defer that decision and the cloud was landed in a clearing .. just before it started raining.

26th Fruit

Headed towards Beacon Hill, first by Wings, then midair casting to air flight. Spent the night in a hay barn.

27th Fruit

Starflower located the guildmaster's son and we headed off in that direction, stopping at a safe distance to look the villa over. It fronted towards the river and the swamp so a frontal assault would not be wise. It might be possible to attack from behind but even then we'd probably have to check for wards. I was sure I had told the others I could do air elementals but they might have forgotten as they seemed rather excited when I mentioned it again. Drum even offered to contribute incense to make the ritual more effective.

Starflower used her ritual and detected a scry shield on one of the smaller buildings. Maybe the missing boys are in there?

Hellfire wards were detected around the buildings in a solid line and whirlwind vortexes on the roof. Guard posts, with one guard each, were also on the roof. Also two scryshields were detected, one over a shed and the other inside the villa. Golems on standby were scattered inside at strategic locations. Those, and the vast quantity of man-at-arms about made a frontal assault potentially suicidal.

Vapour breathings, featherfalls, fire armours and strength of stones were cast all around then, with the help of Drum’s incense, I summoned an air elemental. Meanwhile, since the scryshield in the villa projected outside of the line of wards, Drum brought it down and Starflower detected the boys in an underground cellar. They had been petrified and crated.

The place appeared to be a veritable fortress, however Gerrad came up with the brilliant idea of turning one of their defenses to a weakness. Basically Starflower went indetectable, flew up, and sapped one of the guards who was then skinchanged to a hedgehog. Simultaneously Gerrad created an illusion of that guard still in position. The transition was so fast, I blinked and missed it.

All of us, now rendered invisible, carefully crowded into the guardpost. A trapdoor in the floor was locked from below but Drum was able to go through the floor and open it. That led into a crawlspace in the attic that connected all the guardposts. Instead of looking for the ladder, a hole was cut through the ceiling and we dropped into the room below. There was no one there. An illusion was then used to cover the hole.

We were in a lady’s parlour. The door behind went into the bedroom where she was sleeping. She got hedgehoged. Drum then went through a wander through the walls detecting wards on the doors. So we made holes in the walls, using a mace with a silence spell on it, covering the holes with illusions. A wiccan in the next bedroom was also hedgehoged. Of course loot, including potions, coins, and jewelry were taken on the way. Next pair of rooms along was an office with a storeroom behind it which had been in the scryshield. A trapdoor was discovered in the floor of the storeroom.

The trapdoor was magelocked, a hellfire was on the floor below and a whirlwind vortex was on the steps down. Drum carefully deactivated each one. Finally we found the crates with the boys inside. They had been placed on pressure plates so the plates were jammed with molten copper. Gok then started teleporting them out.

Finally we made our exit and flew off in the direction of the elven forests, landing about a mile inside, where we spent the rest of the night.

28th Fruit

Drum tried to unpetrify a boy but managed to affect a different one. He had to be hurriedly extracted from the crate. Finally all the boys were unpetrified and hedgehoged. This took the whole day while the rest of us rested.

29th Fruit

We purified and flew out, arriving in Bald Hill late that evening. Once there the boys were de-hedgehoged and the guard, accountant, and woman taken into custody. The lady was just a companion. Since the wiccan was a hired foreign mercenary, like us, arrangements were made for his return. However, the accountant was staying put.

That night was bath and a comfy bed.

30th Fruit

We were paid and those that wanted to, and were natives to Alusia, were sent back to where we had left it. The alternative included a two week boat trip from Rangifera and, given my record with boats and them sinking when I was on them, I decided not to take the chance. So I too took the option of being cast back,

Back on Alusia we were debriefed, examined, and once the others returned, split the treasure.

Appendicies

Watch Order

  • Gok
  • Gok, Drum
  • Serra, Drum
  • Serra, Starflower
  • Sooty, Starflower
  • Sooty, Gerrad
  • Aurora, Gerrad
  • Aurora