“I have something for you” said Argasto the caravan leader and started chewing on his third leg of lamb. His mouth was covered in grease but nothing silk sleeves could not wipe off. “I have a friend in Thistla Fort that is in need of discreet help. Perhaps you can handle it as you have proven yourselves worthy. Go to Thistla Fort and ask for Master Vernam at the school. Good luck to ye and hope to see you again comrades.”
The heroes left the inn at once eager to find adventure, fame and fortune. As they arrived to Thistla Fort they were excited by all the exotic gatherings there. The locomotion, the Elves, the Barbarians, the Magic users, the Witch hunters. Everyone and everything was here at the threshold of the dark forest.
As they walked through the locomotion a little child ran into them. It was a girl. Tears running down her cheeks. After her came a group of armed henchmen with axes, shields and scale mail. “Please help me” inquired the little girl. The PCs looked at the armed men. “Chasing a little girl are you? And it takes the whole group of armed men for that?” The PCs took a stance.
“In the name of Baumelo the Black Coat, hand over the heretic or ye shall be punished!” The PCs quickly asked the girl who she was understanding the seriousness of conflict with Black Coats. “Im Tenid. I live with my folks outside Thistla Fort at a chicken farm. They try to steal our farm away by these accusations. Please help us dear Sirs”.
The heroes would not have this. They drew their swords and looked steadily at the Black Coats. “If you touch the girl you die here and now.” The Black Coats charged. “So be it”.
Above: The Black Coats of Baumelo
We checked initiative:
11) Itacha Bold
10) 5 x Black Coats
The fight was pretty quick. The Black Coats were easy to hit (def +1) but somewhat sturdy (15/8 hps/pain). Itacha was on a high killing 3 of them in just as many rounds. The last one tried to run away but the heroes caught him and fell him as well. “Tell your leader Baumelo to leave the little girl’s family alone or we will find him.” The Black Coat nodded and ran away.
Tenid thanked the adventurers and invited them to her family’s farm at any time. A new friend had been found, yet so little and kind.
The heroes arrived at Master Vernam’s school and knocked on the door. Afternoon was turning into evening. There was a disturbing delay and at the third knock an old lady opened the door, pale and trembling as she looked at the adventurers. Something was amiss. Master Vernam had been brutally slaughtered in his office. His carcass was hanging upside down in a rope from the roof. His skin and intestines in a huge pool of blood on the floor. Bloody steps leading towards the window. Two of the heroes were quick on their heels dashing towards the window that was still open and out on the roof tops following the tracks. The other PCs interrogated Elsbetha the old servant and searched the office thoroughly for any evidence.
In the pool of blood they found a letter that they could wash off and save the most part of. It was written from Master Vernam to Sire Nattbäcka, the Mayor of Thistla Fort. The letter mentions “the king’s skull” and that anyone touching it will be poisoned by darkest evil. Under the desk they also found an iron ring with the inscription “Never again” in Elvish. The Iron Pact. Were they responsible for this savage crime?
Above: The bloody letters
Elsbetha concurred that an elf by the name Tara-Kel had visited Master Vernam shortly before. But he left when Master Vernam was still alive. Elsbetha was sure of this. So she would be the last one to have seen him alive.
The heroes out on the roof tops continued following the tracks. They had to jump over to other roofs and eventually ended up in front of one of the main squares. The Toad’s Square. There they lost the tracks. Could the murderer still be around? The heroes contemplated stalking this square over the night.
The guards arrived and interrogated the adventurers. Apparently several murders had been committed lately and all seemed to be around the Toad’s Square. The PCs were now more inclined to watch the square. Modus Operandi was the same.
The evening was upon them and still no place to stay. Wandering the streets they ended up at the Hof & Harp inn. They loosened their heavy gear and went to see the Captain of the Guard to find out more about the murders. Captain Marvello was positive to the PCs enquiries and supported their efforts to help out. Vernam was the 5th killing in just 4 days and the citizens of Thistla Fort were disturbed. Captain Marvello agreed to the heroes using his name to enter crime scenes and being able to ask questions if need be. He presented the witness testimonies as a final contribution.
(unfortunately in Swedish as we play the original version of Symbaroum)
Last but not least the heroes visited Mayor Lasifor Nattbäcka. Apparently he had been part of that unfortunate expedition, but refused any questions from the heroes regarding his getting in touch with the skull itself. “The skull seems to transfer some kind of disease or damnation” the heroes summarized. Nattbäcka summarized the expedition and his words echoed in the stone hall. Candle lights flickering….
“It was Gorak. He bragged about the riches and the treasures in the most dark and secret heart of the forest. With him was Alahara the Bastard. There was something between them I don’t know what… They found a King’s Tomb and therein an ancient skull that Gorak chopped off and brought with him. But something with the skull was disturbing. Late at night by the campfire Gorak would sit for hours and just stare into its empty eye sockets. I swear there seemed to be something glowing inside it….”
The adventurers managed to convince him to support their efforts and the Mayor wrote them a letter of recommendation asking anyone to aid the heroes in their quest. The heroes were somewhat at unease by Mayor Nattbäckas female companion Yagaba. Something about her did not seem right. “She must be a witch” whispered Gadramei to Demmeon who fancied cutting her head of here and now.
To be continued….