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Peyton Pounces

Page history last edited by Michael 1 year, 12 months ago

back to the Index, or to Chapter 62:  Melee at Minehead 

 

Chapter 63

Peyton Pounces

 

 


9:30 Dragon, 18th day of Bloomingtide - Summer

 

      Our Heroes had just lifted the siege at Minehead, single-handedly in five minutes. It was two minutes after 2 p.m. ... we summoned Adeline, Rogasha and Monkey from where they were hiding.

     Inside the citadel, we were welcomed by the defenders; they had been 70 persons two months ago, but now only 42 remained (including several badly-wounded persons). Among the wounded was Bann Decker, who had however observed our battle from a window. His people are:

 

  • 5 soldiers capable of fighting

  • 2 soldiers able to walk, but not fight effectively (injuries) -- presumably returned to fighting trim by Landon and Alpheus, see below

  • 5 soldiers unable to walk due to injuries (including Bann Decker) -- some of these were probably returned to fighting trim by Landon and Alpheus

  • 16 adults, in fair condition

  • 5 adults too sick (or elderly) to walk on their own -- some of these may have been returned to a healthier status by Landon and Alpheus

  • 5 children ages 4-10

  • 2 infants


They have:

  • 6 functional wagons

  • 2 draft horses

  • more (empty) barrels than they can haul

  • food for 40 people at 1/4 rations for six days

  • armor and weapons to arm an additional thirty men (but only four dozen arrows)

  • more household goods (blankets, etc.) than they can carry

  • their apprentice blacksmith is still capable of fashioning simple items (the smith himself perished)

 

     Landon and Alpheus quickly looked over the sick and injured. A half-dozen persons needed immediate attention:

 

  • Bersh:  he had some caved-in ribs; treatment took about 30 minutes.

  • Milton:  his left leg had been impaled and ruined; treatment required only 10 minutes however!

  • Brock:  his had a perforated shoulder. Treatment required an hour.

  • Harvey:  his face was gashed; we took a half-hour to fix him up.

  • Lorin:  her thigh had taken a mighty blow, and we needed 50 minutes to fix it.

  • Robbin:  a sword had badly damaged his shoulder; we spend 10 minutes performing chirurgy.

 

     This effort used up two basic and two journeyman Injury kits, and a bit more than three hours. There were other people (like the Bann) whose injuries or illnesses didn't require or respond to "heroic" efforts.

     Meanwhile, Gray and Eornan were looking over the battlefield. A bulging satchel carried by the emissary held strips of human flesh, with oddly dark veins. Eventually, Landon recognized these from our visit to the broodmothers' lair near Ostagar; there was probably a broodmother nearby.

 

emissary satchel and contents

     You have seen many darkspawn in your travels, few emissaries of course, but even for those – this one seems unusual. Darkspawn do collect trophies, but these trinkets the Emissary has collected seem ‘personal’ rather than symbols of befitting a powerful warrior.

     The satchel you retrieved from the Emissary is made of canine leather, with various ‘decorations’ attached onto its strap – most are tied on with a ¼” braided cord in various natural colors. There are eight different items attached to holes drilled into the satchel -- the fetishes:

 

  • Clear Glass Fox (looks like Dalish design), tied with golden cord

  • Grouse Feather Charm – a real feather encased in enamel, tied with medium brown cord

  • Cameo of a human woman, carved in a fine shell, tied with a red brown cord

  • Acorn Charm in Bronze – likely Dalish, tied with pale gold cord

  • Ivory Halla Figurine – tied with light brown cord

  • Chantry Prayer Stones – tied with dark brown cord

  • Preserved Griffon Feather Charm – tied with sable colored cord

  • Broken Arrow – with red and white fletching, tied with deep red cord

 

     There are also three shriveled, oily canine ears, all threaded onto a metal hook, which in turn is jammed into the strap. No braid for this item.

     Inside the satchel are parts from three forearms (two including hands), and large chunks of muscle – likely hacked from legs. Not clear how old the ‘parts’ are of course – the taint mimics age and disease  - several days? A week? One of the hands is still wearing a tarnished ring with embossed abstract shape (an eye?) that follows its circumference. It is very small, likely sized for an elven woman.

 

Landon made a sketch of the emissary's "charms" except the arrow

 

     The defenders of Minehead came out to help Eornan and Gray police the battlefield; among the debris was found:

 

  • 2-handed iron maul -- left at Minehead

  • Healing Poultice (restores 1d6+2 Health) -- with Landon

  • morning star, iron, with 1 rune slot, which holds a novice striking rune (+1 or 2 to hit) -- taken by Our Heroes for later use

  • iron-shod quarterstaff, +1 to attack -- taken for later use

  • a figurine of Maternal Andraste (trinkets chart "D") -- taken for later use

  • Restoration Potion (heals Health = 1D6+CON the first round, then heals 1d6 each round for 6 rounds thereafter) -- with either Eornan or Gray, whoever doesn't have a big healing potion

  • grouse feather charm -- taken for later use

  • Ring of the Wounded Coast -- taken for later use

  • gallows slave finger-cuffs -- taken for later use ... I think someone expressed an interest Eornan took this one +1 Def, +1 Speed!

  • a miniature spinning wheel (trinkets chart "B") -- taken for later use

  • Elixir of Grounding (standard) -- one of Our Heroes should specifically hang onto this. Landon, if nobody else expresses an interest.

  • crossbow bolts, 21 -- with the crossbow we got earlier, to one of the defenders of Minehead.

  • cash: 68 silver coins -- fifteen each to Landon, Eornan, Gray and Alpheus, plus four each for Rogash and Adeline.

 

     ... and various arrows and other items. The ring from the emissary's bag we kept; the rotten flesh form the bag was burned.

 

I think Alpheus has the eye-ring.

 

     As the sun lowered towards the west, we cleaned up as well as we could, and had a scanty meal -- even if we'd had mountains of food with us, the castle inhabitants had been semi-starving for a few weeks. "Here, have some fruitcake." We assured the Bann and his people that we'd get them somewhere safer -- but not all the way to the coast or anything quite so bold. We decided that everyone would leave with us on the morning of the 20th.

     Eornan had some disturbing news -- the red-and-white fletched arrrow in the emissary's bag was one of his! He also offered Alpheus an item, which had been taken from the Fen'Harel cultist whom we pursued along the green beams from Edgehall:

 

Owl Pendant

      Sense spirits within 50 yards. With a Major Action, the owner may give a one word command to one spirit within range. Test:  Magic + Willpower +1, vs. the spirit's Magic + Will. Command lasts 1 minute; may only command one spirit at a time.

 

     Exhausted from our travels, battle and ministrations, we slept deeply that night.  Gray and Bran had a variety of mystical conversation while the rest of us slept.

 

9:30 Dragon, 19th day of Bloomingtide - Summer

 

      Sunny, 81 degrees F high temperature -- good weather to keep the darkspawn away.

     In the morning Landon continued to nurse the wounded; and we prepared for the coming trip north. Gray said that Bran had suggested via dream-contact we take the Minehead folk to the bannorn of Forgotten Valley (by way of Lothering, but otherwise avoiding the old Tevinter highways). The folk of Forgotten Valley, led by Bann Chenrey, have held out longer than most communities near the highway, harvesting as much of their crops as possible and slaughtering any animals not needed for fleeing the darkspawn towards Knavesmire. Decker was probably not an ally of Loghain.

     At Forgotten Valley, the Minehead folk could join up with that group of refugees preparing to travel north. The travel plan:

 

  • From Minehead to Forgotten Valley, over country dirt roads (eschewing the Imperial Highway), 85 miles in 6 days (you get some chances to pick up wagon driving experience)

  • Forgotten Valley straight-ish to the village of Radstock (Bann Bronic's lands), 60 miles in 5 days.

  • Radstock to Woeville, 25 miles climbing back up into the hills, 2 days - you can get help from here of course.

  • Woeville to Mythalvhenan, with help with the wagon over yet more ornery terrain, 2 days.

    • That puts the eluvian-hauling group at Mythalvhenan in roughly 15 days -- probably 4th Justinian.

    • As of today, Bran is still in Knavesmire, and at least seven days from taking possession of (stealing) a ship in Highever (which is over 175 miles away from Knavesmire). Plus he has yet to go to Orzammar (2-3 day side trip) to go 'leg shopping,' so you maybe are not quite as far behind as you imagine. So that probably puts him 10+ days out from the earliest he could leave Highever with a ship. It will then take about three days to sail around to roughly where your port is/will be. That leaves him and the ship at least six extra days to burn somehow (probably in planning/provisioning/pre-ship stealing).

  • The distance between Mythalvhenan and the proto-Port Celatus is nearly 100 miles - which you might be able to do without a wagon, by rigging some backpacks for laidir to help carry heavy loads ... and Eornan could do by himself in about two-plus days, feeling his way there, even faster if he didn't have to worry about scoping out a trail that someone else could follow. All in all, it might take about four-plus days (assuming a pulled two-wheel cart, three days if you pack everything in) from Mythalvhenan to get to Port Celatus to then put together a beacon for the ship.

    • Total 18+ days to Port Celatus for the Southern Crew.

 

     Over breakfast, Eornan told us that he'd been pondering on the presence of his arrow in the emissary's bag; and he'd noticed that the cords binding each fetish was hair -- human, dwarven or elven, he couldn't say. The hair used to make the cord on the arrow was the same deep red as Laney's. Gray suggested that the fetishes should be destroyed ...

 

Grey cocks his head a little.

"Darkspawn... well they have no connection to the Fade - so do not be surprised if that doesn't yield anything. Their magic is all tied to blood. That said, I don't know that there isn't a connection between blood magic and sympathetic magic. That is the sort of thing you'd want to ask a Chasind Witch if you could find one willing to talk to you." 

"Frankly, I think you'd be best off by simply burning the lot - in magical fire, if available - and washing your hands of it. If there was some sort of spell, or control, the connection should have died with the Emissary."

 

     ... but we decided to keep them to research for a bit.

     Part of our preparations included forged Warden identification scrolls for Alpheus (as "Eriq"), Eornan (as "Felrey"), and Gray (as "Laleal", his real name in fact). Landon made these up on nice paper, using 3 doses of Ink of Splendor; they were signed with Duncan's forged signature, and all bore the date of 24 Draconis 9:30 Dragon (the date when Duncan last conducted a Joining ritual, at Ostagar). While Landon was making these, he discussed with Alpheus the possibility of recruiting Gray into the Gray Wardens. In the end we decided that the risk of his dying during Joining wasn't worth the possible benefits.

     The people of Minehead were busy sorting what to take or leave; the most seriously disabled would ride on a wagon. They told us that there was a cave a quarter-mile away on the hillside where darkspawn came from -- Eornan scouted it cautiously, but wisely decided against entering.

     In the afternoon, Alpheus made Dream Sendings for several people, including:

 

  • Sextus:  where we are, where we've encountered darkspawn, the strange fetish/talisman items (possibly sympathetic magic), our planned itinerary, how many weeks until we can reach Mythalvhenan or Port Celatus, and the description and possible origin of the werelocks.

  • Wynn:  the same as Sextus?

  • Bran:  much the same as Sextus, but more information about Minehead and our success there.

  • Laney(Michael doesn't know quite what Alpheus sent ... for example, did he reveal the fetish objects?)

 

9:30 Dragon, 20th day of Bloomingtide - Summer

 

      Temperatures never higher than the 50s F; mostly cloudy.

      As the sun rose, Our Heroes led the people of Minehead away from the castle.  We moved along through the day, without meeting any darkspawn -- or any other people, for that matter.

      That evening, Landon joined with Eornan in learning the Orlesian language from Gray. Giving Adeline some instruction in how to ... hmm ... live with apostacy, and teaching Rogasha more about the ways of town and country, probably took up most of the "free" evening time for Landon from this point onwards. Eornan had experience raising Werekinder, and would take a large role in teaching and caring for Rogasha.

 

9:30 Dragon, 21st day of Bloomingtide - Summer

 

      A clear day, with a high temperature of 77 degrees F.

      As the long party of refugees wound through the woods, there were two brief combats -- small parties of darkspawn burst out from cover and attempted to destroy us. We drove them off with only a few slight wounds to Gray. Some items were found in the possession of the darkspawn:

 

  • a raven totem (trinket from section "C") -- stored for later use

  • a carving of the Paragon Aeducan (trinket from section "A") -- stored for later use or sale (probably more valuable to a dwarf)

  • 31 silver coins

 

9:30 Dragon, 22nd day of Bloomingtide - Summer

 

      This day was about as nice as weather in the Blighted zone could be -- low 55 degrees at night, high of 77 degrees by day, and clear skies (except for the faint smoke left by the Blight).

     A single party of darkspawn charged the refugees before dawn, however. They were handily defeated; on their corpses we found:

 

  • a battleaxe, with no apparent advantage -- stored for later sale

  • 9 gold coins

 

     We arrived back at Lothering by the end of the day, and recovered the wagon bearing the eluvian.

     In the late evening, everyone in the camp was awakened by a terrible screaming yowl, coming from one of the tents. Our Heroes rushed over, and found a terrible, gruesome scene:  a woman's corpse, and her baby sitting on her chest -- with its skin mottled and darkened, its mouth enlarged and filled with sharp teeth, and blood everywhere. The child had been tainted, probably by the malign influence of the environment or water supply, and had turned into something -- perhaps a type of ghoul. We slew the strange Blighted child, and burned both victims.

     The refugees weren't as disturbed by this as we had feared, since a few other people at Minehead had succumbed to the Blight's tainting influence before we arrived. Landon undertook an examination of the refugees, and found four were seriously and unrecoverably affected:

 

  • Alcott, a 10-year-old orphan boy

  • Reed, a man in his twenties

  • Ryland, a widower in his sixties

  • Myrtle, an old woman (at least in her seventies)

 

     A syrup made by boiling spindleweed and elfroot would slow the progress of the taint, but there were no known cures -- even becoming a Warden was dangerous for healthy persons. A supply of 100 doses of "sorel syrup" was created, to be administered four times a day to each sufferer.

     We decided to wait until the next day to inform Bann Decker or the tainted persons ...

 

9:30 Dragon, 23rd day of Bloomingtide - Summer

 

      Some rain and drizzle made this day a bit dreary. Our Heroes and the refugees left Lothering.

      After breakfast, Alpheus took Bann Decker aside and told him about the four tainted persons; the adults were also informed. Ryland and Myrtle accepted "retirement", and that night Eornan and Gray "inhumed" them.

 

9:30 Dragon, 24th day of Bloomingtide - Summer

 

      Mostly sunny this day, with a high of 63 degrees.

 

9:30 Dragon, 25th day of Bloomingtide - Summer

 

      The day started with drizzle in the morning, and turned to slightly cloudy in the afternoon. We discovered that the young man Reed has run away during the night -- presumably he would be hiding in some abandoned farmstead until he became a ghoul, or died of sickness before transforming.

     A few darkspawn were surprised by the refugees passing near their daytime hideout -- we destroyed them in less than a minute. They had:

     

  • 15 ordinary longbow arrows -- given to the Minehead soldiers

  • 18 silver coins

 

9:30 Dragon, 26th day of Bloomingtide - Summer

 

      A mostly sunny day, temperature in the sixties. Before dawn a strong party of darkspawn  After sunset a few darkspawn crept up on the camp, and were quickly dispatched -- but Gray got exposed to the blood of a hurlock. He avoided being tainted, but felt lucky to be alive. On the bodies of the darkspawn was found:

 

  • one dose of Hale's Mercy

  • 8 silver coins

 

9:30 Dragon, 27th day of Bloomingtide - Summer

 

      Rain in the morning, and cloudy after that.

      In the middle of the day Our Heroes and the refugees from Minehead came to an abandoned farm; Eornan spotted someone or something moving in a half-ruined barn. This turned out to be Eddy, a young resident of Forgotten Valley; he had a horse and a wagon of supplies, and was sent to meet us on Bran's instructions.

      We thanked him for the much-welcome food, water and fodder; he got on his horse and rode ahead of us. We had a meal, and loaded the rest of the supplies onto our wagons.

 

9:30 Dragon, 28th day of Bloomingtide - Summer

 

      We pressed on towards Forgotten Valley; in the afternoon we were met by Sir Cullin, who had been left in charge of the community -- Bann Chenrey was away at Knavesmire. Cullin told us that the town was filled with the inhabitants of various nearby villages and farms; in a day or three they would be heading north. He escorted us into the town, which was a (relatively cheerful) hive of activity -- wagons being repaired, crops dried and preserved, meat being salted, etc. Some news:

 

  • darkspawn have been encountered north of Orzamar, perhaps all the way to the north coast of Ferelden

  • South Reach was holding out against the Blight -- for now

  • Howe was now Arl of Denerim (instead of Amaranthine). The story of his suppression of the alienage rebellion was known here.

  • Anwen Cousland passed through here before the Battle of Ostagar (she arrived at Ostagar on 24 Draconis, so she was probably here in mid-Draconis)

  • Loghain knows the truth about what happened at Highever

 

     We managed to cobble together four journeyman-level injury kits.

     Sir Cullin and Eddy agreed to have the young man accompany us for part of the first day of our travel towards Radstock. We gave Bann Decker the remaining sorel syrup, along with the instructions on making more (it's not too hard to make).

     We sat down to dine with the people from Minehead and Forgotten Valley that evening. At the head table, Decker presented the Wardens with 9 gold and 3 silver coins, as the tithe from Minehead. We thanked him and wished him and his people the best of luck.

 

9:30 Dragon, 29th day of Bloomingtide - Summer

 

      Our Heroes rested this very windy day, while the local craftsmen, wrights and smiths repaired our wagon, sharpened our swords, patched our armor, washed the blood out of our clothing, and adjusted our supplies (food, water, fodder) for the five-day trip to Radstock. Landon showed the cameo and grouse fetishes to some people here (especially Sir Cullin and Bann Decker); nobody recognized them.

 

9:30 Dragon, 30th day of Bloomingtide - Summer

 

      The sun came up this day shrouded in fog, blown in long sad streamers by the wind. The warmest temperature of the day was only in the sixties.

      We took our leave of Forgotten Valley -- the refugees were preparing to leave, also. With our wagon bearing the eluvian, we followed narrow roads winding through the woods and streams of the Bannorn.

      A few parties of refugees were met, hurrying west to Forgotten Valley; the tracks of people and horses were thick on the roads. Some of the refugees told us that mercenaries were the only people headed east, to seek service at South Reach.

      Landon gathered some spindleweed and elfroot.

      After lunch, we came to a road junction; Eddy pointed out the route to take (south at this point), and turned his horse back towards Forgotten Valley.

      The lands we now came to had scattered ruins (from long before the current Blight), thickets of closely-grown brush, and many small fords or simple bridges. Crossing the streams was a bit of a test of our simple wagon-driving skills. Everything was damp, both from the fogs and brief rains, and from various springs, mires and wet grasslands.

     Mid-afternoon, Eornan spotted some poorly-concealed tracks alongside the road, and heard some faint clinks and creaks of armed warriors ahead. Someone was laying in ambush! He made a sign, and we halted the wagon. Adeline and Rogasha were told to stay with the wagon and keep Monkey quiet.

 

 

     Gray, Eornan, Landon and Alpheus walked forward along the narrow road, and group of persons stepped out of cover (they clearly realized that we'd spotted their ambush). Five of them were Templars, and two were Circle mages! They were:

 

  • Knight-Lieutenant Peyton -- female human Orlesian, Templar, known to Alpheus

  • Knight Royce -- male human Orlesian, Templar, right-hand man to Peyton

  • Knight Reginald -- young male human Orlesian, Templar

  • Knight Maxwell -- young male human Orlesian, Templar

  • Knight Olin -- young male human Orlesian, Templar

  • Zoe -- female human Fereldan, Circle mage, a spirit healer and quite willing to overpower and dominate (or destroy) apostates, blood mages and other foes

  • Ashland -- male human Free Marcher, Circle mage, a force mage

 

     Alpheus recognized Peyton, Ashland and Zoe as figures of dread among Circle mages.  Peyton called out, "We intend to collect Alpheus -- he is a blood mage."

 

 

     Landon and Alpheus told the Templars that we were Wardens, and not blood mages. "What authority do you have to interfere with us? You should be battling the Blight!" Peyton replied that they were operating under orders of Knight-Commander Merrill.

     Alpheus asked, "Don't you get your instructions from Kinloch Hold?"; the Knight-Lieutenant answered, "No, we're from Montsimmard." The Templars weren't taking no for an answer ...

     Our Heroes thus "let them have it" ...

 

 

     ... with a Grease spell, a Mind Blast, and a Tempest! All of our foes went down, and generally spent a while getting out of the grease and onto their feet. Our mages continued to hammer them with spells and Arcane Lance, while Eornan quickly closed with them.

 

 

     Peyton and Royce were faster and more capable than the other Templars, and very focused on capturing (not killing) Alpheus. They chased him around and about, while the rest of us mostly attacked the other members of their group -- especially Zoe at first. Gray joined Eornan in smashing the mages and lesser Templars. A couple of castings of Crushing Prison were very effective against Our Heroes, and Eornan got a long raking slash across his face from Reginald, but once Peyton and Royce were out of sight -- chasing Alpheus along a road -- Eornan took down Ashlen and Zoe.

     Due to months of travel on foot, and his naturally rugged constitution (Constitution 4, with a Stamina focus), Alpheus drew away from the two pursuing Templars; and his magical sandals didn't leave any tracks in mud, dust or dirt! At some point when he was out of sight of Peyton, he ducked into a concealing thicket, and waited for his pursuers to rush past. Once they were gone, he returned to the road and ran back towards the battle.

     Stuck in a Crushing Prison, Landon received two nasty gashes -- his left ear was left hanging by a flap of skin, and one leg was gouged -- but most annoying was the pair of Templar cuffs that got applied to his wrists. Gray and Eornan reduced one of the Templars to a staggering, bleeding wreck, snarling in pain and stumbling in a shallow stream; another was face-down in the water with an arrow in his back. Just as Landon was taken hostage by the remaining "young Templar", Alpheus burst through the bushes (having finally returned) and knocked the that Templar into a grease zone. Landon, while still cuffed, was able to scramble out of the grasp of the Templar.

     Eornan was able to convince the two conscious young Templars to accept a cease-fire; "Otherwise your friend here will drown -- at least." Landon and Eornan scrambled over to where Gray and Eornan were. When asked why they were here, the young Templars could only answer, "It's orders." The waterlogged Templar was pulled from the stream, still alive.

 

All three of the young Templars had very little Health left.

 

     Four Potent Lyrium Potions and three other items were taken from the bodies of the Circle mage; we brought up our wagon and drove quickly away. We didn't think Peyton and her team would try to confront us immediately, with no mages and three nearly-dead young Templars. It was, we all agreed, a very tough battle.

 

items from Peyton's mages

  • Ring of the Archmage

    • This ring has three green gems around the band that glow with a soft internal light. These are also a popular commission from the dwarves who live in Tevinter. The wearer of this ring may expend one of three charges in the ring when casting a spell. If they do, the ring supplies 10 Mana for the casting of the spell (excesss Mana is lost). When one of these charges is used, one of the gems goes dark. The ring recharges every day, at the rate of one charge per day. Zoe had this item.


  • Magister's Cinch

    • These belts are made of several strips of a dark leathery material braided together. Each braid seems to have a vastly different temperature, and some strips even seem to have a pulse. These belts do not originate from the Imperium's Circles, but rather an apostate whose design was copied. The name was given later. When the wearer would gain Health or Mana from an item or a spell (such as a potion, or spells like Death Magic, or Heal), the wearer gains an additional amount of Health or Mana equal to half of their character level. Zoe had this item.

 

  • Belt of the Magister Lords

    • This leather belt is linked with several golden discs which each bear a symbol for each school of magic. This is a common gift from proud Tevinter Magisters who wish to reward pupils (or place items in their pupil's possession to spy upon them). The wearer may perform the Puissant Casting stunt for 1 SP less (paying 0 SP for +1 to Spellpower, 1 SP for +2 Spellpower, and 2 SP for +3 Spellpower), but you must generate stunt points to use the belt's ability. Ashland had this item.

 

Landon thinks Alpheus might do well with the Belt of the Magister Lords, since some of his spells do best with high Spellpower.

 

On to A Lot of Laidir

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