The Undiscovered Country

Pride Cometh Before a Fall

Suggested listening: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTwpjRu-3zY

Kai staggered and lent against a tree, he was out of breath, but he doubted it was from exhaustion, the monks would make novices carry stones uphill literally all day for weeks on end when there was a new wing to be built. He didn’t tire that easily.

No. His head hurt… so did his shoulder, ribs, and hip. Mainly because he’d bounced off of them. He considered asking the Dragon man to help him, he found his ability to will the body to heal as fascinating as his own Master’s abilities to will the body to ignore wounds. Not that he could ask of course, he’d embarrassed himself and then snapped at his fellow wilderness wanderer because… well…

“Yeah I couldn’t step on air, apparently I can only do that when I’ve got to save your life!”

His pilgrims path would lead him to manhood, but until then he could apparently still act like a teenage boy. Kai choked back tears… wisdom taught that there was nothing to be gained holding pain inside to poison one’s Hun and Po, but pride didn’t let him show weakness, anger at himself burnt in his chakras, and he took it out on the wrong people.

But I know that I was wrong, and knowing is half the battle. I am learning.

Slowly Kai let himself focus.

Breath… This is always the first lesson.

He owed his friend an apology. He would make the world without right when the world within was. He was not so badly wounded, mostly his young pride. He’s sought to show off his agility, forgetting that basement stone walls are often damp… he’d slipped, he couldn’t focus his chi in time and even though his legs and arms had made the motions the spirits of the air would not carry him, he’d nosedived into a known pit trap, but that hadn’t shamed him in front of his friends, his reaction had.

Breath… focus

Kai straightened up and closed his eyes for a moment, pressing his index fingers together. He thought back. They had done well. In the village the wise dragon had held the furious tiger in check. They had avoided a fight with themselves and focused on a common enemy. They had found a… well, and ally, in the law-keeper of the town, they had tracked the Redbrands to their camp, thinned their numbers in surprise assaults. He himself had infiltrated the enemy stronghold for he could be as quiet as a shadow and as light as the wind… although he’d have to remember that trick with the lamp oil, clever Ork!

Still that was something to be proud of… no, pride had caused his outburst, there was no place for that.

Breath… focus… centre.

He found himself confident in following Brond’s leadership. He didn’t agree with his methods, and his lifestyle was… colourful… but kai found his soul, well, he felt a solid foundation there. He had lead them to victory, he had spared a kill and gained vital info, he had let those who were not threats go. There was good in him, Kai could feel it.

And they had freed the sister! They had helped their new found ally, kept their promise to him, kai had asked “how long has she been missing, and in that time, how many times have you had five adventurers offering to die saving her with you” He was glad not be made a liar on that front. He wanted to believe he could do good with these eclectic people, more good than any of them could do on their own.

They had done good, now all they had to do was live to do more. GlassStaff was in that compound, surely his wrath would not be far off.

Kai sought to learn the arts arcane, but it disturbed his centre to hear of them used to upset the balance so darkly. Perhaps his pursuit of the arcane knowledge was flawed, perhaps it was the Pal-ah-din’s abilities to heal, not harm, that would suit his Hun greater?

Kai spun from the tree and strode back to the group, fists clenched, centred and focused. there was no more time for introspection, Now they had an evil to face, now they had friends to find, and innocents to defend.

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Ahzid krosis

Tuakiin sighed. Moonlight and glowing embers played across their golden scales. I’ve been a fool. Impetuous. Reckless. This is not the path I chose.

Vengeance. Untempered by compassion and justice, it can be a dangerous force. I have not yet taken the Oath. But if I ever hope to hold to its tenets, I need to live by them now.

Fight the Greater Evil.

My sworn enemy vanished without a trace two decades ago. What exactly am I doing in Arnest picking fights with small-time mercenaries? I’d hoped to talk to the dragon at Thundertree, but this far west a dragon would simply eat a folaaskiir like me. I’m not in Escapar any more.

No Mercy for the Wicked.

These Redbrands are no saints. They’ve terrorised this town for months. Giving myself up to them won’t sate their bloodlust, and they’re not the sort to listen to diplomacy and reason. We have a chance to rid Fandolin of their tyranny.

By Any Means Necessary.

I balked at killing that old knight. Perhaps I’d have gotten closer to the mercenaries, gained some information. They might know of someone who would travel the hundreds of leagues to Escapar for a taste of dragon gold. One old man, for a chance of finding that munax kendov who killed my mother. And now my cowardice has put a town of innocents in danger.

Restitution.

I can’t leave this town to its fate. I have a heyv to its people now. If I never find my sworn enemy, I must fight the greater evil of greed and injustice. I may die before the morning light, but to do so in the struggle against iniquity is righteous.

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Session 3 – 11th Nov 2014
Saves and Salesmanship

Krom and Orgmore had been scouting the area surrounding the Bugbear’s cavern, and had found much evidence of goblin activity, and one unfortunate goblin who was quickly dispatched. They met back up with the rest of the group (except for Chaplain Cooper who, it appeared, had returned alone to St Cuthbert’s).

With the knight Ser Lia Fletcher in need of rest after her ordeal at the hands of the Bugbear, and with no other enemies apparent in the area the group returned to Hommlet with plans to return the next day to retrieve the remaining booty. On the way Ser Lia explained that she had been dispatched on a mission from Baron Mortimer to encourage the town of Fandolin to pay their overdue taxes, and to find out what had happened to the previous tax collector.

Back at The Welcome Wench, the group confirmed their on-going board and lodging requirements with Gundigook [lifestyle choices made, e.g. Poor = 2sp each day in town to cover room and board].

Rima visited the traveling Trader who sold the group healing kits and rented the cart and pony needed to retrieve the loot. Both prices and customer service left much to be desired. Nevertheless Krom stocked up on some equipment.

After a welcome night’s rest the party returned to the cavern. No problems encountered in retrieving the crates of weapons and salt beef marked with the blue lion shield insignia.

Rima and Brond visited the fortified tower near town, Rima singing a catchy jingle as they went, while Brond provided the military endorsement. The marketing was effective, with the robed figure Master Burn (who had previously been noticed in the Welcome Wench) following them back to town. Burn noticed the lion shield insignia on the crates and expressed interest that the Lionshield Coster trading company had opened a post in Hommlet. Brond replied that this was a temporary endeavour only. Burn also asked about the manager of the Lionshield Coster in Fandolin and his wife, with Brond quickly covering that she had recently died, cutting short further conversation. Master Burn resolved to visit soon to offer his condolences. In any case Burn paid full price 15gp each for the remaining crates of salt beef (a local farmer having taken one already) and an extra 5gp in Brond’s charge to be paid to the family of the (supposedly) deceased. None of the townsfolk seemed interested in the weapons, despite some half-hearted attempts by the party to point out the possible dangers from goblins, bandits etc. So after the most choice items were taken by the party (Krom taking Tuakiin’s Scimitar which he felt was a fine piece of work) the rest were sold to the local blacksmith for scrap for 12gp.

Kai accompanied Master Burn back to his tower and asked him about the arcane symbols he had noticed him drawing with this finger on the tables of the Welcome Wench. Burn was quite modest about his ability, but did point out that he now lived in his own tower, with around a dozen staff under his command. He explained he had fought for King Samuel in the rebellion, when Baron Wheeler had got ideas above his station. He suggested his associate Mr Spugmooir staying in the inn as another source of arcane knowledge, and agreed to meet Kai later for a sherry.

Meanwhile back at the inn Brond was providing the final comfort required by Ser Lia, apparently reaching the parts that two hot baths couldn’t… The next morning the newly bunked couple were reluctantly roused by the rest of the part to set off to Fandolin with a view to investigating the Redbrand mercenaries and also completing Ser Lia’s mission of tax collecting.

It took two days to get to Fandolin. The party passed a sign to Thundertree, a Dragon’s Lair that Tuakiin had previously visited but was unable to meet the owner. During that time on the road the party also passed the occasional farmhouse, the ruins of several hamlets, and got a glimpse of the imposing Barrier. Rima muttered to Kai that he shouldn’t go near it as bad things would happen if it was touched.

Nearing Fandolin the group was set upon by bandits. Krom in the rear-guard and wary Brond were the first to react, Krom killing one bandit but being pin-cushioned by two hits in return. Brond fatally shot a second bandit in the cock, as Krom dived into cover. Another bandit fell to Krom’s bow but the final bandit escaped before the others could engage.

Arriving in Fandolin in early evening the Orcs, Tuakiin and Kai explored the surrounding area noticing the Provisions Store, the Orchard, the Miners Exchange, various farms, the Townmaster’s Hall before visiting the Shrine of Luck. At the stone Shrine Sister Griela introduced herself and was able to confirm that the Redbrands mercenaries were indeed gathering in town, having started recruiting about 6 weeks ago, and now probably at least 30 strong. Sister Griela also asked the adventurers if they would be able to retrieve for her a Spellbook of Corendell which is guarded by an Elf Banshee in the ruined town of Congbury about one day’s travel to the north of Fandolin. A Banshee’s vanity but hatred of mirrors was discussed and at Kai’s suggestion the possibility of exchanging the spellbook for a suitably elegant comb was agreed as a possible solution. Kai and Krom went to the provisions store before closing time and were indeed able to buy such a comb.

Orgmore – not in the mood for shopping – instead entered the Townmaster’s Hall to inquire about the reward notice pinned outside. The man inside was able to confirm that there was indeed a reward for killing the kobolds in and around Wyvern Tor, a couple of hours out of town. Orgmore accepted the assignment, but somehow neglected to agree the monetary value of said rewards.

Brond, Rima and Lia were already installed in The Stonehill Inn and were quickly able to ascertain that the Redbrands have somewhat of a extortionate grip on the town, charging protection money and violently crushing any dissension, as exhibited by the killing of Themendra’s husband and the disappearance of Themendra herself and her child. It was speculated that they may well have also have disposed of Baron Mortimer’s tax collector. For the last few months small groups of Redbrands have been frequenting the other pub in town, The Sleeping Giant Taphouse.

…meanwhile in The Sleeping Giant Taphouse, Tuakiin who had entered the inn alone was talking to the mercenaries who he believed could be his future employers. The mercenaries explained that they worked for Glassstaff the Mage, and they were indeed hiring. Tuakiin explained that his objective was to become further skilled in the art of killing. The mercenaries explained a trial job: Jonah had not paid his protection money so Tuakiin was asked to pay Jonah a visit to practice his murdering skills as a message to the rest of the town. Tuakiin was not taken by this proposal and pointed out that this kind of behaviour was more becoming of thugs than mercenaries. This comment was not taken well and Tuakiin decided the best course of action was to belch out a roiling gout of flame at the gathered mercenaries before exiting stage window. Unfortunately he was not able to escape further as the mob of four set upon him outside the now burning inn.

Luckily this commotion did attract the attention of some of the party members who were returning to The Stonehill Inn, about 200 feet away from The Sleeping Giant Taphouse. Kai, Orgmore and Krom rushed over while Brond alerted Lia & Rima inside the pub. Rima provided long range fire while the others rushed in. Kai’s super speed allowed him to arrive first, his fire blast killing one, and drawing attention away from Tuakiin who by now was down and bleeding having been outnumbered and overwhelmed by the professional murderers. Kai’s unprecedented channeling of Ki allowed him to jump over the attackers and administering a healing draught to Tuakiin just as he was about to fade from land of the living, only the inspiration of his comrades preventing the thread from breaking. Brond, who had also closed to melee range, had no such Ki ability, nor desire to avoid the mercenaries, and attacked with usual panache. What was not usual was the quality of this enemies, each one a trained killer wielding a sword in each hand. Brond was felled by two huge hits, but not before two more mercenaries were killed. The final mercenary turned to run but was given a taste of Orc justice by Krom who was finally close enough to skewer the enemy with his spear, the now ex-mercenary sliding gorily to the floor. Brond was stabilized while Tuakiin, rejuvenated by the potion was able to enter the burning inn to save the landlord’s children trapped within, his dragonborn hide shrugging off the flames.

With no appetite to hang around in the aftermath and risk more Redbrands turning up, the party retreated, looking to hole-up somewhere defensible for at least a short rest, some healing music and possibly overnight.

[75xp each and a short rest, location to be decided next session]

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Crouching Dragon, Hidden Healer.

Suggested Listening:

Kai the boy stood on one leg, feeling the rough grain of the wooden pole beneath his bare foot. His left elbow rested on his left raised knee and edge of his left hand was presented like a knife into the breeze, slicing it around him, not allowing it to blow him off into the river below.

“San!” Master Wei shouted, signalling the third position.

Kai hopped up, flipping the position of raised arm and leg. landing now on his right he fought not to lose his centre, and his balance!

“Excellent boys!” Wei enthused “Your nerves, your muscles, your bones, they are in harmony to keep you balanced on the poles. Balance is the key to all things… even those times when one needs to stand on a beam that life has neglected to provide. As the Fair Ones taught us, at such a time one must ask the spirits of all things to provide. Leap, and ask the spirit of the air if you may stand upon it.”

To illustrate his point Wei sprang from the bank out over the river, he stepped 3 times as if dancing up an unseen stair, and landed nimbly on an unoccupied driven pile.

“The spirits are in all things, the earth, the air, the carp. All are in harmony, in balance, in this way we may ask the spirit of air to be briefly like the spirit of earth, and tread upon it….

Focus! Breeeeath… Ki flows up from ones core and out to ones body, focus your Ki to your feet, through our Ki we touch the spirits. Focus, and step onto the air." The Master urged.

The boy Kai breathed, he focused, and he stepped!

… onto nothing, he fell, flailing, into the icy rivers below. His thoughts focused on one sure thing: no one could train themselves to do the impossible.

Kai the boy who would be a man knew what he needed to do, he did not know if he could, only that he must. His strange friend lay dying, beaten by a mob, and his friends would not die on his watch, not while he still drew breath!

Before him stood 2 men easily twice his weight and 5" his height. They knew how this went, the smaller boy, weighing a buck-fifty might have had some magic tricks earlier (hence the robes), but he didn’t get out of sword range now, alive.

Kai breathed, and stepped upon the air.

Three steps took him over his attackers head, they stood too stunned to respond. He leaped then, off the air, thanking the spirit for its support, and soared like the Red Crane, falling to earth silently behind his reptilian friend like a cherry blossom on the wind.

His hand was already in the pack tied to his staff at his back, he uncorked the healing potion with a flick of his thumb and poured the elixir down the dragonborn’s throat, willing the spirit of life not to leave him.

*

Kai opened his eyes, his meditations on the events of a few hours ago – over. He focused a while on the soothing melodies of Rima’s song. The chill of the night and the harshness of his surroundings found their way back through his meditative detachment. He rose slowly, silently, making his way to what remained of a window. Tips of his fore and index fingers pressed together before him, the boy-who-would-be-man Kai prepared to take the next watch, and asked the spirits to be his eyes and ears.

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Session 2 - 3 Nov 2014
In which Jasmine turns out to be a deadly sharpshooter

With the Goblin ambush site neutralised, Chaplain Cooper muttered some obscure excuse and set off back down the road to Hommlet. The two orcs followed. The remaining adventurers were baffled by this, but concluded that their colleagues must have experienced some kind of religious crisis.

Captain Brond, Kai, Tuakiin, Jasmine and Rima remained, and briefly debated their next move. They quickly decided that their original mission – a reconnaissance in force of the goblin caves – remained viable despite their reduced numbers, and set off up the clearly visible trail through the woods that the goblins had evidently been in the habit of using.

Rima and Kai acted as forward scouts, while the rest of the party followed a few minutes behind. Kai’s scouting left a little to be desired when he set off a snare trap on the trail, with only his finely honed reflexes saving him from an undignified capture. Even so, the tree to which the snare was attached was now swinging back and forth, a clear alert to any observer, and at Brond’s cry of “Ambush positions!” the party scattered off the path and awaited company. All apart from Jasmine, who stood her ground on the pathway, preferring glamour to concealment.

It wasn’t long before two goblin scouts came to investigate. They immediately spotted Jasmine, but were baffled when she seemed to turn into a bush, thanks to the power of Rima’s bardic illusion. That was nothing, however, to their surprise at being swiftly cut down in a hail of missile fire.

With no goblins left alive to alert the main settlement, the party resumed its course, although Kai was now feeling a little more cautious and let Rima walk a few paces in front of him. His caution was vindicated when Rima stepped on a pit trap – brittle wooden boards set over a pit of spikes. Fortunately, Rima managed to gracefully leap to the other side of the pit to avoid being impaled, and the two scouts continued on their way. When the main party reached the pit they had no trouble skirting round it, though Jasmine’s comment that Brond had finally got his hole did not amuse the surly captain.

Reaching the end of the trail, the scouts discovered a stream emerging from a cave in a hillside, with a dense thicket to one side of the cave mouth. When the rest of the party joined them, it was time for a tactical assessment. The thicket was an obvious ambush point, and Brond favoured circling round the hill and climbing up to observe the rear of the thicket from an elevated position. Tuakiin preferred to hold off and rest for an hour to recover the fire breath he had deployed in the first encounter with the goblins, so Brond, Jasmine and Rima went hill walking while Tuakiin rested with Kai for company.

From the hilltop, the two goblins sitting in a clearing behind the thicket could plainly be seen. Engrossed in a game of knucklebones, they were oblivious to the adventurers above them right up until the two elven ladies shot them expertly in the head.

The guards having paid the ultimate price for their sloth, the party was now free to assemble by the cave mouth. In an effort to put off as long as possible the lighting of torches, which would surely betray the party’s presence, Jasmine and Rima scouted into the cave with the help of their elvish sight. A path ran along one side of the stream, and vicious snarling could be heard from a chamber to the right.

This turned out to contain three angry wolves, chained to stalagmites. Jasmine pacified them with some meat from her pack, and Rima used her bardic powers to talk to the creatures. Despite their foul tongues and limited worldview, they were able to provide valuable intelligence on the layout of the caves. Apparently a corridor off to the left led to a sleeping chamber, while the main path led to the abode of some large and fearsome individual, whose habit of throwing all his waste and filth down a fissure that led into the wolves’ chamber was a cause of particular grievance. In return for their freedom, the wolves agreed to help the party in a single battle with the goblins.

The sleeping chamber was the first target, if only to prevent any goblins therein from emerging behind the party and cutting off their escape. Brond, Kai and Tuakiin advanced up the corridor to the left, while Rima and Jasmine remained at the junction with the main path as a rearguard, assisted by the wolves. They noticed a wooden bridge suspended above the stream, connecting two corridors on an upper level – evidently this cave system was more complex than it at first appeared.

The sleeping chamber was lit by a cooking fire, attended by three hungry goblins and a nervous-looking woman in knightly armour, tied up beside the pot. Tuakiin charged in, bellowing fiercely, and Brond followed suit. Brond’s first rapier thrust quickly dispatched one goblin, but then things began to go pear-shaped. The second goblin survived impalement by Brond, pulling himself off the rapier and responding with a devastating sword blow that knocked Brond back to be felled by a thrust from the third goblin’s sword.

Tuakiin fared little better. He cut down the wounded goblin, but the other avoided his slashing blows – and arrows suddenly rained down from above.
Whether it was the glare from the fire or the precipitateness of their charge, neither warrior had seen the goblins in the upper section of the cave. Tuakiin fell under the hail of arrows, and both he and Brond would surely have died had not Kai shown his courage in rushing to their aid. Fortunately the young monk had had the foresight to bring a medicine bag, and was quickly able to staunch the bleeding, cutting arrows out of the air with bare-handed defensive strikes.

Still, the situation was desperate – but help was at hand. Hearing the sounds of battle, Jasmine came down the corridor, and from the mouth of the chamber began coolly dispatching goblins with her crossbow. Rima indicated to the wolves that now was their time, and they bounded into the sleeping chamber with the scent of goblin blood in their nostrils. Kai attempted to provide support with his mystical powers, but his bolts of fire proved more spectacular than accurate.

The goblin leader grabbed the trussed-up knight and snarled something that nobody quite caught. Before he was able to clarify his position, Jasmine had sent a crossbow bolt directly between his eyes, and his words were lost forever. The wolves made short work of the remaining goblins before leaving to seek their fortunes in the world beyond the caves, pausing only for a farewell nod to Rima.

After some magical healing – Rima reviving Tuakiin, Tuakiin in turn laying hands on Brond who sprang up crying “Where are they?” – the party retreated to the wolves’ chamber for a short rest. Their peace was short-lived, however, as a goblin scout came up the path by the stream towards their position. His armour defeated Rima’s attempt to silence him with her knife, and although Jasmine did eventually manage to chase him down and shoot him in the back, it was clear that the party would have to suit up and press on quickly, and Brond’s sandwich would have to remain half-eaten.

Climbing up onto the bridge, Rima found a goblin guard who had apparently slept through all of the previous commotion. With an efficient knife-blow she ensured he would never wake again, and as his blood trickled down into the stream she went off to investigate the upper corridor, with Kai and Jasmine following behind.

What she saw around the corridor appalled her. Two goblins busily knocking away the supports to a dam that held back a great reserve of water. Clearly they intended to flood the lower cave, drowning the attackers. With a cry of “Get the fuck onto the bridge!”,she drew her bow and dropped one of the goblins in mid-hammer.

While Brond, Tuakiin and the rescued knight clambered up to the bridge, Kai sent a firebolt whizzing ineffectually past the remaining goblin’s head. Fortunately, Jasmine’s crossbow proved more accurate, and the goblin fell dead before the dam could be breached.

The party now approached the inner chamber. Within, they could see stacks of crates and other goods, presumably the proceeds of the goblins’ highway robbery. Amongst these were two goblins, a ferocious-looking wolf and a great, hairy goblin-like creature taller than any man – a bugbear!

The party ducked back down the corridor and prepared to fight. Before battle commenced, Brond called out: “Goblins! We only want the big guy. If you fuck off now you won’t be harmed.”

There were angry shouts and sounds of a scuffle, and when the party looked into the chamber again they saw the bugbear with his back to them, shouting curses down the waste fissure through which the goblins had evidently made their getaway.

A man of honour might have difficulty shooting a foe in the back. Brond had no hesitation. He put a crossbow bolt square between the bugbear’s shoulder blades – but to his consternation, this only seemed to make him angry. The rest of the party joined the attack. Kai launched a fire bolt as part of a complex spinning manoeuvre, and this time to his delight it hit true, but the bugbear still advanced. Jasmine had the presence of mind to shoot the wolf dead before it could join the fight, sending a crossbow bolt directly between its eyes.

The bugbear engaged the adventurers in a wild and vicious melee. Whether out of rage at the loss of his pet, or because of some animus towards fey half-elven ladies, the bugbear chose Jasmine as his first target, slashing her brutally and dropping her to the ground, moments from death. But this was to be his last victim, as Rima’s arrow struck his throat and he fell down into darkness.

Though Jasmine’s wounds were grievous, she would live to fight another day. Exploring the chamber, the party found a treasure chest with some hundreds of copper and silver coins, two sparkling potions of healing and a valuable-looking jade frog. The crates mainly contained salted meat and a variety of weapons: Tuakiin and Rima helped themselves to new swords, while Brond showed himself to be a veteran soldier by taking the opportunity to resume his rudely-interrupted lunch.

Carrying the wounded Jasmine, the adventurers made their way back to Hommlet to rest and recuperate. Along the way, they agreed to help their rescued knight on her journey north, and Rima composed songs on their recent adventure, Jasmine’s fearsome shooting prowess and the ghastliness of goblins in general.

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Atop a lonely hill

Kai sat and tried to clear his mind…. A scroll lay open at his feet, an ornate tube of others at his side. The ‘Be-yar’ he had shared with his friends over dinner (mostly at Brond’s insistence) was not as potent as the rice-wine he and the other novices had occasionally stolen sips of, but there was more of it. After a ‘pi-ant’ he feared it might push his evening practice into Drunken-Monk style, which would not be ideal. For practice and mediation he surely needed.

So he had bid his new friends a good night (although he promised to join them in the inn to rest together in numbers), and at sun down sat in lotus position and meditated on a small rocky outcrop away from the town centre. He could see the… crutch… no the church from here, it didn’t look like any place he had seen that gave reverence to the greater and lesser spirits.

Kai couldn’t find his centre… his heart wasn’t at peace. Sure, when he had needed it most the powers his Faewyld birth had granted him had come true and he had struck a defiant blow, but too often he had lashed out with his arcane power and achieved nothing. He meditated on the teachings of Masters Quan and Tou…

“Just because you have access to gifts few other novices possess, does not mean you must always rely on them. The Fae are strange and beautiful but hold to much of their powers at your centre and where will you fit yourself?”

He could see now. He had sought to impress his new friends with the “interesting” things he could do, instead of just what he was. In his year wandering, he had used them as the cheap and easy way out.

Kai jumped up and began his Katas, Staccato hard-form drills that melted away into soft-form flowing movements, he danced with staff, and sword, and discarded both to simply feel the joy of the absolute focus of mind and motion. Slowly… very slowly, he let his keen mind abandon the arcane forces he’d been clinging to all day, finally, he felt an unblocking, an awakening in his Chakras, as his Hun and Po (his higher and lower souls) came into alignment. Kai was caught up in the whirling patterns of Wind Falling Crane Stance and it came as quite the surprise when he felt the surge of pure Ki energy inside him! It burned along each limb as they swept out in sympathetic strike and counter, it pooled within his chest, not the electric sizzle of the arcane arts, but a warm – life giving energy. Firebending_Scroll_by_Jeffrey_Scott_1_.jpg

For a moment Kai dropped into the hard-form horse-stance of Manakan Karate, but that didn’t feel natural now. The Kiai-jutsu shout that he needed to channel his arcane attacks didn’t come. Instead he switched to Shunryu-Kempo – ‘the way of the spring dragon’, and eyes closed, letting his own energies have a chance.

On a lonely hilltop, as dusk turned to night, a young man lit up the darkness turning arcs of glorious golden fire from whirling hands and feet.
Tomorrow he would feel a little older, a little wiser. For now he revelled in the powerful harmonies of mind, body, and spirits.

(mechanically – Kai now gains access to lvl2 Ki powers)

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Session 1 - 28th Oct 2014
Adventurers assemble!

DM: Piers
Iain: Captain Brond
Chris: Kai
Jojo: Jasmine
Binky: Rima
Andy: Chaplain Jacob Cooper
Tom: Krom
Nick: Orgmore
Matt: Tuakiin

Firstly we finished rolling characters, some of us rolling a little more than others:2014-10-28_20.34.38.jpg
The scene: Autumn in the village of Hommlet, in the country of Arnest.

Approaching from the south Brond and Kai met on the road, with the hard-bitten ex soldier quickly introducing the young traveller to the delights of beer (2sp) at The Welcome Wench.
Already there is resident bard Rima, resident dozer Chaplain Jacob and resident bar prop Jasmine the half-elf. Brond’s best chat up line of “You working?” was less than successful on the latter.

Meanwhile from the north Krom stopped at the first farm, desperate to offload his 9 goats, but at a good price. To his surprise the yeoman – seemingly an old campaigner – took him up on the offer of fighting to determine the price, if only wrestling his arm rather than his full body. Krom was happy with his 12gp, but needs more gold in order to return to his clan in the cold northern steppe with the supplies necessary for the winter. The farmer’s offer of employment as a farmhand was not what Krom had in mind. The mention of grey-rot probably did not help.

Orgmore the orc barbarian and Tuakiin the golden skinned dragonborn arrived and talked with Krom – it seems there may be gainful, if unpalatable, work with the Redbrands mercenary band 2 days travel to the north near the village of Fandolin. In any case the decision was made to seek a possible alternative at the inn.

Alice the barmaid explained that the Cragmore tribe of goblins to the north and east have been preying on travellers, specifically her friend Elsie who never returned from visiting family in Fandolin. Once he learned of the desire for employment Gundigook the barman explained that Chaplain Jacob might be able to provide a reward from the coffers of St Cuthbert’s for ridding the town of this scourge, a fact he corroborated (once roused!), in broken Orcish.

With the promise of future gainful employment lifting spirits, Gundigook made a tidy profit, as did Rima the bard. With that, to bed – or stable in the case of Tuakiin.
Unfortunately for him Brond did not manage to secure “his hole” for the night, settling for a private room. His night terrors were enough to rouse Rima but not secure the nocturnal comfort he was after.
Chaplain Jacob did make it back to St Cuthbert’s with a less than warm welcome from his long suffering Canon Turgon.
Kai found sanctuary at the druidic temple, and was rather surprised that only one hour of ritual sweeping was required before bed.

Day 2
Early risers Tuakiin and Kai took a dawn stroll to the heavily armed stone tower, much impressed with the large ballistae but not with the less than warm welcome from the guard they retreated to the inn.

Chaplain Jacob woke upon the kitchen table, the Canon having cleared a neat path around him. In the attic he donned his unfashionable but perfectly serviceable plate armour and headed out to the inn – after all, he couldn’t just give away church funds without verifying a job done.

The whole group soon headed north and Kai was able to stealthily identify the 4 goblins. A simple but extremely effective pincer move was executed (as were the goblins) with Fireteam 1 (the ranged fighters) on one horn and the Fireteam 2 (melee fighters) on the other.
No one sustained damage, in fact the goblins could do nothing but fall over themselves as attacks rained down on them. Notable moments were fire attacks from Kai and Tuakiin, a huge crit from Orgmore creating goblin tartar, and Chaplain Cooper invoking lightning death from above.

Krom used his ranger skills in a “CSI Goblin” stylee to discover this was a favoured ambush site of the goblins with at least a dozen separate tracks. Nothing of use was found on the goblins.
After much debating on maintaining the purity of the local wood, the goblins own weapons were used to stake their severed heads, sending a clear message to their compatriots that the adventurers were reclaiming this land for Hommlet, for security, and for the safe passage of girls visiting their family.

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