Players Involved: Andrew (Popon), James (Manon Sèverin), Mark D (Rufio Bateu), Mark R (Cedric Dickory), Dan (Jace Korsus) and Jordy (Alexey Garilov)
It had been a little over ten days since Cedric had set off from Llael, leaving the rest of the Broken Thorn Mercenary Company the the hands of Arnoi, a young Steelhead captain. two days ago he’s met up with the rest of the advance party at their current home, Olegs Trading Post. And now he was currently standing outside of a huge tree in the middle of the Greenbelt, whilst his illustrious companions cleared out what they had discovered to be a gobber lair. The whole incident started innocently enough – They found a crack in the enormous redwoods base and inside discovered some chambers dug out from the earth. One of the little blighters had popped out from behind what could only be described as a dung heap, and the foreign fellow, the one called Popon, took it upon himself to attack the gobber and remove him from the mortal coil. Once that course of action had been taken, the rest of the primitive tribe had took up arms against them and the rest was history. He had protested the whole incident as a cultural misunderstanding – It was obvious that Popon had no idea that gobbers were treated with a mediocre of respect in the civilized world, and was probably acting on instinct. Still, Cedric saw no reason he should get involved in the senseless violence; he was a junior member of the Golden Crucible, not some brutish thug for hire.
He turned the page of his journal as Jace Korvus made his way out of the hollow, brushing himself down.
“Before you ask Ced, no they’re not done. They’re going to double back down the left hand passage and make sure none of them are hiding there.”
“And you’re not with them because…?”
“Because there’s no money in it. It’s obviously just a primitive tribe, if they have more than a hundred crowns of gear between them I’ll be shocked. No, definitely no reason to be underground senselessly killing the locals if there’s not a profit to be made.”
Cedric nodded. He wasn’t at all surprising to find Jace out here. He’d known him for over a year now, and he wasn’t as heartless as he made out. He was however exactly as profit-driven as he made out.
“Surely this is miles away from where you wanted to be anyway Ced. You’re one for the lay-lines and all that mystical mumbo right?”
“Less mystical and more science Jace. We proved Cyriss existed long ago, but only now can we even begin to figure out the impact her celestial machinations have on our world.”
“I’d be careful who you hear saying that fella” Jace nodded with a smile. He was of course referring to the incident that resulted in Cedrics expulsion from the Fraternal Order of Wizardry a few years ago, when he vehemently argued the point that the Cyrissians temple was not “just a building” but a specifically chosen location that would allow complex patterns in the world to be exploited. He had no solid evidence of this except for his own divination’s and half-drawn theories, and so had been kicked out of the organisation. The only good thing about the whole affair was that the secrecy that surrounds the Brotherhood meant the Crucible had no idea of his former membership or his removal. Since then, he’d been careful to keep more of himself to himself around his peers.
The sound of battle rose up from the hole in the tree, and Jace gripped his blade.
“Something big is down there, you can see by the way the earth shakes on the edges of the roots there.”
“Go, they might need you. I’ll be right here.” smiled Cedric. Jace nodded, and rushed back into the hollow. It was a few small moments after he’d gone that Cedric caught sight of similar movements on the hillock ahead of him. Something big according to Jace.
“Hold on chap, you never know what the future holds. I mean, not always.”
“In the name of the Creator I declare you abomination!”
The Paladins voice rang out over the battle that had erupted once the party had finally left the tree. A giant centipede, the biggest Cedric had ever seen, lay dead and they assumed that was the end of that. They were wrong, of course.
“Didn’t see this one coming, eh Cedric?” shouted Rufio over the din of the fight. In truth, Cedric didn’t want to correct his ally – He had very much seen the possible outcome of their excursion, although not to this extent. He suspected the hands of fate moved him outside in order to conserve his energy for the battle rather then expend it killing the weak inside the tree. Here, he could do the most good. Holding his hand before him and attuning himself into the force that binds all life, he carefully manipulated the minds of a couple of gobbers rushing towards him, short but sharp blades in their hands. Immediately their eyes glazed over and the dropped to the ground, asleep. It wasn’t much, but at least they’d survive this day. There were only a dozen or so, and their chief, riding on the back of a great spider-like creature, was currently engaged in combat with Popon and their newest ally, a Paladin of the Order of the Wall, named Alexey. He’d been the spiritual leader of the refugees that had made their way to the Greenbelt from the Llaelese-Khadorian border, although Alexey was certainly more Khadorian than Llaelese. He was however and exceptional leader of men, and guided the battle with expert precision.
“Face me abomination and know your doom! The spawn of the Devourer will not triumph this day, for the Creator guides my hand!”
His blade crashed against the chitin hide of the creature, which squealed in pain and turned quickly to face him. The chief barely held on, but managed to jab his own sharp spear towards Popon, who was being slowed by a couple of gobbers striking at him relentlessly. The huge bugs mandibles snapped forward, the venom dripping from its mouth, but Alexey deftly turned the attack away and crashed headlong into the beast, shunting it backwards. It looked briefly startled, if a bug could look startled, Cedric found himself thinking. It was only for a moment however, before Popon took the opportunity to strike true, his own polearm impaling the creature in the side. It screamed in pain briefly before Alexey separated its head from its body. The cheif lasted scant few seconds more without his mount, and quickly died under the attack of both Menites. Popon had been delighted by the arrival of the Paladin as apparently his people had some idea of the Old Faith, although Cedric assumed it to be a largely bastardized version of it seeing as Popon was raised by an abhuman race known as the Efaarit. Still, they worked well in tandem and the Paladin insisted he would accompany the company on its mission in order to protect the faithful. Cedric looked down at the sleeping gobbers, and quickly decided that their deaths weren’t needed this day. He beckoned to Rufio.
“Rufio old bean, help me move these fellows into the tree. Don;t ask why, but I believe this to help us in the future.”
Rufio, who had also absconded from most the violence, agreed and came to give him a hand. No point in telling him that he’d seen no such thing, thought Cedric. If it saved a couple of lives, the lie was worth it. And who knows, he could even be right.