Sunday, September 14, 2008

Played, Friday 25th November,

Well after nearly a month in the great city of Tashal the party were in the last couple of days finalising their business and gathering supplies for the coming journey back to Chybisa. The party were approached by a man calling himself "Thurl" (he would not give any more info regarding his identity).

The meeting was originally initiated in the busy Kald Square, but as this was not suitable to the party they agreed to meet again at the "Red Fox Tavern" an hour later. The meeting was held and the mysterious man called Thurl outlined a bold plan involving the party to destroy a suspected sect of the Evil Agrikian Church. Thurl (including 2 silent bodyguards nearby), explained the situation to the party as follows...

The Evil Church of Agrik (church of War, Bloodletting and Chaos) have over the last few years began to send soldiers of their fighting order, "The Companions of Roving Doom" to Kaldor and are trying to establish a following through out the realm. We are a secret sect of the Church of Larani, (Lady of Paladins) sent to hunt them down and eradicate them from Kaldor, but we need your help doing this...

These evil men are lead by an Agrikian Knight about a company in number. (about 20). They spread out all over this region of the kingdom and meet on their holy days in an abandoned castle ruins about 5-6 leagues to the East of Tashal in the wilderness of Semethshire...These men are recruiting from within the kingdom and have been successful thus far with some Kaldorians joining their ranks.

As I said, we are a secret sect and cannot offer you any reward or position other than recognition for yourselves if we are successful. Xavier, as you are a Knight Errant of the Holy Fighting Order of the Lady of Paladins, if you were to bring to the Temple a shield showing the emblem of the Agrikian church that belonged to one of their own Knights that you have despatched, think of the honour and glory this may bring you and your followers...

The party, unsure what to make of all this probed Thurl of more information but not a lot was forth coming. The party still not sure what to make of all this asked to meet again the very next day in the Red Fox Tavern. The meeting was held, Thurl arrived with his 2 bodyguards and talks began again. Thurl told of a story that about 6 weeks ago a group of Peoni Clerics returning to the Temple with Offerings from the brethren were attacked and murdered in a ritualistic killing where their throats and wrists were cut and the money gone. Thurl went on to explain that this is what the Agrikian’s do in order to for fill the blood lust of their god as an offering to him by spilling the blood from their enemies onto the ground sanctifying the area and themselves in the eyes of Agrik.

It was plainly obvious that the party were very intrigued by this story and of its possible ramifications if true, but yet they were still not totally convinced... Xavier then asked Thurl to prove his adherence to Larani by finishing a passage from a Larani scripture that Xavier began to recite. Thurl finished the scripture satisfactory with only one or two words out of place.

The meeting almost ended when others in the party tried to push Thurl to be more forthcoming about his identity, truthfulness and faith. Thurl became insulted and the meeting nearly ended there, as he gave his word in honour of Larani that what he was telling them was true. The meeting went on after apologies and it was agreed the both groups would unite and attack the Agrikian’s at the ruins. Thurl told the party that in 4 days time the Agrikian’s hold a holy day called, "The Feast of Balefire" it was proposed to attack them at midnight on this day after their celebration had finished as the Agrikian’s would be either intoxicated or asleep.

The meeting then finished there with a promise from both sides to meet at midnight in four days not far from the ruins....

Now once the party went back to their own Inn, the talk and discussion continued. Most of the party by now were not sure of the truth Thurl was telling them. Xavier was dubious and conspiracy theories began to fly around the group. In the end this proved too suspicious for Xavier and so he went to speak to the Larani Knight Commander on the subject and got some interesting information...

Xavier asked the Knight if it were true about the murders of the Peonic Clerics 6 weeks ago...the answer was yes and that he did believe it was the work of Agrikian worshippers and that the way they were killed was in line with their ritualistic killings but for one thing. He said that the way they were killed seemed very sloppy for Agrikian’s, they tend to be accurate in their work but this was done very roughly and amateurish.

The party then again discussed this in length until the Ranger (Alan) figured something out. It was said earlier that the Agrikian’s were recruiting in Kaldor, maybe as an initiation to become an Acolyte of Agrik you have to kill an enemy of their church ritualistically...so maybe the new recruits did this in order to be accepted by the Agrikian Knight of the sect ? (I as GM then allowed Alan to roll a D10x50exp. he rolled 10 and received 1000exp for his correct assumption).

The very next day the party came up with an idea, three of them would leave Tashal by the three gates and wander out into the wilderness to see if they would be followed. The party was sure by now they were being watched constantly. Ordieth the Dwarf Warrior left by the North East gate and walked to the small nearby village but nothing happened that he could see. The Ranger left by the South gate and walked around Tashal to the bridge over the Kald river, crossed it and went out along the Salt Route all day and late into the night, seeing the castle ruins talked about by Thurl. He stayed there hoping that he would see some activity of the Agrikian’s there but alas, all was quiet.

However, Votta the Dwarf Lord's Son had a different experience. He left by the North West gate right next to the bridge over the Kald river. He crossed it and instead of travelling along the Salt Route turned off along a small trail along the river going north. Before long he was ambushed by two men wielding large pole arms, Halberd and a War Hammer. They charged out of the trees to his left and trapped Votta with the river at his back. The fight was quick but deadly, Votta despatched one of the men while the other, wounded fled into the woods.

Votta also slightly wounded and wearing heavy armour could not keep up with him. Instead tracked him using a special inborn skill he had. Votta has a keen sense of smell, like that of a wolf. He tracked the man by scent for nearly an hour only to find the man had doubled back and re-entered Tashal. The other dead mans corpse was then thrown into the river and Votta returned to the Inn to inform the party what had happened.

Now armed with the knowledge that this was probably the handy work of the Agrikian’s maybe the story told by Thurl was actually true? The party all got into another discussion and theories again began to form...

Maybe Thurl is part of the Agrikian Sect and is trying to lure the party out of Tashal to the ruins to kill them because Xavier is actually a Larani Knight and a prime target for Agrikian worshippers...if successful Thurl may gain honour and station amongst his peers in that church ?

Maybe Thurl was sent by someone high up in the Kaldorian government to kill the party because they may further the strength of Chybisa in Oselmarch. If Chybisa allows the party to build a fief in Lower Osel this would make things harder for the Baron of Kobing to enforce Kaldoric Law and Order in that contended region if they were to set up successfully...?

Maybe Thurl is actually a leader of a Brigand group or the Underground of Tashal that found out the party has lots of money. (It is and has been obvious all month that the party has a lot of money; many businesses have dealt with the party over this time with quite large transactions taking place) Thurl maybe trying to get the party out of Tashal and into the wild in order to ambush them murder them all and take their treasure and items...?

Then another possibility surfaced, Aedon the Cleric remembered more than 3 years ago (also 3 years real-time) when the party was last in Kaldor. The only members of the current group in that party back then was himself and Xavier, they had other goals and a totally different position in those days. They had brushed with Agrikian Knights on that occasion. The party tracked down a group of them set up in another region of Kaldor set up in a Country Manor and Temple hidden deep in the countryside. The Knights of Agrik were killed in the skirmish but it was known some survived and dispersed into the region. Could this be the same ones now plotting revenge on Xavier, Aedon and whoever is with them now?

Or maybe, just maybe he is actually telling the truth and do need the parties help to take out a possible Agrikian threat to Kaldor...?

To be continued.....

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