Keep on the Borderlands

2. Fountain Square

9/29/10: This week we had the return of Zach, Burrby, Ryan & Popow, and the debuts of Jon & George T. The "c" button on my laptop seems to be going, so if there's a weird word in here somewhere, it's because it's missing a "c".

RPGA Sanctioning #:    10-06-2324432

Elisor - Human Knight
Hirbe - Eladrin Mage
Merric - Halfling Theif
Quinn - Human Knight
Tornam - Dwarf Warpriest
Varian - Eladrin Mage

The adventurers had rescued Benwick's spy, but he was very ill. He could barely walk on his own. His name was Gordi, and he had pale skin and a black beard. Gordi began to babble incoherently, and dry heave.

The heroes tried to heal his illness. Varian found a leaf with medicinal properties. Varian shoved it in his mouth and made him eat it. Hirbe wrapped his sleeping bag around him. after a few minutes, Gordi looked quite a bit better. He asked for a cloak to hide his appearance, as the guards of the keep might not let a sick man in, for fear of the spread of illness.

The heroes arrived at the main gate of the keep. A guard accompanied by a man holding a big book and a symbol of Zev (god of night). The guard called down: "Well well, look who we got here... Those adventurers are back. You want to be let in, is that the story?"

Elisor shot back, "No. We want to stand out here in the cold for a long time."

The guard said "Your sarcasm will do you no favors!".

Varian didn't like the way things were going. He decided to try to win over the man with the book with his knowledge of Zev. He knew that most clerics of Zev had imps. He called out "Nice imp!". The man with the book looked around. He had no imp. He smiled, thinking Varian had made a joke.

The guard told the heroes that if any respectable citizen was harmed in a fight at The Stumbling Giant, that the attacker would be jailed for a very long time.  Thievery would also be dealt with harshly. He spoke of an old rule, that all visitors would have to hand over all weapons except knives upon entering the keep. He warned that the old rule could be re-instated if there was further trouble.

Hirbe tried to smooth things over. The guard said all he'd need is their names, and they'd be let in. The heroes did so, though Hirbe gave them a fake name - Jonathan. The drawbridge was lowered, and the heroes brought Gordi to Benwick's place. Benwick was overjoyed, and took some time to treat him. Benwick told the heroes he'd meet them at The Stumbling Giant in a bit. He said he'd buy them dinner and pay for their rooms at the inn.

The heroes walked in and Mother Aran, the woman behind the bar, alled the heroes over. She told them she hired someone to watch out for thieves - a huge, muscled half-orc. The half-orc was leaning against the bar, talking to Mandy the waitress. His name was Nokar.

Nokar looked at the heroes and said "I hope I don't have to mash any skulls into the bar today. Mandy's already overworked, and this pretty lady doesn't need any more work." She giggled, then spotted Varian. She excused herself and ran into the kitchen. 

Also in the bar was a dark-haired woman wearing a symbol of Zev. An imp hovered near her. An acolyte sat with her. The old man who'd given the heroes the stink eye was still there. And three adventurers were at a table, dealing with a sack.

The heroes sat at a table. Mandy came out with drinks. All the mugs were filthy, except for a crystal goblet of wine for Varian. She asked the eladrin "Do you remember me?"

"Of course!", he said.

Hirbe tried to help out his pal. He said "You're all Varian talked about on our entire trip." She blushed and laughed. Nokar took notice.

"Hay Mandy, come over here, I got a story to tell you." She headed over to the half-orc. She was wearing very strong perfume. He began flexing his huge muscles.

Varian got up and walked over to Nokar. He wanted to intimidate the half-orc. He said "That's my lady." Elisor nodded behind him (assisting the intimidate roll). 

Nokar said, "That's funny, I don't see your name on her anywhere."

Varian pulled out a quill, dipped it in ink. He wrote his name on her arm. She giggled.

Nokar said "This lady needs a strong man in her life. Why don't we arm wrestle?"

Varian's hands crackled with lightning. He was about to attack! Nokar reared back and punched Varian in the face (for 12 points & dazed!). Blood streamed down the mage's face. Quinn stepped between them. (At this point we rolled to see who's side Mandy was on. Varian rolled a 2) Mandy said to Varian, "Maybe you should just stop. Look at how strong he is! One punch..."

Hirbe tried to drag his friend out of the tavern, but Varian resisted. Varian fired off an arc of lightning that missed Nokar and hit the tavern wall, scorching it. Elisor dragged him to the door, and apologized. Mandy tried to calm Nokar down. 

The heroes sat down at the table. Hirbe sat down with the old man. He ordered them both a drink. The old man said "What's your game, stranger?". Hirbe told him he only wanted to apologize. Hirbe's friendly demeanor won him over a bit. 

Calmed down, Varian came back into the bar. He had promised Elisor he'd be a "big boy". as he walked in, he jokingly made like he was going to cast a spell.

He sat down with the heroes. The imp flew over to their table. "Ah! Newcomers!", he said. "I assume you all worship Zev, the god of night..."

"Sure!" said the heroes. Lying.

"I'm sure you've heard that Lord Drysdale, ruler of this keep, worships Clarissa. He's trying to convert everybody."

Merric patronized the imp, commenting on how horrible that was.

Varian told the imp "I only worship Fra." (Fra is a goddess of lust, whose followers are mostly women who heal you in a most intimate fashion). 

The imp was disgusted. "Oh.. you're one of those.. That's wonderful for you. Quite a good showing you made just now, by the way. " The imp cackled and looked at the other heroes. "Right everyone? What a loser!". Some of the heroes laughed. "Anyway, you might want to stop by the church of Zev sometime. In case Lord Drysdale decides to start taxing non-believers".

Merric continued to patronize the imp. "That would be stupid", he said.

"It is stupid!" the imp concurred.  He pointed at Varian. "Quite like him! One punch, am I right?" he laughed. Elisor declared that he liked this imp. The imp decided to leave the heroes to their meal.

As the imp began to fly away, Varian called out "Tax this!"

The imp said "I don't even know what that means. I'd better fly away now. I don't want him to fight me.." The imp then feigned fear of Varian's fighting skills. "I'd have to punch him once and watch him fall over." The heroes laughed. "My name's NightKeeper, find me at the church of Zev anytime."

The heroes sat and drank, waiting for Benwick to arrive. Merric noticed in the rafters a tiny samurai woman. He watched her as she stared at Varian, shouting in her pipsqueak voice. She pointed her sword at the samurai helmet on Varian's necklace.

She used twine to climb to the floor, then raced over to Varian. She climbed up his pant leg and charged across his thigh. Varian could feel her tiny footsteps and instinctively swatted like he would a bug. She soared through the air toward a nearby table edge. Hirbe quickly cast prestidigitation to grab hold of her before she was injured.

He floated her over to the table he was sitting at, with the old man. The old man said "How much do you want for that? Five gold? Ten gold?". Hirbe told him he'd consider the offer later. Hirbe made sure he tucked his necklace into his shirt, which had the male samurai's sword hanging from it. 

Hirbe talked with the woman. She claimed that Varian had killed her husband, as he was wearing his helmet on his necklace. Hirbe explained what had really happened - her husband had been killed by a stray cat. She believed him. She vowed to kill the cat. Hirbe offered to help. They left the tavern to look for it, but couldn't find it. Hirbe saw Benwick heading to the tavern. He kept her in his backpack, secretly planning on keeping her. 

Hirbe rejoined his allies in the tavern. Benwick sat with them. He paid for their food, and then told them of new developments: "I have secured the aid of a spyamong Ronnik's guards. Her name is Sal. She's a human with blonde hair and gray eyes. She'll help us in what's to come." He then bade them farewell, and left. 

Elisor noticed a halfling near the doorway watching the heroes intently.  Elisor got up and made like he was walking to the bar. He walked by the suspicious halfling and looked him over. The knight counted at least six semi-concealed daggers on the halfling. As he walked past, the halfling's eyes grew wide. He suspected that he'd been noticed. He ran out of the tavern. 

Varian shot a final look at Mandy. She seemed very interested in Nokar.

The heroes chased the halfling to Fountain Square, where an ambush was waiting!"They're onto us! Get 'em!" shouted the halfling.Four bandits with maces advanced, along with five goons holding clubs. 

Elisor knocked one bandit back with his hammer. Merric joined the knight, and plunged his blade into the bandit's gut, bloodying him. The bandits surged forward. Tornam and Elisor were each given a dazing blow from a mae. The halfling flung a dagger at Elisor that just missed. Quinn killed a goon with a single swipe, and glared at the halfling.

Varian called forth beguiling strands that tossed and killed three of the goons. Elisor charged through the rain and bloodied a bandit with a mighty blow (a critical). Bandits pummelled Elisor and Merric with their maces. 

Tornam killed a goon as Elisor sent a bandit rashing to the ground. Merric the halfling leapt into the air and buried his dagger into the forehead of a bandit, killing him. Hirbe cast a beguiling strands spell, sending thevillainous halfling into the fountain. The halfling fell into the water as Quinn losed in on him. The halfling raised a dagger to defend himself, but Quinn slashed into his chest and sent him falling into the water again. The halfling tried to scamper away, but Quinn cut him in the leg. Blood seeped from the wound.  Varian hit the statue in the fountain with lightning, breaking off a piece that nearly hit the halfling. He surrendered.

Elisor rushed a goon's skull into the wall, killing him. Hirbe cast a phantasmal squirt, calling forth a phantasmal image of the tiny samurai. The tiny samurai flew over to a bandit and plunged his katana into the man's chest again and again, killing him. 

A bandit had his back against a wall, the heroes looking to cut him down. The bandit cracked Elisor in the head (a critical).  Tornam gave the bandit a crushing blow (a critical), bloodying him.

Merric, the halfling thief, losed in on the bandit. He took aim, and stabbed the bandit right in the groin with suh force, that it slowly killed him. The bandit looked down and shrieked "WHYYY?!".

Merric said, "That's all I an reach." The bandit slumped to the ground, ball-less and deceased.

From the alley came a female halfling - Sal, Benwick's spy. She apologized for not helping, but she didn't want to blow her cover. Varian looked her over, and he liked what he saw. She said that she saw Ronnik enter his bank a few hours ago and had not seen him leave. She suggested that the heroes wait until dark, and then sneak into the place to see what they could find.

The heroes sat down and bandaged their wounds...