Daniel here. I’ll make this brief, as I have a lot of catching up to do.
Nobles. They seem so content to simply sit in their homes, as if that is the end of their travels. You will not find many nobles in the church of Fharlanghn, as the road is often too harsh for them. They know nothing of adventure and the eternal pilgrimage. But I suppose that leaves the road clearer for those that want to take up the trip.
I apologize. My mind was wandering. After our harrowing experience with Edarraswen in Iredell, we thought it best to perhaps volunteer ourselves for a job outside of the Exodus for a bit. So, we were assigned to scout a nearby offshoot of the Great River, to see if there were any settlements worth stopping in. Of course, they’re likely twiddling their thumbs now, wondering why we’ve yet to return, as we’ve been gone a solid week. We found many things of interest down this way, to be sure, but of what use they would be to the Exodus, I do not know.
Our first encounter with a noble was with an old man whom seemed determined to have one last hunt. We were passing by a fairly large estate, when a pair of men were heard to be arguing. The older of the two demanded that he be left alone and that he be allowed to hunt a bear. Apparently a large bear had been ravaging local folk and foresters for the past two months, only leaving one to tell the tale. The younger of the two men approached us, in secret, asking that we accompany his father (the older of the two, obviously) as “trackers”. He wanted to ensure his father’s safety. It was a good thing that he did, admittedly, for what we saw.
Our first night tracking the bear proved fruitless. In the night, however, we were provided SOME manner of clue. While we were sleeping, we were set upon by a group of goblins, who seemed intent on lighting our camp ablaze. They did a relatively good job of it, too, admittedly, lighting the lord’s tent on fire as well as the surrounding trees. Still, they were simply goblins – we fought them down quickly, and only a pair got away from us.
The next day we set out only to encounter more trouble – this time, ettercaps. We nearly stumbled into one of their traps, as one of them taunted us across the road. Tindel, thankfully, spotted it before he fell into it. We gave chase to the ettercap only to be set upon by another, and a pair of giant spiders. For a good duration of the battle, I was caught up in the ettercap’s webbing, unable to help poor Tindel who, once again, found himself envenomed. The lord we were guiding was worse for wear. He was blanketed in ettercap silk, almost a formless blob. Franklin, thinking himself clever, set fire to the web, and set a good portion of the forest ablaze. This was, undoubtedly a clue for the others that were just now catching up to us – simply follow the path of devistation, and you shall find us.
The lord kept trying to sneak off, and, for some reason the idea of wearbears came to mind amidst the party. I said nothing. It’s better to have them fearful than to be reckless like they often are. After the ettercap battle, the lord attempted to sneak off once more, and succeeded long enough to be caught by a neighboring noble. There was obviously some manner of issue between them, as this new noble accused ours of poaching. We talked this man down, promising that this will be our last hunt. And, in these parts, I certainly hope it was.
Finally, we encountered the bear, though. But, as nothing is simply that easy for us, this hunt would not be conluded with a simple shot of the bow either. While we approached the bear looked relatively docile, as soon as we came within bow range of it, it turned to us, eyes feral and wild. And, of course, it’s teeth began to glow, which was offsetting. We soon discovered that we were not the only hunters in the woods, and were quickly surrounded by goblins, all toting shortbows. They let loose their arrows at us, and the bear cut into us as well. Thankfully, ‘Renzo and the others put the bear down quickly, and we were able to take down the rest of the goblins down with relative ease – save, of course for the entagling vines that sprung up from the ground, the work of some haggardly goblin matronwoman. She gave a good chase, turning Mae’s dog against us, and hiding within a mist of her own making. She made one last desperate attempt to rouse the bear so that it could fight us again, but, she was cut down before this, thankfully.
So, for this noble, it was one last hunt. He thanked us for helping him along all the way, and rewarded us with hunting rights on his land (a prize worth more than my friends my know – any boon from a noble can prove to be more than it appears to be at first). He allowed us to rest in his manor, where we were treated as if we were his own kin – and, as Fharlanghn would have it, we were quickly on the road again.
And, as Fharlanghn would have it, we were set upon by another obstacle. On our way back to the Exodus, a cart came barrelling out of the woods – this cart was the cart of one Count Noliss vod Denn. He introduced himself, in the most noble manner he could, although he was clearly afraid of something. What he was afraid of became apparent quickly – a ghast came darting out of the woods, and he dove back into his cart. We cut it down quickly (not as quickly as I would have liked, but I can’t very well use my turning, due to Franklin’s condition, can I?) Apparently impressed by this, the Count extended us an offer.
The Count had apparently discovered an old keep that was once his families, but, there were troubles deep within – his workers had been disappearing (dwarven workers, Thenar would note) and beasts like the one that had given chase to them had been spotted. So, he offered us whatever we could find in the keep as our own, if they would return with evidence – evidence that his family was related to the House Jorat (the king’s house). He was sure that there was evidence down in the keep, it’s just that he did not feel he had the manpower to do so. Ru, and a few others, of course, haggled for a better price. After agreeing to a certain sum, we set off – with one of his men, Lortes, to guide us.
We stopped at a nearby village to resupply then, followed Lortes to Von Denn’s keep. It was a horrible place. Falling apart like most other keeps we’ve come across. Still, we ventured in, in hopes of finding whatever link may lay here that relates him to Jorat. Lortes stayed outside to attend to our horses.
After beign accosted by shades and ghasts alike, we quickly made our way back OUT of the keep. It was then decided that we needed a bit more rest before taking on another task like this.