It is late morning by the time I awoke from my long night.
As I adjust my view, I find that not much has happened in the hours since sunrise.
Valkari searches for a river vessel while the others attend various outings for information regarding Denfrigg and Vergan. They also pick up some information about the forest that discourages them from trying that way. I was really looking forward to seeing how they would handle an encounter with Helthor and his herd. How that boar ever got to be the size of a barn is beyond me. A strong testament to the latent power of the world, to be sure.
Now see, this is unexpected. As the actors congregate near the docks to purchase their ship, a Kelpie charges them with a young female victim caught astride the hideous back. I think I’ve seen this one before, it never ends well.
I am either greatly developing my vision, or the group is becoming predictable. Birger releases his magic to little effect. The Blur takes off – it seems as though he’s going to try to carry the girl off the creature’s back…that’s going to hurt…a lot. The halfling fires her bow, matching the Troll’s exuberance and results. Valkari readies herself to take down the beast as it runs towards the water.
I find it…educational…that this Blur is unable to tear the girl from the Kelpie, but instead of letting go, he wraps himself around her, shielding her with his wings. They’ll both end up drowned if the Kelpie makes it into the water.
Twang goes the halfling’s bow, thunk-thunk go the arrows, the troll’s magic burns, bouncy-bouncy goes the Blur on the Kelpie, Kick kick goes the Kelpies hooves, and slash, Valkari’s blade digs a gouge out of a rotted foreleg, a quick spin and a deep CRACK.
The kelpie is down, it’s right hind leg shattered. The actors descend upon the kelpie with vicious fury as the Blur pulls itself and the girl free of the dying abomination.
The townspeople have now formed a circle around the group, at a safe distance, and have brought what few weapons they have. They’re not happy about this turn of events, they seem to blame the actors for the Kelpie’s appearance.
The girl turns out to be a full grown quickling! I’ve not seen one of those in a few years. Of course…this one belongs to Denfrigg, a debt-slave. And she uses the changing magic! She must have been the one to turn that eel into a serpent. Strong magic, I shouldn’t peer to closely at her.
The group takes it all pretty well, pooling their resources to purchase a boat, no crew, and secures the companionship of the quickling, Jedda, by bargain for the death of Denfrigg. I wonder if they can imagine what’s going to happen? Bargains aren’t made or broken lightly!
They spend several days going upriver, stopping each night at one of the numerous islands, or Troll Hats, of the river on their way to Trollhattan-at-the-Falls. The first day they spotted Helthor’s herd. I’d bet good food they thought they’d seen the biggest, meanest boars in the world staring back at them, they’d be wrong of course…Helthor wasn’t at the riverside.
They arrived in Trollhattan, Jedda vanished, and with their customary suspicion set about interrogating the natives. Birger went so far as to employ divination to suss out the truth they were being told. 10 boats down the river, 2 boats up, including Denfrigg and Vergan’s. No children, only barrels of trade cargo.
They are invited to stay at the head porter’s home for the night. Jedda’s invisibility is perfect! I wonder if she comes by it naturally, or if it’s something one can learn? The actors are able to get some information from her, she was the one who disguised the children as barrels when Denfrigg and Vergan went back up the falls.
Over dinner, they spend a great deal of time debating with the head porter over the morals of him helping Denfrigg. Without proof though, they’re out of luck. If they can bring the children back, then the Trollhattans will believe them. They certainly can’t tell the head porter about Jedda, he’ll have to kill her, and that would make a mess of everyones’ bargains.
Regardless, the group pays to be ported up the falls in the morning. It seems only yesterday that I spent a long night working, though it was in fact nearly a week, and here I am again, with another long night ahead. At least someone gets to sleep well tonight.