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> Chronicles > Book 3 – Part 3

Book 3 – Burnt Offerings
Part 3 – Glass and Wrath

  • Contents (1)
    • Chapter 5: Anika-Shae
    • Chapter 6: Glass & Wrath

See also: Adventure Log > Session 11, 2015-01-23


Chapter 5: Anika-Shae

The Drunken Dragon

The crew of seven continued to spend a lot of time at the Drunken Dragon and were becoming close friends of Anika-Shae. She was not only a charming hostess and an amazing cook, but she was also very beautiful, even when dressed in her garb of drudgery.

Whenever possible, Anika-Shae would turn over the kitchen and serving duties to her staff and dress up in her evening attire to serve as hostess in the tavern and restaurant.

One particular evening, the customers pleaded with her to sing them a song. She finally agreed and offered a rousing rendition of The Bear and the Maiden Fair.

The Bear and the Maiden Fair (2)

A bear there was, a bear, a bear!
All black and brown, and covered with hair.
The bear! The bear!

Oh come they said, oh come to the fair!
The fair? Said he, but I’m a bear!
All black and brown, and covered with hair!

And down the road from here to there.
From here! To there!
Three boys, a goat and a dancing bear!
They danced and spun, all the way to the fair!
The fair! The fair!

Oh, sweet she was, and pure and fair!
The maid with honey in her hair!
Her hair! Her hair!
The maid with honey in her hair!

The bear smelled the scent on the summer air.
The bear! The bear!
All black and brown and covered with hair!

He smelled the scent on the summer air!
He sniffed and roared and smelled it there!
Honey on the summer air!

Oh, I’m a maid, and I’m pure and fair!
I’ll never dance with a hairy bear!
A bear! A bear!
I’ll never dance with a hairy bear!

The bear, the bear!
Lifted her high into the air!
The bear! The bear!

I called for a knight, but you’re a bear!
A bear, a bear!
All black and brown and covered with hair

She kicked and wailed, the maid so fair,
But he licked the honey from her hair.
Her hair! Her hair!
He licked the honey from her hair!

Then she sighed and squealed and kicked the air!
My bear! She sang. My bear so fair!
And off they went, from here to there,
The bear, the bear, and the maiden fair.

Anika-Shae followed her song by leading the crowd in an Ullester Cheer for the town’s newest heroes, the Seven from Darford. That prompted the locals to request each of the heroes to offer a poem or song of their own.

Ullester Cheer (Ya Di Buckety) (3)

Yum yum
Yum yum di buckety
Rum ting f’too
Yi! Ni! Ni! Yawoo!

Ya di buckety
Rum ting f’too
Ni! Ni! Ni! Yawoo!

Glenlivet: Seven Colors (4)

Glenlivet bravely went first. It took great courage to stand before the crowd, knowing how some people were still leary of his unusual appearance – a half-elf albino.

“My name is Glenlivet Lesgoth. I am from Darford. I am a visitor to this fine town and a guest in this fine establishment. I am not an educated man and I have no experience in writing, nor speaking poetry. My journey of the last few months has awakened something in me and since this opportunity has arisen, I feel the need to speak what is on my mind.”

Dodge:
Roses are red like the hair on his head.
Beware when you confront him as you will likely end up dead.
Don’t compete against him, his strength is second to none
Rumor has it, this is true even in bed where he has had more than one.
Glenlivet:
Snow is white, Snow is pure… This one is not.
Once he starts his dance you don’t have a chance.
This one is cold and deadly like a fast winter storm
Unlike the others, he does not fit the norm…
Aiden:
The sky is blue like the coloring on his skin.
He is skilled with the weapons and could remove just your tooth.
Don’t count on that, if he battles you he has honed his skills since youth.
Yriadel:
Sunlight is golden as the hair on her head.
If you are true and on her side she will save you.
If not, you are as good as dead.
She shines like the sun and makes everything well,
Don’t cross her or you will end up in hell…
Lee:
Clouds are gray and hold a secret
Chances are when you meet him you will not fret.
Yet, there are things you should not forget,
Things don’t seem as they may.
He is ever-changing and his weapons are hard, cold and gray.
Magna:
The earth is brown.
You cannot hide. He will track you down.
Death comes from him silent and quick.
To run and hide would be your best choice…
After he shoots, you have no voice.
Kyran:
The night is black. Be watching your back…
His skills are deadly in more ways than one.
Whether by weapon or whether by spell…
Either way, enjoy your stay in hell!

Anika-Shae was very impressed by Glenlivet’s poetic and oratory skills, and seated herself next to him immediately afterwards. Known for her own exotic tastes – in food and fashion – she appeared to have exotic taste in men also.

Aiden: A Rhyme of Lore (5)

Aiden Fire offered a poem, explaining that he remembered it from his youth, but knew not its origins nor meaning.

Tall ships and tall kings
Three times three.
What brought they from the foundered land
Over the flowing sea?
Seven stars and seven stones
And one white tree.

Lee: Us and Them (6)

Lee Alfsaw recited a dramatic reading.

Us and them
And after all we’re only ordinary men
Me and you
God only knows it’s not what we would choose to do

Forward he cried from the rear
And the front rank died
And the general sat
And the lines on the map
Moved from side to side

Black and blue
And who knows which is which and who is who
Up and down
And in the end it’s only round ’n round

Haven’t you heard it’s a battle of words
The poster bearer cried
Listen son, said the man with the gun
There’s room for you inside

Down and out
It can’t be helped that there’s a lot of it about
With, without
And who’ll deny it’s what the fighting’s all about?

Out of the way
It’s a busy day
I’ve got things on my mind
For the want of the price
Of tea and a slice
The old man died

Magna: The Necromancer (7)

Magna Morko took a turn. He explained how the tapestries he saw in the Meadhall of Aragnar told a tale which he had learned while growing up in the forests of Blackwood.

Part 1 – Into the Darkness

As grey traces of dawn tinge the eastern sky, the three travelers, men of Willowdale, emerge from the forest shadow. Fording the River Dawn, they turn south, journeying into the dark and forbidding lands of the Necromancer. Even now the intensity of his dread power can be felt, weakening the body and saddening the heart. Ultimately they will become empty, mindless spectres… stripped of will and soul, only their thirst for freedom gives them hunger for vengeance…

Silence shrouds the forest / As the birds announce the dawn
Three trav’llers ford the river / And southward journey on
The road is lined with peril / The air is charged with fear
The shadow of his nearness / Weighs like iron tears

Part 2 – Under the Shadow

Shreds of black cloud loom in overcast skies.
The Necromancer keeps watch with his magic prism eyes.
He views all his lands and is already aware
of the three helpless invaders trapped in his lair…

Brooding in the tower / Watching o’er his land
Holding ev’ry creature / Helplessly they stand
Gaze into his prisms / Knowing they are near
Lead them to the dungeons / Spectres numb with fear
They bow defeated

Part 3 – Return Of the Prince

Enter the Champion – Prince By-Tor appears
To battle for freedom from chains of long years
The spell has been broken…the Dark Lands are bright.
The Wraith of the Necromancer soars away in the night.

Stealthily attacking / By-Tor slays his foe
The men are free to run now / From labyrinths below
The Wraith of Necromancer / Shadows through the sky
Another land to darken / With evil prism eye

Anika-Shae & Glenlivet

Throughout the evening, though Anika-Shae assumed her various duties as owner and hostess of the tavern, she every time returned to her seat next to Glenlivet. When it was time to retire for the night, she made it very clear to Glenlivet that she wanted his company. He was happy to join her, and they shared her room together that night, as well as their affections.

Kyran’s Troubled Dream

In the morning, Dodge heard Kyran talking in his sleep. He asked Kyran what he had been dreaming about, but Kyran said he could not remember.

Serindë Andagor

As the group was sharing breakfast at the Drunken Dragon, they were interrupted by Braco, Son of Loghan, and Cwink Broder – two Huskarls of House Araganing. Braco asked the group to meet with Eorl Aragnar at the Burghall, explaining that he had some news that would interest them. So they promptly finished their breakfast and hurried off to meet as requested.

As before, they were met at the door by Haakon, the Doorward of the Meadhall of Arágnar. They respectfully left their weapons at the door and followed Braco into the Burghall. He led them up stairs to the second floor. The Eorl greeted them and thanked each of them again for the help they provided to the people of Ullester during the recent goblin raid. He was accompanied by Forwost Baelor and a striking elven woman.

Forwost Baelor introduced the elven woman to the group. “Men, and lady, this is Serindë Andagor {se-RIN-de AN-da-gor}. She is an ‘unofficial member of Ullester’s Burgwardas’.” (A few noticed that this introduction caused the elven woman to emit a slight smirk.)

“Serindë Andagor, these are Ullester’s newest crop of heroes: Dodge, Glenlivet, Kyran, Lee, Magna, Aiden and Yriadel.”

While introductions continued, Lee recalled to himself that he had heard of this woman before. She was not quite a bounty hunter, a survivalist, or a mercenary, but a mix of all three. The elven woman passed through town once or twice a season to buy supplies and never remained more than a few days, always staying at the Drunken Dragon free of charge.

Near the end of each visit, she would meet with Eorl Aragnar and Forwost Baelor for a few hours at the burghall to give a report on the state of the hinterlands before she would leave town again, a pouch of gold at her side. Both Aragnar and Baelor valued Serindë Andagor’s reports, since they provided a non-biased insight into how the local farmlands were faring and keep the Ullester Thynge abreast of burgeoning dangers in the region.

Coincidentally, Lee had just heard this morning that Serindë Andagor’s visit today was unexpected. She last passed through town only a month ago and was not expected for another several weeks. She dispensed with her normal visit to Middel Market, the Drunken Dragon, or her dear friend Aethela Nestethel, instead requesting an immediate meeting with Eorl Aragnar. The unusual meeting and Serindë Andagor’s ragged look combined to make an already jumpy populace suspect that the woman brought news of a new goblin threat.

After the introductions, Aragnar began his explanation for the meeting. “Serindë Andagor has been a thorn in the side of the local goblin tribes for years, and few in Willowdale know more about them than her. She has reported that Ullester has not been the only place in our region that has had goblin troubles. In short, there has been an increase in goblin-related raids along the Linwic Road, particularly in the dale between Nettlewood and Melwood. Only a day ago, a farm south of Melwood was burned to the ground by a group of goblins.”

“Thankfully,” Baelor chimed in, “Serindë Andagor was nearby, and while the farm could not be saved, she did rescue the family and drive off the goblins. The family is staying at a nearby farm for now, but the goblin problem is obviously not going away.”

At this point, Aragnar ceded the floor to Serindë Andagor, asking her to tell the group what she had told him earlier.

“Aragnar and Baelor have told me of your work against the goblins. Well done,” she complimented. “I’ve dedicated the last several years of my life to keeping them from causing too much trouble around these parts, but they are tenacious and fecund little runts. Like weeds that bite.

“Anyway, there are five major goblin tribes in the region, and, traditionally, they’re pretty good at keeping each other in line with intertribal squabbles and the like. Yet from what I’ve been able to piece together, members of all five tribes were involved in the raid on Ullester. A fair amount of the Maimwood tribe of goblins I dealt with yesterday were already pretty beat up, and there was a lot of chatter about the ‘longshanks’ who killed so many of them. Now that I’ve met you, it seems obvious from their descriptions who they were talking about. Seems like you’ve made an impression.

“In any event, the fact that the five tribes are working together disturbs me. Goblin tribes don’t get along unless they’ve got something big planned, and big plans require big bosses. I’m afraid that someone’s moved in on the goblins and organized them. And judging by these recent raids, what they’re organizing seems like bad news for all of us.”

After Serindë Andagor’s little speech, Eorl Aragnar made an announcement. “I will be taking a few men south to Baeldurham to see about securing additional soldiers to station at Ullester for a few weeks, at least until the extent of the goblin threat can be determined. While I am out of town, I have asked Serindë Andagor to sniff around Garnwood, Fanden’s Crag, and other places where goblins live, to see if she can discover anything else about what’s going on.

“I would also like you seven to maintain a public presence in Ullester over the next few days, if you don’t mind. Our people seem to have taken to you, and seeing you around town will do a lot for keeping worries down over the next few days.”

Once the meeting was over, Serindë Andagor asked to join the group for dinner at the Drunken Dragon. She wanted to hear more from them about the Ullester raid, and in return she had a fair amount of goblin lore she could impart to them.

They parted company, most returning to the Drunken Dragon, except for Magna and Kyran, who went shopping for a new bow.

Benn’s Armoury

Magna and Kyran stopped at Benn’s Armoury. The northeast corner of the building bore a few scars from the Ullester Fire of Fryht Yeer, but fortunately for its owner, Benn “Weosule” {wee-zəl}, the building escaped significant damage.

At first Benn was a little hesitant to deal with them, since they were known associates of Dodge, of whom he had been warned about by Andor vanDetta. In fact, it had been Dodge who escorted Benn’s daughter Sabine during the May Day Procession and Benn wondered if perhaps she had narrowly escaped a similar fate as that of Trina vanDetta. But Magna and Kyran were able to convince the man that they were worthy enough to purchase his goods.

Magna picked out a Composite Longbow that suited him and paid full price. He did not bother to haggle, given the circumstances.

Kyran noticed a Repeating Crossbow that had magical properties. It’s name was “Vanadia”, Benn offered, but he was not sure what the name meant. He had bought the weapon from an adventurer on the way to Tiersleigh a year ago, and the combination of its high price and complexity seemed to ensure its semi-permanent stay in his shop.

On their way back to the Drunken Dragon, Magna and Kyran stopped at the Ullester Stronghold to test out the new bow on their archery range. There they met Alchfrid Archer, one of the Burgwardas, and they shot at targets together. They learned from Alchfrid that the stone fortress served double duty as Ullester’s barracks and its jail. The jail itself was located in an underground wing, while the above-ground portion housed the Burgwardas, about a dozen full-time watchmen. About two dozen servants and other experts (smiths, cooks, couriers, and the like) dwelled here as well. Burgwardas typically patroled the city alone. There was generally not much trouble beyond the odd drunk for them to handle, so usually only three or four were on duty at any one time.

Goblin Tips from Serindë Andagor

That evening, Serindë Andagor joined the group at the Drunken Dragon. They shared a table, enjoying mead and a feast prepared by Anika-Shae. As promised, she imparted some very specifc lore about the local goblins.

Ten Fun Facts About Goblins

1: Horse Hate: Goblins excel at riding animals, but they don’t quite get horses. In fact, their hatred of all things horse is matched only by their fear of horses, who tend to step on goblins who get too close.

2: Dog Hate: Although goblins raise horrible rat-faced creatures called (creatively enough) goblin dogs to use as mounts (and ride wolves or worgs if they can get them—goblins are quick to explain that wolves are NOT dogs), their hatred of plain old dogs nearly matches their hatred of horses. The feeling is mutual. If your dog is barking at the woodpile for no reason, chances are he smells a frightened goblin hiding in there somewhere.

3: Goblins Raid Junkyards: Garbage pits, gutters, sewers… anywhere there is garbage, you can bet goblins are nearby. Goblins are weirdly adept at crafting weapons and armor from refuse, and are fond of killing people with what they throw away.

4: Goblins Love to Sing: Unfortunately, as catchy as their lyrics can be, goblin songs tend to be a bit too creepy and disturbing to catch on in polite society.

5: They Are Sneaky: An excited or angry goblin is a noisy, chattering, toothy menace, but even then, he can drop into an unsettling silence in a heartbeat. This, matched with their diminutive size, makes them unnervingly adept at hiding in places you’d never expect: stacks of firewood, rain barrels, under logs, under chicken coops, in ovens…

6: They Are A Little Crazy: The fact that goblins think of things like ovens as good hiding places reveals much about their inability to think plans through to the most likely outcome. That, and they tend to be easily distracted, particularly by shiny things and animals smaller than them that might make good eating.

7: They Are Voracious: Given enough supplies, a goblin generally takes nearly a dozen meals a day. Most goblin tribes don’t have enough supplies to accommodate such ravenous appetites, which is why the little menaces are so prone to going on raids.

8: They Like Fire: Burning things is one of the great goblin pastimes, although they’re generally pretty careful about lighting fires in their own lairs, especially since goblins tend to live in large tangled thistle patches and sleep in beds of dried leaves and grass. But give a goblin a torch and someone else’s home and you’ve got trouble.

9: They Get Stuck Easily: Goblins have wiry frames but wide heads. They live in cramped warrens. Sometimes too cramped.

10: They Believe Writing Steals Your Soul: The walls of goblin lairs and the ruins of towns goblins have raided are littered with pictures of their exploits. They never use writing, though. That’s unlucky. Writing steals words out of your head. You can’t get them back.

Goblin Tribes

Serindë Andagor explained that there were five major goblin tribes in the region.

The closest to Ullester were the Birdbiter goblins that lived in caves along the western edge of Fanden’s Crag, although traditionally these goblins were the least aggressive of the five.

To the south were the Licktoad goblins of Brinestump Marsh, pests that were known to be excellent swimmers.

East were the Shank Tooth goblins of Garnwood, goblins who had secured a place for themselves by raiding Ullester’s junkyard and rebuilding the stolen refuse into armor and weapons.

Further east were the Maimwood goblins of Melwood, likely the largest tribe but one traditionally held back by feuding families within their own ranks. (They get their name from a corruption of Melwood to Maimwood.)

And finally, there were the Thistletop goblins, who lived on the Nettlewood coast atop a small island that some say held a passing resemblance to a decapitated head.

Goblin Heroes

Goblins generally lived short, violent lives. It’s unusual for a single goblin to achieve any real measure of notoriety, but when one did, it was well-earned. Currently, five goblins enjoyed the status of “hero.”

Big Gugmut was an unusually muscular and tall goblin from the Maimwood tribe who, it was said, had a hobgoblin for a mother and a wild boar for a father.

Koruvus was a champion of the Shank Tooth tribe, who was as well known for his short temper as he was for his prized possession—a magic longsword sized for a human that the goblin stubbornly kept as his own (despite the fact that it was too large for him to properly wield). Koruvus vanished several months ago after he supposedly discovered a “secret hideout” in a cave along the cliffs, but the Shank Tooth goblins remained convinced that he was out there still, a ghost or worse, waiting to murder any goblin who tried to discover his hideout.

Vorka was a notorious goblin cannibal who lived in Brinestump Marsh, a “hero” mostly to goblins other than the Licktoad tribe.

Ripnugget was the current leader of the Thistletop goblins and controled what the five tribes agreed was the best lair.

And then there was Bruzermush, an infamous bugbear ranger who lived in northern Nettlewood and often visited the five tribes to trade things he had stolen from caravans for alcohol, news, or magic arrows. Serindë Andagor noted that Bruzermush had a particular hatred of elves, and that they had fought on several occasions. To date, neither of them had managed to get the upper hand on the other, but Serindë Andagor bitterly vowed that she would not be the first to fall in their private war.

Street Patrol

After the meal, Serindë Andagor went on her way to visit her dear friend Aethela Nestethel. The group took it upon themselves to help patrol the streets of Ullester in case of another goblin attack. They divided into pairs or threes and took shifts throught the evening and night.

Glenlivet and Magna patroled together, but encountered no goblins nor anything unusual. Back at the Drunken Dragon, Anika-Shae was waiting for Glenlivet, and the two spent the night together in her private room.

Dodge, Aiden and Yriadel patroled together. During their rounds, Yriadel suggested they stop by Pixy Kitlings. As a priestess of Freyja, it was one of her duties to see to the needs of the ladies there. Dodge and Aiden waited while she administered to their needs. Later she mentioned that all the ladies were in excellent health – well cared for by Maistress Tiarnach {TEER-nakh}.

Kyran and Lee patroled together. At one point, as they passed an alley near the docks, they heard a woman shouting, “I don’t wanna suck your cock! Now lemme alone!” Recognizing the voice of a woman in distress, Kyran and Lee rushed into the dark alley. They spotted a man who was holding a woman roughly against a wall. They charged toward the man, Lee shouting orders to leave her alone. The lout was apparently intimidated by Lee’s words – he released the girl and moved quickly for a nearby door. The girl thanked Lee and Kyran, and said she was just trying to use the latrine, whereupon they let her go her way.

Kyran opened the door through which the lout had escaped and looked in to what was apparently the back door to Porky’s Potluck. He noticed the man was talking to a couple other rough looking fellows, so Kyran closed the door and decided to leave well enough alone. As Kyran and Lee were exiting the alley, Kyran heard a small voice in the darkness say “Nice job there, Kyran.” He could not quite tell if the meaning was sincere or sarcastic.

Disappearance of Anika-Shae

The next morning, Glenlivet was awakend by a knocking on the door. He looked around and remembered he was in the bed of Anika-Shae. Then he realized Anika-Shae was not in bed with him. She must have left early to get a start on breakfast, he thought. The knocking continued so he rose to answer the door. When he opened the door, he was greated by an elderly Halfling woman. It was Bethanna Corwin, a maid who worked for Anika-Shae. Normally timid, Bethanna seemed quite distressed and became a little frantic when she discovered Anika-Shae was not in her room.

“I woke earlier this morning to find that Anika-Shae hadn’t started breakfast for the first time since I could remember,” she explained to Glenlivet. “I was worried, so I knocked on her door but now I find only you.”

Together they looked around for a sign or a message, and found a crumpled piece of parchment under the bed – it was a note from Anika-Shae’s older brother Monakild.

Greetings, Sister!

I hope this letter finds you well, and with some free time on your hands, because we have something of a problem. It has to do with father. It seems that he might have had something to do with Ullester’s recent troubles with the goblins, and I did not want to bring the matter to the authorities because we both know he would just weasel his way out of it. You have some pull here in town, though. If you can meet me at the Glaswerks at midnight tonight, maybe we can figure out how to make sure he faces the punishment he deserves. Knock twice and then three times more and then once more at the delivery entrance and I will let you in.

In any case, I don’t have to impress upon you the delicate nature of this request. If news got out, you know these local dolts would assume that you and I were in on the whole thing too, do you not? They have no honor at all around these parts. I still do not understand how you can stand to stay here.

Anyway, do not tell anyone about this. There are other complications as well, ones I would rather talk to you in person about tonight. Do not be late.

Monakild

Alarmed, Glenlivet gathered up his friends and shared the contents of the note with them. Bethanna was very upset, but she explained what she knew about Anika-Shae’s brother.

“Monakild was something of a scandal when he was born 21 years ago.” With big eyes she sagely noted, “he is a half-elf, you see, but neither of Anika-Shae’s parents are elves. So it was obvious that old Stigand Kleinberg wasn’t the boy’s father, and his rage at the discovery of his wife’s, um, indiscretion was the talk of town for months. Stigand’s wife Ava never revealed who the father was, and it’s a wry testament to Stigand’s stubbornness that they remained married.”

Glenlivet couldn’t mask his surprise – Anika-Shae had never mentioned that her father was Stigand Kleinberg, the wealthy owner of Kleinberg Glaswerks!

“Anyway, Monakild was handed over to Lirkst of Sif Scoleheall to be raised outside of the Kleinberg family. He was ignored by his father and forbidden visits from his mother. But I happen to know that Anika-Shae would visit him in secret a few times a month to keep him company. She would bring him food and treats, and she promised him that someday things would get all sorted out.”

“But their hopes changed about six years ago, when the two had a terrible argument in which Monakild struck Anika-Shae. She never told me what the argument was about, but whatever it was it sent Anika-Shae away from Ullester for a couple years, during which time she made a living as an adventurer, even going as far as Garondor and Shem.”

“During the time that Anika-Shae was gone, her mother died. This was about five years ago – right before the start of the Fryht Yeer – you know, the Chopper murders and so on. Well, Monakild was quite public in his opinions that his father had pushed Ava off the cliff to her death, and during the funeral they had a confrontation. Stigand nearly broke Monakild’s jaw with his cane, after which Monakild cursed him and left Ullester.”

“Months later, when Anika-Shae returned to Ullester, she learned about her mother’s death and to this day she is still estranged from her father. She tried to reestablish contact with Monakild, but was never able to track him down.”

Well that explains why she never mentioned who her father was, Glenlivet surmised.

“Now that Monakild is back, I am worried that he is up to no good,” Bethanna explained. “Since you heroes are patrons of the Drunken Dragon, and Anika-Shae’s newest friends, could you possibly investigate this? And perhaps use some discretion? Please, head over to the Glaswerks and find out what happened to Anika-Shae as soon as possible.”

Of course the heroes agreed to the mission. They urged Bethanna and her staff to get to work preparing breakfast, so as to not alarm any other patrons, then they gathered their gear and left immediately for the Glaswerks.

Chapter 6: Glass & Wrath

The group knew only a little about their destination. The process of glassmaking was as much an art as it was a craft, and one that the Kleinberg family had held pride in for several generations. Shortly after Ullester was founded, and the Ullester Merchants League was established, the Kleinbergs were there, and they began construction of what would become one of the town’s most unique and profitable businesses—the Kleinberg Glaswerks.

Investigating the Kleinberg Glaswerks

When the group arrived at the Glaswerks, they found the building curiously silent, though the furnace chimney still plumed with smoke. A quick investigation of the building perimeter revealed that curtains had been drawn over the windows and all the doors were locked. The rumble of the Glaswerks’ furnace was plainly audible from within. Lee tried to pick the lock on the front door but gave up after a few tries and the group moved on to the side. At a set of double doors, probably used for bulk loading, Lee was able to pick the lock and the group entered the building.

The room was obviously used for loading. A wheelbarrow sat against a wall here, and shelves on the walls contained stores of reagents to create different colors of glass. A safe on the floor was hanging open and empty. There were three single doors and one set of double doors. The first door they checked opened into a preparation room. It was stocked with more primary agents for glassmaking (sand, soda ash, and lime).

The next door revealed stairs leading down. They were about to venture down into the depths when Lee listened at the double doors and warned that, even over the ever-present rumble of the furnace, he could hear what sounded like high-pitched giggles, shrieks, and breaking glass.

They cautiously opened the doors and peered into a large room. It was the main glass-working room – containing a long furnace which rumbled loudly, plus marble tables used to work raw glass into usable shapes, and nearby wooden tables cluttered with various tools of the trade. But they also witnessed several goblins capering about and defiling the bodies of some of the murdered workers.

Goblins in the Furnace Room

Through the narrow opening between the doors, Magna shot an arrow with his new longbow and hit one of the goblins, then the group stormed into the room, brandishing their weapons. The goblins were still riding the high from killing the staff, and reacted to the challenge with excitement. Most of them wielded dogslicers, but a few attacked using tongs dripping with molten glass or threw glass bottles or slung panes of glass. The main force charged straight into the goblins, while Aiden and Lee sought another entrance for a flank attack.

Aiden quickly found another door into the room (while Lee became distracted by side doors and started exploring other rooms) yet by that time the goblins recognized their adversaries and regretted their actions. “Wait! It’s those longshanks what stopped the raid! Run for your lives!” one of them screamed. The few remaining goblins fled in panic – right into Aiden’s eager attack. Soon enough all fourteen goblins lay dead: Dodge and Glenlivet had each killed 4, Kyran 3, Magna 2, and Aiden 1.

The room was a gruesome display of goblin boredom. The bodies of the eight murdered staffers lay in various stages of dismemberment; the goblins had been burning legs and arms in the furnace, and pouring melted glass on the remains, apparently in an attempt to duplicate the masterpiece in the central alcove, where a man was propped up in a chair and encased in thick runny sheets of hardened glass.

Soon the group caught up to Lee and they scanned through the remaining rooms – a display room containing various glassware, plus multiple offices, storerooms and personnel areas. They found the sleeping quarters where Stigand’s staff of skilled laborers had been murdered in their sleep the night before. All eight beds were in various states of disarray and blood was spattered over the walls and sheets. All the bodies had been taken by the goblins to the furnace room.

Goblins in the Basement

There was still no sign of Anika-Shae, so they swiftly went back to the stairs and began their descent. At the bottom of the stairs, the basement contained more storage of crates and barrels filled with sand and other raw materiels, plus two wheelbarrows which sat against the wall. Just south of the stairs was a brick wall that had been dismantled to reveal an older passageway leading east. Near the south end of the storage room was another hallway which led east.

Glenlivet and Magna crept into the older passage, while Lee and Dodge followed the southern hallway. Suddenly Glen was attacked around a corner by two goblins wielding dogslicers. “See, I told you I heard noises,” one goblin shouted to the other. As Glen and Magna pressed their attacks, they rounded the corner to the south and could see a few other goblins in the passage. They also saw a half-elf rogue enter the passage through a wooden door along the east wall.

Glen killed one of the goblins quickly with his scimitar, but the other repaid him with a bloody wounding from its dogslicer. Magna provided that goblin with a quick death – an arrow shot from his bow went straight through the goblin’s head. The half-elf rogue released an arrow that went whizzing by the head of Glen – a near miss. Magna returned fire and wounded the rogue, which allowed Glen to close in and wound him with his scimitar. Magna shot another arrow which struck the rogue, who went on the defensive, opened a second door along the east wall and made a swift exit. Glen and Magna immediately followed the rogue through the door, then through a narrow tunnel winding northeast through the bedrock. Aiden followed closely behind.

At the same time, Dodge and Lee had followed the southern hallway – which happened to connect with the other passage – and encountered the rear guard of the goblins. There were only two, and Dodge killed one quickly with his axe. Lee maneuvered around the other and clobbered it hard. Dodge grabbed the helpless goblin in a headlock then squeezed its little neck until it died.

Rescue of Anika-Shae

While Glen, Magna and Aiden were in the narrow tunnels in pursuit of the fleeing rogue, the others searched the remaining rooms in the basement. The first room stored glassware and other finished goods.

The second door was locked, but Lee easily picked it. He opened the door to behold a shocking site. It was Anika-Shae, badly wounded and bruised, naked, hanging by her wrists from a chain. She was conscious but delirious, and weak from her wounds. Lee quickly went to work picking the lock on the chain, while yelling at Yriadel and the others to help. He easily removed the chains and set her down gently as Yriadel arrived. Yriadel chanted some sacred words and the power of Freyja flooded the room, healing all those within.

Anika-Shae was quickly revived, though still clearly distraught – obviously at the treachery of her brother, Monakild. Dodge grabbed a blanket from the third room and they wrapped her naked body in it. Then he carried her to a cot in that third room. As Lee searched the room, which was apparently Monakild’s quarters, Anika-Shae explained what had transpired.

“Monakild sent me a mysterious note and I came to the glaswerks to hear him out. He revealed to me that he and several other mercenaries were led by a woman named Nauma and hinted that she has big plans for Ullester’s future. He warned me that I did not want to be in town when those plans came through, and offered me a chance to join his group at Thistletop. I rejected this suggestion and slapped him! I was so shocked that he had sunk to such a low. He responded by unleashing his goblins on me. They stripped me and beat me and chained me up here. I thank you for the rescue, but I have got to get out of here and warn my father!”

They suspected that the glass encased corpse upstairs was her father, Stigand Kleinberg, and the half-elf rogue they encountered was her brother, Monakild Kleinberg, so they urged her to rest while they took care of matters.

Smuggler’s Tunnels

While Glen and Magna pursued the rogue through the narrow tunnel, Aiden caught up with them. After about 100 feet, a branch tunnel split off west. Aiden pursued this route, while Glen and Magna continued northeast. After about 300 feet total, another side tunnel branched off east. Magna decided to return south, while Glen continued east. That tunnel continued about 400 feet then ended in a collapse of rubble, so Glen also decided to return.

Meanwhile, Aiden walked west about 20 feet, then saw the remnants of a brick wall, as if the tunnel had been bricked up decades ago, but recently torn down. Despite the ominous warning, Aiden bravely continued alone. The westerly passageway wound for 50 more feet before turning north. After traveling northward for 100 feet, Aiden saw a two tunnel openings that led east. Suddenly he was attacked!

It was a horribly deformed humanoid, hairless and emaciated, that came lurching out of the shadows. Its unnaturally long arms ended in three-fingered talons, and its legs bent like those of a dog. A writhing network of bulging veins formed dark blue patterns across its pallid skin. But worst of all was its face – its nose was little more than a pair of slits, and its eyes were bulging and red. The lower jaw split in half at the chin into two wretched arms that ended in tiny three-fingered hands to either side of an open gullet with a lolling tongue.

It caught Aiden by surprise and slashed him with its claws, but its attempt to bite him failed. Aiden reacted with slices from his Kama, and they battled it out until finally Aiden stood victorious. Wounded from multiple deep scratches, Aiden decided to proceed alone no futher and instead returned to his group.

Private Journal of Monakild Kleinberg

By the time that Aiden, Glen and Magna had all returned to the basement, Lee had finished searching all the rooms. He found a masterwork set of thieves’ tools, which he smartly added to his possessions. He also found a masterwork flute, 6 pouches of gold dust and 8 pouches of silver dust, which Kyran agreed to hold. Lastly, he found a large, leather-bound journal of sketches and notes which had been authored by Monakild. It contained very important information about the recent activites beneath and around Ullester, as well as future plans.

In summary, the journal contained numerous erotic drawings of a woman named Nauma and maps of attack plans on Ullester. Nauma was the adopted daughter of Torbeinn and had been presumed dead since the Ullester Fire. She had recently recruited Monakild as one of her mercenaries and they eventually became lovers. They were headquarted at Thistletop and her other henchmen included a wizard named Lyrie Acacia, a warrior named Oreg Vancaskerkin, a bugbear named Bruzermush, and a goblin warchief named Ripnugget. Her ultimate plan involved burning Ullester as an offering to Loptur, the God of Monsters, in order to transform herself into a Succubus. Burning her father’s remains at the Thistletop shrine started the demonic process, and her left hand had already been transformed into a claw.

Operation Mayday was the attack that occurred just days earlier, which was apparently just a distraction while the casket of Torbeinn was stolen. Of more pressing concern was Operation Burnt Offering. Several pages illustrated various plans of assault on Ullester by a force of what appeared to be over three hundred goblins. One plan mentioned getting the aid of a quasit from the smuggling tunnels beneath the Glaswerks. Another mentioned that Nauma was trying to gain control of a monster named Vargdropor which would enable her to easily destroy Ullester.

The journal revealed that Monakild had blackmailed his father to aid in Operation Mayday, and that he had since murdered Stigand in the Glaswerks. After learning that her father was dead, Anika-Shae took the news stoically.

Warning the Burgwardas

The group urgently took the journal and its maps to the Ullester Stronghold and warned Forwost Baelor about the impending attack. Baelor was seriously troubled and took possession of the journal for further study. The group volunteered to go back into the tunnels to map out its course, since it was a probable entry point for an attack, and Baelor agreed to post guards at the entrance within the Glaswerks.

Before they left, Anika-Shae warned that legends persisted in her family’s hidden lore that long ago the Glaswerk’s basement once doubled as a smuggler’s base, and that her grandfather had put a stop to the smuggling operation and bricked up the offending chambers in the basement not long after he inherited the Glaswerks.

Labyrinths of Wrath

Aiden led the group through the tunnel to where he had fought the hideous monster earlier. Kyran inspected the monster’s corpse and explained what type of creature he had slain. It was a Wrathspawn – an Aberration – a subtype of a Sinspawn. Wrathspawn were corrupted products of magic used by spellcasters in a past era as shock troops for their armies. They could detect the scent of creatures whose nature reflected the wrathspawn’s sin of wrath or rage. Legends warned that one should avoid their Sinful Bite at all cost.

They continued through the tunnel until it opened into a chamber – more ancient and of superior stonecraft. A red marble statue of a strikingly beautiful but, at the same time, monstrously enraged human woman stood in the middle of the chamber, her stony expression twisted in fury. The woman wore flowing robes, and her long hair was held back from her face by an intricate headdress of hooks and blades. In her left hand she carried a large book, the face of which was inscribed with a seven-pointed star. Her right hand held a glittering metal and ivory ranseur.

There were three passages from this chamber, and they chose the one that went east. It was a long passage with stairs leading up towards the surface and ended at a door. Beyond the door was a circular room. Water rippled quietly in a circular stone pool lined with skulls. Smears of what looked like blood marred the pool’s rim in places. A door was on the opposite wall.

As they entered the room, a blackened, bat-winged, fiend’s head, rose from the shadows near the wall. Tentacles dangled from its chin and scalp, and its fanged mouth hung agape with obvious menace. The ancient, hideous creature was a vargouille {var-GWEEL}.

Attacking first, Kyran and Dodge charged forward, swinging their weapons, but they both missed with futile efforts. The vargouille opened its distended mouth and shrieked. All resisted its power except Dodge, who was now paralyzed and vulnerable to its next attack. Aiden and Glenlivet rushed into the room, slashing at it with their weapons. Then Magna shot an arrow and ended its dreadful life, before it could endanger that of Dodge’s.

They continued through the next door, then another, then up a flight of spiral stairs that wound up around a circular pillar into darkness above. They did not get far until their path was blocked by collapsed rubble.

Back to the chamber with the red, marble statue, the south passage led to an old storeroom. Large mounds of rubble lay strewn on its floor. Most of the rubble consisted of broken urns and other pottery containers that once held food stores, long since crumbled to dust.

The north passage ended in a door. Beyond the door was a large chamber that was obviously once a prison, as testified by the nearly two dozen cells that lined the room’s perimeter. A rickety wooden platform overlooked the room, with two flights of stairs descending to the prison floor ten feet below. A five-foot-wide wooden walkway ran from the northern edge of the platform to a passageway to the east. They ventured out upon the platform and looked down into the prison. Skeletons lay in most of the cells, prisoners who starved to death ages ago. The walkway looked rickety, so Dodge volunteered cross first.

When Dodge started across the bridge, two wrathspawn reached up from below and attacked him with their long claws, each dealing bloody wounds to his legs. Dodge fought back with his axe, while Magna hit one with an arrow. Kyran and Glenlivet rushed to the aid of Dodge and each slashed their targets.

One of the wrathspawn clawed Dodge yet again, but he hacked at it furiously with his axe and finally killed it. Kyran and Aiden attacked the other, and Aiden delivered a killing blow.

To be continued…




Footnotes:
1. Adapted from: James Jacobs, Rise of the Runelords: Burnt Offerings, (Bellevue: Paizo Publishing LLC, 2007).
2. George R. R. Martin, A Storm of Swords, (New York City: Bantam Books, 2000), Chapter 6.
3. Monty Python. Monty Python’s Previous Record. Charisma Records. 1972. 2.9. A Fairy Tale.
4. Dennis Sneeringer, Seven Colors, (Eureka: 2015).
5. J. R. R. Tolkien, The Two Towers, (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1954, 1965, 1982), Chapter 11, The Palantir.
6. Roger Waters, “Us And Them”, Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon, (London: Harvest Records, 1973).
7. Neil Peart, “The Necromancer”, Rush – Caress of Steel, (Toronto: Anthem Records, 1975).


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By-Tor Brigade Legacy VykingValor