Frontier Dreams

Session 8
In Which Reunions are Eventful

Calder and Waeslyn moved south from Cape Hope with great haste. Before too long, they came upon the unmistakable tracks left by their companions and the wagon, making track very simple. Aside from some rainy patches, they were able to follow the tracks towards Kowiringa. They were getting close to where they guessed the village might be when a roving scout made contact and guided them the rest of the way to the village.

Calder was able to speak with the chieftain and was directed to the quarantined cabin while Waeslyn made for the wagon to check on their supplies and Milvin. Milvin had been making attempts at communicating with the locals, having only minimal success not speaking the language. He did deduce that the Mahi-Tahi quite enjoy the taste of pig meat.

Calder arrived at the shaman’s hut and was ushered inside wearing a hastily constructed isolation garment. The shaman was slowly regaining his mobility, but his students had taken a steep decline in health. After preparation, Calder did his best to ease their condition without any more of the specialized medicine.

They met with the village chief once again who had informed them there was to be no official punishment for the killing of the expedition, in light of recent events. That said, he did not think that they would be truly welcome in town for some time. The adventurers offered to attempt to locate the hidden village that produced the root, but had no idea how long that would take. The village chief offered an alternative task that could be accomplished more quickly, and asked that they trust them to locate the village on their own and make the proper decision.

They learned of a nearby evacuation system of caves the town fled to in times of flooding. Recently a mighty beast had taken up lairing there and needed to be driven out. Significant wildlands expertise determined that the beast in question was most likely a manticore. They planned to strike at dawn when it would hopefully be asleep.

Waeslyn and Calder entered the cave to scout for the beast. They were greeted by an arrogant roaring voice from the darkness, which Calder conversed with while Waeslyn snuck further inside. Calder convinced the monster he would return shortly with food and exited the cave. He told his companions to wait for the signal, which would be Waeslyn’s opening shot. Soon enough Waeslyn spied the beast and let loose with his rifle. As the manticore took flight, the rest rushed into the cave. It whipped spikes from its tail and made to circle the grounded opponents. But Calder’s summoning of a giant spider created a web that entangled its wings and brought it crashing down. As the group surrounded the beast it fought savagely but could not fend off the onslaught. Taking advantage of the distraction offered by the boom of gunfire, Milvin was able to get behind the beast with his borrowed longspear to deliver the blow that incapacitated it.

They searched the cave and found the remains of an adventurer who had not fared so well. Woomera saw to it that he was cremated honorably. Reunited, and flush with victory, the party returned to Kowiringa with a trophy of their hunt.

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Session 7.2
In Which the Old and Young are at Odds

Maarus and Woomera departed the next morning headed straight south with the wagon and most of their supplies. Rain briefly hampered their progress, but the trail was open and game was plentiful. Milvin tok his share of watch duty in this unfamiliar land at night so neither of them was overly exhausted during travel in the morning. After more than a week of hard travel, they slowly began to realize they were not alone. Woomera made contact with a roving scout party from the village who escorted them the rest of the way to their destination.

At the entrance to the marsh village, the group was met by the elderly chief Rango, whom they quickly explained the situation to. Woomera made no secret of the fact that she had killed the warriors sent to retrieve the medicine, but also made it clear she had accomplished their mission, if only in part. Judgement was forestalled for the moment in favor of getting the medicine to the sick. Woomera and Maarus were escorted to a quarantined cabin on the outskirts of the village, while Milvin was left to tend to the cart.

Inside the cabin, they were assaulted by the smell of flesh left to rot for days. The village shaman lay on the brink of death from greenrot, both his apprentices trying and failing to treat him. Having received timely instructions from Calder, they determined that they had not enough medicine to treat all three of them. The students argued that the medicine should be spent entirely upon the shaman, and that he could always take on new students. Although they did confess that were he conscious he would have vehemently argued for the opposite.

Maarus and Woomera chose to use the medicine on Koka, the shaman. Maarus made for an excellent physician between his training and divine immunity to disease. He did determine that even were the disease to be cured, the wings were too far gone and had to be amputated. While they treated him, the pair learned that one of the apprentices was the mate to the lizardfolk who had led the expedition north.

They did what they could with what they had, and spent their time mostly contained inside the cabin until the arrive of their friends, some days later.

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Haunting

From the journal of Waeslyn the Widestepper, entry undated. Handwriting is uncharacteristically sloppy, revealing a haste in the hand.

Getting back on the road tomorrow morning, fast as possible. Uncle Hovvin and Aunt Lidania were at the summer home, so there was plenty of reason to get supplied and geared up. Auntie was in a bad sort, but she’s bought into Gradmammie’s paranoia about cosmic retribution and all that. But what Dr. Julius Merienstar said it was because she though Cousin Boldarnum was ill with the Limepox outbreak. I’m glad Papa wasn’t there, as that could have gotten thornier. Dr. Merienstar seems to be villainized for the fact that he hasn’t been able to save everyone; a situation I don’t envy. We delivered the medicine only to find out that there was enough to save five of the ten ill children in the one vial. At his request, we assisted in the process of selecting which children would have the best chance of survival. Pressure like that reminded me why I turned down the command position. He ultimately seemed to take my advice, and to give the medicine to those most likely to pull through, while making the others as comfortable as possible. I don’t envy his position. That plague-ridden quarantine zone, the angry mobs being held back by guards, the suffering children… those images will haunt me for a long time. Luckily Dr. Merienstar provided us some invaluable information about how to dilute and apply the medicine, as well as the name of the root it comes from. Sadly, it is cultivated by some nomads who prefer to go unnamed and unnoticed in this whole process, so while we can’t help the Mahi-Tahi find the root, they can at least know what to do with it when they get it.

Calder did the oddest thing in all this; to my knowledge he had no medical training. He was a temple-minder’s son. Yet after showering for… far longer than a shower should take, he seemed like a totally different person. There was a calculation, precision, even coldness in his voice. It unsettled me, to be honest. We purchased an extra horse to speed the process of the return trip, and I resupplied what the help could offer. We also took the papers and materials from Craughon’s wagon back to the Whistlers. They let us keep the boots and haversack in thanks, and helped us secure a means of transmitting the message about the preparation and application of the drug to Woomera and Maarus.

Dr. Merienstar mentioned that the outbreak happened with some tainted goods that were deliv-

Here the handwriting speeds up rapidly, becoming near illegible at points. Gnomish glyphs are interwoven with dwarven runes for figures and a crude attempt at a map with markers for distances estimated

Weren’t the Forktongues infected by a delivery of goods that they mentioned? Remember to check with Woomera. If the disease onset is roughly equivalent and I have the numbers from Dr. Merienstar’s notes in my mind properly, then I can perhaps figure out where the supplies were coming from. By the Eight, hopefully this is a freak accident and there aren’t more tainted supplies being spread across Dawn Haven.

Several days pass without a written entry after this. The next five pages, front and back, contain the sketched faces of smiling children, one human, two dwarves, two gnomes, four half-elves, and one elf. Five of them have the phrase “Find Peace in the Eight” scratched on the corner in a trembling hand. The elven child is one such marked figure.

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Session 7.1
In Which Monsters are Unmasked

Calder and Waeslyn made haste to Cape Hope, planning to deliver their portion of the medicine with the utmost haste to the patients who had originally requested it. Riding hard, they made good time until powerful rain delayed their journey. They arrived into Cape Hope after four days of exhausting travel under heavy rain. They explained their urgency and situation to the guards, and were quickly ushered into the city.

Waeslyn’s status secured them comfortable lodgings, and they learned more about the sickness, its victims, and the physician who was in charge of treating them. He had developed a heavily negative image in the public eye according to their hosts. They resolved to see him first thing in the morning, and recovered from their long journey in luxurious beds, although Calder slept fitfully at best.

That morning as the clouds parted they ate quickly and went straight to the clinic. It had been cordoned off and armed guards were restraining angry citizens shouting at the walls. Presenting their case, they were quickly escorted inside and into the office of Julius Merienstar. The man had clearly been under heavy stress as a result of his posting and was not overly polite or reserved in his displeasure to see the reduced portion of medicine the duo had brought.

After tense conversation, the duo joined him on a tour of the infected patient’s tents. They debated back and forth who should receive what medicine they had and under guidance and reasoning, they believed they had chosen the 5 most viable patients. Calder sought time to himself to prepare to assist the doctor in administration of the medicine. He stated he would send word to them of the developments of the ones treated, and clearly expected to only further sully his reputation as a result of his choices.

The duo then journeyed to the Whistler’s dispatch in town to formally make note of Cragaughn’s fate. The elder interviewed them thoroughly about the events of the assault but seemed to be satisfied with the answers given. He collected Cragaugh’s papers, but allowed them to keep the boots and haversack as rewards for their efforts. Notably, Calder did not mention or return Cragaugh’s personal journal.

Taking advantage of the abundant resources available in the city, the pair next visited the market to restock on supplies, not knowing when next they would have the opportunity to do so. Calder purchased a trio of messenger tokens, one of which was immediately dispatched to Maarus and Woomera with instructions for the safe application of the medicine. Also purchased was a second horse of calm disposition to increase their return South.

Having had an exhausting day both physically and emotionally they returned to the manor for a second night of rest before hitting the road the next day. As they approached the manor, they passed a procession of monks praying and burning varieties of incense. Pleasantries were exchanged with his family, but Waeslyn was easily reminded why he had not chosen this life. Refreshed and reinvigorated, they informed their hosts that if things went according to plan, they would soon return to spend a more significant time in their company. They rushed south, hoping their companions had received the message in time.

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Divisive Choices

From the journal of Waeslyn the Widestepper, dated 22 Mure

It’s been several days on the road now, and we’ve come to a problem. Milvin, the innkeeper’s boy, has traveled with us, and Woomera’s taken him on as a sort of squire. Regardless, we had smooth travels for quite some time, up until we got to a lake south of the intersection with the settlement of Seventeen where we found a dead Whistler. Craughan was his name, and he was attacked by a cohort of Mahi-Tahi. We fended off the bandits, only to learn from the survivor that the reason for the attack was for medicine for what sounds like a Forktongue version of Limepox. We weren’t willing to sacrifice either the Scalyfolk who don’t know how to make medicine, or risk denying the Alliance their due property. It was decided, since we had two vials of the medicine, that we would split up to bring one portion to each. Caldor and I will be riding north at dawn, to Cape Hope. I’ll carry with us the papers from Craughan’s trip and attempt to determine where the medicine was due. Woomera and Maarus will be trekking south to the Forktongue settlement so she can cure their healers. In all likelihood, we will be able to make good enough time to meet back up with Woomera and Maarus before they reach the settlement or not long after. While we are in Cape Hope, I will be attempting to learn what root is distilled to create the cure, to help enlighten the natives so they can better protect themselves. I can only hope that they will see these gifts as proof of the benevolence of the Alliance, but Woomera’s concept of justice for the captured bandit leaves me uncertain they will be as willing to accept us as Woomera has. She is certainly a credit to her people, that she has shown such wisdom and progressive acceptance of our ways.

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Session 6
In Which Choices are Difficult

After tending to their wounds, the party made camp for the night. They had taken a single prisoner from the band of Mahi-Tahi, who lay unconscious and tied to a tree. Examination of the late whistler’s journal revealed that he had been carrying medicine north to Cape Hope, the party’s original destination before the skirmish.

Wanting to know more about what happened, they revived the prisoner, and Woomera interrogated him wearing the ceremonial war paint she carried with her. She learned that he had come from a village far to the south suffering from a disease that had been contracted from Horizon Alliance traders. They had never encountered this disease before, and were desperate to get the medicine by any means. After a brief whispered conversation, Woomera executed the prisoner for his transgressions.

As the party discussed their options, many arguments were presented. Could they condemn the Mahi-Tahi to death, even though they had gone to such violent lengths to acquire the medicine? Could they accept denying the medicine to the children of Cape Hope relying upon its delivery? In the end, they resolved to attempt to save as many as they could. They would divide their group, and the medicine, between the two destinations.

Waeslyn would join Calder on his horse as they made for Cape Hope with all haste to take their half of the medicine to the Horizon Alliance. Once their business there was concluded, they would depart and attempt to meet up with Woomera and Maarus.

Woomera and Maarus would take the wagon and majority of the trail rations and begin the journey south to Kowiringa, the outpost village of the Mahi-Tahi in the wetlands near the Great Eastern Forest.

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Cragaughn's Travelogue
Heavily Worn

This leather-bound tome is clearly well traveled, and chronicles the Whistler’s recent journeys. The pages are covered in entries interspersed with sketches of everything from people to places to plants and so on. Towards the end there are multiple pages with pressed leaves in between them and notes on the properties of the flora.

several of the most recent entries towards the end stand out to you a you peruse the tome:

35th of Vemist
Clear Skies
Jerky, nuts
41F, 14W, 15T
Denoted here in case I should need to recall the location:
Upon their home they stand vigilant. Behind the two giants, the not uncorrect path spies a blue curtain. Curse my granite brain, I’ve yet failed to mold that to a catchy tune. Spreading the song amongst other Whistlers might prove an entertaining hint should I be sent on else wandering route in the future.

37th of Vemist
Mild Rain (Morning to mid-afternoon)
Jerky, Wakeroot
39F, 12W, 14T
The cave location appears to have remained undiscovered by either civilization. It’s remote location means that it is likely that will remain so for some time. Had that storm two years ago not led me here I would never have found it. Whatever foul beast(s) lair within appear to detest the open air for all that I have ever seen them, but their smells and other signs show they remain. I dare not venture further in and must settle for safely collecting the curious ores from sparse deposits near the cave mouth. They can quite easily be fashioned, by someone with training in the craft, into bullets that explode with elemental energy. My last trip to this hidden trove was enough to barter a pair of boots from the wizard. This cache I might well spend on a wand. I believe Tomi may have been correct about the upcoming drought. I begin now the long and winding road north towards Trinity Bay, Tomi, and home.

12th of Paman
Clear Skies
Jerky (now depleted)
24F, 2W, 2T
Food supplies remain plentiful, aside the fresh lack of meat. First return town is nearby, will restock provisions there, and see if medicine order has been processed. They have plenty of the root necessary to distill the curative needed north in Cape Hope. Limepox has recently befallen several there, and they should welcome relief.

17th of Paman
Clear Skiers, heavy northerly wind
None*
30F, 22W, 17T
May have overdone my traveling storyteller act. Only now do I regain my ability to stomach solid food, and slowly at that. Food that spicy should not be offered as food. I daresay black pepper alone may be more than sufficient for my next stock of seasonings. The wind at my back speeds travel pleasantly.

24th of Paman
Unseasonable fog
Wakeroot, blueberries
23F, 15W, 10T
I cannot be sure, but I suspect I am being followed. The horses have become uncharacteristically skittish at times when the path should cause them no worries. I have stashed the valuable ores within the hidden compartment, in case bandits who have escaped my notice learned of my trade last year. That they would follow me this far this well is surprising. Or perhaps the wizard seeks to no longer rely upon my services for supply? A chilling thought. I will maintain extra vigilance until I can return deeper to the Horizon Alliance.

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Session 5
In Which Wheels are Set in Motion

Knowing they had a long journey ahead of them, the group assembled at the general store run by the gnome Leopold to stock up for the road ahead. Leopold supplied, in addition to the custom built wagon, a variety of travel rations and repair supplies. Calder in particular purchased several unique items, much to Leopold’s joy. Woomera and the rest of the party bartered with the smith Abigale for a magic spear she had been saving as well. They spent one final night at the Aftcastle, thanking their hosts for being so accommodating, and enjoying what might be their last night in comfortable beds for some time. They did at last witness a victory in the ongoing battle for intoxication among the dueling gentlemen ever present in the bar’s corner table.

The next morning, they set of bright and early with all their supplies loaded into the wagon. Near midday, when they were already some distance from FreeWaters, a mysterious sound was heard coming from inside the wagon. Investigation revealed that the barhand boy Milvin had stowed away in the cart, eager to live his own adventure. There were significant protestations among the group, but in the end he was allowed to accompany them, if only on a provisional basis. Woomera, perhaps because she was the only member of the group already experienced raising children, seems to have been most involved in making sure the lad pulls his weight. And owing to a life of early labor and long hours at the inn, he does not significantly grouse about any chore he is asked to do. He is not the greatest chef in DawnHaven either, but whether or not they are willing to admit it, he has far more experience preparing food than most of them do.

As Waeslyn explained the hazards of approaching a very Xenophobic town at a crossroads, the party agreed to take a loner path to the south. As they began to look for suitable campsites that evening, they came upon one already settled. When they got closer to investigate it was revealed that there was a lone traveler, recently slain. Tracking the assailants found them crouched behind nearby boulders waiting for the party to pass them by. They were a small band of Mahi-Tahi, and viscous fighting ensued. After a bloody battle, the box they had stolen was retrieved. Their leader, or at least the largest among them, barely survived and was bound against the tree to be questioned if he awoke. The body found to be a Whistler by the name of Cragaughn Thoroughvein was laid to rest with honors by Maarus, as were the Mahi-Tahi by Woomera. As they dismantled the traveler’s cart for firewood, several interesting items were found stashed inside.

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The Games

From the Journal of Waeslyn the Widestepper, dated Mure 10

Still in a bit of a state from the drinking after the games. Happy with my placement; got the top spot in rifles, and third in both archery and pistols. Earned a handsome 1200 gold pieces for my trouble, as well. We are determining our future route soon. By the Eight, what I’d give for some willowbark to chew right now. Drank a little more than I meant to after Mourianis announced me using a surname instead of a title. Saw some people recognize the name, which was unfortunate. Good thing we are taking off before too long. I’m always ready to leave before too many people start putting pieces together. Anonymity is a rare currency, and one I’d like to stay rich in.

Several ruffians were ready to accost Woomera for her place in the contest, but I managed to meet them before she got there. My warning shot (full disclosure; that may have meant to be a crippling shot and my hand shook to make me miss) alerted deputy Dirk to the clamor, and before long Maarus and Woomera were there as well. Luckily, no fatalities from the night, save perhaps my dignity. I hope I didn’t make too much of a scene after blacking out, though it’s been a while since I had something to authentically celebrate. And taking the edge off is always good.

There is, on the facing page, a table as if from a ledger, with goods and expected costs. These sums tables have many things with question marks, mostly as relate to the amount of alcohol to provide for Maarus or how much Calder eats on a regular basis. The table with expected costs for feeding Iument is incomplete, rubbed clean near the bottom, and finished with a sketch of Iument instead of a sum.

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Session 4
In Which Competition is Fierce

After a night of restful sleep, the party made their way to the competition grounds to participate in the Games of Mure. Each adventurer had chosen the event or events they felt most confident in. Each prepared in their own way. Waeslyn Methodically cleaned his rifle, Maarus topped off his stores of liquid courage, Woomera inspected the competition javelins, and Calder sought some peaceful time for personal focus.

The first event to be held was the foot race, and of the party only Maarus had chosen to compete in the event. Early on in the race, his sense of fair play pointed out to the other competitors a disguised pitfall that could have caught less wary athletes. As they raced about the twists and turns up the hill, the race was neck and neck going into the final stretch. In a stunning turn of events, the runner with whom Maarus was tied repayed his earlier warning, alerting Maarus to a last hidden pitfall. His jump brought him into the finish line first to roaring applause. Elated at the challenging competition, the runner-up rewarded Maarus with a tight bear hug.

After a period to allow for the crowd to migrate and judges to prepare, the battery of marksmanship competitions began. Arrows were nocked to bows as the archery targets were placed. Calder showing unprecedented skill (and uncharacteristic paranoia of his competition) repeatedly out shot the others, including Waeslyn who admitted that firearms were more his specialty.

In what will likely be the most talked about event of the games, the Javelin portion of the marksmanship competition saw Calder and Woomera compete. This was hardly a competition however, as Woomera demonstrated undeniable superiority over the rest of the athletes. One gnome in particular did manage to place a javelin on target at great distance during the event however, earning the notice of Woomera for his skill.

As powder was poured and pellets packed, the straw targets were replaced with flat steel plates to signal the beginning of the rifles portion. Waeslyn took steady aim and, using his years of training, struck the center mark time and time again. Even before the last of the smoke cleared from the firing line it was clear that he had secured victory in the event.

Int he local favorite, the quickdraw competition rounded out the marksmanship gauntlet. Bottles were placed on the fence opposite competitors and Maarus and Waeslyn took their places on the firing line, along side the rest of the duelists including one Deputy Dirk. Waeslyn’s expertise with firearms was focus on careful shots to ensure a successful hit, and as such he was not as reflexive to crack shots as quickly as he was accurately. As the bullets flew and bottles shattered, the competition was whittled down to just two combatants, Maarus and Dirk. Maarus throughout the competition had shown lightning reflexes as had Dirk. However on the final shot Dirk’s pistol jammed giving the win to Maarus.

The party enjoyed the attention (for the most part) and basked in their wins as they enjoyed the wrestling portion that none of them had chosen to compete in. Although in Woomera’s case she was actually prevented from entering. The runner who had encased Maarus in a bear hug was eliminated in the quarter finals, and Abigale the blacksmith suffered a ring out in the semi-finals. The final bout between two huge brawlers devolved into a slugging match with the end being decided by a devastating right hook.

On the award podium, the winners were called one by one to receive their prizes. Woomera was loathe to part with her weapons, but issued orders to Milvin to give out personal rewards on her behalf to certain competitors. Maarus remained of anonymous origin, but Waeslyn was inexplicably shaken by his name being announced. There were murmurs during his time on the podium that paled in comparison to the split uproar when Woomera accepted her reward.

Calder departed from the festivities early fielding no shortage of offers to spend the night with impressed fans. Waeslyn sought some personal time to collect his thoughts as the others stuck around the fair grounds. As he returned to town he was accosted by thugs who wished to recoup their betting losses on he an his “pet monster.” Waeslyn’s upstanding code disallowed him to resort to violence against them and did his best to de-escalate the situation. As Woomera and Maarus arrived to the sound of his warning shot, the mob quickly demoralized.

At the turning point, Dirk stepped out of the shadows, pistol drawn. He made a show of blaming the three for rigging the games, and implied he would not mind settling the score with Maarus with working guns as he approached. But one he was in arms reach of the two brutish ringleaders, he quickly altered his demeanor and placed them both under arrest. With the situation resolved they returned to the Aftcastle and thoroughly depleted their stock.

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