Chapter Twenty-Nine

December 3, 2011


            When we awake the next morning, we find the Baron has regained consciousness.  After a brief conversation and some quick prep work, we head out toward his village and leave Korvinean to burn the stockade to the ground and catch up later.

The people are worried about their crops and want to stay in the village.  We leave them with the suggestion to mount some meager defenses, and go with the baron back to his castle.  He instructs his various seneschals and household servants to ready the great hall for a meal.  With roughly three hours before the meal should be laid out, we all begin to drink.

Our cups never go empty, and I notice that our host seems to hold his drink exceptionally well.  After some time, the servants bring in a huge pig on a spit.  This beast must be at least five- or six-hundred pounds and rivals Obsidian in size.  Ulric regales the assembly with stories of our adventures—and Briggette corrects the bits where he conveniently forgets the contributions of others.  We have a wonderful time and are treated as true heroes.  Around midnight, they bring in a marzipan statue of several knights attacking a group of ogres.  The craftsmanship is outstanding, and the flavor even better.

Suddenly, Ulric turns to Briggette and says, “Good, Sir Knight! I do believe we should do this hall the honor of having a dance, as that has probably never happened here.  In this place.”

Briggette looks up at him and grins, “That sounds like a great idea!”  He takes her hand and pulls her up.  Both of them teeter and totter a bit, but ultimately seem to start a trend.  Korvinean pulls up one of the serving girls, and I dance with the Baron’s good-looking herald.  When Ulric and Briggette comes close to Brianna, he whispers, “Brianna, someone has to dance with the baron before Korvinean does!”  Begrudgingly, Brianna obliges.  She doesn’t dance well despite her grace in fighting, but everyone seems to have a good time anyway.  I spend quite a bit of time dancing and talking with Boian.

About 3am, a large portion of the guests have passed out.  While I have not, I know that I am dangerously drunk.  Gustav begins to corral Ulric to his room as the baron’s herald, Dan, does with Briggette.  She starts to follow complacently, then breaks away, runs up to Ulric and leans up to plant a kiss on his cheek.  Just as she closes in, he turns his face so that her lips meet his and pulls her into an embrace.  He kisses her deeply before the men separate them and lead them to their rooms.

The next morning when we wake, we all have a cold glass of wine by our beds.  I feel a bit feverish and ill in my stomach—I must be coming down with something.

When we find the baron in the yard that afternoon, he is wearing a giant dwarven waraxe on his back.  He invites us to stay as long as we wish.  When we must leave, he offers that we may refill our rations from his stores.  We take him up on his offer and continue on our way back to Brasov.


            About noon the next day, we ride up on a group of four people in red robes travelling the same direction as us.  The two women are wearing hoods.  They hail us as we approach.

After we introduce ourselves, Briggette asks, “Whom do you serve?”

“We serve the universe,” one of the men states.

Through continued conversation, we discover that they originally hail from across the sea.  They are trying to get to “the most important event in the universe.” 

They don’t know what that event is or where precisely it is, but they will know when they get there.  We ride with them for a time, but then part ways and move along after a time.

We break to make camp for the night, and around 10:30, we see four figures approaching our camp.  Korvinean calls out to them, assuming them to be the same people we passed earlier, “Hail!”  He hops down out of his perch and goes to meet them on the road.  He invites them to camp with us for the night.

When first watch is over, Briggette gets up to go wake the next shift.  When she stands, she finds Boian right behind her, standing right over her.  As he rarely speaks to her, she finds this behavior exceedingly odd.  He asks her who our guests are, and makes plans accordingly to keep an eye on them.  He tells Briggette and Ulric after Briggette wakes Ulric that his tattoo is aching.  He says he knows it has a meaning, but he doesn’t what that meaning is.  He warns Ulric not to trust them in the same way he would not trust an ogre.

With that, Ulric gets up, walks over them.  He begins to question their obvious leader, but can find no satisfactory answers to his suspicions.  After a while, it is time for the watch to change again, and Ulric wakes me.

I notice a very slight glow to Boian’s tattoo.  I try to find out about it in conversation about its meaning, but Boian deftly avoids the subject.  After a time, I notice something large moving around out camp.  I notify Boian, and he and I wake Korvinean first, then the others.  We all quietly and quickly prepare for a possible fight, then we wait and watch.

Ulric and Briggette mount up and begin to circle the camp in a wide arc.  About halfway through their circle, they see a large beast break from the brush in front of them and run off in the opposite direction of camp.  Ulric has Korvinean track the creature.

Shortly, he comes back and says that there are two of them, large beasts with claws similar to a monitor, but with movement more catlike than lizard-like.  He thinks they have been following us for a while.  In a bit, we pack up the camp and move out for the day.

Around 9:00, Briggette notices that Boian is not with us.  We worry about his intentions, but ultimately decide he is his own man, and move on without him.  Shortly, we come to a bridge that has been torn down.  Korvinean says it looks as though it was torn asunder just last night.  We move upriver and find a ford about six miles up.  I search for any signs of an ambush, and finding none, we form up single file and begin to move across.

We follow the river back down to where we would have been on the road had we crossed the bridge.  When we get there, we find an arrow sticking in the road.  While we don’t recognize any particular fletching, we do notice a note attached to the arrow.  Ulric opens it:

My Lord
     They are not who they claim to be.

            I examine the note for any hidden messages or meanings.  I notice that his signature, which is quite flamboyant and flowing, seems to end in a flourish that is quite snake-like in nature.  Otherwise, I notice no encryption, and we continue on our way.

            We come to a village just on the other side of the river.  We stay in the tavern for the night, and plan to ride hard the next day to try to make it all the way home.  Korvinean does tell us that the two large beasts seem to be tracking our party specifically.