Wiffofina & Shalley-Mae Xilfauna
- Kaya: Other than the griffin rider, is there any other person who’d be willing and capable to take exceptional care of her beloved boar. Also have they seen any shadier than normal people nosing about or if this place doesn’t see many new people, have there been any people who have visited the pub lately who they didn’t know or know someone who could vouch for them
Wandering up to the tavern, the group sees that it is a two story establishment. The lower level is painted dark purple, black & red while the upper level is painted orange, tan & white. The color combination is an eyesore but more odd is the sign. It has a name & image on one side that differs from the name & image on the other. Inside, it is crowded with hungry, thirsty patrons. The air is loud with conversation but you can still hear the two sisters arguing. One is demanding that the sign outside be changed ON BOTH SIDES to “The Gryphon’s Roost” and the other is adamant both sides of the sign should read “The Crow’s Cup”. Apparently this argument is common enough that the patrons largely ignore them and continue drinking.
After serving you all a complimentary meal on the house (as a welcoming gesture), Wiffofina says big Ursa’Eckhart is a known animal lover & would probably jump at the chance to care for someone’s pet taint-ripper. Shalley-Mae interjects & states that the boar is best given a job to keep it feeling wanted. She suggests speaking with the rangers corps to see if they need a tracker, since boar have such a fantastic sense of smell. Then the two sisters return to arguing about who knows animals better and which sister is more of an idiot.
Corporal Kestra-Lee LeRouge
- Kaya: is intrigued with this woman and she visits her to offer a first hand account about rifts, hoping that in return she can tell Kaya something new about any rifts around here that may be helpful in aiding against Convergence.
Kestra is a slim, dark haired woman with short, spiky hair, glasses & yet dressed in Valanese platemail. She can be found in the fire tower, literally sitting on a makeshift chair made out of books. There are several dozen large tomes here in her sunroom.
When asked about Rifts, her eyes widen in unexpected joy. You can tell it is not a frequent occurrence that anyone asks her about her favorite topic then again, she also doesn’t receive many visitors here either.
She hops down from her “throne of knowledge”, as she calls it, and cracks her knuckles. She talks fast. Real fast. You think you hear something about fractures in time & space. Past, present & future possibilities all being intertwined perpetually and that the Dreamsea is the realm of all thought & emotion that reacts concurrently with us and in conjunction with all the mortals of the mid-realm, otherwise known as Primora. The two realms exist as on either side of “The Veil”, which is the term for the invisible fabric separating the two worlds. This fabric can tear when great ejections of magical, Undine energy bubbles over into our world but the cause of these eruptions are not quite known. All we DO know is that the Rifts are a symptom of a much larger problem, called a Nexus event. These events are incredibly dangerous and change our world in a multitude of ways, not always for the better. New creatures are born, some go extinct, the rules of magic are rewritten and entire swaths of land can be changed nearly overnight.
A Nexus exists in no realm. It is its own thing and is not effected by space & time. Within this bubble of anomalous energy, powerful Undine creatures, many that most consider godlike, battle for control of the Nexus. “Winning a Nexus” purportedly grants the champion any wish they desire. Undine are drawn to a Nexus like a moth to a flame so all one need to do is watch for a greater density of Undine creatures within any one location to determine where a Nexus will be appear. Mortals can compete within a Nexus event but there is no record that one has survived. The powers that be are typically far too powerful for any mortal to match up against.
Getting back to Kaya’s original question – Rifts are bizarre gateways into another elemental plane where the physics are completely alien to inhabitants of Primora. They can be closed by finding the point of focus that caused the Rift in the first place. This is called Rift Essence. Sometimes killing the powerful Undine within the Rift can yield this essence but other times it can be simply destroyed without a big fight. Since the essence is comprised entirely of the elemental energy of that plane, using magic of its opposing element is usually enough to collapse the Rift. Care should be taken to not be inside it when it does, lest the champions be trapped upon that plane. Once done, remnants of that Rift Essence can be claimed and used as the champion sees fit, though Kestra suggests that the essence be given to the order of the Tri-Magi Sorcere for safe keeping. Such things if fallen into the wrong hands, can be absolutely lethal.
She then smiles, hops back onto her throne of knowledge with a new tome in hand and bids you good day.
Master Rodolfo Penno
- Mason: Hearing that he is privy to some golden opportunities, Kaya approaches him to ask him what type of opportunities were available for her as well as her crew. Perhaps she or a few from the group can achieve some of them while they are on their main mission
- Kaya: Information about Convergence, his movements, goals, etc. News from the north. News from Mountain Fort.
The wealthy merchant has fingers full of priceless rings, ears pierced with gold and necklaces that gleam with jewels. He seems starkly out of place here with garishly colored robes, swarthy sun beaten skin and his head wrapped in a blue turban. His accent sounds more foreign than even the elves – not like anything you’ve ever heard before. Though short in stature, he beams with confidence and has a rich laughter that echoes throughout his large shoppe with it’s vaulted ceiling and decorated rafters.
Rodolfo’s store is a wild, cluttered mess of everything a traveler needs and a whole lot you don’t. Some of it junk, some of it odd but mostly utilitarian and fairly priced.
It’s routinely packed with customers, not all fort soldiers either. His two guards are impressive behemoths of human size (you think they’re human anyway), but have the same complexion as their employer… desert people from the Miscan Wastes, you wonder?
To answer your question, Rodolfo says you inquiry about Convergence is better asked to the ENORMOUS giant of a Trull named Lughani, or Big Lug as he’s fondly known as. He grew up with the one known as Convergence. All Rodolfo knows of him is the fear his name causes in sane men.
He shares his thoughts on the mountain fort & of the north: Fort Ravenwillow is reclusive & heavily fortified as well as being nestled within a high mountain. It is the easiest to defend requiring less men due to it’s rumored gnomish technology. Cannons, siege equipment built directly into buttresses, you name it. The only way to take the place would be from within. There are even secret tunnels to get resources in & out far outside the valley. The soldiers there are hardened, humorless men that keep their methods quiet. They have access to the farmer’s of the valley and require nothing from the state or other forts. Unlike most Valanese, they have no cavalry, just infantry & artillery. Those men & women are pure tacticians and rely on their wits to outsmart their foes and crush them with minimal effort.
News of the north is grim. Sovren’Re, the capital city, is a practical ghost town. The royals are hunkered down behind fortifications and the few that live & work within the city, fear the worst. Resources from the northern country have ceased flowing. Everyday more & more bodies are shipped home in boxes. The stalwart Vikings of Jhotenskoll have retreated to the mountains and fight a gorilla campaign to try & retake their captured villages.
Stories tell of a woman with enchanting powers drawing able bodied men away to become her thrall. She whispers sickly sweet promises of survival & freedom from the Frost Giant’s ire. Freedom from the rule of a heartless monarchy. Freedom from personal choice. Rodolfo cannot confirm that any of this is true save for the looks of desperation in the eyes of the Valanese refugees seeking asylum within the southern hills.
As for Xavian & the Northern Horde, he warns you to stay away from the Nether. He used to be a SERIAL KILLER on the streets on Crow’s Port. No finesse, no fear – just pure unadulterated rage & violence to slake the voices within his head. Fists as devastating as sledgehammers & so damn fast, he could dodge arrows as if they were moving no faster than a black fly in autumn. Nethers are frightening creatures; cursed at birth and tormented by nightmares. Why Convergence made Xavian his second in command is unknown & bizarre. But no one can doubt that it only adds to the fearsome aura of the horde’s infamy.
Then he says you need to buy something or let the man behind you pay for his bit & bridal.
Lt. Commander Virgil Wolfe
- Kaya: asks if there’s new news about the Frost Giants in Kaya’s region.
This is need to be explored in-game. The commander is a key contact within the fort and we should role play this encounter – same goes for Intercessor Kin’Kaiden – hold all questions towards these two for our next session
2nd Lieutenant Chilton Rixx
- _ Mason: 2nd Lieutenant Chilton Rixx – Explain what we saw/did with the Norther Army and what we knew they going to do before we interacted with them. Any idea what they could be planning now?_
- Kaya: Knowing he is very experienced in this region, Kaya approaches his as a fellow warrior and asks him who and what have control of the sections of the region we have not yet explored. Does he know of any weaknesses or are there certain people who’d be interested in trading info and/or goods for info and/or goods we may possess.
He responds to Kaya by saying no one fully controls this area anymore. The War Dog Pack as well as Venom Mouth are no longer a problem thanks to the horde but worries when their Horns will turn on Valendale too. Weaknesses lay internally among their order and one would need spies within their ranks to learn more. There ARE defectors from the horde and he’s heard of a few holed up just across the Valanese border in a place called “Green Orchard”, an abandoned winery 80 clicks northwest of Fort Driftwood. Maybe check there?
As for trading information, he suggests making friends with Atheomarris & her rogues. Secrets are 50% of their business but does not elaborate on what the other half of their business model is.
Looking to Mason, Chilton believes he saw northern horde scouts recently & near Crow’s Port. That it a very bad omen. His guess is that they ARE NOT going to Howling Swarm just yet. He suggests you meet with some soldiers at the docks and hear whatever scuttlebutt they have heard recently. Perhaps they’ve seen something?
He also warns you to stay clear of the Wolfpines. He swears he saw 2 men turn into a giant 2headed wolf late one night. But….it could have been the ale playing tricks on his old brain.
Sgt Major Lars Wright
- Mason: Status of the Northern Army. Any other important/weird info?
- Kaya: asks if he can aid in warning the orcs of impending doom, since he does not believe all of them to be bad. She agrees with him and tells him an asshole is only an asshole if he’s an asshole…has nothing to do with his race.
You find Lars near the armory & chatting with a dwarf in red chain mail & a floppy hat complete with ostrich feather and he is named “Ezeek”. When you approach, the dwarf looks cautiously your way & departs….not making a sound. None one sound. It’s eerie, in fact.
Lars says there is a hurricane coming, despite the gorgeous weather today, and that this is no time for a war. Then again, when is? He says he knows of a shaman within the northern horde that Xavian uses to terrify his underlings since she is reported to be a Lich. Lars isn’t convinced of that though & suspects the woman to be a Carrian sorcerer who joined the horde to somehow free herself from her own curse. Lar’s scouts have seen her weeping near a memorial near here recently.
Lars is also worried that Convergence has spies inside Fort Driftwood. He’s been speaking to “the Lady of Shadows” in hopes she smokes them out before it harms us.
He turns to Kaya and nods. The orks MUST be warned. He suggests speaking with the enchanters about getting a “whispered word” to them, IF they have a scrying device within the Fort Redwood, much like they do at Fort Ravenwillow. If not, then you will have to request to fly there via Gryphon. The riders are good people with adventure in their hearts. Flying there before the hurricane arrive in a few days, is paramount. Speak with the commander and Intercessor of this fort first. Request the aid of the Riders and I’m more than sure you can get to your friends in time. Perhaps even circle the incoming army from high above and see what kind of units they have. If you have at least that tactical advantage going for you, then it will greatly aid in battle planning.
He looks to Kaya – just NO hopping off the Gryphon to kill them all yourself. Leave a few for the rest of us. It gets dull here in the fort most weeks. He smiles then goes about his duties.
Brigadier General Caedmon Aimes
- Mason: Best idea to get dwarves to smuggle Cyprian’s through? Or bypass dwarves and get smuggled through some other way?
Sadly, nothing but certain victory or safety so convince the damn dwarves to open their gates & let reinforcements arrive from Cypria. They need to believe Valendale can win! Or at the very least, that there are sufficient forces strong enough to defend the gates while they are opened. Smuggling troops through the mountain is unwise politically and even dangerous during the coming winter months. Though, moving a forces far south & through Broken Claw land is possible but ensuring safe passage past Convergence, Shadow Pride & beyond is rough. Maybe a b-line to the coast to board awaiting Valanese vessels would work? Still means sailing through Drowning Tide pirate waters.
Atheomarri the Huntress
- Mason: How much would it cost to “remove” two people from the “army” camp of the giants/wargs/howling swarm?
3,000 crowns a piece, so 6k total & they keep whatever treasure they find. In exchange for this service, they swear to the anonymity of the client and the quiet discretion that their services uphold. This price is non-negotiable but perhaps a deal can be struck regarding a job THEY need done. Something they won’t touch whatsoever. It involves tunnels. Darkness. And Goblins.
Squadron Leader Uhllam the Falconeer
- Mason: What is this large mythical beast. Is it a tribal “god.” If so, chance of killing it and making it look like the Nether did it?
- Kaya: wonders why she hasn’t asked someone sooner to assist her in learning the ways of the wild. She thought it very important, in this part of her journeying, to ask Uhllam if he could part with any wisdom on hunting and gathering so that she may provide herself and her group a better supply of food during travel.
Uhllam is woodsman, gryphon rider, ranger loner & quirky self afflicted Sylvan elf (Emeran) who talks to birds, mumbles strange limericks in elven quietly under his tongue & might be a little crazy. The fort relies on him greatly to find protein for the humans who eat animal flesh. You find him sinking arrow after arrow perfectly into a distant target dummy while his gryphon named Lummox devours an elk nearby.
Uhllam has indeed seen a massive spiritual guardian in the form of a 60 foot shark swimming off Crow’s Port. It then shifted into the form of a gray bearded sailor and waltzed into the city. Judging by the dock workers that evening, this creature knows them well and they seem to revere it as a deity. Dropping to their knees in supplication.
The wild eyed elf tells you that anything can be killed. Nothing is truly immortal. You just need to study it. Hunt it. Know where it eats, sleeps & shits. Discover its weakness then slowly lure it into a trap. Once there, kill it fast & show no quarter. If asked if he’d help, he’d declare “*A SIXTY FOOT LONG MEGASHARK? FUCK NO*. I may be crazy, but I’m not _stupid_”. Making the Nether look responsible for it is easy. Just ask the Enchantress to sell you some polymorph potions. You’ll have to go spy in Xavian to get his look down though. Good luck with that!
As for training, he turns to Kaya, yes he can train. He must be paid by the week and no less than 25 crowns. He suspects it would take 6 weeks to get you familiarized with woodland survival as well as hunting, trapping & stealth. His lessons are grueling as his students can expect to be on their feet all day and moving over rough terrain. They need to keep up otherwise he boots them from the course. He has no time for clumsy layabouts without a nose for forestry.
Then he’ll ask Nago to please not make eye contact with Lummox. It’s a recipe for disaster.
Gryphon Trainer Ellasina Zylentherra
- Kaya: Asks her if she’d be willing to take very good care of Boris. Let her know their history together, hoping to appeal to her love of animals side. Also, Kaya is no stranger to loving the difficulty and dangerous nature of training certain animals. Kaya is most interested in not only ensuring Boris would have someone to care for him but Kaya is also interested in becoming friends, over time, with Ellastina. They could bond over animals forever.
Ellasina is wrestling a young Gryphon into its stall at the time the group meets her. Her platinum blonde & curly hair, a wild mess as she drags the beast by its reigns inside & slams the door shut before it can break out. She laughs victoriously begins to wrap the nasty cut on her bicep where the Gryphon bit her. While beautiful, she is a monument of scars from her profession. Gryphons, you quickly realize, are VERY stubborn beasts not easily dispirited or broken. It’s probably for this reason as well as the joy of flying, that Ellasina loves what she does for a living.
When asks about Boris, she states that he SHOULD NOT go with the ranger corps nor with Ursa. While the big manbear is a gentle giant, the boar needs more astute attention due to his advanced age. The rangers may put Boris accidentally in harm’s way, though she admits he appears tough as nails and more than a match for any of her younger Gryphons. Ellasina gladly volunteers to care for Boris and says she can build a special pen for him large enough to get exercise, protected from predators and that she would visit him in both the morning and the night. She’s familiar with boar and welcomes any challenge it could present besides, Boris looks like he would be “charming” company, then she laughs and points to the Gryphon stalls – unlike these pigheaded chickens over there! She laughs more and says she will come find Kaya later once her shift ends, to go over the arrangement in more detail.
Vesryn Misenmor & Pepper Drakesblood
- Kaya: She lets him know her fighting style and the times in which she really needs an extra push in order for him to hopefully concoct some useful potions for her and her new battle boar. Kaya also approaches Pepper in a similar fashion to her husband. She asks is there’s anything better the elf can place on her giant axe than the fire damage she already has on it. Perhaps she can also help with Kaya and Dinah’s armor.
Climbing down a stone spiral staircase into the bowels of the rock at the base of the fort, the group enters a seemingly subterranean cavern that serves as a shoppe for weird & wondrous potions & enchantments. The two magicians are found inspecting a corpse on a table within their laboratory. It is a tribesman and it appears he’s been murdered, judging by the slit throat. They are muttering to themselves in elven about “what this man saw just before he died, if anything and which spell would work best, to discover the culprit”.
When they notice the group, they quickly cover the corpse with a sheet and dismiss the whole thing as nothing “out of the ordinary”. They ask how they can help you then share their price list of goods & services.
there will be a separate post about the shoppes here in Fort Driftwood, so look to that for what you can buy
- Mason: I’d also like to know the general feeling of the fort-folk, factions (beyond just elves & dwarves), how the factions feel about each other, and general “power level” of each faction (political or otherwise)
Fort Driftwood infuriates you to no end! Strong defenses, grand buildings, plenty of healthy soldiers gorging themselves on food & wine. The people here are strong & confident, unlike the central forts of Redwood, Iron Elm & White Birch. Where were the shared resources? Why did Eric Flannigan have to struggle to survive? How many of his men died to malnutrition, disease & infection? The differences are vast between this and what he suffered. Driftwood acts as an autonomous entity, free of the plagues that robbed many loyal soldiers of their lives.
That said, the atmosphere here is upbeat. Soldiers work hard to keep this fort structurally sound while other soldiers train like dogs. The deafening cries of the gryphons flying overhead startles everyone not used to this area. They are massive and deadly. Splitting the sky in locked formations that make you honestly wonder how they could be defeated. It’s THAT impressive.
The elves & humans mostly stay out of each other’s way. It’s an alliance as old as the Dale itself. The humans are more vocal in their annoyance with elven cuisine & the haughty attitude of the Auran (high/gold elf) militia. The Tribunal of Stars is a coalition from the Lead Forest Nation that heads the militant defense here all the way out here east. The Emeran elves are a part of the tribunal & petitioned the council for aid. Since the Intercessor holds the highest position within the council, his rank is slightly higher than the current commander of Driftwood. Ceding his position over the last year wasn’t easy and the humans pitched quite the fit. But it is what it is and life goes on.
Like most Valanese, their view towards the dwarves of Carboncinder isn’t all rosy. Why aren’t they helping? Valendale is a huge trading partner & ally. By not lending aid, the dwarves are effectively dooming them to extinction. The elves eye roll when asked about it. They assume the dwarves would bow out of the war since they’re viewed as greedy little opportunists not keen on sharing in the bloodletting unless they can profit from it.
Several mutter insults towards Eric Flannigan and his men. They’re seen as cowards & deserters. No one is too loud about it but it is whispered. You also see wanted posters of various Valanese criminals – one of which is Sebastian Hastings: wanted for deserting his post, horse theft… & the murder of two senior officers, one being a noble. A bounty for his capture is set at $7,500 crowns.
You learn that Intercessor Kin’Kaiden has a son who is seriously ill and slowly dying of leprosy. He is not allowed in the fort and is kept in a fortified cabin in the woods, guarded by some rangers. Healing the disease hasn’t worked for some reason and the Intercessor is desperate to find a cure.
You learn that the enchanters are two shadow elves that are married and bicker nonstop, almost as much as the two sisters who own the local tavern. The duality of Driftwood is a palpable tension which is a given what with the odd intermingling of various cultural groups. Despite this, they remain unified against their common foes and train endlessly in preparation for an all out assault.
Lastly, you finally hear about the civil war in Millennia and you are all now convinced that Primora is simply coming apart at the seams.
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