Sunday, August 21, 2016

Idalium Game 50: The Bear Necessities

Session date: Monday, April 25, 2016
Game date: Sunday, October 20, 208 to Tuesday, October 22, 208

Gulleck Stonefoot, Dwarf 4, hp 23, xp 9180/17000
Caryatid, Magic-user 4, hp 19, xp 10813/20000
Simon Sackwell, Halfling 1, hp 4, xp 403/2000

Manley "Meat" Smythe, Fighter 2, hp 13, xp 3021/4000

It was a relatively short session this week, and almost entirely dealing with logistics and making preparations for the long journal back to the adventurers' home city of Idalium. Having routed the remaining wererat monks, but having suffered the loss of Brother Guntur, the adventurers regrouped in the courtyard of the monastery to tie up loose ends and prepare themselves for the journey home.

They were all hungry (and pretty much out of rations), so they set to work preparing the Abbot's slain grizzly bear. Grimbo (their hired hobbit ranger guide) skinned it (Tod called dibs on the fur) and once it was disemboweled and cleaned, they moved to the monastery's kitchen to start a low fire to roast the bear meat. In the kitchen, they made a terrible discovery. There was a pantry door secured with a padlock, which Gulleck hacked off with his axe. Inside, they discovered a meat locker of sorts, and hanging from a hook was the flayed body of Axel, who they had handed over to the monks in hopes that they could restore life to him! Oh, such cruel irony.

The group ended up moving Axel's remains to the catacombs below the temple, finding an empty slab to lay his body out upon. Brother Guntur was also laid there in the cool underground air, but temporarily, as Father Jibber was rather insistent that the right thing to do would be to return him to the Great Cathedral in Idalium, where he could be interred with the other members of his order. They ended up spending the night in the kitchen, next to the warm fire that was slowly roasting the bear meat.

In the morning, Khrisong (the acolyte they had rescued from the catacombs) packed up some of the more important scriptures. Having no other members of his brotherhood left, his plan was to return with the adventurers to Idalium, and hopefully start up a new monastery there. Brother Guntur's body was retrieved from the catacombs (where they bid a final farewell to Axel), and hoisted onto his horse. They ate as much bear meat as they could stomach, and then loaded up as much as they could carry for their journey. Then they made their way out of the accursed monastery, and carefully led the horses down the steps that wound around the mountainside.

Khrisong told them the nearest village was perhaps a dozen miles to the north. The party hoped to resupply there, and commission a proper sealed casket for Brother Guntur, so they could bring him back to Idalium without having to smell or look at him. They traveled through the mountain passes and over hills and valleys, without any significant encounters, and camped uneventfully in an alpine meadow.

On Tuesday the 22nd, they traveled the remaining few miles to the village, passing through pastoral fields where they began to see shepherds watching over flocks of sheep, and people working in fields of grain. Eventually, they came to the village, a small collection of wooden houses clustered in the midst of a thin grove of pine trees. The villagers watched nervously as the large procession of weary and battle-scarred adventurers entered their village, with a corpse draped over the back of one of the horses. The door of the grandest house opened, and a man emerged, flanked by two other villagers holding spears.

"Greetings, strangers," the man spoke guardedly. "I am the headman of this village. What brings you here?"

Gulleck and Caryatid both started talking at once, trying to explain their odd appearance (with somewhat contradictory stories), but they were cut off by the sight of four monks in saffron robes stepping out of the doorway of the headman's house.

"It is them, headman!" hissed one of the monks. "These are the vagabonds I told you about! We welcomed them in to our monastery, gave them food and shelter, and they repaid us by slaughtering our entire brotherhood! Attack them! Attack them at once!!"

(Cliffhanger ending!)

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