Forward Into Danger

Field Report III
Alden Piermont Abercrombie - Flight Cadet

Target neutralized! My team and I have defeated a wyvern! An eagle riders most terrible foe – bested by teamwork and heavy weapons!

On a routine delivery mission (and clandestine inspection trip), we were asked by the human commander of one of the outermost but secluded posts to clear a nearby island of a band of orc raiders. We were warned they held a wyvern in their ranks, so we developed a strategy to lure the orcs into a disadvantageous combat position while drawing the wyvern into close quarters with the ship where its lack of maneuverability could be exploited.

Fortunately, our plan brought us the success we desired but not without heavy risks on our side. The plan went as follows: I was to fly at an extremely high altitude upon our approach, concealing my presence from our enemies. A troop of Rathan soldiers, led by Wade, were hidden below decks while the crew, Tannin, Kaman and the elf remained on deck – a seemingly tempting target for orc raiders. In addition, we concealed the presence of a loaded ballista on the bow. We were to tempt the orcs to board the ship and the wyvern (who we did not know would be riderless) to land. Once the signal was given, I was to swoop down and attack the wyvern, thereby drawing its attention and leadingh it into our ballista fire. At the same time, the Rathan soldiers were to boil forth from below decks and overwhelm the unsuspecting orcs. However, I can not admit that everything went according to plan.

First, Kaman must not have given a clear enough signal, as the rathans waited just a beat too long before coming forth. Wade used the element of suprise to drag the shaman below decks to be mobbed by the soldiers before coming out – while effective at eliminating a high priority target, came at the cost of Kaman and Ulundo almost losing their lives! In addition, and much to my suprise, I was unable to draw the wyverns attention for long at all. I came down from on high, plowed through it with a tactical weighted combat delivery, plugged a bolt between its scales, and flew upward between the masts towards the ballista. One of our gnome crewmen manned the siege weapon and took aim… as the wyvern chose a rathan target clear on the other side of the boat. I could not hold my position for long as Kaman desperately needed healing – I flew to his aid while the gnome took his shot and the ballista bolt found its mark! From here on, we managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. I would not call this a technical success – too much blood was carelessly shed. However, we did come away with a dead wyvern, several captured orcs, and zero casualties on our side.

I eagerly await my return to base with tidings of victory… and what I’m sure will be a constructive lecture on risk and communication.

the entry is followed by a drawn out battle plan, blue marks reflecting the original plan, red marks reflecting the plan as executed. Risks, successes and failures are all highlighted and notated.

In addition, I bear grave news of this human posts eagle rider. He has fallen to illness and his eagle has fled in grief. The eagle searched the surrounding area for help to no avail. I found no other evidence as to the source of the riders sickness. This position, while remote and made relatively safe by the orc temple concealed there, should be restaffed (and restocked) as soon as possible. The Rathans have proved their mettle in combat but are not being enabled to fight at their fullest potential. aIt looks like the emperor plucked them out of the farmlands and placed them on an island with no naval training – they’ve even made their only sea worthy vessel into a river barge after its mast was damaged long ago. They are able in mind in spirit, but will sink if not supported properly.

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Watership Down

After Ugly insulted the squire i decided we should make haste to weigh the anchor and leave. luckily we were blessed with strong winds and good weather. After consulting with Kamen, we choose to sail a full 5 days and avoid a small patch of sundered sea. I hope that this last drop will be quick so we can get back to the capital and restock.

(Map notes on sundered locations, and shallow reef locations)

This last location is a small fortress on top of an orcish burial chamber, it only has one body interned in it, he must have been very important. (it is easily 1,000 years old). More importantly the captain of this understrength line has informed us that there has been sightings of orcs nearby, it is time to see if we will get our first prize ship. The captain has also lost a small purse of coins and a light ballista, while i doubt we will use them for this fight it is good to have.

(notes and plans on taking a ship, plans imply ship is of equal or larger size)

We have defeated the orcs and taken a prize ship (kinda) but my companions performed admirably even though my plan nearly cost Kamen and Ugly their lives, these Orcs act nothing like the dwarven stories said they would, I was foolish to believe them and I must improve as to not be the cause what could have been a catastrophe. I have also gained some respect for the aerial corp, fighting only one manticore sans rider with a whole ship and crew was tough, putting ones self against it in the air is a feat. We have taken a total of 5 orcs alive, we can question them and after that we will turn them over to the captain so we he can have a labor force to help improve his position (and we will most likely also leave him with the “prize ship” that we took) . I am also weighing the option of distributing the small sum of gold among the soldiers that sailed with us.

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Knights and Fools

Taken from Kamen’s report on humanity

…so I don’t know how they managed to get him into the cask, but getting him out was quite the chore. Enough on the crew.

The humans, though adaptable and occasionally capable, have some serious problems in leadership. A man is considered experienced after only a decade, seasoned after but three or four, not nearly enough time to learn the finer points of war and command.

Compounding this is their custom of knighthood. A man may be given the opportunity to prove himself, but the system is rife with abuse of family connection and power. Worse yet, these oft-times imbeciles are afforded respect befitting a divinely-appointed position. While our people have occasionally been guilty of nepotism or greed, we at least recognize that the good of the whole must take precedence and will remove a wrongly-assigned dwarf and place him in a role more befitting of his skills. Like ditch digging.

Which brings me to the knight in charge of the lighthouse. The man is either incompetent or greedy, possibly both. He is a gold sword- ostentatious, nice to look at, expensive, but soft, dull, and useless. He must be replaced, lest he remain a drain on their resources and a potential gap in our defense.

The squire running the refitting operation, he is a steel hammer. A common tool, lacking in high regard among his superiors, but strong, capable, and respected by his men. Unfortunately, his status makes his masters less likely to acknowledge his success and more likely to blame him for the failures of his counterparts. We would do well to support him.

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Field Report II
Alden Piermont Abercrombie - Flight Cadet

Beyond several bundled sheafs of correspondence, Alden’s thoughts are drafted between paragraphs of tactical observation.

I cant believe father tried to buy off the riders. Actually I can believe it easily… He’d never recognize the danger that puts us all in and I dont suspect he’ll understand until the orcs storm the beaches and take our lands from us. Too bad it’s my duty not to let them be the ones to teach him a lesson, I’ll have to take that challenge on myself. I’ve returned his money while benefitting from his sudden change of heart… why build such a large eyrie on our homestead when I’m the only rider? Seems strange, and I don’t believe for one second it’s got anything to do with safety or altruism.

A log of signatures and time stamps follows, receipts of delivered correspondence

How odd mother never told me we had a rider in the family. Actually.. not that odd. Father never liked her side of the family. “Those musically inclined vagabonds… always steal your silverware!” I remember when he fired one of my aunts, whom he’d only hire as a field servant, because he caught her singing to the youngest of my siblings! He’s always walked all over her side of the family, except for the one who could fly apparently. This bracer should serve as a reminder that the legacy of my house is not set in stone.

Several pages of tactical manouvers and flight patterns follow, mapping the common training areas for bombing runs, rated by difficulty.

The humans have made themselves at home on the seas. Some are too comfortable. My companions are finding their sea legs while assessing the humans preparedness. They send their tired old soldiers, prisoners of war and just regular prisoners out to staff their vessels. Will it be enough when the orcs come? They intend to feast tonight, a charitable gesture, but we really should have brought them more goods. Not sure why Tannin let that foppish commander with an understaffed grotto take half our cargo – this old one could use it. He could have used it a long time ago. Oh well – the more swinging swords the better.

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Market Chatter

An account of events in the main eyrie, as overheard in the largest market hall

“I think that Pierpont is up to something…he publicly condemns the Eagle Riders some years back as a needless drain on the purse strings of society, and just yesterday he was seen courting that one-armed rider who runs the roost. I hear tell that he’s spent the last few years secretly grooming his youngest son to lead the whole lot of them! Makes sense if you ask me. Abercrombie would have his own lot of messengers, and another addition to that private army of his…”
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Of Wooden Ships and Iron Men (and dwarves and halflings)

After more days in port then I would have liked we were able to take back to the sea (and none of the crew had to be brought from jail, I do however believe that some of Kamen’s magic was used to stop some disease, but I don’t want to get into that). All in all we should be at sea for no more than 10 days as Kamen is set to inspect the humans and Alden has been sent on a field trip to visit real eagle riders. Kamen asked if I could get in with the human lords on these islands so I will play my part, I doubt the church is paying us beyond the ship fees but time on the open sea is good and rife with chances to gain wealth, glory and all those things that Ugly thinks I am after.

(additional notes on running a ship)

(3 days out) The crew has confirmed that the skys to the north are a small sundered island, I have noted on our navigation charts, we may return there on the way back to port to see if there is anything worth while.

(4 days out) I seem to have miss calculated on supplies or for some reason we used triple the firewood and water then we did last trip in 4 days, but our stocks are low and we will need to find an island and land for supplies.

(5 days out) We took 4 of the crew with us to the island, Ugly stayed on the ship, something about how he was not well disposed to manual labor and while he could tell others as to the best way to do it, he himself would not be able to for some reason. While we were able to gain the needed supplies, this island was also home to some mephits and their crude constructs. While the fight was not remarkable, the manner in which we fought was spectacular to the crew who watched, I doubt that, after this showing we will ever have to worry about their disloyalty (fear is a terrible way to rule, I hope to keep the crew happy with pay and provisions). It seems that a few Orcs were at one point marooned on this island, while what we found is minor we might be able to get a small amount of coin for it.

(6 days out) We stopped only a half day at the first point, a small light house controlled by an idiot with a title. This place was mis-managed and it was easy for anyone to see, if Rath hopes to make a good showing to its dwarven allies they will need to remove and restaff this post. However, the actual defenses that the dwarves built are impressive, like their city they use multiple rings of defenses, I would not want to assault such a place.

(Notes on leaks and how patching them with non-magical means from Kamen must be terrible)

(8 days out) We have arrived at a much larger facility where the humans only run a small portion, but the squire in charge seems competent, we will be staying until morning but I doubt that there will be anything negative to this post, for if there were the dwarves here would see it almost instantly.

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Maiden Voyage of the Ordronaux
Captains Log, Dated By the Stars, Spring 10 years since Bloody Summer

After long deliberation I have decided to name the ship Ordronaux which, in Celchian roughly translates to “Good Fortune” or “Royal Fortune”. While we launch with a short crew, we are by no means short on crew as the 5 gnomes are a very solid crew with Kamen acting as the quartermaster and default head of the ship’s regular operations. Only a fool would think that he is better then those around him and so I was reminded by a quick correction to my heading, it will take a long while for me to become accustomed to the complexities of navigation and command, but this life shall be much more interesting then those I previously choose. We are 5 days to a small unnamed island in which some old mine was abandoned, we hope to find it well enough for the dwarves to re-open, hopefully the first in a long line of successful and profitable endeavors.

(notes on navigation and routine ship activities)

We have come back from clearing the mine, it seems that some form of forbidden summoning was being done there which caused plainier justice to be dealt out. We were, with the help of what could have been our executioners, able to defeat and destroy the perverse magic left over. It was only though Ulundo’s quick thinking and words that the beings of law did not met judgement against us. While not a king’s ransom we have come out with a decent amount of wealth and will hopefully gain more upon our return to Gossid. We leave for another island which will only cause us to add a day of travel back and could lead to a very solid payout if we can capture a number of rare lizards (I am preparing a large portion of sleep poison and I plan to use sleep magic to maximize our profitability).

(A few pages with accounting of gold and expenses)

A successful raid on the lizard island, we captured unharmed 8 lizards and 1 egg which gave us a giant profit of 2,300gp at port. I also was able to subdue a large lizard but we could not keep it for it’s size, but I was able to extract some of its venom. Alden was nearly eaten when he was noticed by these lizards, they seem to have a pack mentality and his size put him thoroughly in the meal category, I fear if it were not for Kamen and Ugly’s quick thinking we would be returning a slightly sad eagle to Gossid alone. Wade seems to be getting better, the frailty of older humans when it comes to climate and temperature change is indeed true, I thought Ugly’s diatribe on it was just his ignorance fueling his intellect, but in this case I find his thoughts truthful.

With Kamen having his father pay the boats expenses, some numeric juxtapositioning and a contribution of some lost silver ingots I now have a total of 350gp paid toward my owning of this boat, after I restock on some supplies I may invest more but the Church of Gossid is paying for the next trip, a visit and inspection of some human controlled islands and flotillas. Lastly, after a series of tweeks and adjustments, I have stably set up my lab and equipment in my quarters and I shall be able to work during the next voyage.

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The Gates of Gossid
I should have sold that scroll

“Never trade a sack of gold for the map to a diamond mine.”

While I was aware of this slightly old dwarven saying, I feel now more than ever that I understand it (I should have just sold that scroll). At the edge of the sundered (marked with a crossed circle on my map now) is an old graveyard and magic temple to the holy eight. There is a divining pool there which I assume makes spells of this school more potent, and I did discover a scroll but I was more excited with the thought of using it then what I would ask, and for this I lost a small treasure and gained nothing useful, I should have taken the scroll and sold it for 10,000 silver.

Upon arriving at Gossid I was able to meet my primary objective of uncovering some interesting business people who, for a decent fee were able to part with some books and a small sampling of useful herbs, I will need to study and perhaps speak with some of my companions about helping me discover herbs. While it was slightly arduous, I was able to construct a full set of the finest alchemy tools which I will have set up in my quarters to work with.

Apparently both Kamen and Alden come from hugely wealthy families but the have no access to any of their families wealth. While I understand that the callings of the clergy have made him forsake his clan position, at least his father is giving us work and paying well for it. It seems that if Alden wanted, he has access to a near limitless amount of wealth, but some small spat with his father and his stubbornness has rendered him (of his own volition) destitute, very odd.

While I still lament me decision in the temple, it seems that luck has come back around and, as I strolled in the more questionable area of the docks I found a small ship, built for humans, sitting cobwebbed on storage struts. After inquiring as to its nature (some now dead human lord’s whim to have a personal luxury boat) I found it priced low at 15,000 gold, While I was not able to talk them down to a nice 12,000, they did come down a number of coins, and while we are currently renting it, 50% of that goes into the price of the ship. With some creative book keeping, making sure that what specific jobs we have explicitly pay for travel and rent I should be able to squirrel away a decent amount of money against this boat to have is paid for in less then 2 summers (if we can keep employment steady). While I do enjoy my current companions, I plan on keeping them out of the idea of owning the ship as they all harshly rebuked my initial attempt to obtain favorable loans from their well to do families. Also of note, I have found a solid but crude crew of gnomes who are much different then their brethren, I believe that this group may be from a distinct village or settlement instead of Gossid or one of the large flotilla cities.

Speaking of employment, it seems that both Kamen and Ugly were able to find some tasks that will net us a good amount of money. Kamen’s first task, a search and clear has his father paying the entire ship bill to include consumables and crew to check an old mine and clear it, which depending on the worth of the mine and what is in there may also pay a sizable reward. He has also been set on a more underhanded task by his church to check up on the human island forts, and while there will be little bounty or reward gold, his church is once again paying the same rates for the ship to take him there. The task that Ugly has found is not as much a job as an opportunity, it seems that there is a den of shocker lizards (strange creatures, slightly magical but still animal) which we are to raid. From what I have heard from him, and a few wizards in the city, these lizards are prized as familiars by dwarves (and most likely some of the transplant humans who seem to adopt the culture freely) and any lizard or eggs that we can obtain will fetch a high price. I will insist that the first money that comes from this go to pay the ship rental and the actual crew prices (we pay 3 sp per crew per day but 5sp is the rate that others will pay) and provision (with Kamen and the few contacts I have made restocking should run no more than 500 silver but this will be 800 to employers).

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Back Again
re: There

Penned a few pages into a fresh journal, along with scraps of paper replete with sketches

At last, after almost two full months, my training mission is complete and I am back in Gossud! Unfortunately, as I expected, my reputation has earned me no friends among the eagle riders. Nothing could have prepared me for making the acquaintance of my new commander, Daedalus. I tried to get the lay of the land by introducing myself to several people separately, so as to elicit an honest reaction under a comparable pretense, yet I only got the same unhelpful advice. They’ll not shake me so easily – I marched right up to the brooding, growling commander and presented my report proudly!

I have never been so humiliated in my life.

I set quite a high bar for this mission, more so than many of my contemporaries would put themselves through, and I hoped it merited at least some mention, but NO I just got turned inside out by my ears for letting a ghoul get a swat in at me!

I’m to report back in the morning. I’ll not let Daedalus get my goat – his insults will only serve to motivate me further to succeed. Every day I succeed is another day I prove them all wrong.

The following diagram is drawn on a torn sheet of parchment, stained with evidence of food and drink, apparently done during a meal

Ulundo came up with the most fantastic idea! He proposed having an “unseen servant” carry and reload an additional repeating crossbow, so I can simply swap out one weapon for the other and continue firing uninterrupted! The elven intellect knows no bounds. I’ve decided to try and return the favor by proposing the creation of a staff – one of my own design! It’s quite involved, and will naturally take time to gather the resources, but its all necessary to have the advantage in battle! I haven’t quite come up with a name for it yet, though…

SillyStaff.png

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Damn the catapults, and full speed ahead!!!

overheard on the return trip from Tardin’s Ferry to Blacker’s Hill…

“…so’s I say to the daft wizard, ’I’ll not be in that lead boat with the furriners, on account of my superior-like shooting!‘, but Beaufric has a way of persuading you, so Ryld and I were snugged in tight, between the rowers and that elf wouldn’t stop his gob.

All trifles aside, those folk weren’t so bad. The sergeant is from the Old Country’s army, the dwarf shared his beer and stopped a couple leaky hulls, and the halfling and his friend had dinner coming off the fire every night of our trip, just as soon as we beached our hulls for the night.

So where the river forked, we had the option of running harsh waters or hanging our bottoms out for the river bandits to shoot at. Naturally, seeing as we had MY luck onboard, the decision was made to run past the bandits, and all the siege weapons they could muster!

So’s far as we could tell, numbers were all about equal. However, that halfling insisted on the lead boat running so far ahead of the rest, those slavers would have at least a few minutes to hedgehog the whole lot of us….all I could do was say a prayer, ‘I told you so’ to Ryld, and grab for an extra sheaf of arrows.

Came on hot, they did…the boat was struck by a few rocks, and the whole pack of slavers each had a few shots at us. I took one clean through the shoulder, but we counted my arrows in two of the bastards when all was said and done.

The rowers (smartly) kept their heads down the whole time, which was a shame for them, missing the hottest moments. The elf summoned a horde of spiders and bats on the bank, and a whole mess of spiders that locked everyone up in a web aboard the longboat.

The dwarf quickly healed our wounds (we could use one of those back at the Hill), and we took the fight straight to the bastards! Ryld and I trailed the sergeant, providing much-needed backup; I accounted for one with my sword, Ryld outclassing the sergeant and taking two himself, in as many swings!!!

Soon enough, the fight was over, the slavers either dead or run off deep into the forest. In gratitude, Beaufric let the outsiders sell us their boat and the scorpion (too much he gave, I say…not like they could have packed them out!), with a promise of more should they make it out our way.

I hope they take him up on it….we found two of those dark-skinned elves sniffing around some distance south of the Hill, and I remember the first time they were here."

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