The Middens

The Twisted Man of Mechant
...the dirge of Trei Peditt

After a few days of travel the party passed out of the lightly forested region surrounding Bristor and came upon the trade city of Mechant – a bustling, young city surrounded by a wooden palisade and straddling the flood plain of a shallow river. Having been warned in Bristor that such as they would not be welcome in this city they party skirted around its edges, camping for the night on the southern bank of the river east of the city proper.

Swan’s Son and Marcon, noticing ample sign that citizens of the Middens had been able to find plentiful work in the region lit a fire on the edge of the wood to broadcast their availability for work. That call was answered by two men, well dressed but appearing competent as agents and enforcers of their Lord, a man who desired their services for some “quiet work.” They seemed surprised at the presence of two halflings in their midst, but the revelation seemed only to make them insist all the more that the party follow them to their master’s estate.

While at the estate they are treated to a meal while they await Trei’s presence. Perrin takes particular note of the artifacts of humanity’s enslaved past which are prominently displayed on several shelves which line the room. Finally, Trey Peddit reveals himself – he is under four feet tall, with a somewhat over-sized head crowned with stringy red-grey hair and a bulbous hooked nose. Despite his obvious condition, he is dressed in fine clothes and introduces himself as the mayor of Mechant – an oddity in the normally matriarchal human society. Despite this he gives the party a warm reception, seemingly giving the halflings a significant amount of his attention, peppering them with questions regarding halfling culture and physiology. When it it well into the evening, Trei will order a nightcap, drinking to the health of the party and to a prosperous working relationship.

It isn’t long after retiring to their rooms that Perrin and Trym realize that they feel woozy and more tired than they ought to. Perrin successfully retched up the contents of his stomach, but to no avail – he passed out into his own sick… but not before he called out to alert his companions. Perrin and Trym are retrieved from their rooms dragged off.

Marcon and Swan’s Son, hearing Perrin’s cry, attempt to escape their rooms to help only to find the doors have been locked from the outside. Both start to batter at their doors – Marcon with his blade and Swan in the form of a bear. After a few moments Marcon emerged from his room, busting out into an empty hall. Without pausing to help Swan finish off his own door, Marcon rushed into the dining room to find one of the men who escorted them who started to pull his own blade and call for his partner. By the time the larger man appeared, however, just behind Marcon stood an angry bear, sapping some of the will to fight from the younger. It is the captain, the large man, who gathers up his courage and attacks first, encouraging his subordinate to take up arms as well. When the captiain gets roughly bisected by Marcon’s blade, however, the fight goes out of the younger man, who surrendered willingly.

After interrogating the terrified kitchen crew and rolling the younger guardsman in a blanket, Swan and Marcon discovered a hidden hatch in the mayor’s room leading into a darkened tunnel. As the pair crept further into the dungeon they came upon a door with light flickering underneath it and the sound of muffled voices beyond. They were about to creep stealthily into the room when a very clear scream echoed through the corridor – Marcon burst through into the next room. The sight that met them was disconcerting – both Perrin and Trym were stripped to their undergarments and strapped to racks against the far wall. The scream had come from Perrin whose shins now sported two hollowed spikes which had been driven into the bone, a greenish fluid running into them through yellowed tubes. The room was littered with the detritus of laboratory work – books, beakers, cataloged bones and fleshy bits of experimentation.

In the end, not even the surprise addition of another combatant skulking in the shadows could stop the party, enraged by the depth of their betrayal. Trei fell swiftly to a knock-out blow from Marcon’s sword, and his assistant (the man who struck from the shadows) attempted to escape with his life. He wasn’t fast enough. When he was struck down it was revealed to the party that he bore the outcast scar.

Clothed (and two inches taller) Perrin stormed through the household collecting anything of value he could find while the others looted the basement laboratory. Afterward they gathered the staff of the home to explain to them what had happened. Shaken by their employer’s predilections, the staff promised to tell the truth of what happened in Trei’s estate. The bulter, in particular, examined the basement laboratory for confirmation and did his best to set things aright with the party – giving them absolute permission to loot the house as much as they wanted and getting them horses. However, he urged them to be on there way. While they might believe them, the news that the mayor of Mechant was a degenerate sorcerer would drive some to a rage best directed at the man and not those who uncovered him. Trei Peddit, he swore, would be dealt with.

The party agreed and rode their new steeds off into the night, seeking shelter far away from the city.

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A Fond Farewell
...the party says goodbye to Bristor

After an exhausting evening of hunting down, interrogating, and otherwise cleaning up after the goblin catastrophe, the party bedded down for a well deserved rest with the intention of departing toward Treth in the morning. However, when they awoke to another hearty breakfast of “Perrin’s Pocket Pies” (patent pending), they found that most of the village remained in firmly in their beds in the upper stories of the inn. While they waited for Trant and his promised payment, they took the opportunity to clean up, maintain their weapons, and even do a little flirting. Eventually, they requested that Fess alert the blacksmith of their intentions and the exhausted Trant eventually tromped down the stairs to talk to the group.

When he heard that they intended to leave he seemed somewhat taken aback and sheepishly requested that the group stay at least until the evening meal. It seemed the town had been planning something of a celebration in their honor. When they heard this (and the promise of a collection) they readily agreed to stay one more day.

Trym ans Swan’s Son took it upon themselves to help Kater, the carpenter, who was to spend the day boarding up the broken windows in Fess’ inn. The woodworker was startled by the way in which they helped, utilizing their magical talents to repair the shattered glass itself. Marcon, meanwhile, utilized a magic all his own, spending the day enchanting young Elayne Reeve with a picnic lunch beside a nearby stream. Perrin took up quill and ink, surrounding himself with the people of the village and, more specifically, their stories.

When evening came everyone entered Fess’ Inn to find that all of the tables had been pushed together to to form one giant eating space filled with food – pocket pies, a whole pig, chickens, fruit pies, potatoes, greens, and more. Fess and his wife Philia played a lute and a flute while Perrin joined in with his pipes as the village tore into the feast before them. When all had eaten their fill, Trant stood and addressed the crowd, asking that the heroes of Bristor stand and be recognized. He expressed (in gruff, simple terms) the gratitude of the village, letting them know that they would always have a place in Bristor. To commemorate this, Trant gave them all roughly rectangular, stamped medallions on leather cords, bearing the image of the broken tower that was the city’s namesake. He also passed them each a pouch of identical medallions, telling them that whoever bore them would find safe haven in Bristor. A final cheer was raised, the tables were pushed back, and the dancing began, lasting well past sunset. While the rest of the group began to take to their beds, Marcon was the last to return to his room, first taking Elayne outside to gift her with his own commemoration of their stay – a rough carving of the scene of their picnic. Weeping, Elayne fled inside.

The next morning the group left, their packs bulging and their purses somewhat heavier. At around noon, however, Trym noticed a figure behind them. The figure, upon realizing that they had been discovered, lept into a bush before they could be identified. Swan took the form of a wolf to investigate and nearly took a goblin scimitar to the snout for his trouble before pinning young Semme to the ground. The ten year old boy had been following them for hours and begged them to take him on as their page. Perrin, however, convinced the young man to go back his family. Before the lad left, however, Swan’s Son promised that, if it were in his power, he would return and take the boy under his wing. With those words, they turned and continued their journey to Treth.

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Loose Ends
...how the party extended their protection of Bristor

After swords were sheathed and arrows retrieved the newly minted heroes of Bristor were left with the realities that follow a large battle – what to do with the remains. Even while the community itself suffered only one casualty, there was still the matter of what to do with the prematurely putrid corpses of the goblin horde. Marcon, ever the pragmatist, went about collecting heads to mount on pikes – a warning the survivors not to return. What weapons the creatures possessed were gathered into piles against the walls of the broken tower and the headless bodies were thrown into the blossoming furnace that had once been Old Cob’s residence. The smell of roasting goblin flesh would haunt the village for the rest of the evening.

While Swan’s Son and Marcon retired back to their bedrolls in the tower, Fess Reeve expressed his gratitude to Perrin and Trym by offering them (and the others) free food and rooms at his inn for as long as they remained in town. The halflings gladly took him up on his offer, eagerly placing their orders for the coming morning’s meal.

The next morning the party met in the common room at the inn, devouring the culinary efforts of the innkeeper’s daughter, Elayne, while deciding their best course of action. While Marcon and Swan seemed ambivalent to the further defense of the village, Perrin insisted that they at least investigate where these creatures had come from. Deferring to the leadership of their employer, the group finished their meal and walked next door to the Smith’s home to enlist the help of young Semme, who had offered to guide them to some local caverns. Despite an intimidating run-in with Trant’s wife, the the smith allowed the group to take his son with them on their hunt for the goblin’s lair.

It didn’t take long for the group to find the first cave along with obvious signs of goblin habitation. After an unfruitful attempt to smoke them out, Perrin realized that (at least according the folk stories he had heard) goblins were nocturnal creatures, loath to emerge in the daylight. With the knowledge in hard, it was decided to search out other lairs while daylight was still in their favor. Semme led them to two other caves that day, though they quickly deduced that the sign was freshest at the cave nearest Bristor. While the further two holes were plugged as best they could, the group decided to return to the inn for a quick supper before returning and setting up an ambush at the first cave.

While they ate their picnic supper, Marcon laid a line a charcoal he procured from Trant while in town while Perrin sharpened pikes for traps should their quarry attempt to flee. In the hours before sunset they all found the best hiding places they could find – Swan, Trym, and Marcon hid on the ground in various shrubs while Perrin took perch in the low branches of an oak. When the goblins finally emerged Swan lit the oil soaked charcoal line while the others sprang into action, cutting five of the six remaining goblins down before they had a chance to retaliate, while knocking out the sixth for questioning.

Convinced that there were probably other goblins lurking beneath the earth, Swan took the form of a wolf and explored the tunnels with his canine senses. Despite exploring the caverns for twenty minutes and finding obvious signs of goblin habitation, Swan was unable to locate any more of the creatures.

Marcon, growing anxious about leaving the townspeople alone for much longer, took the goblin hostage with him back into Bristor, surprising the entire village who were all taking shelter in Fess’ Inn. Marcon tied up the creature by its feet in the root cellar and ordered a chicken while he waited for the beast to wake up. When the others arrived, they followed the sound of badly mangled goblin swears to the sight of Marcon poking the unconscious creature with a javelin with one hand while devouring a chicken leg with the other. Fed up with his personal lack of progress, Marcon retired from the scene in order to become better acquainted with the innkeeper’s pretty daughter, Elayne.

After Marcon left and Perrin escorted Trym to her room, Swan’s Son began the process of waking the captured goblin… and torturing him for information. The goblin leader was dead. They were all dead. They found this place through the tunnels. And while Swan did not get a direct answer as to what had driven the goblins back onto the surface of the world, he got the distinct impression that it had been something to fear. After allowing the creature one least meal of chicken bones, Swan ended the life of the pitiful wretch.

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The Defense of Bristor
...how the party saved a village from a forgotten horror

For three days the party traveled northwest further into human territory, Perrin seeking knowledge that might be gained in the former elven city of Treth where the War of Fracture started more than three centuries past. After Swan’s Son took Perrin on a successful hunt, the group noticed a wide column of smoke rising above the treeline further north. They approached the scene cautiously, finding the smoking ruin of a barn and a ransacked home spattered with blood. After a short investigation, the group was able to ascertain that the culprits were numerous, skilled at hiding their tracks, and barefoot with three toes each capped by a claw. Marcon (after ripping apart a shed), also discovered a curious item – a greatsword of elven make, ornate and faintly magical.

Deciding to report this to whatever local authorities there may be, the party continued up the road into the nearby town of Bristor. Despite obvious signs of habitation, the people of the town did not show themselves to the group with the exception of the town “mayor” and blacksmith Trant, who was able to get the innkeeper (a nervous, balding, mousy man named Fess) to open up and let the party in. While Marcon attempted to put the innkeeper at ease with games and conversation, the rest of the party wandered over to the blacksmith’s home.

Trant told them that people in the village were nervous because these attacks had been happening every night for three nights, and that there was only one person known to have survived one of the raids – Bet, the miller’s daughter. While the girl was still obviously in shock over the ordeal, Perrin and Swan were able to calm her enough to answer a few short questions – the creatures that took her family were small with pointed teeth and had been brandishing weapons. Trym, recognizing this description, identified them as “goblins” and showed them a sketch portrait of the creatures, revealing that her clerical order wished information on reports of their reappearance.

Resolved to get to help this community (and with a promise from Trant of compensation for their efforts), the party set up camp on the balconies of the broken elven tower that dominated the center of the town. Enlisting the help of the local carpenter, Marcon was able to get a door made and hung and the older man, recognizing the benefits of having strong fighters between him and whatever was coming, requested that he and his family also camp with them in the tower.

An hour after sunset they struck – a group of forty goblins creeping in from the edges of the woods. While Swan, Trym, and Perrin were able to pick off a few, an overwhelming force of them made it to the town and began to bash windows and doors in an effort to extract the fresh meat that lay waiting inside. Old Cob was the first to fall, goblins tearing him limb from limb and slipping back into the darkness.

It did not take long for the adventurers to take the fight to these terrors of the night. Perrin and Trym fended off a group of them near the tower as Marcon leapt through a window on the lower level of the Fess’ inn and was very nearly cut down by a group of goblins waiting on the other side. Thanks to the timely intervention of Swan’s Son and a healing spell, the burly human was able to recover and scare the goblins off. Perrin, meanwhile, faced the leader of the goblins and was able to him a fatal blow. When the goblins around him saw, they too fled into the night. However, the two halflings were eventually overrun – Trym fell to goblin arrows while Perrin bravely fought to protect her body from harm. Just as a largely intact unit of goblins descended upon them, Trant, bruised and bloodied, entered the fray striking down goblins with his forge hammers. While Marcon cleared up the inn, Swan spent the last of his arcane energy restoring vitality to Trym.

What goblins were left fled the scene, scavenging what body parts of their comrades they could and slinking back into the night.

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First Meetings
...how the party came to be and rescued a half-elf child

Swan’s Son and Marcon, two branded members of the exile community, were in the process of setting up camp on the fringes of human society when a commotion on the road prompted them to investigate. Perrin and Trym, two halflings on a scholarly quest were in the middle of a band of human bandits who sought to relieve them off their valuables. Swan and Marcon, seizing the opportunity, joined the fight in an effort to “protect” the halflings. The bandits never stood a chance.

The group, licking their wounds and resting at the outcasts’ camp, questioned their single prisoner (to no avail) and got to know one another a little better. Eventually, the group went to sleep and passed an otherwise uneventful evening.

The next morning Swan tells the surviving bandit woman where she can find sanctuary among the exiles and sets her free.

Not long after breakfast, a woman comes running through the field from the town, sobbing and asking the group to save her son. Men from the village, discovering his half-elven heritage, formed a mob and attempted to accost him in his home. He fled into the woods, the mob chasing after. The group packed their things and set to the chase.

After following a fairly easy trail, through the field, the party heard a noise and followed. When they reached the area, Trym noticed a grim sight – the severed tip of a gently pointed ear. They quickened their pace and came upon a group of twenty peasants being attacked by a large brown bear. It did not take them long to notice that the bear was also missing the tip of its ear. The peasants were nearly able to club down the raging beast, but the party successfully intervened killing or knocking out those the bear hasn’t already mauled. When Swan knocked out the bear, he transformed back into the young half-elf.

Fleeing the scene of the grisly event, the party left the area with the boy and his mother, traveling north to a smaller farming community where Marcon found another member of the exile community to shepherd the bit and his mother to the Middens.

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