Arrival in Braddon Bog
< CY 9163, Month 10, Day 24 >
You explain to the mayor that you are returning the goods taken from the people, and he begins to cry. “You have come to return what we once posessed, but do you bring the cure to what afflicts us!? These goods – clothes, money, food, they are all well and good, but i fear you are now accursed with us! You should flee, save yourselves if you can and abandon this place. For if you do not, you will surely die with us.” The dour faces of the townsfolk barely even look up but a mumbling ripples through the crowd. The mayor shouts to the crowd “The brave Gallants – heroes of Sir Robert have come to rid us of this sickness! They will drive out the evil that creeps across the lands and takes those we love from us and driving others mad!” He quickly turns to you and says in hushed tones “Do not question my words, you must give them some hope or they may turn their wrath upon us both. Let us adjourn ourselves to the town hall.” He shouts to one of the men in the crowd and orders them to begin handling the supply wagons the party has brought. He leads you to a plain long house with an ornate double door entrance. It is nearly empty inside, and the mayor walks you all back to the far end where his office is located. A small fire burns in the great hearth next to a desk and chair. On a old couch sits his scribe and assistant (likely his wife by her age) with a pair of dressers to keep the town records in. The mayor calls for kava and bread and you all warm yourselves around the fire. Their is a strange smell in the air.
The mayor bids you greetings and identifies himself as Jason Writt. He asks you to recount the capture of the loot and its return. After your story is told, he sighs deeply and stares at you. He says “The town of Braddon Bog has become permeated with fear. Its too small for anyone to not see it – the looks in the faces of its inhabitants are dull and defeated – the people are beyond terrified and seem only to be too calm in the face of the coming horror. A couple have tried to leave, and are never heard of again. You have come to return what we once posessed, but do you bring the cure to what afflicts us!? These goods – clothes, money, food, they are all well and good, but i fear you are now accursed with us! You should flee, save yourselves if you can and abandon this place. For if you do not, you will surely die with us. Here we have come to know only fear and death. Much has gone on here the last few weeks, and evil is growing. And you say you encountered no one along the road – that means that those who left never escaped. I thank you for this brief happiness, but i fear you have only returned to your doom.” The old woman begins to sob and moan, the mayor moves to comfort her, confirming your suspicion of marriage between them. “There is a new evil now too!” His voice grows louder. “An evil which has taken our son! I beg you to set out forwith and discover the source of this… before any others lose theirs!” Finally the mayor himself breaks down in tears. After he regains his composure, he takes you over to a place in the hall which is covered by a large canvas. He pulls the canvas down it reveals an ancient and worn tapestry depicting what is likely some scene from the frozen north.
“Yesterday my own son and 2 others set out to try and escape the area of the town and stumbled across an empty campsite… along with this tapestry. My son touched its surface and vanished! Such evil sorcery i cannot fathom… look! Look here, closely on the surface of the tapestry. I can see his likeness in a figure on the far left! I beg you to get him out of there! You are great and powerful men, wise in the ways of the world. I implore you – i will give you everything i own, land, titles, i give you the rest of my life in servitude if you bring my son back!” His words sting as you hear the sincerity and the utter hopelessness. He grabs your hand and kneels at your feet, sobbing and making a spectacle of himself. His wife shares what she knows: The tapestry can be touched and rolled up by only touching the back. The figure of their son has not moved. On other local boy accidentally touched in hanging it up and blame the Writt family for his boy’s vanishing. The townsfolk want to burn it before it does any more damage, but the Writt’s want to save their boy who is obviously trapped in it.
Gide and Bull meet in the corner to discuss options. Gide is more concerned about getting the Gallants out of the mess they may have stepped into, while Bull is here on Sir Roberts behalf to try and raise more levies and supplies. They agree to break the party into 2 groups. Gide will focus on getting the details of other things happening locally. Bullwill take Geri, Relb, Xar, and Stillmein and try and figure out what the tapestry is and where it came from.
Raef’s Letter to Xar
You arrived in Braddon Bog only a few hours ago and you already feel overwhelmed. The people are obviously in distress about more than just the crisis of civil war. There is a haunted and terrified look in their eye, even those the region is now safe un Baron Wheglin’s control something else looms ever-present in their lives, filling them with fear.
That is all put aside for the moment, as they are also very accommodating and insist on seeing to getting you dry and warm after your long journey. It is during this lull that an older gentleman comes to you out of the crowd. He bears a sealed envelope, and its obviously been crumpled and hidden somewhere for many days. With a caution almost approaching reverence, he slowly hands Xar the envelope.
Greetings from you nephew Raef. It must come as a shock after all these years to find you have relatives in these parts. Obviously we are not blood relatives… though my mother Melanie, was a ward of your father. Though we may not be bound by blood, we are bound by fate. I write this not to impose upon you, but only to let you know that you have family. My own family lives just north of Bergen. I do hope that you may come see us when this dreadful war is over. The Umbakians take nearly all of what we make and leave almost nothing. I do not expect your aid, i do not even know when this may find you. I sent this to Braddon Bog in the hopes that one day you would return to one place that your own father called home, and that welcomed him openly. I hope this finds you well and i hope that we all live through these terrible times to know each other, and be part of a larger family. Like your father, i hear rumors of a band of adventurous souls who travel with you. I would indeed be honored if you might seek us out in a better time, when i can provide the fare you are used to.
Raef’s letter could not come at a better time. For Xar it is a message of hope and acceptance and a warm hearth and destination not of battle but home. Certainly a trip and stay in Bergen to visit relatives of a sorts would be a welcome diversion. Geri also mentions that the group should remember them in case of a need to hide on the run…
Bull Takes Charge
Bull takes charge of the Gallants assigned to him as if he’d always always been in charge. He has a natural leadership quality that the others just seem to obey. He sets Stillmein and Relb to getting 2 weeks supplies assembled in the town hall. He, Korvyk, and Xar are going to examine the spot where the tapestry was found, and he sets Geri to work on seeing if she can figure out what the tapestry is – any reference in ancient occult or historical texts.
Abandoned Campsite: The campsite is difficult to find, but the town hunter who found it was able to find it again. By the time they found it, a few hours had gone by. There was the sound of hundreds of mosquito’s buzzing in their heads when they stumbled across it. It appears to Korvyk‘s trained eye that there were three men. The trail is lost in the pouring rain, but it seems as if they were heading east. No trace exist of the people – perhaps they too are trapped in the tapestry. Neil, the hunter, claims the tapestry was hanging over a large branch – as if they were examining it and maybe each of the touched it. The campsite is mostly dry, under the massive boughs of an ancient fir tree. The tracks go nowhere. Xar claims there is a strange smell in the campsite, he cannot place it, but it is very familiar. The group searches through the camp site’s gear and find little. If the thieves had anything on them, they took it with them. The three of them pack what they do find, and make haste back to Braddon Bog. When they return, the whining sound in the ears diminishes and finally goes away once they enter the town. Bull describes the effect to Geri but she cannot place it to any sorcery power she knows.
The Tapestry’s Origins? Geri has stared long and hard at the tapestry. Nothing at first occurred to her, but then she began to think more abstractly. She has come up with only a single theory. She says that the map must be related to Tamragen’s Exile. Tamragenn’s Exile was a rumor thousands of years ago, when the north still stood and the Lich Lords power was unknown. Tamragen was an evil lord, some even say he became one of the Lich Lords, so great was his evil. He had a special fate for those that displeased him – an exile to a cold place in the north, far from any recognizable points on a map of any place in the world of Helca. The “exile” consigned these enemies “to the end of the earth”. This place was supposed to be a place where only the blue giants of north and strange mystical creatures may dwell. There was a rumor too that there did exist a way out – it was said that in case Tamragen himself should ever be exiled there himself he would know a way home. Geri has found that the back has gold thread woven into it that may spell out words… if they are, it is the ancient language of the north – Daermelaine – and she is not literate. Immediately Bull says that he is – “in the north, the native folk there still speak it and making an effort to learn it spoken and written earned me a lot of respect amongst the locals during my duty at Northgate Garrison”. Geri says that they should try and translate it. The tapestry is safely lowered to the ground and Geri and Bull try and unravel its meaning while the first of the supplies begins to get stacked in the long hall. Geri pointedly asks if Bull is going to try and retrieve the Mayor’s son by traveling into the tapestry. Bull looks at her and affirms it, asking if she has any problems with that. “No sir” she says, resuming tracing the letters from the back.
Bull and Geri work long into the night, first tracing the barely noticeable thread and the letters or words it forms, then trying to translate with Bull’s imperfect knowledge. By morning thy have a rudimentary idea that in order to escape back to their place, they must pass east and cross the “still sea” there. They must travel with the “wings of a dragon” in order to return home. The translation is a little unclear, but it is the best they can make out. By now, the others of the group are starting to rise and assemble in the long hall. Braddon Bog has given up much needed supplies for this venture to rescue the mayor’s son. Gide reports that there is a lot of grumbling and resentment… he cannot guarantee the mayor will be in power much longer, so this troop had better hurry as fast as they can. It is soon after sunup that a man arrives, claiming to be a messenger from Sir Robert. He is wearing simple travel garb and not the Baron’s colors though. He asks to see the Officers of Gide’s Gallants only. He does present a letter with the Baron’s official seal. The letter reads that the bearer is Tanner Holmraf, an agent of the Duke himself and a member of his corps of heralds. Tanner speaks with the words of the Baron in regards to Taylor “Bull” Swansen. Assembling the officers in a safe place, Tanner claims that Bull is hereby a member of the Baron’s Household Guard – no longer a mercenary in his employ. There was a deal forged between Bull and the Baron that he would become such after proving himself upon this mission, but the Baron his decided his service has already warranted it. However, you must swear on your honor not to tell him. He does not offer a reason, but simply says the Duke wishes it so. “Your cooperation in this matter will be duly noted,” claims the herald, smiling enigmatically. You get nothing more from him.
After a quick meal or barley soup and black bread, Bull and his team suit up and lift heavy packs on their backs as the tapestry us unrolled on the long hall floor.