As Axel investigates the Razor Dogs’ stash house, Arza takes stock of the refugees freshly arrived at the top of the cliffs. Axel finds, in a small crate from a local tailor, a dozen or so Swift Swords tabards, or at least reasonable copies thereof. He also grabs the box of infusers, the goal of this foray into the Brambles. Arza, meanwhile, notices the delirious mumbling of one of the refugees, Peleps Samara, sister of Arza’s patron.
Gustav had warned Axel of approaching trouble, and at that moment a rival gang closes in, determined to wrest control of the ancient elevators from the Razor Dogs. Arturia’s earnestly persuades the gang soldiers to back off, but the leader, a huge, bald pimp named Ebello, isn’t convinced until Axel makes some threats backed up by Arza’s sorcerous prowess. His men grab a few of the beaten gang members before heading out.
Soldiers, civilians, and feverish refugees make haste to exit the Brambles, and are lucky to reach the east gate when minimally ambitious guards are on duty. Arturia’s straightforwardness again deters the guards from going out of their way to cause trouble, and the party makes haste to the Dragonblooded physician’s complex in the northwest quarter.
Peleps Havara immediately tends to his sister, whom he thought lost when Thorns fell. Axel decides to wait to seek any gain for his actions, and the next morning Havara offers him and his mercenaries a challenging task: venture into the wilderness and retrieve a powerful hearthstone from a lost ruin. The job pays well, so Axel agrees, with Arturia as a wilderness guide and Arza sent along to handle the artifact itself.
Axel takes a moment to interrogate the gang members he took prisoner. They reveal that “a guy” sold them the Swift Swords uniforms to use in whatever acts of deception or violence they could manage. Similarly, “a guy” sold them the infusers along with other stolen cargo from an overland merchant. They pass on descriptions of the guys before Axel decides to cut them loose.
Lacking significant clues, the party decides to consult one of Echo Falls’ oldest denizens: the fallen god Crying Jasper. Arturia’s training in ceremonial dance makes the mercenaries into effective supplicants and quickly draws the attention of Jasper. Alas, his memory is poor and his focus is weak, but some gentle prodding eventually coaxes out a few landmarks from his damaged recollections.
The party sets off into the wilderness, led by Arturia. Progress is good as farms and light vegetation give way to increasingly thick jungle, but a few days in, Arturia walks into a patch of high reeds that conceals an ambush: she and her pets are surrounded by Silverwights, tiny Wyld creatures connected by a hivemind.
Just as the Silverwights are scattered by Arturia’s fierce panther, another predator shows up. A juvenile Greenmaw, ravenous for flesh, eagerly wades into the clearing. Axel rallies his troops, Arturia sends in her pets, and Arza readies her magic. The party gets the upper hand, but suddenly the Greenmaw lashes out with its powerful tail, sending Arturia tumbling into the jungle and breaking the soldiers’ formation!
What horrifying ailments did those poor people bring with them from Thorns? And did anyone catch anything?
Does anyone have new enemies in the Brambles? And have the Swift Swords taken note of Axel’s mercenaries escorting people into town?
Will the Greenmaw eat someone?
Is that poor yeddim still down there in the swamp?
What did you learn or reveal about your character this time?
- Axel is very comfortable dealing with familiar things even if they’re unusual to most people, including intimidating unruly mobs, interrogating thugs, and accepting job assignments involving treasured relatives. He is much more reluctant to attempt unfamiliar things for fear of screwing up when he has no idea where to begin (notably with chatting up Crying Jasper).
Curious about the refugees, and why his companions have gone to such lengths to save them, Axel studies them carefully. So carefully that he fails to notice a pickpocket making off with his profits.
Most of the ST’s combat rolls are close contenders though. Especially the roll for the Greenmaw’s attempt to eat Axel.
5 xp and 2 Solar xp for everyone.