The party patches up Poppy as best they can. Gronk finds a mithril medallion on Warder Joseph bearing the symbol of the Knights Leopold – the order of knights sworn to protect the human emperor. Continuing alone through the caves, they pass through what appears to be an abandoned dwarven highway before emerging on the southern end of the Masaan range.
The party travels a week into the southern plains, sleeping in cold camps, before coming upon an Imperial road, which they follow at a distance towards Riverton. At one point, they observe a column of reinforcements heading in the direction of High Guard. Gronk and Diego swear they see a man who could be the spitting image of Emperor Altair in the slave wagons, but they can do nothing but watch the caravan pass by.
As they approach Riverton, they are met by Peruppi Dentkettle, a former member of the Society and one of the leaders of the halfling underground, who escorts the party through cave and sewer to the mayoral palace in the center of the city, where the party are all given rooms. Vladimir has an intimate encounter with a serving girl, but it turns out to be an unsettling dream.
The following is OOC commentary.
As this campaign as progressed, I have slowly been realizing why it has been so difficult for me to write journals about my character. See, I always try to play characters that are, in some fundamental way, different than I am. They may highlight some feature of my own personality, but usually the interesting part of playing a character is to explore some aspect of myself that is not so clearly defined. Balaern’sus was an accomplished liar, Vlondril was a radical fundamentalist, some of my other characters were brave or charismatic. Banagher, on the other hand, is almost exactly like myself.
Of course, there are some differences. Were it me, I probably would have stayed behind the front and taken care of my precious books, being the pacifist that I am, but other than that, I think he is very like myself.
His real struggle is in reconciling a deeply real religious experience that can’t really be expressed to others with his deep love of knowledge and rationality. In this sense, Banagher and I are loners on this knifes-edge path. As such, I have a hard time deciding what Banagher is experiencing and what I am and how exactly to separate my feelings from his.
At any rate, I just wanted to let you know that I have been thinking about the game and my character. I’ve really been enjoying this campaign and I’m glad that we’re doing it in Fantasy Grounds!
The ludicrous ravings of a Halflingâ€¦witnessed by the feather bed she happened to be jumping on.
I haveâ€¦.a bed! A real bed!
I have â€¦a bed! With a real feather mattress!
I have â€¦.a room! My very own room!
I haveâ€¦a room! A clean, fancy, room!
I have â€¦a bubble bath! A hot steaming bubble bath!
I haveâ€¦a bubble bath! A bubble bath I didnâ€™t have to lug water up to, in the freezing cold, over and over again, and then heat it on the fire, over and over again, until finally I had enough to barely cover my frost bitten arse after I was too tired to carry more! It was just there! Waiting for me!
Itâ€™s about time I get some respect! They must have heard about me. Thereâ€™s no other explanation for all this extravagance in the middle of a war. Itâ€™s only right that they give the rest of my party the same kind of treatment since they are in my company and all. Just being around me theyâ€™re elevated to a semi-famous state. They know Iâ€™m worth the trouble, especially after I almost died and came back to life again. That in itself is an accomplishment of immortals. Only an immortal can live after have her guts hanging out! Iâ€™m a legend, more so than that rude little halfing, Peruppi the Puddle Paddler. A dirty little creature she is jumping in muddy water! And to think, sheâ€™s a legend! Now I see the truth of things.
I am Poppy! Yes, Iâ€™m Poppy
I am Poppy, the Halfling crusade!
I am Poppy, extremely godly!
I am Poppy, an immortal made!….
*Feathers start to fly around the room as the mattress seams open. Poppy is so busy singing, she barely notices the whirlwind of feathers swirling and spinning through the air, covering her and the room completely as she maniacally belts out her tune in the most frenzied of states*
Poppy was going to live.
That was all that mattered right now. Poppy would survive. Moriel still felt bad about dragging Poppy along, though she was certain that the halfling would never agree to return, and to be honest, she did not think that Poppy would be happy back home. Not that the forest had ever been the right place for the halfling. And she had to admit that Poppy seemed to adapt far better than Moriel did.
Adapting. Tamariel had warned her, and she, of course, had not believed him. She had thought he exaggerated, in more ways than one. To her dismay, it seemed he had not been exaggerating. Everything was alien, and she found she missed her forest in more ways than one.
At least Poppy was alive. She did not know what she would have done had the halfling died. Not that she had many options right now; they were still deep inside the mountains, on their way south. What she _wanted_ to do right now was to go looking for Erik. That, of course, was impossible. They were running out of food and water, Poppy was hurt, and they had a job to do. With the two Warders gone, however, she doubted they had much of a chance to succeed, but she was not about to leave during a mission, and besides, Poppy seemed to thrive.
Still, she needed to get away for a while. This place was too crowded, in more ways than one. She really did not like being underground. The air was stale and full of nothing but dust, and though she knew it was her imagination, she kept having the feeling that the roof was about to collapse on them. So she decided to compromise. While most of the others slept, she left the cave, heading back up the corridor.
It still felt as if the walls were closing in on her, but at least it was quiet. She found a spot to sit that would give her a good view in both directions. She sat there, listening for anyone who might be approaching. After a while, though well within the time limit she had given herself, she got up and went back to the others.
The rest, apart from the guards, were still asleep when she returned, so she settled down just outside the cave, in the shadows. She did not think the guards had noticed her, at least they did not hail her.
For some reason she did not really understand, as she heard the others awaken, she did not immidiately join them. She just sat there, not really knowing what she was waiting for. Only when Poppy awoke did she get up and join the halfing, pretending she had heard nothing of what the others had said.
As they continued on their way, Moriel kept looking back the way they had come from. Not that she really expected anyone. If Erik had survived the fight she was certain had been fought, or at least intended, he was most likely not going to be able to catch up with them. As for the other, Lucas, he had no reason to follow them. He was not working for the Kisharans, of that she was certain. Both the conversation between Erik and him, and the note they had found suggested that. The only reason he would have to follow them would be if he was returning the way he came. That, of course, was a possibility, but she did not detect any sign of anyone following them.
It felt like they had been underground for years before they finally reached the end of the caves. When they finally got out, Moriel closed her eyes, breathing deeply, trying not to think about the return.
They travelled for several days. Moriel and Poppy travelled most of the way apart from the others. Considering the noise they were making, she supposed it was a good thing. Still, they were not detected, though she did worry that someone would do something rash as they watched what was probably reinforcements moving north. There were slaves with them as well, and one of the humans said something about one of the slaves being the emperor. Not that she would be able to tell him from any other human.
She did remember he had sent messengers begging the elves for help, a couple of decades back, when the invasion first started. Maybe Banagher was right, that the elves’ refusal to send aid was why people always looked at her strangely. Why they did not seem to treat the dwarf in the same way made no sense to her, but she had realised by now that most of what the humans did made no sense to her anyway.
Tamariel had tried to explain why they had refused several times back then. It had seemed like a sensible thing to do then. That was before she met Poppy. She probably should have sent the halfling back, but this was, after all, more Poppy’s war than her own. It always came back to Poppy. As long as Poppy wanted to stay, Moriel would remain with the humans.
Somehow, they got to Riverton without problems. A halfling in full plate guided them into the city itself. The rooms were an unexpected luxury. The warm baths even more so. She felt almost ready to the confusion of the human world again. Almost.
Action Report: Soutland Missions: Entry 2
We put Poppy back together as best we could and Gronk flipped out and burned Joseph’s symbol into his forehead, so we had to take some time to rest. Somewhere during the “night”, Moriel disappeared. We assumed at first she went back to find Erik, but when we were all well awake she just reappeared out of nowhere.
Eventually we found the mouth of the cave, though not before having a disturbing experience with the main road under the mountain. It felt like a sea of something sinister lurks under there. After finding the exit, Vladimir fell into a river and down a waterfall. he’s surprizingly resilient, because he managed not to drown.
After several cold weeks on and off of southland roads, we came across a convoy which held a prisoner that Diego and Gronk swore was the old Emperor, but with such a small group, we could do nothing but watch them pass by.
Still even longer down the road, and in the pouring rain (I hate rain.) we came across a halfling woman who lead us into Riverton. Now we have been given luxurious quarters in the mayoral mansion. I know I am supposed to be among Society friends, but something still makes me feel uneasy.