Heirs of the Stolen Lands

Vaszilla's Private Thoughts

To be honest, I thought they were going to leave me to rot in that cell. I truly thought the pig-dogs that pretend to govern this stink-hole of a city were starting to forget about me. While I don’t care to be under their notice, being trapped in that cramped box was starting to drive me batty. Just the chance to be out in the open again, out under the wide open sky, was enough for me. Whatever they wanted me to do had to be better than were I was. You have to be open to the opportunities that life provide, however small. And maybe I would be able to lay eyes on that traitor Yakob. I bet he’s already getting fat, fed from the table scraps of his filthy masters. When I catch him I will cut out his tongue.

But this? Abadar’s balls! While I am more than happy to be out in the wilds again, I can’t believe that my redemption involves traipsing about the woods, babysitting some children as they map the world for the same fat pigs who have always kept me eating the dirt from their boots. But whatever. I will play their game. And these kids? I have barely been here a day and they’ve given me more than I have ever been given in my life. Either they are stupid, or they want something they aren’t telling me. It’s barely been a couple of days – I will have to keep a close watch on them.

So, there’s this Lord Karl, who seems to be nominally in charge. Can’t tell if he’s being straight or mocking me… But if he’s being straight, he’s the most decent sort of pig-dog I’ve run across yet. He doesn’t look at me like I’m something that dropped from his horse’s behind and that’s saying something.

And then there’s his map-maker. Boy does this guy like the sound of his own voice. But he’s pretty free with the information. He filled me in on what’s been going on and what they expect me to do. He seems like a book learning sort. And he makes fire with his bare hands… Not sure if I can trust him or not. But he seems smart. I will watch him closely. He seems to love this Karl… Maybe this can be used as leverage.

There’s this tiny little elfling girl as well. Green hair! Ha! Haven’t seen her like in a while. Cute little thing. She’s a religious sort – and a healer, which means I like her already. She’s pleasant and seems not to mind following orders, which is also good. Maybe she can be convinced to join forces with me if and when I decide I need to leave this little outfit.

The last one of our merry crew is a Rostlander like myself. One look at him and I could tell that he too had seen some of the slimy underbelly the city tries to hide. But he seems like a merchant of sort – investor, they called him. He’s got something invested in this alright, and I’m not anyone aside from himself has any inkling what that might be… However, I understand that sort – everyone’s got an angle. The trick is finding out what it is…

So, I’m here, and I intend to do whatever it is they need of me…for now. I know I’m being monitored. I will play nice with the kids in the sandbox for now. And when their devices are made known to me and what they really want of me is laid plain, I will know enough, and have enough to strike out on my own. And I will go so far that no one will ever catch me again.

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Kaspar's Journal (Session 2)

8th of Gozrem (10th year of the regency) Evening

So, just when you think nothing could top the things that have happened something outrageous happens. The trapper Breeg was an experience and a half; a man of no small personality who clearly cares not a wit for his fellow man. The stunning lack of manners was only matched by the mountain of furs he brought in. Oleg swears he has a nose for trouble as he manages to show up right after the brigands each time. I suspect he keeps closer ties than we care for and is attempting to cash in or Oleg’s troubles.
I can now see why the regent and his people want the area re-explored. The beast that almost ate the trapper Stesh was a sight to behold. A rare and aggressive beast the Tatlzwurm was once thought extinct in this area. That it tried to bite my lord Karl’s head off is testament to the old tales. Luckily, it was susceptible to fire and cold Restovian steel. The man Drogov continues to impress with his alchemy and bold decisive actions without his sharp dagger work Karl might have succumbed to the venom; he must have a small amount of Osstian blood to counter his natural Restovian shiftlessness. The trapper gave us more information on the area confirming my suspicions about Breeg as uncaring of his fellows. The warning of the unmarked traps will save us a broken limb or two I am most certain. Skinning the worm was a princely gift and clearly showed his gratitude for his rescue a good second step with the locals. Perhaps a share of the sale price left on account for him to use may cement that goodwill, we will need all the able bodied men of good will to side with us if things are to continue on a positive note.

9th of Gozrem (10th year of the regency of Noleski Surtova)

Well, well, well; we received a pleasant surprise today at least I hope it will be pleasant. The letters Oleg had sent were indeed received and not ignored as we feared. The Captain General has sent additional men to secure the trade post. Knight Captain Garess and her Crossbowmen seem competent but also a little dismissive of the dangers presented by the bandits in this area. Still their presence snaps the tether binding us to Oleg’s; which frees us to begin the exploration and pacification of these lands in earnest. A new member of our band was delivered by the good Captain; whether she is a joke or a stroke of brilliance waits to be seen. Vaszilla seems to be some sort of repentant criminal given a chance at redemption; possibly even a bandit sent to bring ruin upon her fellows. Karl looks to have chosen to treat her as a valuable resource and boon companion. There is nothing for my misgivings but to follow his lead. I just hope his instincts are right and she is indeed repentant in full. With the border so near we need her far more than she needs us. The Captain General’s reach may be long but it does not stretch very deep into the River Kingdoms. Should she abandon our cause the border is already behind us. Hopefully, Vaszilla will be the thief that aids our mission to capture bigger thieves.

10th of Gozrem (10th year of the regency of Noelski Surtova)

Yet, another of the colourful characters that seem to populate these lands arrived at the trade-post today. This Ostel has the dubious nickname “the Mag-pie” and he seems intent on living up to his namesakes’ greedy reputation. I mistrust him and twice in less than a week I am hoping I am wrong.
Our exploration of the neighbouring countryside later that day seems to have born fruit of a most unique nature. A relative of Drogov’s has taken up the life of a hermit and has made his services available to us. (at a cost of course) Bokken seems a little daft but harmless and fairly puissant in his rarified art.

11th of Gozrem (10th year of the regency of Noleski Surtova)

Our first fortnight has passed and I have only almost died twice. Today’s brush with all things fatal and pointless was a giant spider (whose lair we were investigating as it practically leapt on me). If it wasn’t for the mystic armour I’d summoned and the cold steel of my lordship I would have been this evening’s dinner no doubt. Still yet another predator slain and better still a map was found on a previous victim that looks much like a treasure map. we will see what the morning brings. That area is odd in the extreme, possibly haunted by the smaller of the fey folk. Hopefully, we did not strike their fancy because the unwanted attentions of the wee folk are sometimes deadly.
I must remember to write a report to Yuripol. He did demand regular reports on our progress and we now have much to share (minus the treasure map)

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Dearest Mother,
Andropov's letters

Written on the 10th day of Gozram, in the 10th year of the Regency of Prince Noleski Surtova.

It has been over a week since I have written. I apologize, mother, but mail packages to Restov are very irregular. I have complained to the Count, however I believe the man, a Nikitin, has ascertained my allegiance to the Medveyeds, and holds a grudge. Who knew there were any Nikitins left, let alone a Count?

The Osstian noble left last week, just after I posted my last letter. There was some sort of disturbance at a local mill that afternoon. Perhaps the Osstian needed flour? The Count is somewhat upset by the matter, and has called up some local levies. I don’t see why, the bread here is terrible. Still, now the streets are filled with peasants stomping all over with long staves sloped over their shoulders, and the quiet little tavern is now filled with louts until well-past nightfall.

Despite promises to keep in regular contact, I have not heard from the Osstian or his companions. Possibly they have all persished. I will wait until the end of the month, and if I haven’t heard from them I will send notice to the Lord mayor and return to Restov.

Oh, and do you remember that Garess woman I told you about, before I left Restov? She passed by, with a troop of surly mercenaries. The Captain-General really should have turned her out. We’ve all heard the stories about her. She had some sort of criminal in her wagon. Why take an outlaw back to the frontier? I think the Captain-General is too smart for his own good.

The mittens the women of the parish knitted for me are wonderful, and keep my hands very warm. Once again I ask for you to stop having them knit a long cord between them, I am certainly old enough to not lose my mittens anymore.

Your loving son,
Yuripol Yuripovitch Andropov

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Kaspar's Journal (Session 1)

28th of Pharast (10th year of the Regency)

Well the die has been cast. Our hearts and minds now solely devoted to the task at hand. Perhaps once on the road to Fort Serenko I will shake this sense of impending doom. At least the Restovian isn’t a total loss. Clearly a man of no small education the Drogov should make the journey more interesting. The clerk on the other hand while a good soul is clearly not cut out for sudden change… the look on his face when he was told he would be the relay man in this strange adventure almost made me laugh out loud. The only real sour note is the Lord Mayor’s certainty that I am right and we are nought but bandit bait.

31st of Pharast (10th year of the Regency)

I’d forgotten how endless these roads are. three days and we are barely over the halfway mark in the journey to Serenko. The Vernal Equinox has brought a bit of good fortune our way. An Erastillian priestess was guided by some odd dreams to the cross roads we just passed and thanks to my lordship’s quick wit has agreed to join us. She is clearly fey touched and thank St. Nethys for small mercies she has their heightened enthusiasms. With a proper healer as part of our band I am starting to feel confident of our chances of success.

2nd of Gozrem (10th year of the Regency)

Our arrival at Fort Serenko couldn’t have come soon enough. A week on the road had me ready for a little civilization… even the sort found out here on the border. The local Count is a broken remnant of the Medyev rise in power and a good sort happy to feel that he is good company for the noble born. My sense of foreboding has returned though with his added certainty that ours is a fool’s errand. Still, he hosted us well and if we have unexpected success he will prove invaluable in smoothing the way for supplies and trade goods. St Nethys preserve us I hope he is wrong.

3rd of Gozrem (10th year of the Regency)

I ALMOST DIED!!! I cannot believe it. Perhaps the strain of prophecy has resurfaced in me. Less than two hours from the Fort we stumble upon the scene of a murder and when we track down the culprit it turns out to be one of our Fey companion’s darker Kin. Kin that I might add that I’d thought was only a story to frighten naughty children. That thing practically skewered me with a sharpened hunk of bone. May I never meet another of the Grendel-kin as long as I so live. It had weird magics about it shielding it from my Lord Karl’s steel but once Lady Zeleny healed me (by Erastil’s generous hand) the arrows from our fey lady drove the beast off and once cornered my fires proved those magics the weaker. No small treasure was in the beast’s horde ensuring the next few months will go well.
One thing that worries me… I know now that I have the Eisenberg blood in full. Herr Karl charged after the beast and with nary a thought to my near passing I charged through the brush after them to live or die and my lord’s side. I had hoped that my more Arcane education had freed me from that reckless lack of self preservation.

8th of Gozrem (10th year of the Regency)

Well, thank the gods and all their saints… not only did we beat the bandits plaguing Oleg and his traders, we did so handily. Apparently without the fell magics of the Svart Alfar to deflect his blows my lordship is a one man army. We do have to work on our co-ordination though; the green lady’s ill timed arrows almost cost us our prisoners. As it was, Drogov’s quick thinking and alchemist’s fire was all the assistance I needed to stop the lookout and his cowardly companion dead in their tracks. A delay that allowed my lord to rout the other bandits and cut off any hope of escape. If they have not lost or recruited any more to their murderous band we have seven left to go. At least they will have no intelligence on our numbers and abilities which will go a long way to keeping us all alive. Let us hope that Oleg can give us some real information about the area and potential hiding places. The more we know the better prepared we will be and the less likely our deaths (in some random cat and mouse) become.

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