Lands of Katagma

Thoradins Letters Home: Oldden Part One
The Hunt for Giant Bee Honey

Dear Father and Mother,
I hope this letter reaches you well.

My brother Parsnip and I are well, we’re still travelling with our adventuring party. As always, Corric and I get in the way of each other trying to sell our wares and true to his name Despair has yet to lighten up.

We recently escorted a merchant to a small town named Oldden, a quaint little human settlement just to the east of our home. They seem to mostly produce dairy, although they do have a local craft beer. Not bad for a small town like this but it’s a little bit too heavy on the hops.

Anyway, our client was kind of enough to tell us that Oldden’s general merchant, a boisterous fellow by the name of Linus, had plenty of work for adventurers such as us. Indeed, we talked to Linus and he told us that the town had a nearby giant bee infestation. Rather than just merely clear out the infestation, he instead asked us to bring him back the honey of these bees. Apparently it’s quite the delicacy! So much so that he’s willing to pay our group 60gp to fetch it for him. It would hardly dent our family’s coffers of course, but it’s the most money I’ve seen since I started this adventurers life.

Will be continued when we actually finish

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Thoradins Letters Home: Oldden Part Two
The hive and the halberd

Our search for these abnormally large insects began with checking the field where it supposedly attacked the local cattle. On inspection, it seemed the locals were right. However, it seemed that the cause of the attack was actually the cattles fault, it seemingly wandered into the woods and in someway spooked the bee.

We then took the forest, hoping to find some sign of their nest. I’ve not seen so many trees so closely packed together, the tree covering so thick it was almost like being back at Firepeak! Lira again proved her impressive skills as a Ranger, despite the density of the trees and the unchanging surroundings not once was she lost. It seems she has a connection with these woods as deep as our peoples connection with the stone.

To our horror, in our search for the hive we first came across a very different beast. A large bear leapt from the brush and assaulted us! It so happened that I was the closest to the enraged creature, and it soon had the best of me. Parse as always had my back, and got me back onto my feet while the rest of our party fended off the bear.

Some time later we came across our first alive giant bee. Despite our closeness to it, the creature did not seem at all hostile to us. We figured that if we followed it for long enough eventually it would lead us back to its hive. It took a long time, but eventually we were brought to a large mound that the bees seemed to be living within. We took sometime to inspect the mound from the outside, but it soon became clear we were going to make little progress without attempting to scout out the inside.

Parse, ever impatient to indecisiveness, quickly took the lead and the brunt of the bees defence of their home. You could see the years of his training with the honour guard in every movement, and the poor critters could hardly land a hit. Before too long we’d killed or subdued the entire nest.

The hive was a curious place, while you could see the bees had built some of it, most of the internal structure and construction appeared to be by one of the humanoid races. A quick search revealed a decorated tomb in memorial to a long forgotten elven hero. I was unaware the fey folk revered any of their dead in such a manner, it was almost cultured! The hero had been left with his famed halberd, a beautiful magical construction that must have been the most finely crafted weapon outside of the dwarven world for many a century. It had however been made part of an evil trap, removing the halberd caused undead warriors to be released from columns to defend the heros resting place.

They gave us a good fight, clearly they’d been skilled warriors in their previous life, but ultimately they were no match for us. Then we were left with the question of what do with the halberd. As part of this tomb, I felt it only right to leave it with them. The ancestors must be honoured, and while the other races do not seem to share our belief on this I was not about to tarnish one of the few exceptions. Most of my friends however felt that our need for the fine weapon was greater. Before the discovery of the undead guards Parse had sided with me, but he felt strongly that the use of the vile arts to protect his place of rest marked him as evil and no longer deserving of the respect we pay to our dead. In the end I had to concede, for I was unable to change the hearts of my compatriots.

The last thing left to do before heading back was to collect the honey, the basis of our quest had been not been entirely forgotten even with the discovery of the tomb! Quickly we loaded up our barrels, and our water skins, with the substance. Only pausing briefly to bury some poor soul that had wandered in before us and had fallen to the giant bees.

Once we’d loaded up, Lira quickly lead us back to Oldden. Linus was as good as his word and payed us in full for our service, even throwing in the cost of our stay at the inn!

That’s all from Parse and I as of this writing. How has life been in the peaks? Has Ferrodin yet mastered the distillery, last I heard he’d managed to prepare a whisky at double strength! I’m sure Fargrim Dankil was fond of that particular batch, but I fear it may not be to everyones taste. If a human got a hold of it he’d join his ancestors before he’d had his first glass.

I heard our sister Diesa was to be wed to one of the Hollowridge clan? Wish her the best from me, and that you did at least pick one of the hairier sons as a suitor for her sake.

May the ancestors watch over you, and the ale stay pleasantly warm
Thoradin & Parse

PS: Enclosed you should find 2 waterskins worth of that fine honey we harvested. Some humans use it for preparing their beer, we thought you may find it interesting to try mixing it with our family ale. Also enclosed is a map of the area around Oldden and the hive if we should need to procure a larger supply of the honey.

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Thoradin's Letters Home: Party Preparations Part One
Monsters in the Mist

Dear Father and Mother,
I hope this letter reaches you well.

Life has been exciting of late for Parse and I. I’ve finally managed to gather the necessary ingredients to cast the summon familiar spell Professor Nisivar taught me. Vetrix has granted me an owl bearing her divinity, that I’ve chosen to name Moltres. He’s an inquisitive fellow, and has already proved his value. The rest of my friends are well, Mallark and Lira seem to have cheered up as we’ve spent more time away from Oldden. They always seem far more at home in the wilderness.

After having acquired the honey for Linus, the jolly general goods merchant of Oldden, he told us he could get us in touch with more people who’d be interested in our work. One of the local human nobles, the Hemlock clan, is having an elaborate birthday party and everyone of import is said to be attending. It seems to be the sort of event we should be supplying to if we want to trade further with Human establishments. Linus had an invite, and here is why my knowledge of human royalty lets me down, apparently his invite was somehow dependent on the present he had bought. A bizarre custom if you ask me. Unfortunately for Linus, and us, it seems that the goods never reached Linus. If we wanted to go to this party, we will have to track them down. The best lead he could give us was that they were meant to be arriving at a nearby fishing village by boat, before getting moved to Oldden by caravan.

We chose to go to Roundwatch village first, hoping to meet his courier’s en route. If it came to the worst we would at least be able to find out if the goods ever arrived at the village. While staying overnight at a shelter maintained by the local warden we encountered a family travelling well past dark. They told us that they’d been forced to flee their home and had come to the warden to get help. As we couldn’t get hold of the warden, we offered to check it out as we were heading there anyway. We were all on edge as while the Mother and Father had been vague about the dangers they’d left behind, the children were insistent that they’d seen monsters. It seemed likely that a rotten fate had befallen the men we were meant to meet.

It was after talking to the family that it dawned on us that Linus was likely smuggling these goods in, for Roundwatch was by no means a trade port. Even calling such a small settlement a village is akin to describing an ember as a flame. I determined that when we resolved whatever had befallen Linus’s friends I would need to talk to my own to determine what actions we should take. I was upset to learn that Linus does not respect the laws of his land and wanted to bring up the option of turning over the goods, if found, to the proper authority instead of returning them to Linus.

After the best part of a day travelling we arrived at Roundwatch’s outskirts. The village was still smoldering from the fires the night before, and there were clear signs of struggling. We also spotted the watchtower the village was named after in the distance. I tasked Moltres with scouting the tower while we investigated the village proper. Whatever had attacked the village had left, and all signs indicated that they’d gone to the tower. Moltres confirmed this was likely as it had spotted shadows walking past windows but hadn’t managed to identify what occupied the tower.

The tower turned out to have several basement levels as well as the expected upper levels. We decided to investigate the lower floors first, assuming that they’d be faster to search. As it turns out this wasn’t an accurate assumption. In our exploration we found a large variety of loot, including a large stash of notes guaranteed by a dwarven noble. I’ve included one with this letter, I was wondering if our archivist would happen to know more about the noble named on them?

Eventually we encountered a number of fish like men performing a rite over a captured human. Seeing that the human was in peril we moved quickly to defeat the fishmen and rescue him. As it happened, the human in question was one of the contacts we’d been told about by Linus.

to be continued

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