On Monday, December 2nd, a small party of adventurers join a pair of Vale diplomats accompanying a delegation of a dozen gnomes back to their capitol in the mountains. They are:
- Verdis the Prickly (HuS): Level 5 Human Fighter.
- Phineas: Sentient Rock in a Necklace
- Frank (PaT): Level 3 Dwarf Brawler.
- Jabba: German Shepherd Animal Companion
- Aronis (WaB): Level 2 Human Magic-user.
They bring a week of food each and follow the gnomes from Confluence, quickly coming upon a deer path they use to move quickly upriver. They make good time as the path winds away from the river, arriving at a hidden hatch in the evening of December 3th and descending into a mining facility where they are given beds and offered a warm dinner, which they accept, eating in the same room where they first met the gnomes.
In the morning, the 4th, the delegation departs the facility, joined by a cart of refined metal, as well as the gnome they met in the fairy’s collection who convinced them to let him take the fairy into a gnomish prison. He has convinced the other gnomes to support him in his plan and the fairy accompanies them on the road.
Shortly after departing, they reach a wide, open area that the gnomes approach cautiously, sending scouts out to the sides. They return indicating it is safe to cross and as they step into the open, cobbled area they see they are on a road extending to trees in the distance and far out of sight to the East and West, clearly cutting a path through the mountains to the East and less clearly through the wooded hills to the West. The gnomes hurry across the quarter mile wide thoroughfare (The Great Road, as they call it), indicating that it is frequented by orcs and other things that they don’t want to be aware that they have ventured this far South.
As the day progresses, they skirt the long knee of a mountain, approaching the river again, here a much narrower channel than further South. They follow it up toward the mountains, coming into farm land surrounding a walled town. They assume it is the capitol, but find it is only a station from which to watch the Great Road and their furthest South real town.
They are given room and board at an inn there. In the morning, they cross the river and follow a decent road through several villages with farm land interspersed with forest. They arrive in a large village beside another tributary with an inn and vast swaths of farm around it. They spend the night of the 5th there, departing in the morning of the 6th with the road following the river into the mountains through cultivated land dotted with villages.
They spend the night at another inn in a large walled town wedged in the pass. On the 7th, they continue through gnomish heartland into the mountains, arriving in the capitol, Stalla Airgid, near dusk. They get a passing look at a tower overlooking the canyon and city. They pass the old palace near its center at the confluence of two rivers and climb the hill on which the temple stands, being given a residence intended for pilgrims to the temple near its grounds.
On the 8th, they attend Gnomish Sunday services in the temple, where their visit is announced. The sacrament service begins similar to those they are familiar with but is followed by rituals they recognize as wholly inappropriate for a broad and general audience.
After church, they are taken in a tour, visiting the overlook tower, the palace, the open market, and the library. With a little more understanding of Gnomish history, they retire to their residence.
During the night, they leave Phineas on watch and he alerts them to an intruder in the room. After a chase during which the masked gnome rebuffs their attempts to grab him, they overtake him in the wider street, Verdis striking him with his axe and Frank dragging him to the ground where Aronis hits him with his pommel to render him unconscious. The gnomes living in other residences on the street respond to the commotion and the lone gnome’s calls for help.They question the outsiders, some running to get the guard. The incapacitated gnome is moved into one of the homes and while they are not welcome inside, Frank and Aronis post themselves at the front and back of the home to prevent escape. When the guard arrives, they find the human escalation of violence disturbing, but refrain from arresting any of them when Verdis offers to use “elven magic” as they call it to heal the intruder and one of the Vale diplomats smooths things over. The intruder is taken into custody and they return to their beds.
On the 9th, a Monday, they visit some shops, purchasing some high quality rope, but little else, finding the most superior gnomish equipment to rich for their purses (though they are each gifted a high quality weapon by the smith’s guild). They learn that the intruder from the night before plead guilty at the earliest opportunity and was released after paying a fine, and so they were not needed at the trial. Somewhat appeased, they ask where they could have magical items analyzed and are directed to an archivist facility where they learn a great deal about some of their equipment.
By the time they finish there, it is nearly nightfall and they return to their residence, meeting the diplomats there. They learn the diplomats feel there is little left to achieve for them there (the gnomish political climate is more complicated than they had imagined) and that they will accompany the adventurers whenever they see fit to leave. The sooner the better suits them fine and they plan to leave in the morning.
During the night of the 9th, however, they are awakened by cries in the street and look out the window to see gnomes gathering and running toward the temple. They prepare to go out and join them, but Verdis notices his bag is a little heavy, opening it to find a a small silver statue of a bird in a style they recognize from the temple. Climbing out a window away from the street, he hides the statue beneath a loose tile under some leaves before they go out into the street to see what the commotion is about. They learn there has been a small fire at the temple, explaining the bucket line forming up the hill. They offer to help, but the fires seem to be dealt with.
In the morning the 10th, the diplomats consider it a bad time to leave after the fire during the night. They wander around the city, not learning much, but eventually becoming nervous and deciding to disclose the silver bird statue to their chaperone. They return to the room and Verdis again climbs to the roof, bringing the bird down. They bring it to their chaperone, but he doubts their sincerity, disclosing that he has been watching them and saw Verdis retrieve the statue from the roof. If they weren’t guilty, why did they hide the statue there. They learn that a witness has reported seeing some of the outsiders near the temple just before the fire.
Astonished at this news, they demand to see where they were supposed to have been seen. Once there, Verdis manages to pick up some tracks near the temple. On closer inspection, he is able to identify them as Frank, Aronis, and one of the diplomats’ tracks, which does little to alleviate their concerns. However, following them down from the temple his is led to a private home which they leave undisturbed. Their chaperone assures them he will inform the guard about this home and they’ll check it out.
They wait the remainder of the day and night in their rooms, not wanting to risk any other developments by leaving, and on the 11th learn that the guard has raided the home they found, there discovering tools of witchcraft that might have been used to impersonate them, including hair from Frank’s beard and Aronis’ head. With their names cleared, they are able to set out Thursday the 12th in the early morning.
They make good time without the short-legged gnomes and their cart, going down hill rather than up. They reach the edge of gnomish lands just North of the Great Road by the evening of the 13th, a Friday. During the night, some furry humanoids approach their camp and are quickly driven off by Aronis’ newly learned fireball orbs suitable for his sling.
On the 14th, they cross the Great Road, but not far South of it realize they are out of food. They spend most of the afternoon hunting but are mostly unsuccessful. On the 15th, Sunday, they hunt and cook most of the day, obtaining enough food for a couple more days. On the 16th, Monday, they make okay time through the brush despite a little hunting, but in the evening light rain and some snow slows them down. The 17th, they are forced to hunt once again and make little progress, but take enough food to reach Confluence the next day. However, the next day Verdis’s amulet warns him of a mighty snow storm beginning near noon. They push hard, but the journey has been exhausting for the diplomats and they are caught by the storm a couple hours outside Confluence. Knowing they are close, they struggle on through the storm and arrive in Confluence near dark.
They spend the night in Confluence and on the 19th finally arrive in Citadel ahead of light rain. Verdis levels up.