On August 18th, Year 4, Randall set out to further investigate the drake tracks he’d found the week before. There is concern that they may be a threat to people using the road, particularly trade carts carrying grain to the gnomes and ore back.
- Randall (HuS): Level 4 Human Druid
- Oliver, Level 4 Fox Companion
He and Matthias arrange for Randall to carry one of the mithril bird communicator statuettes while Matthias keeps one with him so they can ascertain the effective range of the device. Randall was planning on flying to the area of the road where the drake tracks were seen, but instead goes on foot so Oliver can stay with him and he can check in every 5 minutes. Going this way, he follows the Gnomish path from Confluence toward the road (cutting out the wider turning, new road following the river to Iron Fields) and learns that the communication fails not four miles out of Confluence.
As he continues through the rest of the day, he encounters a five orcs coming down the gnome path in the late evening. They are from Schek Tarifk and are coming to speak in diplomatic terms with the Vale (their Schek learned of the Vale through Randall and they recognize his name). Randall expresses excitement over their arrival, since the Vale is already preparing a visit to the United Schek capital. The Tarifk spokesman expresses spite for the Union, claiming that their capital is an old elven city and that they have invited them there only for the symbolism of having elves and their allies come and grovel before the orcs in their own city.
This strikes Randall and while he’s not sure what to think, he decides to help Schek Tarifk talk to Matthias. It is almost evening and he’s a mile or two from where he intended to make camp, but he takes falcon from and flies to Iron Fields (stopping along the way to warn the road workers that orcs will be passing through the next day), where he asks Jacob Pharoe to provide a couple of men to help the orcs get to Matthias smoothly. Pharoe volunteers to go himself.
Randall spends the night in the Pharoe camp at Iron Fields and in the morning, Tuesday, flies back out to meet Oliver where he left the orcs. From there they continue to where the drake tracks were, but finds that recent rain (11 hours of downpour on Sunday) has erased all trace of them.
Randall speaks to a nearby tree who recalls seeing the drakes this season and tells him they come and go from and toward the rising sun. Knowing that, he makes his way through the woods eastward. He soon comes to a decent stream he follows rather than crossing it. As he goes, the terrain becomes for rocky, the trees smaller, and the brush less dense. At the confluence of two creeks, he speaks to a bird and learns that it considers the drakes predators and that they live along the streams in rock caves.
Following the bird’s directions, he comes upon a winged drake pursuing a rabbit. He calls for the rabbit to come to him for protection, commanding the tree beside him to grab the drake, but the drake manages to strike it with a glob of acid before landing and quizzically eyeing Randall. Randall is distraught and looses an arrow at the drake, goading it to attack. Randall evades its acid spit and the drake is quickly killed as the tree’s branches overpower it.
Having gotten a little away from the eastern creek, Randall angles back South, soon rejoining the creek and spotting a drake emerging from its hole. He and a tree quickly slay it (it attempted to lands in the tree), but three other drakes emerge and attack. While one tree restrains one of the drakes, another breaks free of its tree and the third comes in low enough to engage Randall out of reach of the tree he is beneath.
Randall takes orangutan form before the second drake can engage him and fights ineffectually until he loses the form, transforming back in time to step back from their attacks and grow a large branch from the tree under which they are fighting (which is still whipping the drakes with what twigs can reach) between him and the drakes. This branch strikes out and while Randall continues to grow it (balancing its growth with additional trunk and root mass), it batters the two drakes to death.
With five drakes killed, and realizing he can’t possibly make a dent in their numbers, Randall determines they aren’t an active threat to the road here in their natural habitat and returns to the road.
With enough time to reach Iron Fields on foot, he walks with Oliver rather than flying. He arrives in Iron Fields near sunset to find Lizardfolk and Kobolds in an argument with Valefolk at the Iron Fields bridge. He approaches and learns that they have come to bring news to the Dragon Empire diplomat in Citadel House. Randall agrees to escort two of them to Citadel House to deliver the message in the morning.
He spends another night in Iron Fields and then escorts the two lizardfolk to Citadel where they deliver their message to the diplomat before he escorts them back to the bridge in Iron Fields. With that, he returns to Citadel to report to Matthias. Matthias informs him that the orc visit went well, but that they may not be able to forge a strong bond with Schek Tarifk. They are highly nomadic and he doesn’t know when what they discussed will reach the high priests of the schek. It turns out that the orc word “schek” means something like “cult” more than “tribe.” Each Schek is dedicated to an orcish god, the high priest of that god leading their schek. The Union of Schek purports to represent 5 gods and is made up of 5 of the larger tribes. Matthias hopes to be able to spread the word of God among all the orc schek, but the Union is an obvious first step.
This session was meant to be a quick hunt and fight quest, but then outdated encounter tables dropped orcs and then lizardfolk in largely controlled territory, so we ended up with some unexpected diplomatic activity in the mix. I love this game!