Nutsday, Quintember 5, 358 EK
Bosabrieln, Dareisyn, and Desire’lya forage and prepare to camp for several days. The rest of the day passes uneventfully, and the group settles down to sleep. Desire takes first watch, ranging around the camp and running with Timber and the local wolf population.
It is late when Desire notes the other wolves have scattered and Timber is emitting a low growl. Her elven ears pick up the sound of distant footfalls through the brush — a large complement of humanoids, by the sound of things. As she listens, they approach closely enough to spot her movements through the trees. She runs, taking them on a merry chase through the woods by an exceedingly circuitous route before returning to camp. She shouts at the others to awaken them, and informs them of the situation. After a bit of discussion, they decide to stay at camp and make a stand. Bosabrieln takes cover between two trees, Desire climbs a tree to stay as a lookout, and Dareisyn slips into the shadows behind a tree. Timber stands next to Syn’s position.
The humanoids — a troop of ten orcs, as they become visible in the moonlight — approach, but halt, talking amongst themselves in Giant. Bosabrieln addresses them in Giant, and they seem to determine that he’s the “godling” they seek. The leader orders them to attack.
Their priest — a male orc with a spear, a fur cloak dyed blood red, and a ragged bandage over his right eye — steps into the clearing and prays, summoning a blast of force that hammers onto Bosabrieln’s position. He manages to sidestep the worst of it as Desire wings the priest in the head with a rock from her sling.
As this occurs, Syn steps out of the shadows to engage the leader. The leader’s second and six soldiers all rush to engage him, and he informs them that this is a mistake as he proceeds to knock out the six soldiers with a flurry of quick blows and grievously injure the second-in-command. The last soldier, having moved to engage Bosabrieln, is quickly slain by the bard’s magic. Bosabrieln and Desire make short work of the priest while Syn defeats the second-in-command. Faced with the combined onslaught of Bosabrieln, Desire, Syn, and Timber, the orcish warboss is quickly defeated.
Having left most of the orcs alive for questioning, they bind the warboss, second-in-command, and priest. Syn kills the orc soldiers.
The three plan their interrogation. Bosabrieln asks for Desire to retrieve wild grapes so that he may do something for dramatic effect. When she returns and learns that he plans on using one as an eyeball, she notes that they’ll know the difference. Syn extracts an eye from one of the dead orcs before awakening the other three.
Bosabrieln indicates that he has taken an eye in emulation of Corellon’s mutilation of Gruumsh. When the second refuses to answer, Syn slits her throat. Bosabrieln quickly revives her, wanting her to remain for interrogation. He continues with his questioning, learning that the orcs were apparently lead here by their priest’s visions. They have come to perform a holy crusade against Bosabrieln, whom they call “godling” and “the bastard get of Corellon.” Bosabrieln only starts speaking in them in Common when they talk of coming from their camp to the north — the camp of Uzgash, Butcher of Deepwood.
When the trio is content they have learned all they can from the orcs, Desire kills the warboss and second-in-command by draining them dry. As a token of respect, she kills the priest by slitting his throat, and then she buries him.
In the aftermath of the fight, the group drinks a bit of wine before returning to bed. Desire and Syn wander away from camp for a moment to discuss this development. They determine that they are still not certain Bosabrieln is a god, and they certainly don’t think they need to worship him, but he has apparently convinced somebody of the concept. They evidently need to be prepared for Bosabrieln to inadvertently summon godly threats.
The group returns to sleep and taking watches. The next day, Quintember 6, is relatively uneventful. Around dark, Roc returns. A strip of fabric is tied around his leg; it appears to be a note from Godfrey, reading, “Passed Roc on the way. Contingent of soldiers and healers en route to Clegate. Will return with soldiers from Bahyrst.”
The next day is similarly uneventful until night, when the group hears a commotion in the distance. Syn goes to meet it, and quickly determines it to be Godfrey with four soldiers, a cart, and a team of horses. They give greeting, and return to camp. Syn explains a little about the run-in with orcs, and Godfrey explains that they will all be brought to the capital city of Leonewald to determine whether they are to be rewarded or punished. The soldiers and travelers all help excavate the buried gold, and then Desire makes certain the soldiers are all fed.
Bosabrieln, through his music, kindles their other desires, as well.
The next morning, Quintember 8, the group prepares to depart. They arrive in that evening. Dareisyn encounters the two thugs he paid and pays them the additional money he promised them. He also deals with the Ermalfeld Mercenary Company to collect bounties on the eighteen orc ears he culled — 36gp at two gold pieces per ear. They stay the night at the local inn, and the following morning, they depart for Leonewald.
They arrive at the gates of the grand city in the late morning of Quintember 10. The soldiers are forced to navigate several of Leonewald’s guards, describing their business, before finally gaining access to the palace. A messenger leads Bosabrieln, Dareisyn, Desire’lya, and Godfrey to an antechamber where an official will take their statement. In a few moments, a priest arrives. The group describes what transpired upon reaching Clegate, and the priest seems satisfied. Syn further describes Desire’s visions, although the priest seems flustered and it is only after he leaves that Desire and Godfrey note Syn’s description was somewhat confrontational.
After a few moments, a messenger returns, informing them that they have been invited to a feast with Queen Ylva Wanderheart to thank them for their service to the kingdom. The feast will be tomorrow evening; the messenger will show them to their rooms, and then they may investigate the grounds or the city if they wish.
After settling in their rooms, the group goes into the city to purchase appropriate dinnerwear for the following day, as well as look around and shop for any other items of interest.
The following day, Rasday, Quintember 11, the group spends much of the day preparing for the night’s feast. Desire assists with hair and makeup. As evening approaches, a messenger summons them to the feasthall.
Various nobles sit at a long table. Queen Wanderheart — dressed in a velvet dress while still bearing woad paint upon her face — and her ministers sit at the far end. The messenger announces them, and they are seated. Dinner consists of several courses and casual conversation — largely the nobles asking about the adventurers’ travels. As dinner approaches its end, the Queen announces that for their services to the Kingdom of Hörundsflúr, she will induct them into the Order of the Python. She calls Bosabrieln, Dareisyn, Desire’lya, and Godfrey forward, and presents them with medals marking their membership in the order. She tells them she would like to speak with them later, when time permits.
Festivities continue, and the revelers eventually move from the dinner table, allowing everyone to mill about and talk more freely. Eventually, Queen Wanderheart approaches Bosabrieln, Dareisyn, Desire’lya, and Godfrey. She inquires somewhat about their journey, and they exchange pleasantries. Bosabrieln, Syn, and Desire all flirt with the Queen somewhat demurely, and she warms to them quickly. Desire mentions the prospect of joining the Queen in the gardens later; she says she would like that.
The party continues, but when the travelers see the Queen excuse herself, one-by-one they make their way to the courtyard. Meeting with the Queen, they talk further of matters regarding their travels and the kingdom, exchanging pleasantries. Bosabrieln tells her that she reminds him of She of the Dying Light, a warrior-chieftain he met in another land. She reveals herself to be a warrior and a traveler herself, and they find commonality in such matters. They discuss the prospect of sparring on the morrow.
The Queen also notes, with some humor, that by description, they must be the same travelers who caused the trouble in Duchy Bassano a few weeks ago. She notes that they do not seem like the type to cause nearly as much trouble as described; they explain a little regarding the misunderstanding with Duchess Bassanelli, and more importantly, the secret Zarus cult adopted by the town’s rulers.
Dareisyn, then, sees fit to mention their quest, gathering the cards of the deck of many things. Queen Wanderheart says she knows the deck, but knows nothing of the cards; Desire can tell she is hiding something. The Queen also seems to note that Desire recognized her deception. Once Syn is finished, Desire asks if she may speak to the Queen alone. She explains their holy mission, and the visions that guided her here. She says that they have no desire to take the Queen’s card, but when the task is complete, they may wish to see it. As a gesture of good faith, she gives the Queen the Euryale card, saying that she may keep it if she wishes, although Desire suspects she will return it to them.
They also discuss the prospect of meeting later. The Queen says she would like that; she will send a messenger to fetch them.
The Queen takes her leave, and Bosabrieln, Syn, Desire, and Godfrey return to their suite of rooms. Congregating in one room, they discuss this turn of events, as well as the possibility that Queen Wanderheart might send someone to assassinate them — which admittedly seems unlikely — or that all is well. When Bosie, Syn, and Desire prepare to change to meet the Queen, Godfrey, somewhat shaken by the prospect that they may have to defend themselves, says he will return to his room. Desire kisses him good night, to his surprise, and he bids everyone farewell. As he opens the door, the Queen’s messenger appears. He declines to join the others; the remaining trio asks the messenger to wait briefly so that they may change clothes, and then they follow.
They arrive in the Queen’s bedchambers, and have a lovely evening.
The following morning, Quintember 12, they are served breakfast before being asked to return to their rooms. The messenger indicates Godfrey has left to wander around Leonewald, but will return to spar.
In the afternoon, they spar with the Queen, with nobles in attendance. Bosabrieln abstains, instead deigning to speak with the nobles.
The rest of the week goes well. They enjoy the sights of Leonewald, and speak with the Queen as time permits. Over the week, they forge a fledgling friendship with the Queen. They decide to leave on the morning of Quintember 18.
The evening of Quintember 17, Queen Ylva Wanderheart again calls Bosabrieln, Dareisyn, and Desire’lya to her chambers for an evening’s private revel. As the evening wears onward, they are asked to leave so that the Queen may sleep; the trio returns to their rooms to do likewise.
There is an early morning knock at Syn and Desire’s door; a messenger, looking for Desire’lya. She is told that the Queen wishes to speak with her; despite her state of undress, she is told to come as she is.
Returning to the Queen’s bedchamber, Ylva explains to Desire that she truly wanted to thank her and her companions, and wish them a fond farewell. She hopes they will return. Also notably, she returns the Euryale card to Desire, and wishes her well in her quest.
As day breaks — Rasday, Quintember 18 — Bosabrieln, Dareisyn, Desire’lya, and Godfrey prepare to leave Ylva’s palace and Leonewald. Once they are certain all their preparations are complete, they leave the city and take to the road.