Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Into The Harz

October 14, 1650, Tuesday afternoon
Weather: with cool temperatures and an intermittent drizzle, with a gentle breeze

As the party grumbles that this drizzle is never going to end, it has been miserable these last two days since the death of the pig.  Yesterday, Monday, it drizzled all day.  This morning, the party was awoken by another wet series of small storms, followed by threatening conditions and then more of this accursed drizzle.  It grows clearer why there are few if any on the road, and most of the populace has taken to their homes.

The grey outcroppings of rock throughout the Salzgitter Hills, through which you climb to get to the Harz Mountains south of Hildesheim, turn black with the wet, and the ranger is quite aware that any number might serve as splendid cover for an ambushing brigand.  The birch and alder trees are stripped of many of their leaves by the storms, but there is still enough to occasionally give a sloppy kiss to the mounted party should they happen to need to step off road for a bit of water or to make camp.

The Harz mountains rise 2,000 feet above you as you slip into the Landgravate of Hesse, and the lands belonging to the House of Cassel.  You pass by the town of Cassel Tuesday morning, a big city about half the size of Lubeck - strung along the Fulda river.  Throughout the day you follow the Fulda through a pass in the Harz, just beyond Fritzlar.

During the two days you've paid three silvers each in road tolls.

You rest upon the top of the pass, not that high (perhaps 950 feet above sea level), amid oak trees and silver birch.  A stone run extends from near the road up the west slope, some of the stones being two feet in diameter.  You are struck by the sight of two wolves among the stones; one hidden between the rocks, observed by the Ranger first and pointed out to the other party members - the other moving from rock to rock in an almost energetic dance, as it watches the party from a hundred, hundred and fifty yards away.  The one on the rocks, says Janos, is the male.

37 comments:

Ahmet said...

Ahmet halts his horse and, just to be safe, begins loading his crossbow.

(If a little girl runs out calling after her pet wolves, she's the first one to die.)

The Turk asks the others in the party what they make of the dancing wolf.

Alexis said...

You're resting for a few, so you're not on your horse; you're chewing on some dry food, probably, enjoying the fact that the drizzle has stopped for ten minutes.

Lukas said...

Lukas replies, "You would look like you were dancing too if you were running around on top of all those rocks. Perhaps better than you normally do."

Alexis said...

As Ahmet takes an aggressive stand, the male wolf stops on a rock, sits on its haunches and stares.

It occurs to Janos that provoking the wolf could be inviting too much attention, if the wolf has a pack with him. This time of year, the pups have grown and the wolves have nothing to hold them to any place or locale.

Andrej said...

(OOC: Heya guys, hope all is well. Glad to be back to the campaign if not terribly glad to be back at work)

Andrej nods at Janos's words. "Heed the ranger, Ahmet. We can't eat wolf anyway. Can we?" this last directed to Janos.

Alexis said...

(OOC: dog can be eaten)

János said...

"Well, technically..."

Janos disregards the thought and instead suggests, "Perhaps we would be best off keeping our eyes peeled and simply not doing anything too crazy," this last part directed at Ahmet.

Andrej said...

Sofia adds, "They're not truffle pigs so perhaps the mighty Ahmet can restrain his violence."

Andrej said...

Andrej, "If rested, let's be off."

The party will keep eyes peeled as Janos suggests.

Lukas said...

I agree with this course of action.

Alexis said...

As you move south, you see signs for a crossroads ahead of you, with a route to Coblenz and a route to Frankfurt.

You cannot help but notice that the wolf and its mate begin to parallel the movement of the party, loping along steadily at the same speed as your horses.

Andrej said...

(OOC: reminds me somewhat of a recent sequence of events where my offline campaign's party encountered and ultimately befriended a juvenile werewolf.)

Andrej said...

Andrej, "Coblenz I am unfamiliar with, but Frankfurt I know. I say we make for the latter then strike east for Nuremburg, then south for Eichstatt."

Ahmet said...

Ahmet eyes the wolves warily but puts away his crossbow.

About how far away are they from the party? Maintaining their distance fo 100 to 150 yards?

Alexis said...

Yes, about that distance. In places where the party finds themselves switchbacking along a road leading out of the mountains, the wolves tend to get out ahead ... where the road is good, the wolves tend to trail behind.

They've been following about two hours now, sometimes disappearing, but always reappearing again.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet asks Janos what he makes of it.

"Perhaps other travelers have thrown food at these wolves to ward them off, and they've come to expect it?"

Ahmet said...

He looks at Lukas. "Or perhaps they've not wolves at all. Sorcery!"

Lukas said...

Lukas shrugs, "Perhaps not, but they don't seem to perturbed about it. Neither do I. If they were about to attack us I think they would have done it by now."

Ahmet said...

"But what if they are spies controlled by a mighty wizard who is seeking to steal our souls the moment we fall asleep?" Ahmet whispers conspiratorially.

"Or what if they are werewolves?" He glances up at the gray sky in the hope of determining whether it is a full moon.

Alexis said...

The moon at the top of the post indicates its a waning gibbous moon ... not that you've seen the moon very long in this wretched climate.

Lukas said...

"I don't believe werewolves are known for their frolicking or their ability to relax. Furthermore, if they are spies of a wizard, then we are already caught, unless we make a drastic change of course they can intercept us at nightfall anyhow and I'd rather not spend my last soulful days worrying about it."

Lukas ponders for a moment before shrugging and paying a bit more attention to the trail.

János said...

"You've quite the wild imagination, Ahmet," Janos remarks, intending it to be a jest—but his tone betrays the fact that he is beginning to share the Turk's unease.


Alexis, would Janos' experience as a ranger give him any insight into the behaviour of these creatures? He's curious if this is typically how the wolves might stalk a larger prey...

Andrej said...

Andrej and Sofia do not comment on their comrades' speculation, though each do make the sign of the cross and mutter a silent prayer at separate times. Otherwise, we keep to our current pace and plan to make for Frankfurt.

Alexis said...

I have offered some insight in that the wolves are probably not tied to pups. Moreover, there's less and less likelihood that they are supported in this instance by a pack. There's no way to be certain they are not "werewolves" except that these wolves seem a little small for that. Werewolves would probably be on the order of dire wolves or worgs.

That said, their purpose may be curiousity, or they may want to eat your horses. You just don't know.

The evening will get you to the crossroads.

At the point where night begins to fall, I may presume you arrange your camp?

Ahmet said...

Any indication of an inn, a farm, a village, or are we in complete wilderness?

Any other travelers in sight?

Alexis said...

The ranger can assert that while the road does indeed seem wild, he can detect odors of sheep farms and stubble fields on the other side of the yonder woods ... but all these seem to be off road.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet hmphs. "I'd wager we won't be getting any sleep tonight whether we stop or not. How far to the next town, priest?"

Andrej said...

Sorry, which crossroads are we at currently? Do we know? Are there signs about? Any clue how far to Frankfurt?

Alexis said...

Andrej can't be quite sure, since you were not moving as fast as this the last time you traveled these reasons. You think that you should reach Frankfurt tomorrow, certainly no later than Thursday. You also seem to remember that the density of cultivation increases dramatically once you are out of the Harz mountains (which you very nearly are right now).

Andrej said...

Andrej relays the information. "Set camp here and double the guards tonight?"

Ahmet said...

Ahmet, still obviously nervous about the wizard-conjured, soul-stealing werewolves, scouts around for the most defensible position he can find and confers with Janos as to its suitability, particularly when it comes to guarding the horses from attack.

Lukas said...

"I agree." Lukas will reply.

Andrej said...

Unless there are objections, use this as the guard rotation:

Ahmet and Sofia (2 hours)
Sofia and Andrej (2 hours)
Andrej and Janos (2 hours)
Janos and Lukas (2 hours)
Lukas and Ahmet (2 hours)

Ahmet said...

That's fine with me.

Hopefully we can keep the horses as close to the camp as possible, but I acknowledge they'd have to be at least a little distance away from us, or you'd likely get stepped on (or worse) during the night.

If that's the case, I suggest one of the guards be stationed among the horses and the other -- the "weaker" of the pair (you know who you are) -- among the sleeping party members, where help will be closer at hand.

Ahmet will don his Studded Leather +1 and bring along his shield and Dilmek while on guard duty.

Andrej said...

Andrej will be armed and armored normally while on watch.

Andrej said...

oh, and I concur with Ahmet's plans on guard positioning. Ahmet, Andrej, Andrej, Janos, Ahmet with the horses in that order.

Alexis said...

The next post is up.