Welcome to... Canonfire! World of GreyhawK
Postcards from the Flanaess
in Greyhawk
Cities of
Jason Zavoda Presents
The Gord Novels
Greyhawk Wiki
    The Silver Wolf-A Light In The Dark: Chapter Six: Find The Path
    Posted on Fri, September 08, 2017 by LordCeb
    CruelSummerLord writes "“Your friends have mentioned a great evil,” the Flan leader replied, as the adventurers kicked up their horses to follow. “If my suspicions are correct, we may need your help just as much as those whose child you seek to rescue.”

    Chapter Six

    Find The Path

    Yondalla forgive me, Amyalla thought to herself, sickened by what she was participating in. Would that there was another way…

    Using her magical hat to disguise herself as one of Pieden’s thugs, Amyalla was now riding on one of the slave-wagons Pieden and his men were using to transport their kidnap victims. The children in the wagons were carefully disguised with suitable wigs and overly large coats, to make them look older than they truly were. They were cowed into silence with threats of all kinds of dire punishments should they reveal themselves or plead for help. Of course, the children would have gained nothing from it anyway.

    Slavery was perfectly legal and common in Greyhawk. The markets were far too lucrative for it to be otherwise.

    As much as Amyalla was disgusted by Greyhawk’s slave trade, she had to admit that Greyhawkers were at least open about their lust for hard coin. Other people were more apt to hide their greed behind purer motives, such as her family. When Amyalla had married the decorated halfling noble and adventurer Kivern Goodleaf, the Reorsas had proudly announced Amyalla’s wedding to anyone and everyone who would listen. House Reorsa was quite pleased to support the marriage, as being associated with a name as prestigious as Kivern’s could only better House Reorsa’s commercial prospects.

    Amyalla had indeed loved Kivern when she first met him, enchanted by his devils-may-care attitude and air of bravery. Unfortunately, she’d soon come to learn learned about his love of fine wine, and the all too common rages he would fly into when he was drunk.

    It was bad enough when he would shout obscenities at her, calling her a no-good whore. It was all the worse when Kivern decided to force his hapless wife to “dance” for him by shooting his loaded crossbow or throwing his daggers at Amyalla, forcing her to dodge his attacks as he laughed like the drunken ass he was.

    Even that was not as bad as all the times he cuckolded her with other halfling women. Whenever Amyalla had reproached him, or even just shown her dismay at Kivern’s philandering, he was quite happy to cut her with his sword, or give her a good beating with his mace.

    Amyalla’s complaining to her family had done her no good. House Reorsa refused to do anything to help Amyalla, as they had no desire to see Kivern’s good name ruined. A scandal that tainted Kivern’s name would have hurt House Reorsa’s own mercantile profits.

    So it was that House Reorsa’s daughter had had no compunctions about causing that hideous scandal herself. Using her wiles and wits, she had publicly exposed Kivern’s philandering. The uproar had ruined Kivern, and nearly taken House Reorsa with him. Amyalla had fled Leukish after that, taking Kivern’s cherished magical hat to help her disappear. 

    Now, the halfling hated herself for what she was doing, hated herself for willingly letting these children suffer at the hands of Pieden’s men and the slavers who would take them. Every time Amyalla cursed herself for what she was doing, she had to remind herself that it was only so she and her companions would be able to track the slavers down back to their lair. From there, they would be able rescue not only Louella’s and Pieden’s children, but also anyone and everyone else who’d suffered at these monsters’ hands.

    Pieden’s caravan was well into the Cairn Hills by the time they met the slavers, and it was nearly dusk when the children were transferred into the new caravan. Surprisingly, there wasn’t much to distinguish the slavers from Pieden’s own men. The slavers were a collection of rough-looking thugs equipped with a large set of horse-drawn wagons. The slavers’ wagons were set with the same kinds of cages as Pieden’s own, and the children were loaded into the new wagons with a minimum of fuss.

    The children cried and wailed, their sobs tearing at Amyalla’s soul, and she cursed herself once again, forcing an image of Louella’s pleading to the front of her mind.

    Unfortunately, that image fought for space in her mind’s eye with memories of Kivern and all the things he’d done to her.

    Once the exchange was done, Pieden’s caravan turned around to return to Greyhawk. After a mile, they stopped briefly to refill their waterskins from a nearby stream. Amyalla took the opportunity to speak up, giving the excuse that she needed to relieve herself in private. Disappearing into the woods near the road, Amyalla hid where she could view the caravan, knowing that the nervous thugs had no intention of looking for her.

    So far, Amyalla’s plan was working well, and she only needed to wait for Airk and Revafour. Concentrating for a moment, she used her hat’s magic to shift back into her natural form, even as she watched Pieden rally his men and get the caravan going again. The nervous thugs had no desire to be out in the Cairn Hills at night, and would be returning to Greyhawk even if they had to travel until dawn.

    Dozing in the hollow of a large duskwood tree, Amyalla awakened when she heard the sounds of Airk and Revafour approaching up the road a few hours later. Emerging from the hollow and making her way back to the road, Amyalla greeted her companions as Revafour tossed Amyalla her backpack. Airk and Revafour had hidden in the woods as Pieden’s caravan had returned to Greyhawk, letting it pass them by before they’d continued into the hills. Worn out by the long march from Greyhawk, Airk and Revafour were led by Amyalla back into the woods. Laying down, the adventurers ate a short meal and prepared to make camp.

    The adventurers planned to set out at dawn, with Revafour tracking the slavers’ caravan further into the hills. From there, they would hopefully find the slavers themselves.

    Then they would see how well the slavers, who were so brave against helpless little children, dealt with people who could actually fight them on even terms.

    Weimar, Luna, Seline and Ma’non’go did not feel any less worried, even if they knew they were getting closer to their goal. If anything, it only increased their concern, hope they wouldn’t be too late in rescuing little Teddyrun. Luna’s divination spells had given the adventurers a general idea of which way to go, but none of them knew what Pelor’s omen had meant by the “giant’s cloven beard”. The companions had asked many of the farmers, merchants and other travelers they’d encountered, but no one had been able to help them. Now, a day and a half after the adventurers had left the Listells’ estate, they had reached the Cairn Hills. 

    They’d continued heading north by northeast, and Weimar had made sure they stayed on course, but so far they hadn’t come across any giants. Now, the companions weren’t entirely sure what to do.

     “We could ask at some of the mining villages here,” Weimar suggested as the companions rode down a trail that cut through a copse of thick birch trees. “The dwarves and gnomes might know something most of the humans wouldn’t.”

    And how much time can we afford to spend asking about, before Teddyrun perishes? Ma’non’go asked, as Seline translated for Weimar.

    “Could you cast some more spells?” Weimar asked Luna, shaking his head in frustration.

    “They take too long to cast,” Luna frowned. “It’s taken us a long time to get here already, and I don’t know how much more time we can spend-“

    Luna’s horse, which was leading the group, suddenly neighed in surprise and recoiled onto its hind legs as an arrow shot out from the trees and thudded into the path in front of it. The adventurers looked around warily as a group of men and women seemed to appear around them as if by magic, emerging from the trees.

    The people who had emerged from the trees were dressed in clothes of green and brown to help them blend in with their surroundings. Most of them wore light leather armor, and none of them wore anything heavier than brigandine. Their spears, maces and shields were similarly light, although made of well-crafted steel. They carried themselves with the practiced ease of people whose ancestors had spent countless centuries living in these hills, knowing them as intimately as any dwarf or gnome.

    Most of the Flanaess was dominated by countries established by the Suel and Oeridian peoples who had come to these lands during the Great Migrations. In most cases, the Suel and Oeridians had driven away the indigenous Flan who gave the continent their name. Many Flan now lived among other humans as citizens of these new countries, but others continued to live in their own independent communities. Some of them were nomads, others were settled farmers, tradespeople or herders, but they all recognized no outside authority and belonged to no country other than their own. A group of these independent Flan now surrounded the adventurers, their weapons at the ready.

    The situation remained tense for several seconds, before one Flan, clearly the leader from the way he conducted himself, spoke to the group.

    “What brings you to these lands?” he asked in the common tongue. “Why have you come here?”

    Much to Weimar’s surprise, Luna answered for them.

    “We come to these lands in search of an innocent who needs our help,” Luna answered in the Flan language. “We mean you and yours no harm-this I swear as a daughter of Pelor,” she continued, displaying the golden sun icon she wore as a pendant around her neck.

    The Flan leader rocked back on his heels slightly, surprised at Luna’s answering him in his own language. The other Flan warriors were just as surprised, mumbling to one another and lowering their weapons somewhat.

    “All we would seek from you is guidance,” Seline added, also speaking in the Flan language. “We are searching for a child, a child abducted by some evil that could threaten all the communities around it. Any help you could give us would be greatly appreciated.”

    Once again, the Flan looked at the adventurers and then each other in surprise at the Aerdi women who spoke their language.

    Weimar looked at Ma’non’go, who glanced back at him and nodded as if to assure him.

    “You don’t hail from the City of Greyhawk, do you?” the Flan leader realized, speaking in the common tongue. “You, do you speak our language?” he asked, this time turning to Weimar and Ma’non’go and speaking in Flan.

    Ma’non’go nodded, while Weimar just shrugged helplessly, not understanding anything the leader was saying in Flan.

    “An Olman from the southern lands, two women from the east, and…a man from the west,” the Flan leader mused to himself. “Clearly you all have an interesting tale to tell, and very good reason to be in these hills. Perhaps we can help one another after all.”

    “Help one another?” Weimar asked in surprise, as the group of Flan turned to walk down the trail, gesturing for the adventurers to follow them. “What do you mean?”

    “Your friends have mentioned a great evil,” the Flan leader replied, as the adventurers kicked up their horses to follow. “If my suspicions are correct, we may need your help just as much as those whose child you seek to rescue.”

    The Flan village was a collection of log cabins and wigwams, typical for this part of the world. The structure of the buildings was new to Luna, Seline and Ma’non’go, who were more familiar with the pueblos and hogans of the Flan people of the southeastern Flanaess. Weimar was more familiar with them, having seen the elves construct similar buildings in the communities he’d occasionally visited during his days in the armies of Keoland. It came as little surprise, particularly given the cultural exchanges the elves of the Flanaess had had with the Flan for countless centuries.

    The village was thronged with laughing and playing children and adults tending to domestic duties, although Ma’non’go and the rest of the adventurers could detect the palpable sense of tension in the air. The village was fairly large and prosperous, but there didn’t seem to be as many people as the visitors would have expected.

    Seline was surprised to see how relieved many of the people in the village seemed to be that the adventurers’ escorts had returned home safely. The villagers were more relieved than she would have expected people returning from a patrol to be. They spoke rapidly to one another, and soon there were so many conversations that she couldn’t make out what any of them were saying.

    The leader of the Flan patrol, a man who’d called himself Dennine, broke off from the crowd of villagers, gesturing to the adventurers to follow him. They approached a larger longhouse in the centre of the village, and were surprised as the longhouse’s front doors opened and a group of dwarves carrying weapons and sacks emerged. Several of the villagers called out good-byes to the dwarves, who saluted back as they mounted the ponies tied up outside the longhouse and rode away, seemingly satisfied with themselves.

    “Who were they?” Weimar asked Dennine curiously.

    “Some of our regular traders, who hail from the dwarven kingdom of Greysmere,” Dennine explained as he brought the adventurers into the longhouse. “They were here to drop off some supplies we needed.”

    “What do you mean?” Luna asked.

    “Our chief can explain it to you,” Dennine asked, as he led them towards a large table at the back of the longhouse. The area was elaborately decorated with fine furniture, while the walls were festooned with hunting trophies, weapons and blankets and carvings depicting war victories. A large table took place of pride in the centre of the room, around which a group of older people were seated. At the head was a lean woman with dark bronze skin. Her long hair alternately gray and white, dressed in a beautiful doeskin gown and wearing a colorful sash that denoted her as the main leader of the community.

    The adventurers stood before the table as Dennine explained briefly how he’d met them, before concluding by saying that they would be able to help the Flan with their own troubles.

    “Indeed?” the older woman asked, looking intently at Dennine, and then back at her guests. “Very well, then-be seated and welcome at our table.”

    “You are…” Luna trailed off, giving their host the opportunity to introduce herself.

    “I am Melonanne,” the older woman replied, “current chief of the village of Oakdale. These others are the rest of our council,” she continued, gesturing to all the other Flan sitting around her at the table. “Now then, perhaps you can give us more of an explanation as to why you pass through our lands?”

    “We didn’t know these lands were yours,” Seline immediately replied, bowing her head slightly in apology. “We were originally hired by a family from the land of Greyhawk whose son was recently abducted by an unknown evil. Our task is to find the family’s son and bring him home before he can be injured...or worse,” she continued. “The trail has led us here, into the Cairn Hills, and we only passed through your lands because we believe that this is where we need to go,” Seline spoke, deep concern in her voice as she recalled the plight of poor Teddyrun.

    “…This is most disturbing,” Melonanne said after a moment, as the other council members murmured to one another. “It means that the evil is far more widespread than we realized.”

    “What do you mean?” Seline asked curiously.

    “Many of our own children have been abducted in recent weeks by parties unknown,” Melonanne said sadly. “We’ve been stretched to the breaking point trying to find them, as we’re also currently fighting a large pack of trolls that’s come into this territory. Our dwarven allies were just here to give us a fresh supply of oil, and we’re likely to need every drop of it. Because of the gods-damned trolls, we haven’t been able to spare the resources to search for our children, Pelor forgive us. It is all we can do to survive!”

    “I know that Pelor would bear you no grievance for fighting for your survival,” Luna pointed out. “Indeed, perhaps our presence here is Pelor’s means of helping you. I suspect that the same beings that abducted Teddyrun, whoever they were, are the same ones who abducted your children as well. If we are to rescue Teddyrun, we can also rescue your loved ones as well.” 

    “You would do that for us?” Melonanne asked in surprise, a hopeful look on her face. Most of the other members of her council had similar expressions, although some of them did not share their chief’s optimism.

    “Of course we would,” Seline assured her brightly, smiling warmly with assurance. “We need your help, however.”

    “With what?” Melonanne asked curiously.

    “We were led here by a divination I cast to try and find Teddyrun,” Luna replied. “The message from Pelor was that Teddyrun could be found at the ‘giant’s cloven beard’, but I don’t know what that meant. We asked as many people as we could think of on our way here, but none of them could help us.”

    “The giant’s cloven beard…” Melonanne murmured, trying to remember where she’d heard that before. “I could swear that…”

    “I know what they’re speaking of,” another one of the council members spoke up. “It’s clearly the Bearded Lord’s Hollow.”

    “The…what?” Seline asked curiously.

    “The Bearded Lord’s Hollow gets its name because it’s at the base of a large hill that vaguely resembles a giant’s head,” the council member explained. “The forest at the hill’s base resembles the giant’s beard, although it’s sharply divided by a hollow. The last we heard, it was previously an orc lair, but the orcs were driven out several years ago. No one lives there now,” the council member finished.

    “Until now,” Seline realized. 

    Related Links
    · More about Stories & Fiction
    · News by LordCeb

    Most read story about Stories & Fiction:

    The Silver Wolf-For Crown Or Country: Burning Man

    Article Rating
    Average Score: 0
    Votes: 0

    Please take a second and vote for this article:

    Very Good


     Printer Friendly Printer Friendly

    Associated Topics

    Stories & Fiction

    The comments are owned by the poster. We aren't responsible for their content.

    No Comments Allowed for Anonymous, please register

    Canonfire! is a production of the Thursday Group in assocation with GREYtalk and Canonfire! Enterprises

    Contact the Webmaster.  Long Live Spidasa!

    Greyhawk Gothic Font by Darlene Pekul is used under the Creative Commons License.

    PHP-Nuke Copyright © 2005 by Francisco Burzi. This is free software, and you may redistribute it under the GPL. PHP-Nuke comes with absolutely no warranty, for details, see the license.
    Page Generation: 0.51 Seconds