Sam Holbig 2
Sam's Story

5th of August, 9:41 Dragon

In exchange for us not introducing their guts to steel and open air, those two ambushers agreed to bring us to their base and their leader. They took us to this great big chasm outside the city, where a dagger-faced elf mage cast some spell that whisked us across to the other side in a puff of smoke. Now, the fact that the only ways back involved another magic trip or a long walk along the chasm edge set my whiskers a-twitching. I expected an ambush or a double-cross, but so far these folk seem to be relatively honest. We were brought to this… well, calling it a “village” is frankly giving too much credit, “pile of tents and huts” is more like it. Anyway, we were taken to the largest and least shitty-looking of the huts, and out comes the leader of this rabble: a blond, baby-faced elf who seems to have come to Denerim from elsewhere, as we suspected. We chatted for a while, and on the face of it his motives seem noble enough: the point of all this was to create a place for city elves to go to get away from the awful conditions in the Denerim alienage. Still, there’s the little detail that elf-boy and his friends stole a whole bunch of stuff to build their little haven, and left a whole bunch of pissed-off merchants back in Denerim as a result. We suggested that perhaps he and his lads might gather the bits they didn’t need together to give back as a peace offering, while we went to go track down our wayward warehouse guard, who was apparently patrolling somewhere outside the camp.

Well, as it turns out, our wayward warehouse guard managed to find that other team that was ahead of us. Seems they were after the bounty on these stolen goods as well. They had a dwarf, an elf, a human mage, and a great big fuck-off Tal-Vashoth — which is a Qunari that’s not a Qunari, if you’re not confused enough already — all armed to the teeth and battle-hardened, by the looks of things. Naturally Mr. Guard, displaying the same amazing lack of tactical sense as the rest of his buddies, decided to pick a fight with this scary lot, and took the Tal-Vashoth’s mace to the melon for his trouble. We managed to chase them off, but the guard was already dead and gone by the time we made it to him. Oof, not looking forward to having that conversation with his wife and kid. Well, obviously we couldn’t just leave him there for the crows, so we cleaned him up, wrapped him in my bedroll, and took him back to the camp.

So, we get back to the camp, and we see that all the elves and elf-friends are running around in a tizzy. Turns out that other group took all their supplies and started heading back to town, and none of baby-face’s boys were able to stop ‘em, because apparently they can’t fight their way out of a wet paper bag. They had horses for us to borrow, though, so we rode out after the other group, and managed to catch them as they were making their way along the chasm. (Still not sure how they managed to get so far ahead of us, since they only had the Tal-Vashoth dragging that big old wagon all by himself. Magic, I suppose?)

Now, at this point, we could have tried to pick a fight with the other group; they were wounded (or should have been — again, mage), and we could outflank them, but if anyone screwed up the supply cart might have gone over into the chasm, and then nobody would’ve won. And frankly… why bother? After all, this group’s done nothing but try to return stolen goods to their rightful owners. A day ago, we were doing literally the exact same thing. And yes, the situation’s more complicated than that — when isn’t it? — but it would have been hypocritical, petty, and frankly damn stupid to risk losing everything in a fight on that cliff face. So we had a chat, like civilized folk, and decided to split the goods up. They get their share of the bounty, and we get ours. The two Dalish are going to take their share of the goods back to the elf-friends, while me and the mage will ensure everyone gets paid. After that… well, we’ll have to see. Like I said, conditions in the Denerim alienage are nasty, and apparently there’s a sickness in there that they need medicine to treat. And it seems that baby-face and his elf-friends need some serious whipping into shape if they’re actually going to make this plan of theirs work. Looks like we won’t be wanting for things to do if we decide to stick around here for a while.

Daryel Lightward
Daryel's Story

21st of Wintermarch, 9:41 Dragon

After a night of rest in Ostagar, we woke the next morn and struck up a conversation with the innkeeper. In the wake of supply runs being hijacked by the bandit camp we managed to avoid on our way there, many of Ostagar’s citizens had decided to travel further south to the nearby township of Stenhold for a festival.

Sadly, among those who had made that choice was Ostagar’s herbalist, whom we were hoping would have some shadowmoss and save us the trouble of the trip to the Kolkari Wilds by agreeing to part with it for some coin. At that point, our party decided to follow suit and travel to Stenhold, as it wasn’t a far detour from our path to the Kolkari Wilds.

After leaving a description of Tracii with the innkeeper, on the off chance that she managed to overcome her illness and catch up to us, we struck out for Stenhold. The journey was uneventful, but also sadly proved rather unfruitful: we consulted with the town sheriff only to discover that the herbalist had left town, but planned to return by nightfall.

Despite our attempts to search for her outside the town, we were forced to return empty-handed and wait for her there. As fate would have it, Tracii had awoken and followed us, and with a strange new companion by the name of Vetorious in tow to boot. I’m rather curious about this fellow and plan to keep an eye on him.

The reunion was short-lived, however, for we were soon after waylaid, rather randomly, by a couple of barbarians. With the prowess of our warriors and my healing skills, we managed to make short work of them.

We didn’t find the herbalist, but I suspect we’ll stay in Stenhold for the night and continue our search in the morning. I’m not optimistic about our luck; it seems likely that a trip to the Kolkari Wilds remains in our future.

6th of Wintermarch, 9:41 Dragon

The battle with the darkspawn ended, we set about making camp. Sam piled their bodies and set them aflame. Tracii, as best we could discern, had been victim to a spell casting gone awry and had fallen unconscious, so Sam and Alalen fetched her and brought her to the campsite. We got a fire going and moved Tracii and the children round it. Hannah, Mythal bless her, had fallen asleep. Joseph, on the other hand, seemed to suffering from the same post-battle rush as the rest of us.

We had rather stern words for him, as he’d tried to contribute in the battle but really only ended up making things more difficult for the rest of us. His intentions were good, though; I believe he wishes to show himself a capable warrior, more than merely the son of a nobleman, and that is something I can respect. I offered him a ration, which he took. Sam took him to the side for some combat training, which amusingly involved mostly running the boy around and giving him a few friendly blows to tire him sufficiently enough to make him sleep.

We took watch in turn. Conversations were had over the course of the night and the next morning as we began traveling south back to Lothering. Piecing them together, we came to discover that Alenka and Corbin had intended to hold the children ransom to their father, the Arl, and to use the collected monies to start a new life elsewhere. They had no ill intent toward the family, but wanted the means to escape their present lives.

Their goal certainly wasn’t one for which I could fault them: the Arl showed himself to be a less than likable character, particularly in the way he treated his servants. However, none in our group could well abide the thought of crossing a wealthy and powerful nobleman, putting the job we’d agreed to do in jeopardy, or keeping the children from their family — however unloving — for the sake of coin.

Considering the matter further, we came up with an alternative to present to Alenka and Corbin. Legnar elected me to present it to them, saying that he felt I spoke for the group and referring to Sam and I both as “level-headed.” I agreed to his proposal. Sam offered to accompany me in speaking with Alenka, which I certainly appreciated despite not needing to take him up on the offer.

I called Alenka over to speak with me in private, then outlined our alternative for her: we would give to she and Corbin the two sovereigns that we’d managed to find on the battle site — which was coincidentally equal to our shares from returning the children to their father, one sovereign apiece — and, once our other jobs in the area were completed, we would then take them with us on our return trip to Anetha Ara, as she’d expressed the desire to live in a place with a better attitude toward elves.

While Alenka was skeptical, particularly with respect to the possibility of being able to receive more money with the ransom scheme than from our plan, she spoke with Corbin and they agreed to accept our offer. I suspect the prospect of having to wrestle control of the children from the rest of us seemed an unlikely one, as none of our party seemed inclined to go along with the ransom scheme, myself included.

We returned to the Arl’s manor. Conversation with him was rather curt, but he kept his end of the bargain and we each received our sovereign. We gave what we promised to Alenka and Corbin, then left Tracii in their care and traveled south to our next job: dismantling a bandit camp between Lothering and Ostagar.

Unfortunately, upon nearing the area, we found a patch of land four or five miles wide filled with tents and one or perhaps two hundred bandits. After spending some time discussing our options, we resolved to forgo the task of dismantling the bandit camp for now and attempt to travel around it unhindered to our next question: obtaining shadowmoss from the Kolkari Wilds for Tyrael.

Legnar stealthily rode near the camp to gauge its contents while the rest of us maintained a wider berth to avoid detection. In the few instances where we attracted the attention of guards — my own clumsiness is in part to blame, I’m afraid — we managed to misdirect their attention elsewhere, until we eventually met with Legnar again outside the camp. We traveled on to Ostagar and agreed to remain there for the night and strike out for the Kolkari Wilds in the morning. I can only imagine what we will find there.

Sam Holbig 1
Sam's Story

22nd of Solace, 9:41 Dragon

Ha! Been in Denerim ten minutes and already I have a job! Seems some local vendors craftsmen have had their wares go walkabout — food, lumber, crap weaponry, that sort of thing. The culprits are most likely some trouble-making out-of-town elves, collaborating with local malcontents who think the Fereldan king should sit his arse back down on the throne and do some ruling for a change. (The rest of the Fereldans seem to like him well enough, so whatever it is he’s off doing, he must be doing something right! Ha!) I’ve been hired to try and set all this right, along with a couple of less-trouble-making out-of-town elves, and a wizard we acquired somewhere along the way. I may have given the wizard an “Ostwick kiss,” by the way. Silly bugger tried to set my hand on fire. Anyway, we’re on the road outside town looking for the elves’ camp, and damn if a couple of townsfolk didn’t just try to jump us on the way. Have to say, the ambush wasn’t bad, but the follow-through was awful. One bowman and one knifer against a group with twice the numbers and better gear? Why even bother? (Also, I hear word of another group pursuing this same lead, who are apparently one step ahead of us. I wonder if they caught an ambush, as well?)

P.S. I thought we folk of Ostwick didn’t like outsiders, but Maker alive, I can’t go five minutes without hearing some Fereldan grumbling about “elves” or “northerners.” It reminds me of home, and for all the wrong bloody reasons….


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