Tales of the Brunch Club 002 “The Paladin’s Story”

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Welcome to Episode 2 of the Rescued by Dragons podcast. The ongoing tale of  a weekly Dungeons and Dragons campaign played in Portland, Maine. 

My name is Dominic White and I invite to grab a hot cup of tea, a glass of mead, or the beverage of your choice, and picture yourself in a cozy, torch-lit tavern, drink in hand, huddled around a table with other patrons, waiting to hear the next chapter in the adventures of..The Brunch Club.

But before we begin, here’s what happened in last week’s episode…

In the previous chapter, Salys, a forest gnome sorceress met Elora, a wood elf ranger on the way to Sturgeon. In the bar they met Drusilla, a lunar elf cleric. They learned that they were all headed to the Crystal Spire Library in the city of Elnor for answers to different questions in their lives and decided to travel together for safety on the long journey. The weather was too bad to travel so they stayed in town. They went to another tavern, the Black Lamb, where they struck a deal with a surly bartender. In exchange for clearing out a rat problem in the basement, he’d give them free drinks for the afternoon, during which, Drusilla introduced them to the concept of brunch. 

The next day they set forth to Wyhill, but as evening approached they were attacked by bandits. They fought them to a standstill until a hungry, giant crocodile looking for an easy meal charged at them from the river next to the road. The bandit’s leader fled. A silver scaled dragonborn leapt from the woods and attacked the crocodile distracting it from Drusila, Salys and Elora. They quickly finished off the rest of the bandits and the crocodile right before it made a meal of their new ally.

And now, Chapter 2: “The Paladin’s Story”

Elora kicked the last bandit corpse into the river. She, Drusila and Salys considered sharing the loot with the dragonborn, but then decided against it. After all, he hadn’t actually killed any bandits. They agreed he could keep whatever loot the crocodile had on it and split the bandits’ coin evenly between the three of them.

Salys suggested they at least go over and check on him and thank him for his help.  As they approached, the dragonborn rose to his feet. He stood a full 7” higher than Elora, who was the tallest of the brunch club by far at five-foot-nine.

He gave them a cheerful “Hello,” as he slung his shield across his back and put the warhammer on his belt. His words were thick with a guttural accent, not common these parts.

He introduced himself as Vorjhon. He had been a little ahead of them, also on his way to Wyhill, when he heard the scuffle break out and decided to investigate. Not wanting to jump in without knowing which side he should aide, he crouched in the woods and watched. Just as he made the decision to help the three of them, the crocodile came out of the river, thinking him an easy snack. He thanked Elora for saving him, and handed her arrow back to her after yanking it from the beast’s head.

Noticing Salys had a wounded shoulder, he offered to heal it for her. She agreed, and he placed one of his large, silver scaled hands on her wound, causing it to heal instantly. 

Guessing Elora was a ranger, he asked if she could help him skin the giant crocodile on the off chance they could sell the hide when they reached Wyhill. If they did sell it, he said it was only fair that all four of them split the sale price.

The sun had almost fully set by the time they finished skinning the enormous crocodile so they decided to make camp some distance upwind from the fresh kill as to avoid any nocturnal scavengers. As they sat around the fire eating dinner, Vorjhon told them his story.

He was born into a religious family in Drazean, the kingdom across the river to the west. His parents were zealots of the Silver Flame, so at the age of 8 he was sent to an abbey where children of the faithful were raised and trained to serve the Silver Flame in whatever way the High Priest deemed fit. As he grew older it was quickly evident by his size and strength that he would make a good warrior. He was placed into martial training and became a Paladin of the Silver Flame. He traveled with a company of paladins and clerics to hunt down all manner of evil creatures – demons, fiends, undead, and other unholy monsters. 

Vorjhon followed his orders as he was trained to do, but couldn’t help notice as they were marching into battle with hellish creatures, they were passing by regular people who also needed help. When he asked his captain why they couldn’t help these people, he said it wasn’t his job and was reminded that questioning the orders of the High Priest was like questioning the Silver Flame itself and could be considered heresy.

On a recent day, not too long ago, they were just outside Wyhill when they passed by a series of wheat fields. An old farmer approached them and begged them for their help. He was being tormented by goblins who were stealing his crops, killing his chickens, and for some strange reason abusing his cow. The farmer insisted he could pay them well, but his pleas failed to arouse any compassion the cold captain might have. That night, Vorjhon snuck away from his company to offer his own assistance to the farmer.

Upon arriving he surprised a few goblins creeping up on the farmer’s door, and they fled into the woods when they saw him.

He and the farmer kept watch for the rest of the evening in case the goblins came back. During their watch Vorjhon learned the farmer’s name was Jameson, and he had been an adventurer in his younger days and had eventually earned enough money to retire and buy this farm. Vorjhon told him of his internal struggle between his duty to the Silver Flame and the desire he felt to help those in need. Farmer Jameson retrieved for Vorjhon a souvenir from his own adventuring days – a  holy symbol of the benevolent dragon god, Bahamut. He suggested Vorjhon pray to Bahamut and try and learn more about his ways, as Bahamut very much supported the helping of those in need that could not help themselves.

Vorjhon stayed with the farmer for a couple more nights, sleeping during the day, and guarding against the goblins at night. When the goblins did not return, he decided he should rejoin his company. Jameson thanked him and invited him to come back for a visit any time.

When Vorjhon caught up with his company, he was immediately kicked out for failing to follow orders and was told that word of his insubordination had been sent to the high priest and that he would surely be branded a heretic.
 
With nowhere else to go, he decided to return to farmer Jameson’s, which is where he was on his way to when he ran into his three new companions, some bandits, and a crocodile. He suggested they join him, and if the farmer was still having goblin trouble, he would most likely pay all of them for their help. The rest of the party agreed and they set forth to farmer Jamieson’s house the next morning.

When they arrived at the farm, Jameson looked tired and frightened, though his expression quickly turned to one of relief once he saw the familiar silver scaled paladin at his door.. When asked what was wrong, he told them that goblins tormented him all night. They moved scarecrows in front of his windows. Made howling noises, and whipped and tortured his dairy cow, Bessie.

They went to check on her. Her hide was bleeding with welts and tears. Drusilla cast a spell that allowed her to talk to animals. She asked Bessie if she was okay. In a surprisingly gruff voice Bessie responded.

“If I see another one of those big eared bastards, farmer Jameson won’t hear the end of it!.”

Drusilla cast a healing spell on Bessie to patch up her cuts before asking what happened.

“Ugly short men with big ears attacked me. Whipped me with barbed wire and yelled at me and yelled at the house, like they were trying to scare us off.”

Drusilla asked how many ugly short men with big ears there were.

“I don’t know. I can’t count. More than the group of you though. Not many more, but more.”

Ellora helped make some blinds out of hay and grass around the front of the house where they then lay in wait. The group hid their presence as best they could in hopes of ambushing the goblins if they returned that evening. They took turns keeping watch. Well after dark, Elora noticed shapes approaching the farmstead. When the goblins got close enough to see in the dark, the three women with their elven and gnomish night vision, unleashed their spells and arrows. Some of the goblins returned fire with their own arrows, and others charged at them. Unfortunately dragonborn don’t have night vision and Vorjhon was attacked by the largest of the goblins. Fighting blind, he could not land any effective blows but managed to stay alive by deflecting most of his enemy’s attacks with his shield.

Elora saw Vorjhon engaged with what appeared to be the most ferocious goblin and attempted to shoot it, but her fingers slipped off the bowstring and the arrow buried itself in the back of Vorjhon’s shoulder.

Drusilla summoned three floating orbs of light to illuminate the area, and sent one out toward Vorjhon. She saw Elora’s arrow strike Vorjhon in the back and that his armor was stained with blood. She cast a healing spell hoping that would keep the paladin in the fight.

Now able to see, and bolstered by the Raven Queens healing, Vorjhon turned the tables on the goblin boss, eventually feeling the goblin’s skull crumple beneath a blow from his warhammer, all while Salys, Drusila, and Elora finished off the rest.

Vorjhon thanked Drusilla for healing him after one of the goblins shot him in the back. Elora and Drusila glanced at each other, but neither told Vorjhon where the arrow really came from.

They looted the goblin corpses for some gold, but found nothing else useful, or any clues as to why they had been harassing farmer Jameson instead of just killing him.

The next morning, after a long rest, Jameson thanked them with all his heart, especially Vojhon and gave them each several gold pieces for their service.

Feeling pretty good about themselves for doing a good deed, and getting paid for it, they headed toward Wyhill and found a tavern where they could rent some rooms. While at the tavern they talked to the innkeeper while she was tending bar. Tipping her generously, they asked about how one could travel from Wyhill to Elnor.

“Three weeks by road,” she answered.  “You could cut a week off that by going straight through the Blue Litch Bog, instead of around it, but I wouldn’t recommend that. Lots of dangerous creatures live there, and they say a witch called the Bog Hag lives in it somewhere to the east. Sure some caravans do take that road to save time, but they’re heavily armed. They don’t call it the Bitch Bog for nothing.”

“Your other option would be by boat. Master Buckthorne has some merchant ships, but it would cost you a pretty copper since he doesn’t trade in Elnor. There’s also a local fisherman named Long John who will take people to Elnor, but truthfully he’s a little eccentric and his boats aren’t what you’d call seaworthy.”

The group decided they should at least try to talk to Master Buckthorne and Long John in the morning about possibly hiring their ships to get to Elnor before turning in for the night.

The next morning after breakfast Vorjhon insisted that they go back to Farmer Jameson’s just to check in on him and make sure they really did get rid of all the goblins. When they got there, the front door was wide open. There was a small pile of gold counted out in stacks on the table, but no sign of Jameson. They searched the house but didn’t find him. They walked around to the back to check on Bessie. She was there and seemingly uninjured. Drusilla spoke to her but she didn’t know where the farmer was. They walked back around the house and scanned the surrounding fields for any signs of the farmer. Vorjhon noticed a scarecrow that wasn’t there the day before in the far end of one of the fields. They approached it cautiously. As they got closer, Drusilla was the first to notice the blood dripping from this “scarecrow”. Vorjhon cautiously investigated before letting out a pained sight. This was the body of Farmer Jameson, crucified and tied up like one of his own scarecrows.  Vorjhon silently cut him down and began to dig a grave, his face locked in a scowl. The others helped solemnly. Once buried, Vorjhon knelt next to the fresh grave and said a prayer for his dead friend.

They went back to the house to look for clues but could find none. Vorjhon suggested they should report his murder to the Captain of the Guard at Wyhill. They others agreed, but also insisted that they should keep the gold for themselves. Vorjhon reluctantly agreed, knowing farmer Jameson had no family, and that they could possibly use the gold to help others. He did insist they take Bessie back to town and try and find her a good home rather than leave her to starve or be left to the mercy of the goblins.

This tale will continue next week in Episode 3.

Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:

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Thank you very much for listening Please join us next week to find out, along with the rest of us, what‘s going to happen next!