Townspeople of Calamentum
Octorum 20, 887 Af.
With the giant routed and the drums stopped, the party took a moment to breath, then set the townspeople to watch the gate while they went to check the other fronts. They looked in the town hall, and only saw the couple of priests of Iuris burning documents. With direction from the priests, they made their way to the Hole.
They arrived to find the remaining townspeople surrounding the pit. Inside the ring were the bodies of a few score of the miners, a few hundred dead goblins, and another several hundred living goblins that had thrown down their weapons. Ian was there, laughing and smiling, and thanking each person as he went by. He told a number of the people that they could expect a payday for this, and he'd see to them down at the Jewel. The party made their way over to him, and he greeted them with a grin.
"When the horns stopped and the goblins surrendered, we assumed you had won. It's time to celebrate! Let me get this squared away and we'll go to the Jewel," he said, and turned to summon one of the townsfolk. "Round them up, and take them down to the auction grounds. We'll deal with selling them off tomorrow." The man gathered a group with him and they began to herd the goblins into a group. Kasret noticed several of the goblins had stopped to stare at Durdeg and him, but shrugged it off as Ian tried to usher them back to the town center.
Sharlot stopped the group, saying she wanted to check on the cliffs to make sure everyone there was OK. Faora split off from the group, wanting to set up a triage for any wounded from the battle. She found that most people had either been killed or were going to be fine after a few days rest. Only one person really needed her help, and she set to work repairing the wound in his leg while the rest headed south.
When they arrived at the cliff stairs, everyone had already cleared out. It looked like no goblins actually made it to the top - no blood and no bodies were seen. As they looked over the edge, they understood why - the pile of rubble and dead goblins at the bottom showed that this was no way to attempt to enter the town. The party walked away from the cliff, confident that none of the defenders were lost at this front.
The group eventually made their way to the Cracked Jewel, the building next to the courthouse where Ian wanted to celebrate. They entered to find it mostly empty, save for Ian and Dan at the bar, drinking shots poured from an unlabeled bottle. As Durdeg and Kasret made their way to the center of the room, a crashing sound came from the corner, and they looked to see a goblin that had dropped a tray full of mugs. It was staring at Durdeg and Kasret with its mouth agape, and didn't move until Ian made his way over to it. Ian kicked at it, making it cringe away, and then he yelled for it to get out and go do some work elsewhere. Ian then apologized, saying that normally he wouldn't have them around where people could see, but with so many having fled there wasn't much choice.
While this seemed to bother some of the group, they let it go, not wanting to get involved. They instead began to ask Ian about their reward for protecting the town - specifically, the property that was to be gifted to them. Ian chuckled, and let them know that everyone that fled the town gave up their property rights, so pretty much any building was available for the taking. The best homes - those overlooking the cliffs - were all owned by someone who remained, so they would have to leave those, and they may not want to attempt to take over any of the Dwarf's or Nelwyn's property due to the size, but for the most part, they were free to do as they liked. Sharlot and Durdeg left to look for a place, while Sif and Kasret remained.
As Sif and Kasret questioned their rewards due, another man came into the bar. The slightly pudgy man, of average height and with stringy brown hair, looked like he wanted to pass through and head up the stairs, but Ian quickly stopped him. Calling him Ned, he told the man to join them, and introduced the two as saviors of the town. He then told Ned that he should give them the bag of gems he had as a reward, to which the man stammered about not knowing what he was talking about. Ian turned cold, and in a terse voice told Ned that he damn well knew, and to turn over the bag. Ned pulled a bag from his belt and placed it on the bar between the two heroes, then turned and left. Ian was all smiles again as he turned back to Sif and Kasret.
Sif ignored the bag, but not Kasret - he added it to his pouch with the rest of his equipment. Sif began to push again for a school, to which Ian laughed. Ian said that she was more than welcome to attempt to make any school she liked, but she might be surprised at how little the people of Calamentum wanted any eductaion from the Deities. Assured that there would be no push back, at least, Sif decided to look for an existing building that would work. She and Kasret left, to also seek their own property.
Durdeg found a place that was nice for the town, but not objectively a good house. It would suffice, but certainly was not everything he was looking for. Sharlot found a place close by, of about the same quality. Meanwhile, Kasret set out to specifically find something near a forge, and did so. The actual home size and quality was less than what the other two had found, but being next door to the forge was his main goal. Meanwhile, Sif found an abandoned temple of Jarell, the Father of Civilization, Charity and Justice, quite similar to Kolero. Since it was abandoned, she felt that it was meant to become a place for the worship of Kolero and study of the world. It was not in great shape, but it was the best choice she saw for a new school, and she claimed it. Faora finished up her tending to the patients, and eventually they all reconverged at the Jewel.
Ian told them they were all welcome to stay in one of their rooms, and avail themselves of the amenities therein. When they realized that he was referring to prostitution at the least, they turned down the offer of companionship, but decided to stay in the inn until they could fix up their places. As everyone settled in to drink, Durdeg told the others that he was going to go check the wall. He left, and immediately headed to the town hall to investigate the Iurian's burning documents. He found they were still doing so, but were moving slower at this point. While they were distracted, he was able to get one of the books for later perusal. He left the lawyers to their work, and headed towards the wall. He was stopped by the goblin that Ian had kicked at before he could go too far, and asked if he was there to save them. This surprised him, and he responded that he was not, but listened to the goblin's story.
After listening, it became apparent that for this group of goblins, at least, hobgoblins and bugbears had become legendary protectors. The goblins believed that long, long ago, their larger cousins protected them from the depredations of orcs, ogres, and giants. To these races, goblins were disposable troops, and at worst, food. While the goblin (who eventually gave his name as Enarzu) could not tell any details about what hobgoblins and bugbears did, he claimed to be a goblin wiseman, responsible for keeping the old stories alive. And the stories that were passed down were that before the hobgoblins and bugbears were wiped out, the orcs did not enslave the goblins. They did now, as evidenced by the hundreds sent to fight and the thousand or more currently mining in the badlands. To Enarzu and other members of his tribe, this meant that the hobgoblins and bugbears were their protectors, and the reappearance of not just one of the species, but both, told him that they could be free of the orcs again.
Durdeg was not sure he believed this, but did not directly contradict him. He did say that they were not an army, and were not there to save anyone. Enarzu looked disappointed, but kept a glimmer of hope. Durdeg left him, and went to check on the wall, where he found Fat Bill still resting. Nothing more had happened, and he returned to the Jewel to rejoin the group. He made a decision at that point to do what he could for Enarzu, and trade his claim on town property for the freedom of Enarzu. Ian didn't hesitate, and signed a scrap of paper saying that Enarzu was turned over to him. Durdeg released Enarzu from his bondage, and told him that he was free to do as he will, but that Durdeg would not be responsible for freeing all of the goblins. With that, the group retired for the night.
Enarzu tried with Kasret, hoping that he would be more likely to help the goblins. Kasret saw possibilities, perhaps to help establish a free goblin civilization, or perhaps just to have his own convenient foot soldiers willing to die in his place. He agreed to take Enarzu on, and would work on the others the next day.
Octorum 21, 887 Af.
The next morning, the group awoke and decided that they needed more information than what they currently had. Sancho told them that he would be happy to scout as far as he could, and would return at nightfall. The others agreed, for their own reasons, and he set out to scout the edge of the badlands.
Durdeg went looking for more information about his meteor rock, hoping to learn what could be crafted with it. He met a Dwarven smith, who told him about the patron Deity of smiths and other makers, Fierte. He told Durdeg that he should seek a Smith Priest, to learn how to shape his metal into something special. Durdeg was intrigued, and learned that the closest place to find one was in Craghold, although others certainly exist.
Sharlot decided she would do what little she could to help the slaves of the town, and spent some of her coin to buy a couple of them. She immediately set them free, with the offer of fair employment if they didn't have anywhere to go. The two decided to trust her, and they went to her newly claimed home. She gave them enough coin to leave and find a new place elsewhere, but they decided to stay and work in her house. She set them to making repairs, and went to stock up on supplies.
Kasret dreamed slightly bigger, although he intended to liberate, rather than manumit the slaves. But when he arrived with a plan to break out the slaves, he found that they were already being prepared for auction. His plans would not work with this many people around, and Enarzu was there, expecting him to save the rest of the goblins. He approached the autioneer, who recognized him as one of the town's liberators - as the only bugbear they had ever seen, it was hard not to recognize him. Kasret asked how much the slaves went for, and got a range for particularly strong to particularly weak ones. He cut to the chase, and asked what it would take to buy them all. The price was steep, but he had a reserve bag of gems that he had brought from his homeland in order to barter with. It seemed like the time to spend them, and he became the owner of the entire group. He freed them as well, although Enarzu was there to tell them of the Bugbear and the Hobgoblin, and the coming end of the Goblin enslavement. They all swore themselves to his service, in exchange for the promise of their fellow tribesmen being freed. Kasret set them to fixing the palisades.
Faora tended to her patient, who was recovering rapidly. Her skill with medicine and cooking drove any infection away from the wound and fortified his natural hardiness. She knew he would be recovered soon enough, and could return home.
Sif inspected her property, intent on seeing how it could become a School of Kolero. As she looked over the damage, she began to wonder just how much trust she could put into Swaren. He was clearly not the most honorable man she had met, and if he was so willing to give her and her companions this property that wasn't his, how quickly would he turn it over to others if she was gone? She returned to the Jewel, meeting with the others that had finished their own errands, to get some answers.
Deep distrust had set in by this point, and Sif asked for a formal contract to lay out the ownership of the School grounds. Swaren laughed at her, saying he found it funny that she would be so interested in legal contracts while claiming to be a follower of Kolero. At first, this swayed her, but as she calmed, she realized that he was offering a false objection - ownership was certainly a facet of civilization, and so well within her bounds. She went back, and demanded that he issue a contract, and assured him that she would see it enforced. He leered at her, and told her she would fit in well if she ever needed a job here, and agreed to sign. The missive was short and to the point, but she felt it enough to enforce her ownership, and accepted it.
Sif was not done, though, and began to ask about what was going on at the courthouse. Swaren responded pleasantly enough at first, evading the questions with a smile. But soon, he started to turn hard, pushing her questions back at her. As he tersely talked about private business, Sif realized that she had overstepped, and apologized. She then returned to the group, to talk about her other outstanding issue - Sancho.
Swaren clearly knew something about Sancho the rest of them didn't, and Sif was suspicious of anyone who would be too close with the man. She knew he was hiding something, but Durdeg interrupted, to say that he knew, but had not felt it was his place to talk about it. Sancho was a Changeling, with a number of different personalities. They had seen Sancho in a number of places - an old Human male, a male Orcan laborer, a red haired Nelwyn male, and a buxom Human female. Sharlot immediately began speculating on whether Carta had ever ended up hitting on Sancho while he was in his female form, and the group took a moment to hope for his quick recovery. They then passed the time waiting for Sancho to return, to learn about the land and whether he had anything else to say about Swaren.
As dusk fell, Sancho returned to the town. He brought news about a number of orcs, ogres, and other giant-kin were all making their way towards the great tower in the badlands, several days journey to the west. Sancho had spotted several groups, and evidence of a number more. He also found a mine in a box canyon, watched over by some orcs and ogres, but populated by a thousand or more goblins. Enarzu heard this, and looked to Kasret with expectation on his face. The group continued to question Sancho, and found that he traced the orcs and ogres to where he could see they were coming to the Cracked Plain where it led to the tower. He turned back at that point to be able to make it back by the end of the day.
Sif took the opportunity to interrogate Sancho about his background, and why Swaren would know about him. Sancho claimed to know of Swaren, but had never dealt directly with him before. Satisfied with the answers for the time being, she let it go, and they all retired for the evening, to prepare for the next stage.
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