Day 4 – Burg Liechenstein
The next morning the party get up and start to discuss strategy.
Talmark doesn't mind having to pay the entry fee for the mercs, as that would seem to him to be part of their employ. “However, having to pay every time they enter could get expensive if we keep taking day excursions” he adds. “A base of operations of our own would cut back on this, however also need a lot of upkeep and defense.” When they are outside of earshot of anyone says to Lucien and Kord "Someday, when we rule these lands, they will have to pay a fee to leave their little fort. ...if we let them continue to live."
Talmark says that he’ll start looking for more healing potions. He learned the lesson that there is no such thing as "enough to go around", and he felt a little shamed that the mercs, though disposable to our ends, were not kept up as he was. It's a fellow-warrior thing, as well as the sort of feeling Captains should have for their men...
Kord adds that he doesn’t like the mercs at all and he cannot wait to replace them with more ‘reliable’ troops. He almost dropped Channel Negative Energy a few extra times to get rid of them but restrained himself at the last moment.
Talmark finds the rogue to be intriguing. He leans over to Lucien and Kord and says in a hopefully low voice "A scout and sneak-feet could prove invaluable, especially in those caves and the castle. I don't know if we can trust him as far as we can throw him, but I would like his service as long as he is tracked with a weather-eye."
Initially Lucien has an air of distrain towards Malandir. He is a half-breed. It’s only saving grace is that it’s not half-human half-breed. He is still full elf. Lucien resolves that their need for additional help must be the priority right now. He agrees with Talmark that a sneaky git would be most helpful and adds, “Shall I draft up a contract while you interview the prospect?”
“Oh yes Lucien, a good contract is definitely in order. As my intent is to enforce it rigorously” confides Talmark.
“Turning back to the subject of the caves, Lucien adds “If we decide to go to the Caves of Chaos or Cragmaw Castle, we could use Cragmaw Caves that we just cleared as a waypoint to retreat and rest at if the target is too tough to take out in one outing. It’s a defensible position, rather than trying to push all the way back to the Burg or risk camping out in the open.”
“Maybe we could trail a caravan heading to the west by northwest route and splinter off to get to the Cave or Castle so that we have more back-up on the travels there” he adds.
“Ohh,” Talmark motions, “I like that caravan suggestion, that really works well for added protection while we travel, as well as we may garner some rewards if we end up having to defend it from attack….and there is the added intelligence and networking value as well.”
Talmark adds “I’m keen to get a look at that ‘abandoned’ castle, but it’s distance puts us at a bit of risk. I do like using the cleared cave as a camp (after we deal with the merchandise left there) as long as it remains clear. I don’t know if we should build a barricade/door just inside the mouth, leave traps, or what to keep it ‘safe’, but we cannot afford a permanent guard at this time.”
Leaning over the table Talmark states “Regardless of where we go, I think we should survey the target and surrounding areas for a short time, 2 or 3 days, so that we know what we are dealing with before plunging headlong into higher odds than we can handle.”
Kord stands and stretches his back. Cracking sounds are clearly audible as he moves to clear the cramps in his shoulders and spine. As he winces from the pain the says “I agree. If we are to take this land we need to establish as least one base if not more. I spent time in the Egorian militia and have good Survival skills and can do some tracking. I’m not so keen on going scouting alone however as I need to wear armour and aren’t exactly very sneaky. However I could perhaps give an indication of what may be residing in the area. It’s too bad we don’t have any knowledge of engineering. If we did perhaps we could try to fortify one of these places.”
He adds “It’s going to take time for the mercs to heal up naturally. I propose Lucien that we heal them as best as we may. Even though they aren’t believers it’s still for the glory of Asmodeus. What say you?”
Lucien nods in agreement. [Come back to me Lucien if you don’t agree]
“Also I’m going to need to scribe some more scrolls” adds Kord. “I think I’ll spend today scribing two and then I can use tomorrow healing myself and maybe some of the mercs. I think I’ll take a light spell as well. It was pretty dark in that cave. No need to get lost.”
Kord and Lucien pray to Asmodeus for an hour or so to get their spells for the day whilst Talmark talks to Malandir. He tells Malandir that they are looking to go out again in a few days to do more hunting of monsters and to find the Caves of Chaos and perhaps Cragmaw Castle. Malandir says that he has Knowledge Local and may know something about the Caves and the Castle and would be like to come along. He’s good at sneaking and scouting and would be able to help considerably. Talmark tells Malandir that as a party they like to have agreements firmly understood by all and he’ll ask Lucien, a barrister by trade, to draw up a contract of how they’ll work together. “Yeah…” thinks Malandir, “a contact, just what someone who likes freedom like me wants to sign.” “Sure” he responds Talmark, “no problem.”
They find Knight Wallache and Knight Engel, the Sergeant of the Guard, at the inner gate house.
Engel greets them with a customary round of swearing. “You girly, milk-drinking troll-barfs. Good to see that you’ve made it back in one piece, albeit looks like you took some damage. Tell me some of your tales.”
Talmark and Lucien tell them that they’ve defeated a tribe of goblins who had been raiding caravans as they pass through and that they had collected the ears and were here to collect the reward. They don’t bother to mention that they have cleared Cragmaw Caves as they figure that it might be advantageous if the Knights of Irori don’t know this just yet, especially if the party is going to use that as a future base of operations.
Captain Wallache ushers the men over to a small administrative table to conduct official business.
Lucien requests, “Captain we would request a more reasonable accommodation for the Burg.”
“Hearing of the travails and dangers to trade and civilization in these party, we three have traveled here over the course of many days for the specific purpose of lending our weapons, arts and blood to the task of making these lands safer for the free exchange of goods. The bounty for our efforts regarding the trophies is appropriate and adequate to the task, but we feel the fee to regain entry to the Burg each and every time is a nuisance, especially after risking our necks for the good of the Burg, its traders and travelers. Out of our own pockets we have added to our three to bolster the pacification of these lands.”
“Is there not some arrangement that can be made wherein our party, so long as we are returning with trophies of our efforts to keep this area safe, may receive consideration regarding the entry fee? We can call it, ‘informal recognition’, of the risks we are taking.”
“After all it’s not just the safety of the Burg, but the reputation of the leadership here as peacekeepers of the area that are bolstered as well by our efforts.”
“Look around you,” responds Wallache. “Look at the security. How much do you think it takes to maintain this fortress and the men within it? The viability of this fortress is bolstered by the strength of walls of the Burg and the strength of arms of the men in it. The lands will never be fully tamed. You’d have to root out every gorge, every cave and every peak in the Menador Mountains”. He leans forward to make the next point clearer, “And in any case the lawless of the lands is somewhat necessary. Without it the ungrateful merchants wouldn’t even bother to stop at the Burg or to pay their dues to the Blank Tome Guild House nor the Castellan Rald. The most generous fees that thee earn from the slaughter of the monsters more than compensates you for the entrance to Liechenstein. Now let’s look at these ‘monsters’ ears.”
Disappointed with the discord Lucien motions to Talmark to spill the contents of the bag of ears upon the table.
The Captain pushes a large metal pot from under the table out a little with his foot.
He inspects the first goblin ear and sets it aside on the table. He does the same with the next, the next and the next. Then he comes across the pair of ears from the wolf. He looks closely at the ears and then back at Lucien and Talmark. “What is this?” he enquired. “I’m not paying for any dog ears.” By the time the Wallache has reviewed the ears he has removed 7 of the 18 sets with excuses such as “not paying for dog ears”, “not paying for these small infant type ears” etc.
He swipes all the ears into the pot and offers the party 110gp for their efforts.
Talmark hopes that they get a better deal when they try to sell the looted goblin weapons.