Of Shadows and Stoßtruppen – A Petrichor Campaign Report15 March, 2016
Back to the tree, Old Father Mastic, safely after rescuing the survivors of the Gold Sword Company from the cyclops our heroes reunited with their companions. Johan looked quite wild, a smoking pipe clenched between his teeth, while Elsbeth complained about the lack of beer and the challenge of surviving without such. Johan explains that he has been communing with the spirit of the tree and has learned much, namely that a force that he calls the Shadow Between is trying to slip into the world and that is why the tree raised its daughters, to protect itself from it/them. The last of the daughters, who has taken the name Élato, remains violent just not toward our heroes and has become a semi-ally.
Pedr receives a messenger, a semi-skeletal crow bearing a message in its exposed rib-cage, from his patron, which asks what are they doing. Pedr pens a long report and sends it back the next day. Late that night Klaus rushes in sounding the alarm, “Wolves! And worse!”
He is pursued by strangely silent wolves with glowing deep red eyes. Our heroes rally to defend their new home (and themselves) from the invaders. As the wolves are killed, their shadow flees, a fact that is only noticed by a few in the dim light. Klaus and Lorrend are both briefly taken out of the fight but rally in time to defeat the bear that is leading the attackers. Pedr delves into the aura of the place (detect magic) and learns that the border between this world and the Shadowed Lands (the gateway between life and death) has been thinned, moreso than the battle itself would account for. Outside, Élato and Tulip (Lorrend’s warhorse) have defended the other mounts against a further three wolves.
While waiting for a reply to Pedr’s report, it is decided to reinforce the tree’s defenses by adding a stone door to be build by Elsbeth, a dwarf who knows about such things (at least, so she says). Thus an expedition is organized to find stone for use in such while waiting for a reply from the Baroness. While doing so, they encounter a scout patrol of forces from the Dark Star Dominion who they talk to and agree to meet up with their commander the day after next. Returning to the tree and installing the stone doorway is surprisingly successful, all things considered.
Then they meet with Hauptman-Zauberer Toht and ten Stoßtruppen who brought along a cask of beer on a sledge, much to Elsbeth’s happiness. They are invited back to the tree for a meal which became an impromptu party. Pedr tries to wheedle information out of Toht who does the same in turn. An increasingly inebriated Lorrend starts to drift into a slurred radicalism with the soldiers. who, luckily, lose the thread as they are also inebriated. But our heroes are left with the feeling that the Dominionists are hiding something, though they did learn that they arrived by skyship.
Word from the Baroness arrives, saying they they have done well and that reinforcement are en route to the new forward base of the Tree. So they decided to go on a quick scout to learn more about the local area and be back in time to meet the new arrivals.
The set off to the continue their exploration, not finding much of interest until they find a road, and not just any road, a newly constructed Roman road. While pondering the meaning of this, they hear the clattering of wagon wheels approaching and soon see a wagon without horses or driver barreling down the road. Lorrend aside Tulip blocks the road and it screeches to a halt. Pedr climbs up to see what it is carrying and finds a load of damaged tools. He reports this and Lorrend moves asides and the wagon starts to roll on its way, leaving Pedr to leap (successfully) from the moving wagon.
They decide to see who sent the wagon and follow the road. After traveling for a few hours, they come upon a work party but not of living workers but of living stone statues, each marked with a set of runes over it “heart” building the road at a slow but steady pace. They ignore the watching people until one of the living statues steps up and gestures them to move aside, as they do so, they hear another wagon approaching (this one full of gravel).
Leaving our heroes there, the session ended.
Notes: Sadly, these seems likely to be B2’s (player of Elsbeth) last game for awhile as she is moving out of the local area. She will be missed.
The road building statues is a scene I had in mind since this campaign began. I was expecting the meeting with the DSD Stoßtruppen to be less . . . peaceful as well, but just as well, those guys are nasty.