Campaign Logs

The Jade Letters

By Beth Griese

Date:   October 14, 1995


Bearded fellow

Supreme Being

Jim Leitzel


Blonde human

Tempus Cleric

Brian Smith

B'rinth L'rea

Gold Elf


Vaughan Herron


Gypsy woman


Beth Griese

Nory Gnome Illusionist/Thief Stu Collins


1/2 Elf, Scruffy Beard


Jim Gaynor

Verence Gallow Thin human Mystra Cleric Kent Jenkins

Quote of the Day:
"yar!" -- Beth Griese

To Garen Thundersson, cleric of Mielikki. From your faithful servant, Jade.

Our group had escaped to the caverns below the house, on the lakefront these bandits were using to transport their booty to and from their ship. We traced our path carefully back to leave the house, but found a rude surprise outside. Our first clue that something was wrong was when we tried to pick up the armor that the worm corpse had been wearing; it was gone. When we reached the lawn of the house, we found our horses gone, too.

Personally, I suspected some bandits had escaped the house, but a couple in our group had strong suspicions about Ned. Well, whoever had taken our horses had headed to the road, and from there turned right instead of left, where Immersea lay. To the right was a village rich in horse trade. This sparked a fast debate. We had Verence and the injured merchant to care for, and yet we were reluctant to let the trail to the horses grow cold. I know I was certainly intent on making sure that Trellant didn't pass out of my hands; I've grown fond of that horse. Finally, Telaran took Verence and the merchant back to Immersea with the task to collect some horses, while Borreau, B'rinth, and I pressed on after the thieves.

Telaran caught back up with us by dusk; he had haggled horses to borrow from a merchant in exchange for collateral. To our surprise, Verence rode with him; seems the cleric was interested in how things would turn out. Riding was just as well by that point, anyway, since it was getting too dark to see the road well. I had to assume that it would be easily noticeable if the thieves (or thief) took the horses off the main road.

Praise Mielikki, I found just such a spot before the night grew too old. At first, we were incensed when we realized the small, beaten trail we found led right into a thorn hedge, but we realized that one section of the hedge had all the thorns carefully removed. That section led to a tiny grove, surrounded by thorn bushes on all sides - a natural corral. And in that corral rested our horses. No people remained in the grove; the trees within easily reached out far enough for someone to climb the tree and drop outside the corral to escape. So we had to content ourselves with retrieving our horses, even if we weren't able to avenge the thievery. I was so happy to see Trellant well that I was less worried about finding the thief than I would have expected. The only things we had lost to the incident were our saddlebags. I'm beginning to think that I'm cursed to have to buy a new horse blanket and netting every fortnight.

We made the long ride back without delay; we certainly didn't feel safe making camp when the thieves may just be looking for the opportunity to try to strike again. When we had about reached the house again, a band of purple dragons reached us; Telaran had left word in town about what had gone on. They provided a guard for us back to town, which was just as well so we could make sure we didn't let our horses stray off the road while we fell asleep. It was nearing morning again, and all of us were seeing the ragged edge of wear.

We weren't bound for our beds yet, though. The dragons told us that we were to report to Geldroon immediately. We did so, reluctantly, but the lord's assistant had the kindness and the wit to note our condition. He got the short story from us and then instructed us to report back to him to give a full deposition once we had rested. No one argued, and we all stumbled back to the Murdered Manticore to rest until well past lunch.

Even with that blessed sleep behind me I wasn't prepared for Geldroon's suggestion when we reported back to him. We explained everything that we had found. Obviously, pirates were using the house to store their goods. Dragons had retrieved what goods they could find in the house to return to the merchants they had been stolen from. But the source of the problem still remained; a ship would surely be calling soon with more supplies. Geldroon wanted us to help capture the crew of the ship.

I thought the idea was ludicrous. Most of us, including me, don't even know how to swim, and with the exception of our new addition, Verence, we don't know one end of a boat from another. But Geldroon explained that his Dragons would take care of rowing a boat alongside the pirate's ship; he just wanted us to provide the muscle for the fight that would come when we took over the ship. I still wasn't convinced that the idea was good, but to my amazement, I saw the lights go on in some of my party members' eyes. They actually wanted to do this thing! And so, with visions of how quickly leather armor will soak and sink, I agreed to the mission, as well.

Of course, we had to wait for the ship to return, and that turned out to be the most agreeable part of the mission. A couple of guards were stationed in the house itself, but we and the Dragons for the boat made camp along the lake, where we could quickly take out our rowboat when the ship appeared. We spent five days in camp, and though I don't usually take to camping with others, this was a pleasant stay, and certainly better than hunkering down in that house for all that time.

While we were waiting, those of us who did not know how to swim decided this would be an excellent time to start learning. So Telaran, B'rinth, Nory, and I paddled out into the cold lake every day to try to understand how to make sinking things float. Borreau helped me out from time to time, and I at least got the hang of keeping my head above water - sometimes. Telaran wasn't faring so well; he still tries to drink every time his face hits the water. B'rinth and Nory, on the other hand, were drifting past us from time to time. Seems they have a natural knack. Maybe those of us with human blood are at a disadvantage.

My favorite times, though, were the evenings, when Borreau and I would try to find something for the camp to eat besides rations. I taught him hunting game, he taught me fishing. Well, we tried, anyway. We usually managed to bring something fresh to the camp for everyone to eat, but teaching these skills aren't easy. I've tried a lot this week to remember the ways you taught me, Master, but I may not have the knack for it yet. Or maybe just not the wisdom. But it was fun trying, regardless.

The others in our group were also trading stories and skills. It was a wonderful way to pass the time, and I think it brought us all tighter, despite the many new ways to use natural objects for practical jokes that Nory found, usually to B'rinth's dismay. I only ended up with acorns under my bedroll once.

It was the fifth night that the pirates made their appearance. The ship came into the lake and signalled the house. The soldiers in the house gave their best guess of a signal back based on the notes I had found upstairs. It seemed to be the right guess, because the ship was on its way. The Dragons had the boat out immediately, and most of us had to scramble a bit sleepily to catch up and get in. I think the soldiers enjoyed making us wade in the cold water.

So we approached the ship carefully, most of us just huddled in the middle of the boat and trying not to make any noise. When we began to get close, Borreau cast a silence spell to make sure our approach wasn't overheard. We finally slid up next to the ship; all of the people we could spot on board were facing toward the house.

I scaled the ropes up to the deck of the ship first, and covered our approach with my bow. I waited until Telaran and Borreau had both made it up, too, before I shot. I aimed first for the man in the crow's nest, since I expected he could probably make the most alarm when were spotted. Telaran's bow aimed for the men at the wheel, and Borreau charged straight for another group at the fore of the ship. The cries of the men in the nest and at the wheel broke the quiet just barely before the splash of the soldier Borreau threw overboard, and with that, the battle started in earnest.

One of the men around the rear of the ship was a magician, and began shooting lightning bolts and missiles at us. Nory used a spray of colors, though, to answer him and take care of the problem. The man in the rigging started shooting bolts down at us, so as the others began to get the situation on the deck under control, I climbed the rigging to reach the nest. It was much easier to climb than trees, actually, and I didn't have the time to worry about the situation until when I had to figure out how to climb down. The man in the nest tried to shoot me point-blank, but he quickly saw the wisdom of dumping his weapons over the side and surrendering.

So, when we gained the deck again, we had a few prisoners, a few men overboard, and, according to our prisoners, more pirates to worry about below decks. It looked like we had only finished the easy part of the fight.

Your faithful servant,


PS. The Buckeyes are in exceptionally good season this year, Master. They seem to be everywhere and are as lovely as I've ever seen them. They seem to be collecting around roses.

The Jade Letters are the property and copyright of Beth Griese, not to be published or redistributed without permission.

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