Thursday, August 21, 2014

Of Mice And No Men (Part 4)

Gabrielle and Tiki move up to the disputed Whitewood Forest between White Range and Gnoll Stone Kingdoms, passing a few soldiers on the way. They're trip is safer than the Boss had told them it would be, and they come to a small keep, called Hjaalmir. The watchman is less enthusiastic about letting strangers into the small fortified hamlet of about 300 mice, that is until they mention that they are here to sell yellow cheddar, which is rare here due to white cheddar's easier crafting. They meet the patriach, the son of a recently slain Thane, named Frostgar, an adolescent by mouse standards. He is marked by pure white fur, a rarity in the world, and certainly being more mature than his age would show. He buys their entire shipment of cheese at three times the value they would get in Warren (a scant 50 bits per "pound" there) and sell their 25 pounds and about 10 from their own share. They come unto the knowledge that of course the two Kingdoms wage a war over the Forrest, Gnoll Stone due to location, White Range due to climate) that the Whitewoods themselves have not taken place in battle at all and are rallying themselves to unite for independence against the two weakened armies. Frostgar seeks to free the world from the corrupt tyrants.

Gabrielle asks if they will be paid, and Frostgar simply tells them that their personal payment is not his responsibility, but if they are willing to work they may do so. They ask for lodging and he charges them 100 bits total, as "my home is not a a simple inn." He does offer them a job, that they may be entitled to payment. Tiki and Gabrielle agree and are tasked to deliver an axe to his uncle, and supplies a weasel to ride, cloaks, and a scout to handle the terrain and weasel. They come to his uncle the next day and the scout stays outside, fearing a violent outcome. They are let in and Frostgar's uncle (also a white mouse) sees them right away. Upon delivering the axe, he asks them if they knew what it meant, and informs them it is a war declaration since they don't know. Subsequently he tells them that he did in fact kill Frostgar's father, but not why. He also informs them of his surrender to his nephew. They sell him some cheese, gouda wother three times the cheddar, and head back without the axe. Frstgar decides to take a crown off one of the severed heads of those who sent the axe back as a reward: a thin silver ring with an opal on its crest. It is obviously worth a small fortune, but it is rusted and bloody still, Tiki keeps it in his back as he was the one to carried the axe and delivered it.

The pair returns to Warren and inform the Boss of their sell, Gabrielle attempts to keep some of the bits they make, but the Boss asks Tiki, who is known as a bad liar about it, who gives up the full amount, except the crown. They keep that a secret fearing the Boss would take it. They are send with 200 pounds of cheese this time. The trip takes three weeks, one way.

Upon returning a month and a half later they find that Frostgar has been busy, soldier are more common place and they find that he is bribing those who are on the fence into backing him up with the yellow cheddar he has bought. This drives their prices down so they decide to return to Hjaalmir and sell to Frostgar. They strike a deal, and sell all 200 pounds for 110 bits per pound which is higher than the others were willing to pay. Frostgar informs them that they have competition and their cheese is better but less fresh due to it being from Middleton, and cheaper. He has those sellers killed and says that better taste and speed of delivery saved them. He reveals that he believes that his cause needs to call for, unfortunately, more bloodshed and he cannot afford weakness or slowness. He strikes up an agreement with the Boss to buy a steady amount of cheese ever few weeks, a mutually beneficial agreement. The leave for Warren the next morning, wary of the rising warlord. They pass a large group of soldiers arriving to Hjaalmir as they leave, they deduce by their armor and accent that they are from Micea.

The Boss is happy to receive a chest of bits and an agreement for more on a steady basis. He wonders about the Middleton sellers' cheese, imagining due to their "Moos" (large creatures that produce the most basic ingredients for cheese) would make the quality and price major selling points, but that its freshness cannot be guaranteed over any long amount of time. He asks about Frostgar and upon description he asks about the white fur and comments that its the Aelius family, who was banished from the Gnoll Stone Kingdom for some kind of coup or political reasons, but its been hundreds of years. He decides that the storm is coming and moves his operation away from major cities, convinced that Frostgar will be down soon. The Boss sends the party to Middleton to see if they can get a Moo of their own.

They made it to Bridgehead without incident, albeit with a 3 month trip from Warren. The look for various items and find a jeweler who will polish the crown for 200 bits, but says it might increase the sell value ten times that. They bought it and took in basic gossip of the town, mostly that it was a large two leveled arch over a great river. Soon they sell the crown for 12,000 bits and use most of it to buy a crossbow for Tiki and bolts, which are also very expensive. Before long they make it out of the city towards the Great Meadow to find a Moo. In a few weeks, they find the farm of Major Karllanderson and finally see who mice can control and tend to such massive beasts. They come upon such a group and find out: one sits high on the moo's head and links with it telepathically, two others milk it with telekinetic powers. They meet the Major who refers to them as "some yankees lookin' for work" and hires them on as box loaders for the cheese produced. The Major's most striking characteristic, besides his personality, is his two revolvers, which are near unique. The players decide not to ask him about them. For a while they work, a week or two, and gain more funds before heading over to Salt Lick City when they hear about some mice trying to experiment with cold, and only Gabrielle could really conceive of the concept of refrigeration.

The in game time passed up to this point has been about 7 months or so.

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