Into the Vale – 02

“Fret not for your captain is here!” the paladin exclaims as he saunters towards the front of the hall.

“Their captain is late,” Johanna grumbles as she straightens up and regains her composure to address the others, “This grinning idiot is Marrich Ogun, and he has been assigned as captain of this group. Despite his irritating disposition, he is more than qualified to lead you on this mission.”

Marrich, acting familiarly with Johanna, seems unfazed by her verbal prods. Upon further inspection one would question whether an insult from his own mother would have any effect on this impossibly optimistic and jubilant individual.

With the briefing concluded the members of the guild proceed to make preparations for their journey. The horse-driven caravan is loaded and all members of the adventuring party are able to board – even Klint is able to settle in with reasonable comfort. The inside of the carriage has two opposing benches accommodating the riders. El takes a seat next to Klint and is immediately followed by the rogue from earlier. Johann sits on the opposite side of his traveling companion, and the elf and dwarf take a seat towards the far inside corner of the opposite bench. Captain Marrich sits at the helm next to the coachman.

The rogue introduces himself as Vova. “You three know each other?” he asks learning in towards El, but inquiring to Klint and Johann as well.

El smiles and explains that she just met Klint and Johann, and that she is from Crysanth Village in northern Tiranor. Klint confirms that he and Johann have been good friends for a long time and are residents from the Vale of Winterhaven, “We have a common goal, so we thought it’d be best to contribute our efforts to the guild. Our commander recognized this guy the moment we stepped foot in the hall! Johann Sleetstorm, the Giant Slayer and favorite son of Knoc Liath!”

To these words of praise, El’s eyes lit up and she blurted out in amazement, “Giant slayer!?”

“That’s right! During the War of Glas Aldmahd, this dwarf fought off an entire legion of grey dwarves on his own and came face-to-face with the Giant Duergar Commander!” Klint confirmed and began to list other awe-inspiring feats, each one seemingly making Johann feel progressively more exasperated.

“Uh, Vova right? So, w-what about you three?” Johann asked Vova, attempting to stir the conversation away from himself.

Vova confirmed that he has been traveling with the other two for about a month now, but that he is a relatively new companion and that the elf, Gil, and the dwarf, Bolgan, have known each other longer. Before Vova could continue with the story of how he met them, Gil glanced at Vova with a look of discontent. “… They don’t like to talk much.” Vova shrugs as he turns his attention to El.

Gil sighs and shakes his head and looks towards Bolgan, who has fallen asleep due to the rocking of the carriage. Gil reaches into his sack of belongings and pulls out a lute, which he begins to play much to Klint’s surprise and delight. In response, Klint procures an instrument of his own from his belongings and plays an accompaniment. The irate monk is taken aback for a second but he does not stop. As the two musicians perform their duet, El can’t help but smile.

The entourage had departed from Dalhearth during the late morning. They crossed the bridge from Tiranor into the Vale of Winterhaven and arrived at the halfway point a few hours later. Journeying further into the valley the sky becomes brightly overcast with a gentle snow fall. The roads are clear but a thin layer of snow coats the grasslands and the treetops of the forest. Shortly after passing a fork in the road, the party can hear Marrich shout, “Hail traveler, do you need assistance!?” followed by a jerking motion as the plate-clad paladin leaps off the moving transport.

The coachman pulls off the road and the carriage gradually slows to a stop. With the exception of Gil and Bolgan, the adventuring party exit the caravan and see Marrich approaching a distressed young man standing next to a broken down, and horseless, carriage.

 

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