Pathfinder's Rise of the Rolemaster

Meetings with Friends
Journal of Luukas Ruutel

Arnaulen 8, The Flowering, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
We have been staying in a camp of Yrchish folk of the Kamalar peoples. This particular encampment is part of the Swift Deer tribe and we have been well sheltered in their rough built cabins.
We were brought here nigh on 2 ten days ago by the fur trader Konstante Biteri whom we met in the wilderness just south of the Vardar River. When we encountered him he was in much distress, being pursued by some creatures harboring ill intent. Lord Dancis chose to intervene and as I foolishly attempted to assist the battle against the creatures I received a wound in my leg which was most discomfiting. Mr Biteri repaid our aid by bringing us to this tribe and speaking well for us. He has some influence with the folk in this area it seems, as his word has seen us well looked after.
I have been housed with an elderly woman of the tribe who has seen to my needs with great attention. It seems less care has been afforded to my companions, as they slept outside and were rarely offered food by my host. Her skill with herbs and healing practices has suitably impressed me and my wound has healed nearly completely. I have been able to walk about with limited pain the last 3 days and I expect that in a few more I shall be free of all discomfort.

Cuwalen 2, The Claw of Lightning, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
We took our leave of the Swift Deer tribe this morning, and it is well that I healed as quickly as I did. They also are readying to leave their winter camp, where we stayed with them, to meet with the other bands of their tribe for their spring ceremonies.
Rather than continue along the course of the Vardar River, Master Cojocaru has led us on a southerly course. He was able to converse well with our hosts and made many friends and learned somewhat of the surrounding lands. They confirmed the existence of a lake as the source of the Vardar, some three or four days walk to the northeast. But we were warned against travelling in that direction.
It seems that some powerful band of thieves and rogues has taken over an old ruin of a fort and subjugated the main camp of the Grey Wolf tribe on the southern shores of the lake. Towards the end of summer there were many reports from travellers in the area of attacks and raids. The Grey Wolf tribe is of mixed Yrchish and Mannish folk and they have a reputation as fierce warriors.

Cuwalen 4, The Claw of Lightning, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
Ever since we left the Swift Pony tribe’s camp I have spotted solitary wolves on several occasions and soon realized that each sighting was of the same wolf and that it was following us. I mentioned this to my Lord Dancis and Master Cojocaru. Master Cojocaru told me that he had met the wolf while I was convalescing and they had become friends. He then chuckled and told me that I had just helped him win a bet with Lord Dancis about how long it would take me to notice the wolf. I don’t think that four days is a flattering estimation of my powers of observation! I guess that the wolf will be following with us for a while, which might complicate matters because this afternoon we came upon a robustly active farmstead.
We approached from the north, alerted to the presence of some settlement by the smoke from their fires. On the western slope of the valley are several buildings, houses, a barn and other outbuildings, all surrounded by gardens. On the eastern slope is an orchard with several types of trees, cherry and hazelnut along with others who have not yet revealed their spring foliage. Between are fields of bare ground that fill the floor of the valley, many freshly turned, all separated by tidy rock walls. A fair sized flock was scattered around the south end of the valley where we could see a couple of ponds. At least a dozen people could be seen working at various tasks.
We were spotted quickly as shouts were heard soon after we began our descent from the ridge near the northern end of the valley. A half a dozen menfolk headed in our direction, all of them armed with some weapon, bows and clubs mostly. We halted our approach at a respectable distance and as they came within speaking distance we could see that there were Yrchish, Elarkish and Mannish folk among them.
A man shouted a greeting to us, demanding to know our business. I suppose living on a farmstead in the Border Hills would tend to make one suspicious of strangers. Lord Dancis spoke for us. The farmsteader, Oleg Leviton, welcomed us to stay for the night and offered to introduce us in the morning to some people that he said we would have a great deal in common with.
I don’t think that the wolf will be welcomed to stay however.

The Rescue of Konstante Biteri
Journal of Markuss Dancis

Tarsakh, 1st Svoradi, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
With much anticipation today our small party has left behind the East Road, striking off to the north to follow the line of the Vardar River. Aside from the East Road being the southern boundary, our charter is somewhat vague in its description of the boundaries of our land grant, so we have agreed to start our explorations and surveying as the East Road leaves the Border Hills and its path diverges from that of the river. It is said that the Vardar trends east by northeast and that there is a lake from which it flows. Exploring the land between river and road and confirming the rumor of the lake will be our first goal.
The weather has been fine and we have made good time out of Visegrad, needing only 6 days by foot to make the Vardar Gap. The roads have not been muddy and the rains gentle and light in the mornings. We have met with several farmers and lumberjack parties along the road, and they tell us that they expect the caravan season to begin early this year.

Tarsakh, 1st Libereci, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
Silviu brought down a young buck in the afternoon and we set an early camp in order to clean and preserve what we can of it to supplement our supplies. Luukas has pointed out several plants that he says will be edible or fruit bearing in summer, but has found precious little of use in this early season. We will likely be in camp for a couple days as we burn slow fires to dry the venison.
We have followed the course of the Vardar River for 5 days through light forest ripe with the earliest blooms of spring. We have crossed over a dozen or more creeks and streams draining the snowmelt from the hills and higher land to the south of the river. The land near the Vardar itself is often marshy and uncertain, but when we have been able to find it, the main course of the river runs swift and clear. We have sighted 3 ruined towers or forts atop hills. None have been near our course, but we have noted them for exploration in the future. What we have not seen sign of is any current inhabitants of these lands. It is known that there are farmsteads still in these lands, worked by sturdy and stubborn folk, but it seems they do not dwell along the river.

Tarsakh, 1st Miluteni, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
Our 2-day camp has allowed us the time to patch and repair our equipment and gear. The hide of the deer has been put to work on my jacket as well as Silviu’s trousers. It is makeshift at best, but I believe the patches will serve well.
We have finished drying the venison in strips and have gotten it packed as securely as possible. Luukas found some wild onions and winter camas and they have been added to our stores as well. If we are careful and nothing is lost or spoiled, we should have supplies to last us another two ten-days, more or less. We will continue to forage as we explore but I hope that we will manage to find some settlement or homestead before we are put in too much of a difficulty for supplies.
We break camp in the morning.

Tarsakh, 1st Borisi, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;
Shortly before mid-day we were following a rough game trail through a wood of hornbeam, chestnut and linden, probably a deer track. We heard a sudden commotion from some distance away in the direction we were travelling; much shrieking and shouting and the braying of horses. As we listened we could hear that the commotion was drawing nearer to our position and presently we could see through the trees a mannish figure leading a train of pack mules. The figure was attempting to run at speed, but the animals were scared and panicky and much effort was being expended in simply keeping the beasts moving in the same direction.
Behind the mules by perhaps no more than 30 paces we were able to catch sight of small mannish figures running in chase, drawn to notice them by their shrieks and shouts. The pursuers were closing quickly. I glanced at my companions and we all dropped our packs to the side of the trail. Luukas stepped behind a tree and readied his sling. Silviu drew an arrow back with his bow while I drew my sword and stepped forward while summoning a mystical shield for defense.
The man was preoccupied with managing his mules and was nearly upon me before he noticed my presence. “Get behind me my good man!” I said to him, and then he was past. The closest of the pursuers was feathered by Silviu, but not before it shrieked a warning to its companions, then they were upon us. I stood my ground as the first approached and with a solid blow I drove him back. A second struck at me with a crude javelin, but his attack was blunted by my mail shirt and I smote him twice in return, dazing him and gashing him badly in the leg. A third attacker appeared before me, armed with a spear and this one would prove to be a much more savvy combatant.
They were not like any creature I had encountered before, nor heard tale of. They were mannish in figure, but short, shorter even than Elarkish folk. Their skin appeared brown and their hair black, long and stringy. They had wide mouths with small stubby teeth, and pug nose and beady black eyes. They spoke a language, but not one that was familiar to our ears. They wore a hard leather armor and their weapons were crude and basic, but effective, as demonstrated when Luukas came too close to the spear wielding one and was stabbed badly in the leg.
Our position appeared bleak as I continued to trade blows with their captain, unable to land any telling hits. Soon I knew that the other two would recover from my earlier blows and surround me. Silviu was being attacked by yet another of the creatures and could not come to my aid.
Fortunately, the goodman we rescued came to our rescue in turn. He appeared at my side and struck a great blow against my first attacker, wielding an axe with skill and determination. He then came up behind the captain who was still matching me at arms and struck him cruelly about the head.
I turned to fend off an attack from the last of the creatures attacking me, only to discover that it had fainted from blood loss. So relieved, I moved to assist Silviu and coming up behind his opponent ran him through.
And that is how we met Konstante Biteri.
Goodman Biteri is a fur trader. He travels regularly throughout the eastern flanks of the Border Hills gathering furs and pelts in trade for pots, pans, knives and other items of high value in this region. We quickly gather his mules and pack Luukas astride one as his wound is rather serious and we set off for a settlement he knows of that is not too far off.

A Battle in the Snow
Journal of Ailean O’Glaisin

Alturiak, 3rd Giovedi, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;

This day would be Arnaulen 5, The Claw of Snows, at home, and my thoughts today find themselves often lingering upon my family. They cannot yet know that I have taken this foolish venture into the Beastlands, and it may be that by the time they receive my letter I will be feasting at the feet of heroes in Kanassas’ Hall.
Still, I am bound by oath and honor to Lady Samaras and she is headstrong and willful and cannot be dissuaded from her course of action. Even though it takes us both into the Beastlands, stories about which I have been fed since childhood that are numerous and entertaining, in a perilous and often bloody fashion. I pray only that the battle we engage in this eve will serve as the beginning of our own story that leads to the Lady’s ultimate redemption, rather than to our own ignominious deaths.

Alturiak, 3rd Dillundi, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;

I survived the battle, and having done so, I realize that my last entry was quite doomladen. The battle was a hard fought affair, and I did not emerge unscathed. I was gifted a well broken rib by a sharp blow from a club, smartly wielded by one of the bandits. But, perhaps I should start at the beginning of the story!
We had agreed to handle a group of thieves that had been making trouble at the Leviton Homestead and on Arnaulen 3, the night of which the snows returned, Zan Kruhalk, nephew of Oleg Leviton, and Jetei, 2nd son of Teleboge, brought news that they had finally discovered the bandits haunting a ruined hilltop castle half a day’s walking distance.
We set out before first light the next morning with the two homesteaders as guides. It looked as though Andoni and Manus would earn their coin after all! Of course in the snow, a half day’s walking distance took most all of the day and we neared the castle as night fell. We were exhausted from the day’s march and needed to rest before we could make any assault so we found a vantage point from which we could observe the comings and goings of the bandits.
When we stopped moving the cold began to set in, but Lady Samaras put an enchantment of warmth upon our boots and cloaks to keep us in comfort. We counted a half dozen bandits and assumed there to be at least twice that number. Their leader was a great beast of a Yrchish warrior, but the others looked to be a motley group of Mannish and Yrchish peasentfolk driven to evil acts by hard times. They appeared poorly equipped with clubs, small swords and leather breastplates with few bows present.
We laid our plan and approached the castle under the cover of full dark and a light snow. Zan and Jetei circled around the castle, to keep watch in case any bandits fled during our attack, or attempted to flank us. There was a single guard posted at the entrance with a blazing fire to keep him warm, and also to provide illumination for our arrows. Another fire blazed just within the entrance and another guard was there. We attacked late enough that most of the rest of the bandits were sleeping.
When we had approached as closely as we could without danger of being detected we waited while the Lady began to prepare a spell for attack. When she was ready us menfolk charged to the attack (well, Andoni and myself did) or feathered the bandit standing guard (that’s what Manus and Koldo did instead).
We had surprise and luck was on our side. The two bandits on guard were quickly dispatched, one by an arrow Manus delivered unto his gut, the other from the ball of my morningstar upon his unprotected head. After that the battle became a confused and desperate affair. Much shouting and hullabaloo was raised within as the resting men roused and readied themselves against our assault.
In truth and eternal thankfulness however, they fought like the rabble they were. A stream of foes emerged from within the castle, individuals rushing to the contest as they felt themselves prepared. Neither waiting nor coordinating their counterattack with their fellows. This allowed us to engage them in turn and without becoming overwhelmed by their superior numbers. Andoni proved himself a doughty warrior as he laid about with his mace. Manus feathered any who made it past Andoni and I wherein some took advantage of the distraction their fellows provided as we smashed them down. Even goodman Koldo plied his shortbow with a will and gave much distress to those bandits awaiting their appointment with our mace and morningstar.
Despite the valor and effort of us menfolk, all would have come to naught had Lady Samaras not taken her part at key moments. Once it was that a bandit managed to avoid all of our bludgeonings and featherings to gain an advantageous position upon us, poised to strike a blow most deadly when a bolt of lightning flashed from the dark to strike and dispirit the foe. This unfortunate victim of her attention immediately retreated into the castle, both of his arms hanging limply at his sides, where we found him later, poorly bandaged, for all the good it did him in the end. The second was the very leader of the bandits who was knocked back and off balance by the blast she delivered to him.
Andoni had been hard pressed by the mighty warrior who wore a fine quality steel breastplate and wielded a heavy war mattock with dangerous skill. When he was forced back by the Lady’s power, Andoni was able to move to aid me when I found myself under an enchantment cast from within the castle that left me dazed and unable to effectively defend myself against the two bandits assaulting me. It was at this time that I received my wound, courtesy of the club of one of my opponents. Andoni quickly dispatched those two while I recovered my wits and Manus finished their leader with a brilliant shot, putting an arrow through his head that killed him standing.
After that the will to fight left the remaining bandits and we heard shouts of panic and surrender from within. Zan told us that they counted three taking flight, including one wearing heavy robes that was probably the one responsible for casting the stunning spell upon me. Well would I like to match with him while aware of his presence and not obstructed by a mob of underlings! Alas, I was not in any shape to press the issue in the dark and snow.
We took occupancy of their lair for the remainder of the evening, Jetei handled the disposition of the injured thieves who had retreated into the castle during the fight and were unable to flee. The next morning we gathered what portable valuables they had acquired and created a stash of the bulkier items to reclaim when the weather turns. Then we returned. I would like to say it was a return to a hero’s welcome, but these folk in the Beastlands live lives where they work hard and expect nothing less of those they offer their hospitality to. They made their gratitude apparent, but it was equally plain that we had simply done the work they expected of us.

A Start Before Spring
Journal of Kalina Samaras

Alturiak, 2nd Martedi, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;

The heathen weather-witch’s fortunetelling had been specific regarding the dates when a stretch of clear, cold weather would hit the valley. On the morning of Alturiak, 2nd Svoradi, yesterday, the clouds emptied of snow, the sun shown through and the temperature dropped, just as she said it would. She was certainly as good as her reputation and worth her fee, usurious as it was. The next storm is not supposed to arrive for a full tenday.

Ailean, Koldo and I had made the necessary preparations for our journey and managed to make some good deals on supplies and equipment, which partially made up for the excessive cost of the weather divinations. Most of the suppliers we patronized were happy to simply have our business during what is their slowest season. We even managed to hire a pair of Whitewater sellswords on the cheap. They probably expected to spend their entire contract comfortably drinking ale in the Whitewater Tavern and sleeping in their own warm beds while the usual late winter snow storms kept us from traveling.

1 wagon, 4 mules, a small mountain of equipment and supplies and 2 somewhat disgruntled caravan guards, we departed Visegrad by way of the Caravan Gate and took the East Road towards my destiny. I just hope it is a good destiny.

Alturiak, 2nd Borisi, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;

The last 7 days have been torturous and now there are only 3 days before it is said that the snows will return. It is difficult to say which was the greater torture; forcing slow progress through thick and fresh fallen snow which was our fate for the first two days of our journey or enduring the freezing cold which has at least allowed us to make better time over the now aged and hardened snow the last five days.

We have passed through the gap in the Border Hills created by the Vardar River, although we have had no sighting of that waterway, hidden as it is under the ice and snow. We now exit the Kotor Valley and approach the Beastlands, of which I have heard many tales, most recently from Andoni and Manus, our two worthy guides. Even taking allowance for the exaggerations of tellers of tales, it does not sound like a land I wish to sojourn within in such a small party as ours, and not far with even a larger party.

Andoni assures us that there are some farmsteads still resisting the dangers of the wilds hereabouts and some old buildings that may serve as a base for our business venture. I pray that he is correct and that we may find one or both within the next few days.

Alturiak, 3rd Svoradi, 14th Year of his Lordship Kresimir, Kotor Barony;

This morning we met with the Levitons, a family that has kept a homestead here for decades. Goodman Oleg and his wife Svetlana preside over an extended family and employ some Yrchish and Elarkish families on their land as well. Several dozen people in all live on their homestead.

The land itself is well sited in a small valley. All is covered in snow and ice, but I am told a small stream runs through the valley and fills a pair of ponds at the southern end. Fields separated by tidy rock walls fill floor of the valley, an orchard with cherry, apple, pear and hazelnut trees lies on the gentle eastern slope while the houses, outbuildings and gardens stand on the steeper western slope to receive the morning sun. Sheep and goats graze the nearby hills under the eyes of the Yrchish folk while several draft animals are kept in a barn nearer to the houses.

The houses and other buildings are solidly built and most are dug somewhat into the ground; I am told that this helps keep them cool in the summer and warm in the winter. I can certainly understand the reasons for building them in that manner! It is only one more day that we are to have this break in the weather and the snows should return tomorrow. It is well that we found the Leviton Homestead when we did!

Not all seems to be well however. When we approached with our wagon and mules we were greeted most brusquely by several of the menfolk. It was only by the presence of Andoni, who was known to Oleg and a couple of the others from past dealings, that we were permitted to say our peace. Koldo spoke well for our intentions, and that we brought such a store of supplies with us certainly helped. We were invited to stable our beasts and provided beds for our use, but a service was requested for the courtesy.

It appears that the reputation of the Border Hills as a bandit infested land is not exaggerated and since the beginning of winter the Leviton Homestead has been subjected to the regular and unwelcome attentions of such a group. It has mostly consisted of sheep and goat rustling, but recently the scoundrels mounted a raid on a storage building and made off with a fair quantity of dried fruits and good grains as well as making a great noise and commotion and putting a fright into everyone.

Several of the younger men have been using the clear weather to carefully check on ruined buildings and caves around the area and believe that they have found the lair of the thieves. While these homesteaders are hardy, tough and not frightened by the prospect of fighting, neither are they foolish nor prone to taking unnecessary risks and they are not warriors. My companions however are warriors and Ailean has been known to take risks that are both foolish and unnecessary, so we have been requested to look into the problem of dealing with the bandits as payment for the hospitality of the Levitons.


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