IK:What do you do with 300 Trollkin
Attendance: Randy, Ryan, Joe, James, Herman.
Co-Starring: Jannis Riordan Jr, Alanza, Elder Stershan Boomhowler, Colonel Decker, Sargeant Harrison Gale, Seneschal Rhyleigh MacDougal, Priestess Delilah Lesbeaucamps, Bezlid the Warthog, Alesia the [male] trollkin healer
Trollkin are swarming about muttering in their guttural ‘language’ as I write this, so apologies, dear reader, if my generally exquisite prose seems a little off kilter. A large bruise is slowly turning the left side of my face dark brown, which I received courtesy of one of these beasts in return for my attempts to educate him; that’s what one gets for talking to these things I suppose. I’m bathing it in warm water – well, warmish, truth be told, since Catelyn is directing some Trollkin women to use all of the pots to cook dinner, and I could only grab a small glass before she chased me away. If I get a scar, I shall sue.
Tolmec and Dook are chatting off in a corner about their dratted missions; Tolmec is all for taking the whole shebang back to Corvus with us, muttering about ‘Cultural Awareness’ in the city (where does he GET these ideas? I’m sure he only learned these words from me), while Dook is prattling on about that vulgar little child Janis. I’ve half a mind to remind them that we shall be heading north at our earliest convenience in order to secure the holy book in my beloved Angellia’s name, but I remember that Tolmec did protect my honour by killing the brute who hit me, so instead I thank him graciously. He is stone-like and doesn’t demurely avoid the compliment: I’ve always thought him rather proud.
There is some worry about how we are to move three hundred Trollkin to Fellig with roving Kadoran bandits about, but I concern myself with assisting Elder Stershutun with burying the bodies from our previous battle. I point out the crossbow bolts that pepper the bodies of most of the sentries as we burn them, but the Elder is also stone-like as I talk. Maybe it’s just that all Trollkin are rather proud. Well, Morrow will judge them in the end. Graciously, no doubt, for he is a gracious God. I follow him in this respect.
I’m meditating on my graciousness when the whole party ups and offs: apparently we’re on the move to the Trollkin village. I’ve read about such places extensively and have little interest about seeing a real example, but they’re keen to pick up the furs of animals they have killed (such charming savagery!) and Tolmec mentions they may fetch a good price. We try to move quietly, but the three hundred Trollkin make a huge amount of noise that drown out my own clanking mail. Mostly.
Dook is scouting ahead when he comes across the convered labour jack – the ‘lumber’ jack – we noted on our way in to Kador. We pass it by gingerly, and finally reach the empty Trollkin camp.
There is some notion of the Trollkin cooking for us all, the prospect of which underwhelms me. I try to convince Catelyn to cook, but she is being unusually frosty. I make do with a stew of squirrel and venison, while taking notes on the nearby Trollkin constructing primitive spears from the surrounding trees. When I finish my supper, I go up to one particularly poorly organized group and explain how they could make better spears if they did it in a different way, but they are stone-like as I lecture. A very proud race. But pride comes before a fall, as my mother used to tell me.
Then, catastrophe! The Elder offers Tolmec a pig. A large pig, not to eat, but as a companion for him. Tolmec is accepting before I can offer advice, and amidst instruction about how he likes mushrooms – mushrooms! – I mention that civilized people do not spend time with pigs. Tolmec looks stonily at me, and tells me it’s a warthog. I knew it was a warthog, but he doesn’t seem to realize how patronizing he is being. I discreetly ask about poisonous mushrooms in the area instead.
The night passes uneventfully, but upon daybreak we face two surprises: firstly, guns explode taking the heads off nearby Trollkin (two heads every six seconds, a fact which is of some significance to Dook, but to me just means we should duck!): secondly, Catelyn and Dook have conspired to steal my holy symbol during the night! I expect as much from common thieves, but I suppose I have been over-estimating that farm girl. Rural types – even Rynnish rural types – are still base people at heart. She babbles to me that it was to teach me a lesson in humility, or some such nonsense – but we don’t have time to talk much given the gunfire all about. The battle passes in something of a blur, as I’m casting sanctuary on myself and tending to wounded Trollkin left, right and centre (I only manage to save one of the poor brutes – they’re not as hardy as they look, it seems). It’s only afterwards that I find out Jamison, Tolmec and Dook have run forward with the remaining Trollkin to incapacitate the shooters: they only manage to find one of the two due to some magical fog that complicates matters, but kill him. He is one of infamous ‘widowmakers’ of the region, and Dook takes his gun to collect the bounty. Catelyn, meanwhile, has doused herself in shimmering light, a tactically baffling move that I bring up with her later. Why would she do such a thing? She babbles that she thought the magical dust was of a different variety, but I merely tap her on the nose and smile, saying, ‘Perhaps Morrow has a lesson in humility for us all.’ She doesn’t seem very impressed by my wisdom. Perhaps she doesn’t understand the significance of what I’m saying.
The rest of the trip back to Fellig passes uneventfully, although the Trollkin will insist upon primitive ‘chanting’ to respect the fallen. I tell them, we are trying to be discreet here, but they ignore me. I think not all of them speak human languages very well.
We do meet a man on the road, however, with a wagonload of casualties from the battle front. Jamison and Catelyn go to meet him. He looks extremely dirty, and nervous about the Trollkin army coming towards him. Most of the people in the wagon are dead or dying; their time has come. But the man enjoins me, as the cleric of the party, to do what I can for them. With the ‘help’ of a Trollkin aide, I mend some bones, but prefer to retain my limited healing powers for the worthy. No-one seems to understand this, least of all the wretched dying man who pulls me to him and forbids me from touching him. The cheek of these people!
At any rate, when I declare myself unable to work further, Catelyn suddenly becomes hysterical. She screams, she curses, and tells me that I am a good-for-nothing cleric. I am on the verge of getting a little angry myself at her impudence, but then realize: it’s that time. Immediately I remember a herbal treatise for the female malady, and tell her about it sotto voce; but she is too het up to respond well to my well-meaning words. I pray to Morrow that the people around me will understand that I do his work in all things, and that if it is a mortal’s time to go to him, then that is his will. I am not a God; it is not my role to go against His will, or to interpret him as wanting such things as I want. To heal indiscriminately would be proud: pride in thinking that Morrow wants me to heal all of these people. No, my policy of abstinence is best, as anybody with primitive reasoning skills would see. Unfortunately, who around me has even primitive reasoning skills? Time and time again I’m confronted with a lack of interest in my extensive knowledge. But I digress.
By the time we’ve moved onto Fellig, it has been arranged that Jamison will talk to the guards. He explains that the Trollkin are keen to help in the war effort, and despite some initial suspicion (and a rather comical accusation of midday drunkenness!), they are allowed to camp near the west of the city, while we go inside.
The town itself is dirty and poorly kept; I know there’s a war on, but given that the church to Angellia is here, I wonder if more of an effort couldn’t have been made to keep things nice. I tell everyone that we should stay at the church, and, opening the front doors as befits a man of my station, I stride in to find bodies strewn all over the place. Where are the books, I ask myself. What about the books?
A well-meaning but clearly common cleric asks me to help the wounded: I eventually concede that some of these people may benefit from my healing and survive, and so I heal those that I can, before telling her that I must repair to the library to study. It is Angellia’s will. She goes back to her role in life, I go off to my role.
Much later, I hear some rumpus in the main body of the church, and go out to find a veritable hullabaloo. It turns out that the odious child Janis has destroyed property with the cook that we left him with, and been generally reprehensible. His shouting is disturbing to all of the scholars in the library, and I tactfully close the door to leave them to their work. Catelyn is attempting to calm the boy down, with the other cleric looking on (they seem to have become friends) and once smacking doesn’t have any effect, I notice that her trademark butterflies and rainbows seem to appear for a brief moment before he settles down. None of this before the child has bitten and punched her, however.
I find out from the others that Jamison and Dook have been kept busy by Colonel Deckard explaining what transpired with the Trollkin. For killing the widowmaker, Deckard awards Dook a blue ribbon: “For Glorious Service to the King of Cygnar, this person is congratulated.” I don’t know why it’s always the fighters that get commendations. It’s the little people – the clerics, the healers, the academics – who are forgotten by the military. Where would they be without people like us, I wonder! Catelyn leaves the now docile Janis with Tolmec, and goes off with Dook and Jamison to mend the floor of the cook, and I go back to my work.
Over dinner, a Cygnaran solider arrives and has the cheek to ‘demand’ our presence at the local pub! As it turns out, the Lord General gave the order, so I am partly mollified: but really, people should be more respectful. We all go, after the others have dressed up (I of course need no dressing up, being immaculately dressed in my nice armour and robes), and upon entry being discussing what is to happen to our Trollkin friends.
The Lord General tells us that he will give five acres of estate near the Thornwood Forest to the Trollkin for the three months it will take to get a response from the King as to their request for admittance into our nation, and I look through the contract and find nothing suspicious. I am about to graciously agree to his terms, when Dook – of all people! – notices some rather shocking clauses. Not only will the Trollkin be charged for every tree they cut down (and how else are the poor brutes going to survive but with wooden houses?), but they are forbidden from hunting in the forest! Now if Tolmec is anything to go by, these brutes need a lot to eat: I relate this important anecdotal fact to the Lord General, but he is unmoved.
After a lot of tedious dealing with the bureaucratic minded Lord General, we convince him to alter the contract so that the Trollkin can hunt animals that weigh less than they do, and ensure that they can sell the furs they acquire by such a hunt in exchange for the wood they will need to live. It’s not perfect, but it will have to do. Dook is muttering about mob activities throughout the process: apparently they have connections even this far out of civilization, and a stranglehold of the lumber business. After some tedious explanation to the Elder – putting the contract in terms that a Trollkin will understand – we get the needed signature. Now hopefully, after maybe one more day’s study at the wonderful library here, we can get going to drop off Dook’s brat before heading north for Angellia, Morrow and me...
Corrections to Tirotin's Journal
Such as who was really there drawing up the papers for the Trollkin...
Jamison: Relatively accurate. Any case of Tyrotin being smacked, called an Asshole, or being forbidden to touch someone by that someone are deserved. Never before have I met someone with such overwhelming hubris, such false in himself, so full of himself. I'm still surprised that he hasn't been denied his spellscasting ability by Morrow. I'm more pious that he is. Unless hubris is some strange form of piety.
Also, Tyrotin, I can't believe that you missed that it wasn't the Lord General, but his Majordomo/Second. (I think it was this guy: Seneschal Rhyleigh MacDougal) Here is where the problem with the Trollkin comes in. The Major General must make up his mind, and that can take up to three months.
On side notes, we "Mended" the baseboard of the bakery/sweetshop. And I believe, if I am not mistaken, that the Trollkin have been given the name of a lumber company that is NOT a mob run joint.
Dook: Well my feelings on the whole mess are as follows. I'm a bit concerned about our Tiroten, I've been trying to humour the guy, but he's been nothing but an ass. I can't believe I had to bribe him to get him to heal wounded soldiers. I have no love for the military, but the dying aren't to be left helpless just because you don't want to get your hands dirty. Gah, wetwork is the thing for him, I'm sure he could come up with some reason he didn't kill anyone. I thought taking his holy symbol might help our Caitlyn teach him a lesson, but lo and behold he's even more of a sanctimonious fellow afterwards.
It didn't help that that morning was the morning we came under fire from a couple of widow makers. Some amazing marksmanship, consistent headshots at extraordinary range. Just fantastic. I mean they hit 2 targets every 5 seconds, I couldn't even begin to fire at that rate, and with that accuracy, I'm glad there were 300 of us. I hope the Kriel finds a use for that little ribbon I got, small awards like that can really make a difference to a racist guard out in the woods, or so I hope. Bureaucracy is certainly strong in the city. I mean look at that contact.
I feel for those trolls, I know what it's like to be constantly displaced, and shot at. I'm glad I caught those nasty little clauses in the contact. Legalese is a skill one picks up under constant indictment. I hope those kids find a place for their Kriel where they can actually hunt. It's got to be a strange life being so behind the mechanikal times.
Janus is still a little beast, but when one works for the reigning "family" one has to be ready for any task. I pity the candy shop woman, I couldn't handle that thing alone. And hell I'm getting paid for this, she just had the misfortune of marrying into the mob.
Caitlyn: I think that Janus is starting to turn into a darling little boy. All he needs is a stern hand and some positive reinforcement. And I agree that Tirotin is beginning to get out of hand. I happen to be a follower of Morrow myself and had hoped from the beginning that Tirotin would be a great spiritual guide for us. Unfortunately he doesn't seem very interested in anything that isn't centered on him. I heard that Father Dumas had tried to get him back in line, but it obviously didn't work.
I'd like to see what we can do to help him. Tirotin's crisis of faith is a crisis of faith for us all. Perhaps we should start doing prayer sessions for him? Everyone can pray to their own gods, heathen or otherwise, on behalf of Tirotin and maybe that would help.