Beyond the Deep Ridge

City Stink
Jerrow's Path.

That, my friend, was when I found myself in the city. I cannot describe to you how crowded that place was, or the foul smell. It was much worse that you after a rain. Much worse. We arrived in the middle of what they call ‘civil unrest’, burnings and murders in the street, and it was here that I first began to wonder why I stuck so close to my ‘civilized’ form.

I knew little of my people, or indeed my own bloodline and the abilities that came with it. I was in what I was assured was the seat of learning, and I would set about studying the libraries available, and experimenting with the shift, how to control it, how to stop it. I found a dwarf smith who seemed to know what he was talking about, and told me of the ‘witches eye’, a spiritual point near the throat that seemed to have some effect when silver was introduced to it.

This would be the starting point for me then, to come to terms with the beast. I would learn to control it, or I would be controlled by it in return.

Unwelcome Surprises
** GM Update **

1st Obel, 5 LawStel 841 (216 schism)

Upon a return to Moverna, following a hurried ride, they find a pall of smoke over the city. They are told by a brassy that their has been quite a spate of violence, to include murders in the street and burning of buildings. They go on to their separate places, finding many an unpleasant surprise…

A Return
** GM Update **

5th Obel, 24 HearthStel 841 (216 schism) (Before Dawn)

Following their escape from the pit, there is fighting in the ruins of a fortress, which was identified as Colgelado. From there, they return to Buonoro, for an unexpected meeting…

In a Pit
** GM Update **

5th Griksun, 23 HearthStel 841 (216 schism)

Our party awakes from a confusing period, bound and in a moldering pit. There is another old man there as well. However, they are not there very long…

What happened
** GMs Update **

4th Purchsun, 19 HearthStel

Arriving at Bonoro holding, the party is welcomed at the Travel house. The Garda, one Eduardo del Esta Margarit, even offered the hospitality of the main house to the Hidalgo. The local healer took in the refugees, and began to care for their wounds. The locals seemed quite impressed to have a member of the nobela among them, and prepared a feast in her honor…however, all is not as it seemed…


The art of self composure is integral to my trade. It’s something I’ve studied and honed for nearly ten years now—an ability to wear a façade of one’s choosing despite any contrast with internal feelings or thoughts. Daeris has always been a master of the contrived veneer; it was she who administered my first lessons in comportment and demeanor. I recall one of the first reprimands she ever delivered; a business associate of hers, one of many, arrived at the house to discuss an arrangement and as I greeted him and ushered him in, I detected that he had just been outside smoking a cheroot before I brought him in. My nose wrinkled in distaste at the scent clinging to his skin and clothes and Daeris slapped me across the face the moment she saw the expression cross my countenance. I recall the icy look in her eyes when I angrily glared at her, a look that morphed instantly into approval, after a long moment, when I smoothed my features into impersonal, acquiescent servitude. Damn her for knowing my especial weakness; she is ever vigilant for my reaction to scents, even subtler ones she cannot detect. The most valuable, and instructive, communication in our house is always unspoken.

She never turned a hair that night I followed her, the first time we met. In fact, I think the only honest expression brought to her face was a hint of hopeful avarice when the augury favored us time and again, temple after temple. As I think back on her as a teacher, I cannot remember a single instance of unguarded emotion on her face or in her posture.

Several years into my training, I recall it was shortly after the swordmaster began teaching me to work with bo shuriken, she handed my training in comportment off to another teacher and a priestess from the Hearth Mother’s temple who would alternate with her. As I continued to learn to control my own reactions, I also learned how to read the behavior and expressions of others, and from the priestess, to learn about empathy and the thoughts and emotions that lead us to do the things we do or that result from our actions or experience. I think Daeris, cold as she is, had begun to worry about my ability to empathize. I had been separated from my family for five years at that time and had no close personal ties; the only person I care, cared, about was myself.

All this simply makes her discomposure upon receiving news of Juan’s disappearance even more unsettling and discommoding.

I sit here, now, on this carthorse, pointed toward Sudo Bosc, ridiculous without an audience for dance or a guest to seduce, listening to the hardware of the beast’s gear clinking and jingling, enduring the workmanlike harness leather chafing the tender skin of my thighs and calves, and tolerating the stinking, sweaty animal beneath me shedding its fur onto my cloak, and I think she may be right. When that stone hatch in the barn floor finally thumped open, my only feelings were horror of the utter blackness within, repulsion at the stink from the small chamber, and disgust at the burns on the skin of the people within. Judging from my companions, they were unaware of my feelings. Daeris has paid good coin to ingrain in me the ability to react as I ought, as others expect, as a situation dictates is normal—the words to salve, the gestures to comfort, reassure, calm—in addition to those which incite, inspire, and allure. The former stood me in good stead yesterday when those burned and injured children appeared, blinking in the sunlight.

As out of my element as I feel, rather, as I am, I cannot help but ponder the emptiness I felt looking on my fellow humans in their time of difficulty—what have I become? Where will I end up? The priestess has occasionally mentioned that feelings can come from deeds, rather than the commonly accepted other way ‘round; is this true? Do I even care if I hope so?

I cannot think for the stink of horse in my nose and this ever-cursed dust rising from the road, caking my nostrils and griming my eyes. But, I have at least a hint of the sought-after Juan. There’s little hope in that quarter.

A Complete Loss?
** GM Update **

4th Bernalsun, HearthStel

Last evening, on different missions, five driven souls arrive at the fringes of Cienfuego Holdings, and find it a smoking ruin. The driver of the trade wagon panics somewhat, but is calmed by her passenger, Niamhronin, and all but the driver go to see if they can help.

They find bodies, burned buildings and a burned citrus grove. Among the carnage, they find a body that is not one of the known races…it has wings, and clawed feet, and it’s belly has been sliced open. Almost by accident, they come upon a stone door, in the floor of the barn, eventually finding Manduel and his two charges Santos and Monica L’Myra Consuela, his niece and nephew.

They have set u camp a short distance away, and are breaking camp to travel to Bonoro Holding, in the heart of Sudo Bosc…

Muy Estupido
Jerrow's Path.

Tha’, my friend, was when I got stupid…

Si, I know I am always blamin’ you for bein’ stupido. You are studidest wolf I have met, but perhaps I am not one to talk.

I had chosen to follow the trail belonging to the human; no good could come from diseased meat bein’ placed in the wilderness. They were easy to follow at first, but then I lost them amidst a scatterin’ of hoof prints. I backtracked to the corpse of the wolf I had killed, and found amongst its teeth a piece of worm-riddled filth. As I had feared, this young wolf had been the victim of a deadly trick.

I burned the body, and decided, with the mans trail invisible, to track the other three wolves for a while to make sure they had not been poisoned. I was not convinced that all four had been involved in the attack, but saw it as my duty to be sure.

The tracking was easy, an’ I had not gone far before I heard the howling. I tried to imitate it, to draw them to me, but this throat, it is not made for such work.

After a minute of howling like a confused mule, I saw movement on the rise, and the three wolves did appear. That they did not attack me made me believe that they were not diseased, but I need to drive them further from these lands. I then came upon my stupid idea, si?

I lowered my weapons, and decided to challenge the alpha, to drive him away from this territory. It was not my brightest moment, and he nearly had me dead on the ground several times, but eventually I beat him down, and he, and the remaining two, fled. Yes, that is where I gained these scars.

I was in no shape to chase, although I tried. I eventually settled for resting, and returning to the villa. The wolves were gone, the poisoned whelp dead, and I thought it best to inform my employer that some agency was trying to upset things in his lands.

I ate a very uncomfortable dinner after I was payed. My employer, he was not so surprised by my information; he blamed his son. I was not sure where to look when he gave me this knowledge. I retreated as fast as manners would allow.

There was perhaps one item of more important information. Another holding had need of men, and so I gathered my few belongings and set my feet south.


- The botanical gardens, Movena Inner City, early evening -

Daeris must be testing me.
And I’ve failed.

She’s never tasked me with physical theft before today. Sharing information is routine, I’ve been doing such since taking contracts for dance evenings. And she only ever sends me evening clients about whom she wants my observations. But they come to me. And they leave happy, reported, and unaware.

How could I leave my dagger behind!? Thank the gods my tattoos performed as expected, I’ve rare cause to need them, but twice in one night, well, I shall have to visit Rywyid’s temple to thank her for this survival success.

Senor Bonafaccio has two servants con mucho respeto; all malefactors should be so fortunate, then those of my ilk would truly be stymied. He asked me if I cared to sniff his pendant, not any euphemism I’ve ever heard, which leads me to wonder how much he knows of me—and which should be nothing. And he had quite a large, prominent pendant; not a euphemism I’ve ever used! Perhaps I should’ve taken him up on that offer. What an odd man.

Now that I think about the whole evening, I want that drawing. The idea that there’s a sketch of me floating around Morvena, in the hands of that oddity, or not, is a bit off-putting. Attacking a man in his home will do nothing beneficial for my reputation and may very well set on me a tail I don’t want.

I can’t decide if I’m enfadada with Daeris for this trial or with myself for the failure, my temper can sometimes be regrettable. She’s never shown herself to be untrustworthy but then I’ve only recently reached the formal culmination of my training (to be honest, a true courtesan’s training continues all her active years), perhaps she feels the need to test all my capabilities now that she can expect them to be reliable.

So, the ring still needs stealing. However, I’m thinking someone needs killing. And I don’t think it’s only because I’m angry.

Protecting the Holdings.
Jerrow's Path.

Why do you keep buggin’ me? I ain’t got a story different from anyone in here, comprende? Alright, si, I’ll tell you, but no interruptions. An’ stop scratchin’ like that, you is makin’ me itch.

So I get a message, see. Nothing unusual, s’how I make my living. Gives me some money for the arrows and things, si? Through in a bit of hunting, and I do alright.

Don’t look at me like that, everyone hunts, ‘cept rabbits. An’ I guess even they hunt the grass. Anyway, I arrive at the Holding, introducing myself to the Senor in charge.

S’like the Alpha. An’ what did I say about interruptions?

He told me about these attacks, how they killed a man, and injured others. All the time I’mma thinking ‘this ain’t right’. I mean, I know things are difficult for everyone, but there is still hunting to be had, so I’m thinking its dogs. Escaped or something, gone mad and attacking the people in the Holding.

I talk to one of the victims, who tells me about the location, and the attack. I talk to the woman nursing him back to health, but the main bit of information I get from her is about…muck…in one wound. Black muck.

So’s I set out, looking into the flax fields for the attack site. Tracking is easy enough, this body or the other one, but I’m not quiet enough to stop the wolf sneaking up on me.

No stupido, not you. A different wolf. How did someone as dumb as you live so long?

I’ll have to learn to walk softer, but I killed it, an arrow straight through. Should have examined it better, but I just took some fur for proof. Don’t you start, I’ve seen you eat your own vomit. I did what I had to do. I was prepared for more, but it was just one. That should have got me worried, but I guess I ain’t much smarter’n you.

I thought I was back-tracking to its den, and that is where things got strange. I thought I was too big to go through the entrance, so I changed, thought it would be easier to fight in the confines of the den. But that was really a mistake; there was diseased meat in the entrance. Hacked apart by metal blades. I went in anyway to have a quick look.

What? No, your den is nicer.

I emerged with some information. A bigger male, a female and a pup had departed one way. Another younger wolf had headed back the way I had come, the one I killed. It was following man-scent, I think. So then I had a choice. Follow the three wolves and earn my money, or track the human and find out what the hell was going on.


Hey! Wake up!

Stupid wolves, going to sleep when I’m tellin’ a story….


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