Borders Drawn in Blood

Nizar's Truth
Week 3

Venice is not turning out to be the refuge we all thought. While food and shelter are available, that takes money and we have very little. Why did the memory of my beloved Aaliyah prompt me to take on the responsibility for these unbelievers? I was hired as a caravan guard, I needed the money after I fled, and I never thought to ask what the caravan was transporting. Had I known it was slaves I would have turned the job down, I have that much honor left…

So here we are in the middle of the night breaking into a house where Lilo has something hidden. She says she was a guest of the owner before she was taken, and I believe her. While she is a spoiled, whinny little girl she has not shown herself to be a liar. Ettore has picked the lock and seen something inside that causes him the freeze. Even in the dim light of the moon I can see the blood has drained from his face. He mumbles something about a club that killed his friend, and backs away from the door, leaving it cracked open. I look inside to see an iron bound club leaning against the table. We hear footsteps as the owner of the club returns. He is a large man, but so am I, and he has murdered a child. If Allah is with me, he will be in hell before the night is out. I glance back and Ettore is still shaken, the young man has been through so much in the last few days, not the least of which is the fact that his family is dead or taken for slaves as well. He killed a man for the first time earlier tonight saving me. For if he had not I would have gone down under the spy’s short sword. My wound still pains me after only a few hours of sleep. Lilo, I hope this Item is worth it.

We plan our attack with my wound in mind, so Fredrich and I will shoot our bows through the open windows and Dominic will rush him through unlocked the door. Fredrich moves to the far window trying to be silent, but as a scout he is more accustom to the outdoors. He is a good man, steady in a fight, but definitely prefers his bow. He has thrown in with us as he fears he has been named a deserter while he lay unconscious in the snow. I move to the near window and open fire. I catch the murderer in the shoulder with my arrow. Dominic enters the room, but does not close with the wounded man. The Armor he wanted us to buy him is weighing him down, and he seems hesitant in a fight. He has had some training as a soldier, but mentioned being a jailer, so I doubt he has seen much fighting. He tends to talk to himself and go into trances, so I am not sure how reliable he will be. The strain of being enslaved may have unhinged his mind, only time will tell if he will heal. The murderer flees up the stairs. Ettore whispers that he saw a light go out upstairs and thinks the murderer may not be alone. Ettore is very sneaky as I did not see him enter the room. Fredrich follows Dominic into the room, but is unable to get a shot because the target has fled into the darkness. I enter the room part way and light a sunrod to illuminate the darkened staircase. Dominic follows the murderer upstairs as Lilo follows the rest of us in the house and starts to play the Harp she insisted I help her buy. At least the she is not whining when she is playing. And oddly the music does make me feel more confident. We make our way upstairs to find 2 hallways, several closed doors and an open door to a balcony. I move the balcony glance out and open a door to an empty bedroom. Fredrich reaches the top of the stairs with the children in tow, just as Dominic kicks in another door that was locked. A short sword emerges from the darkness and pierces Dominic’s breastplate, the wound is grievous. The light reveals another man in a breastplate, Ettore was right the murder has a friend. My rage boils forth and I can see the man recoil before my wrath, I attempt a slash but the armor foils my attack, perhaps Dominic’s choice of armor was not so unwise. The man slashes me with the short sword and steps back. Fredrich rushes the man and forces him further into the room. I glance around and see Dominic trying to hold his wound closed with his hands. Lilo is crouched in a corner and still playing her harp. But there is no trace of Ettore, he has disappeared again! The man attempts to flee to the window with Fredrich still pressing his attack. I charge him and slash open his belly just beneath his breast plate. If he is not dead then he will be shortly. At this point Lilo stops playing and rushes into the room. I leave Fredrich to watch her and go back into the hallway to find Ettore and Dominic. As I glance back Fredrich is knelt over the body doing something. I find Dominic at the end of the other hallway looking into another room. What is Dominic thinking he can barely walk! But there in the room my light reveals the murderer!!! Before I can charge him, he jumps out the window. We do not hear the splash we expected, as the house is on the canal. Looking out the window we find he has jumped into a boat. I fire a couple of arrows at him hitting him a second time. But he takes cover behind some boxes on the boat and manages to push the boat around a corner and out of sight. Allah why did you let the murderer live, have I not been devote enough? Or are you trying to teach me another lesson. May your divine guidance enlighten me at the dawn.

We strip the body and search the house and clean up a little. The only odd things we find are crates of straw cushioning clear glass panels. I have never seen any so large and clear, they much cost a small fortune. While I would like to take one of the crates with us, that is not why we are here. I ask Lilo if she has what we came to get? Getting a positive response, we dump the body out the kitchen door into the canal and exit the house into the darkness. We make our way back to our inn, where Lilo distracts the night guard with a song, so the rest of us can get back to our room with our wounds unnoticed. We then demand to see what it in the velvet bag that was worth risked all our lives. It is a harp!! A beautiful wood harp, with silver pegs and gold inlay, and it has a noble house insignia on the crest. Lilo insists it is hers…
Morning comes and we are going to rest for the day as all three men are wounded. Lilo says she can do the shopping for new clothes and Ettore volunteers to go with her. We would all use the peace and quiet so I give her 5 silver. Hopefully she and Ettore are gone for a while so we can rest. Several hours later the youngsters return with the clothes and food, but no change. I notice that Lilo’s clothes are nicer that ours and the Ettore has jam on his face from some treat they bought themselves, but I do not mind as they appear happy. Almost as an afterthought, they tell of the increased guard presence in the city and that Ettore has seen some of the family he believes killed his parents. We agree that we should stay at our inn the rest of the day.

We have finished our evening meal, and I am enjoying a hot cup of tea. The server tried to warn me hot water is unhealthy and offered me wine instead!! It is a wonder that these drunkards ever took Jerusalem… Lilo is onstage accompanying the entertainer, Lilo is really quite good, and she is wisely using the harp we bought her. I notice Dominic is staring at the candle flame intently. He jumps to his feet and goes and gets Lilo, who just finished a song, and starts herding the rest of us upstairs saying we have to go now and maybe leave the inn. Once in the room everyone is packing and Dominic cannot give us any reason we should leave. Lilo is insisting she get her coppers for playing and I agree to go back down stairs with her. When we are almost at the bottom of the stairs we notice the common room is almost silent, the only voice speaking is asking about a young girl who plays the harp. The person speaking is a city guard, but wearing the black cloak of the corpse collectors. She is to be taken into custody, and I do not hear why because Lilo is dragging me back upstairs. We lock the door and determine going out the second story window is the only way to get out unseen or without a fight. So out the window we go, although it takes the guard’s using an axe on the door to get Lilo to leave.

We need to leave Venice, but for that we need a boat. I suggest stealing one, but am informed that is a quartering offense. Ettore suggests we go get his gondola and go Murano tonight and not tomorrow like we were planning. We make it the the gondola and find is has been repaired and his house symbol has been painted over and replaced by the enemy’s house symbol. We take the gondola and several hours later we are traveling across the lagoon to Murano. Once there we wake a old man with a room to rent, and stay the rest of the night in one cramped room. Lilo got the floor as she was not hurt.

The next day we sell the breast plate and shield and asl a former soldier about the black feather badge. He thinks it is a house symbol and suggests we talk to the Monks on San Majore to find out whose house the symbol belongs to. We also Talk to the Glass makers and find out the Crystal glass panes are worth 100 gp each and the house being renovated still belongs to Luca’s friend. He is rumored to have done well in trading recently and come into a large sum of money. So this afternoon we are taking a barge to San Majore…

Allah what have I gotten myself into… I cannot abandon them, they need me and Aaliyah would not approve of me leaving the children in danger.

The World According to Ettore

Note: Ettore would not have written this down … it would have been told. While he can read canal signs in order to navigate his gondola and simple notes, he does not have command of the written Venetian language.

::sighs; relaxes:: We made it to Venice finally. I was so excited about seeing my mother and father. I missed them so much… a little anxious about them meeting my new friends too. I hoped that they had not found my broken gondola!

I lead the group around because I knew where to go. I felt important, like I was helping out. We sold some stuff and had to sell our mule. I got new clothes; I have armor and a dagger of my own!

::lowers voice slightly:: I killed someone with it. I snuck up behind him in an alley. We think he was working with the same bad guys that took me and Lilo and others.

When I got home, my family wasn’t there. ::eyes water:: I got really upset and scared. We figured out that my family was taken by the same bad guys that took me and probably killed them.
::cries:: I saw so much blood.

::sighs; relaxes:: All we found was a note. I still have it. ::takes it out, stares at it, puts it back in pocket:: Nothing was there; all I have now are my memories.

Lilo insisted on going back to the house he stayed in so he could get something. I’m guessing it is something important if he is standing his ground about it. He won’t tell us what it is.

::excitedly:: The house was the same house my best friend and I tried to break in to! Through the window I saw something that really scared me; the club thing that a bad guy used to kill my friend. ::eyes water again:: …

::shivering slightly; anxious:: I feel really scared.

::sighs deeply:: I’ve never been so tired.

I hope this all ends soon …

Owing everything to a little girl

My day began as every other; I went to check the traps. It had been a fairly successful day. I caught some squirrels and even a scrawny rabbit. I couldn’t believe that new snare worked! I could even gather some herbs for cooking. That was going to be a good night.

That was until I came near the end of my trap line. I wandered out into the open, crouched low as always – that much had become habit. And there it was, a trail full of bodies. I could tell some were still alive, little wisps of vapor rose from their mouths. The looters didn’t seem to notice this though. People always made me nervous, but these were soldiers. There even more weapons than armor on the ground!

It would be easy to just leave them to their fate – likely a slit throat. Waking them was a frightening thought. What would they do to me out here in the mountains with no eyes to judge them, and no consequences? If I woke just one I wouldn’t feel so guilty. Guilt is a weakness though, so I left them. However they got here couldn’t be good, and they probably deserved whatever they got, and I didn’t need to get involved anyway… I was careful to be even quieter as I left them to the looter’s knives. And then there was another living one lying in the snow away from all the others. This one I could save, but what if he hurt me?

He was surrounded by bodies, two seemed to be his friends; they wore the same insignia. Guilt won this time. It took a big shake but finally his eyelids fluttered and opened. I warned him to be quiet with a finger, and he was. I backed up so he couldn’t reach me and pointed to his danger. There my job was done, I could leave and not feel bad. But then he did something very stupid. So stupid. He pushed me behind him and raised his bow to fight back! This day had started so well.

The looters had just begun to kill one of the living people when he put an arrow through the attacker. The other looter ran away when the body he was looting stood up and he found himself facing an archer and a swordsman. I really hoped I wasn’t seen… Please, please I couldn’t have been seen…

The two living (now walking around) bodies met each other down the hill and started seeing if any more were still alive. On second thought this might not have been so bad after all. I did just save them, maybe they could give me food as a reward. I’ll just wait here and see what they do.

They took a very long time arming themselves and separating the dead from the mostly dead. They all looked very cold. But then they got together and began talking, the man I woke up pointed at me and they both looked at me. I knew it! I should have left them. Why was I so stupid? Why did he fight back? Stupid! I left as quickly as I could, stumbled over a rock and dropped my dinner. I couldn’t go back for it; they’d surely get me. Tonight wasn’t going to be good at all.

The next day started very differently. I’m going to follow them. They have to hunt, and they’re so stupid they’ll probably try kill something way to big and just wound it. Then I’ll have an easy time. They’ll never even know I was there.

They seemed to get everyone conscious – miraculous – and were traveling south. Good, there is good hunting south. I followed them for two whole days eating berries and eggs when I found them. So far they’d only killed small things. They were a curious bunch and I must have been staring too long because he snuck up on me from know where. I knew that other looter saw me! And stupid me I let out a shriek when he grabbed me. It let me get away, but the others heard to. I’m fast, but his legs were longer and he had me after just a few steps. He also had a knife and smelled like sweat and rotting meat.

Why couldn’t anyone just leave me alone? Why did I interfere? Now I’m going to die for my trouble, but the scariest part is what he might do to me before he cuts my neck. He dragged me by the hair into the camp of mostly dead people. I could feel it being torn out by the roots; it hurt so much. The others raised weapons and he pressed the knife to my neck. I tried to kick and punch, but he was so big. He didn’t even notice. And then the strange one looked at the looter with so much hatred I was suddenly more afraid of him than my captor. The man with the knife felt it too. He started to tremble and pushed the blade further into my skin. It would be over soon…

But then the strange looking one ran up and near cut the man in two! And then he was right there over me, curved blade waving, but all I saw were the eyes he used to disarm the man who had overpowered me. They still scared me more then the knife. He was talking and moving away, but all I saw were eyes.

After some time, I thought they didn’t mean to hurt me, or at least they hadn’t yet. And, as it turned out, they saved me from the looter. They were camped in a very dangerous spot – the wolves would be chewing on them by morning. And there it was again, guilt. I hate guilt. I brought them back to one of my camps – they did give me some food, which was good.

The next morning they left – out of the mountains and to the cities where they belonged. They’ll probably stop being mostly dead and finish the job in a few days. But I did what I could; now they’ll have to fend for themselves. Always avoid people – no good comes of it. Hopefully it will be another few months before I have to worry about any decisions like that again.

(and for Alex…

after leaving the mountains the party gets price gauged to sleep on a floor, accused of having the plague, avoids a plague infested town, gets attacked by plague infested dogs, bitten by plague infested dogs, and is now wondering if this has become a plague infested party…)

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Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

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