Borders of the Imperium

Session 13

The Tax Collectors

Ulfghar, Nailo and Harri have acquired a new prospective Chimerian: a dwarven woman from the North Lands that mercifully speaks fluent Common and Standard Dwarvish in addition to her native Norder. Her name is Þorra (pronounced roughly “Thor-ra”), a young adult mountain dwarf thief with curly red hair.

Onoltesbach is a buzz with aspiring mages and merchants eager to cater to them. Long abandoned buildings are being reoccupied by new arrivals (with mixed feelings from the townsfolk). In the midst of this buzz the group comes across Magus Alosri, visiting from the Inverted Castle on urgent business. Rumours of the University reopening have reached the Knights of the Tarrasque, and he has come with a small escort to investigate. The heroes relate what transpired there. Alosri’s expression becomes grave, and after a quick questioning he determines that he must immediately go, the highest members of the Order must be informed.

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The party attends a town hall meeting where Alderman Onolt is calling for the mobilization of the militia after third farm has been accosted by “tax collectors”, a group of human ruffians that are apparently backed by ogres. He asks the heroes for their help. Their renowned prowess in battle is certain to be of pivotal if the town is to have food left for the winter.

 

They set off to Aiden’s farm, the last site hit by the tax collectors. Picking up the trail leads to two conclusion: there is something much bigger than a standard ogre involved, and the tax collectors are hopeless navigators. Persistence eventually pays off and they come across former miner’s guild permittee Hon. The ogre has joined up with these tax collectors but has been split up from them. It is eventually related that two giants lead the group, though they started with many more before the raiding party attempted to take the Pilgrim’s path. Many giants and ogres died that day, but luckily for Hon that was long before he joined up. Hon points the adventurers towards Grudd Haug, seat of Guh, chief of the hill giants. He then heads there himself.

 

The adventurers pick up the trail again and find the tax collectors sleeping in a cave north of Onoltesbach. Nialo and Þorra slip ahead to determine the best plan of attack while Onolt goes back to town to get the militia. Þorra is considered slippery and quiet among dwarves, but proves inept by the standards of assassins. She finds herself stepping on the foot of a sleeping human thug. As he fumbles blindly in the dark she finds herself taking her first life in the name of the crew of the Wayward Chimera, cutting his throat, smothering his blood filled mouth with her hand and repeatedly stabbing him in the ribs until he is completely silent. But the giants are surprisingly light sleepers, and one decides the that he is now awake enough to need a midnight shit. He evacuates his bowels, causing a swift evacuation of the cave by everyone else. The ruffians soon discover that one of theirs has been killed, and the raiders set off south after failing to find the heroes. The party releases a caged halfling named Kimit, a local sustenance farmer taken prisoner to amuse the giants. Using holy magic to send a warning to the townsfolk, the party sets off after the tax collectors before they can reap more destruction.

 

Soon they find the northern farms under assault, but the militia has rallied to fend off the assailants with axe and shield. The stout dwarves hold the line against the ruffians with valor, but when a giant joins the fray they prove no match for its strength. The careless giants are divided along a long front and the heroes slowly peel through their flank, felling one giant while the other giant is busy looting the farm for cows pigs and children.

 

The weight axes arrows and magic slay the humongous monster without crushing the child thrown into its stuff sack. Four of the dwarven militia have fallen defending their town, but with the vital aid of Chimerians their town is finally free from the threat of the so called tax collectors.

 

As the town celebrates its victory and mours for the fallen, a new question emerges. The cleric Ulfghar swears that the assassin Nialo used dark magic in the fight against the giants, while she insists it is simple arcane magic she studied at the University in her spare time. The townsfolk lament that this argument is the first of many they are likely to hear of its kind, just like the old days.

 

Just then, something catches their collective eyes: a cloud moving against the wind. And wait, is that the towers of a castle on it?

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