4047 Rova 2
At first light, Griz walked to the cliffs on the north side of town, and looked down at the heaping pile of garbage at the based of the bay with disgust. “The town dump”, he thought to himself, shaking his head. There were food scraps, pieces of cloth, broken furniture and tools, and any manner of junk that he could imagine. The rotting smell intermixed with the fresh sea air. As he looked down, a couple of children stepped next to him and through some stinking bags over the edge. The tide was high, and the base of the garbage heap was buried in water. He could see that some of the refuse was carried away into the bay, but wondered at how the garbage didn’t come all the way up to the wall. Was it all being carried away by the sea? When he looked to the east, he could see along the beach scattered pieces of rubbish in a trail to the east, and when he looked the other way, towards Chopper’s Island, he couldn’t see such a trail.
As the halfling climbed down the thirty foot sandstone cliff, he noticed some rustling in the heap of garbage. He gently hopped onto a board and deftly balanced on it. After a few moments, he heard the excited squeals of goblins from in the heap of rubbish where the rustling was, and one, two and then three goblin heads, out of proportion to their bodies as always, popped out of the rubbish heap. “We gots some good irons, now we go back to camp and make stuff with it!” The three goblins started heading east, and as they left they noticed Griz. One laughed and cursed at him. “Hey long-shanks, we make good dog slicers and come back to kill you!” Another one laughed “Ha, he not long-shanks, he short shanks”, and with that the three rushed off down the beach with their box of iron scraps.
Griz easily tracked them down the beach, along the bluffs for a couple of hours, watching as they took a break to catch fish and throw rocks at each other. Finally, he followed them to an place where the bluffs took an abrupt turn to the north, into an archipelago of rocky islands. The goblins quickly climbed the fifty foot bluff, and then dragged the metal scrap up the cliff. When they were away, Griz found that a series of foot / hand holds had been set into the cliffs, allowing easy scaling. And, at the top of the cliff was a crude contraption for hauling items up the cliffside using a rope and basket.
Griz followed the goblins to a clearing and watched as they met some others, and methodically sorted the metal into different piles, obviously based on quality (quite out of character for goblins). And, in character, they continued squabbling, talking about food, playing with their campfire. “We gonna make really good dog slicers with these ones… we gonna make traps with these, then nobody gonna mess with Seven Tooths no more. Brathazamus can’t even come into Seven Tooths territory cuz then we trap him and stick him!”
Mordecai yawned his way to the main room of the Rusty Dragon Inn, where half a dozen oldsters were gathered around Rhogar and James Bacca. “You’re finally up. We’re going to investigate the ruins of the Old Light, as we originally came to do.” “As you wish,” said Modecai, who began to strum his instrument and sing slowly. The townsfolk gathered around him and asked about the plans of the new heroes. Rhogar quietly chuckled and sang about their exploits from the day before. Soon, Aldern Foxglove made his way downstairs and joined in, bragging about his role in the valorous defeat of the Goblin General Gresgut and the dozens of goblins that were intent on burning down the town.
“So, really Mordecai, what are your plans”, asked Ameiko Kaijitsu, as she brought plates of savoury curried potatoes and eggs. “What are the next exploits of the new heroes of Sandpoint?”
Mordecai strummed his instrument and sang:
Let goblins cower
Evil shall not flower
We come to bring peace
Your burdens release
For we are here to serve!
“Aye,” said an old man in the small crowd. “In that case ye should find and kill the Sandpoint Devil. It’s been plaguing and killing for years.” At that, an argument erupted in the crowd “You’re crazy Nico, there’s no Sandpoint Devil, it’s just your drunk nephews out in the farms filling you with stories.” “Nay, the Devil be real,” said another voice “It has two heads. One of a devil, one of a dragon. And the body of a horse. And the tail of a crocodile. And bat wings!” Someone else spoke up “It’s no devil, it’s an angel, here to protect Varisia from the Chelaxians who have been invading. Those are the real devil worshippers!”
As the crowd roared in its debate, Aldern approached Mordecai. “Sirrah! We shall have a boar hunt to provide meat for the feast that I promised. You and the other heroes must join me! Especially my angel, the tiny ranger Griz. He shall lead the hunt! Please promise me that you will convince the others to join us.”
The Tower and the Island
Mid-morning at the north end of Sandpoint, a crowd had gathered as Rhogar and James Bacca pounded on the door of the out of place three story house laying in the shadow of the ancient tower known locally as the Old Light. Rhogar, James Bacca, Naeric, and Tuk Thor chatted with the growing crowd. A group of young ladies peeked at James Bacca and giggled when he glanced at them. A young man gave the heroes a meat pie that his mother baked for them. As they waited for Brodart Quink to answer their knocking, they looked up at the five sided tower rising 50 meters above them. The tower’s base was on a pile of crumbling granite that looked to be scalable, but not completely safe. And, other than small openings occasionally populating the sides of the tower, they could not see an entrance.
As they looked, some kids gathered around them and started talking all at once. “You don’t want to go in there, it’s haunted!” “The ghost of some kid Chopper killed haunts it!” “No it ain’t, but Chopper’s Island is haunted. I seen Chopper going back and forth looking for more victims.”
A calm and firm voice interrupted “You kids get out of here, you don’t know what you’re talking about.” He turned to the heroes and stated “There’s no point in banging on the door. Cranky old Quink works all night and sleeps all day. Pleased to meet ya, I’m Ven Vinder.” ven Vinder was barrel chested, stood over two meters, with a thick beard and a calm but piercing gaze."
“Now… Chopper.” He pointed to the island north of town, forming one side of the bay. “Jervis Stoot used to live out there. Everyone knew he was a bit mad. He was a brilliant artist. He carved birds into the walls and doors of buildings and houses around town. We called ‘em Stoots. But … well, it turned out he was carving up people as well. He terrorized the town for a month before Sheriff Casp caught up with him. Unfortunately, the Sheriff didn’t survive the encounter.” He pointed to a scarred and charred patch on a nearby building. “Now, Stoots bring up painful memories for most folks. Nearly everyone in town lost someone close or knows someone who lost someone.”
While Ven Vinder spoke with James Bacca and Rhogar, Mordecai and Naeric talked to the group of kids. One of them, Stefan, spoke up, “Honestly, I’ve been to Stoots Island and I know where he lived. I can take you there.” They followed, Stefan to the beach, and, as the tide was low, waded the twenty yards to the island. There was no path up the three meter rocky bluff to the island, so they scrambled up the side and found themselves on a grassy, serene, lightly wooded island. At last they came to a clearing, in the middle of which was a dilapidated shack. They entered and noted that anything of value was long looted, and all that remained was a few pieces weather rotten furniture and other debris. Behind the shack, they came upon a patch of gravel and rocks, about three feet on a side. As they dug through this pile, it became clear that this was a tunnel that had been intentionally filled with rocks and gravel.