Chapter 2: The Road to Sheoville
By the time our heroes arrived at Joi See, they had parted ways with Barb. The brutal beastly bald bearded barbarian had decided that he preferred life out in the woods, fending for himself and eating raw meat, and so he left in the night, and was never heard from again.
Joi See City, known as the Red City due to the red-brown architecture of many of its oldest buildings, was supposedly built upon ruined structures of the Old World.
They entered from the south, and made their way through Shallowtown, a beaten-down slum area that Samp found distasteful. They spent a night in Grubby Joe’s Drinkin’ Stable, but afterwards Samp demanded that they find somewhere better. They rented rooms at the Chubby Fish, a lively lakeside inn run by Julius Gezer, a man from Lindus with many tall tales to tell. They stayed here for around a month, and engaged in work to earn their keep. Samp tutored a noble boy in the Draconic language; Finch did low-level mercenary work, guarding visiting Dwarven merchants and filling emergency guard duty spots for the Lord’s Alliance of Regal Protection.
They spoke to many patrons in this time, and some passed on the tale of them saving the Breadmaker’s son to other people; this, along with Finch’s connections to Dwarven merchants, caught the attention of one Trout Rockefeller, a Dwarf businessman with big ideas. He sent them a letter, offering them a sum of 100gp to provide protection to a supply wagon heading east from Joi See to Barthen’s Provisions in the frontier town of Sheoville. The letter also stated that if they did this, he also had something “much bigger” to tell them about when they arrived. He stated that he would be setting off beforehand, along with a Lord’s Alliance of Regal Protection emissary, Harry Lyndon, who had his own business to attend to in the town.
The duo of Samp and Finch decided to take the offer, and found the supply wagon waiting for them outside the city the next morning. The wagon driver, Ted, a friendly man with a flat cap, greeted them, and they got on the back of the wagon. There was another person on board: a wood elf of Lunare, pale and dark-haired, dressed in a fine green tunic, a green top hat on his head. A quiet individual, he introduced himself as Makoto: a simple potion salesman, who was to meet Trout to arrange terms of employ under him. With little more said, the trio set off.
Thus spake Ted: “Onwards to Sheoville!”
The journey passed with quiet ease for the first day and half of the second. Some while down the road after their turn-off to Sheoville, they spotted something lying in the road. A dead horse — two dead horses. Killed by arrows, the saddlebags ravaged. Samp and Finch alighted the wagon, to move the corpses out of the way. As they moved towards them, arrows flew from the thickets either side of the path; poglins jumped from the bushes, scimitars in hand.
Makoto leapt from the carriage, a morningstar in his hand; the heroic duo quickly discovered that the simple potion salesman was also an adept combatant. Suffering minimal damage, they killed three of the poglins, but kept one alive.
Name of Blinky, the terrified pog gave up everything he had: that Paps, a ruthless puruk, had captured Trout and Lyndon a day ago and had them taken up the forested hillside trail to the north to their hideout. The party took mercy on the simple creature and spared its life, saying that they never wanted to see it again. Blinky ran away.
They followed the trail north, until they came upon the hideout. Ambushing the two poglin sentries and slaying them swiftly, the heroes moved on into the cavern. Inside, they were spotted by archers from atop a bridge, and a great wave of water was unleashed upon them; Finch and Makoto were able to climb to safety upon the cave walls and keep their grip, but Samp was dragged back to the opening of the cave. The poglins moved in to the defend their lair, but the trio regrouped and fought them off, slaying every last one of them with little in the way of remorse.
After Makoto utilised his potions to heal some of their minor wounds, the intrepid group moved further in, and confronted the puruk, Paps. Dressed in ragged hide armour, he appeared just as puruks do in folklore: much like a normal pig, but standing upon two strangely humanoid legs, holding a mighty greatsword in his oddly human-like hands and arms, his chin stained with phlegm below those strangely human eyes, and with a tiny hat upon his porcine head, a flat cap. However, not much more is known about Paps, or his fate; other than the three fellows-in-arms were able to dispatch him, and his poglin allies, and thus free the gentleman Harry Lyndon. Harry had been tied to a wooden board, being interrogated by the Papa Porc himself.
They got Harry back on his feet and dressed in his armour, and set to leave the hideout; however, the remaining poglins had regrouped, and attacked the weakened party as they made their way out. Again the party showed their might, this time with the good knight Harry by their side, and wet their swords and the ground with porcine blood. They left not a pog alive.
On their journey back to the road, Harry Lyndon spaketh the situation: he and Trout were kidnapped by poglins, but only he, Harry, was taken to the hillside hideout; Trout had been taken to ‘Cragmaw Castle,’ apparently under the orders of a puruk warlord, King Klarg.
“I have doubts that he has a claim to any real royal lineage — just a pig with a crown,” said Harry disparagingly.
He also explained that he, Harry, the man Harry Lyndon, was also travelling to Sheoville to investigate the alleged disappearance of the town’s townmaster, Spyro Herzog, another LARP official. Finally, he told them what he knew of Trout’s intentions in Sheoville — that he sought a strange, mythical location in the area, an ancient complex of wonders that he claimed to know the whereabouts of: Echo Chamber Deluxe. Trout claimed that it was a grand, labyrinthine underground structure that crackled with the Old Lightning.
The map leading to the location was with Trout, so whoever had kidnapped him could have already been able to make their way to Echo Chamber Deluxe and use it for their own purposes. The only lead he had was a name: “Harrier Jet.” This name was spoken by the poglins around their strange grunts and squeals; and, too, when he was being tortured, the big pig Paps kept asking him what he knew of Harrier Jet. He had no idea what it could mean.
They reached Ted and the wagon. Ted seemed unfased by the events, and welcomed them all back.
Thus spake Ted: “Onwards to Sheoville!”
They reached the town at the onset of night and delivered the supplies from the cart safely to Barthen in his store; Barthen was a well-mannered man of deep voice and friendly understanding. Barthen paid them on behalf of Trout for the service, and told them to come back any time they needed supplies. Makoto found out that the supplies that he had sent there had not arrived, leaving him at a loose end, and without much in the way of gold.
They reached the Stonehill Inn and rented rooms. Harry told them that they could speak more at length the following morn, once he had rested his wounds off.
Thus did the heroic, stalwart trio of allies stay their first night in the wilderness-bordering town of Sheoville.