I have been very productive the past few days. On the trek to Wood’s Edge, we happened upon several very unkempt fields of grain, of which we availed ourselves, netting two bushels in total. While we gathered, we were approached by Stormbeard and Prank, a dwarf and gnome respectively. It bears noting that Prank at the time was encapsulated within an eight-foot-tall mechanical monster he referred to as “Wonky.”
It seems the zombie infestation was not as aimless as we thought. The zombies were preceeded by a comet – a comet that was the source of worship to a rebellious faction within Wood’s Edge who controlled the city to the west of the river that bifurcates the town. Stormbeard mentioned that the zombies seemed to have specific purpose in their shamblings… something I had not observed, but he had been dealing with than longer than we had, so I was willing to take his word for it. When Stormbeard inquired as to our business in Wood’s Edge, a merchant named Chevon piped up that he had a shipment of coffee for one Dundas Montgomery. But more on that later…
Once safely within the walls of the zombie-beseiged city (via a tunnel under the wall), we set up for business in town, offering the zombie refugee discount – 5% above cost. Curious about the revolution, Stormbeard dressed us up as zealots and brought myself, Fik, and Prank to a “political rally” featuring none other than the leader of the superstitious mob, Dundas Montgomery. (On the trip across the river, I noted an abandoned temple of Abadar on an island in the middle of the water… this will be relevant later.) Montgomery mentioned that their blacksmith, a Steelbeard (what is it with dwarves and their obsession with facial hair?) had been working long hours creating firearms and they were just waiting on a shipment of black powder that was due to arrive any day. After that, they could take the other half of the city with impunity.
It seems Montgomery had had a great many beans prior to his rally, as some poorly time flatulence took the wind out of his sails, but all the same afterward, his lieutenants took folk from the crowd to eat at his table. After spotting a comely young woman in his direct employ, I managed to flirt my way to Montgomery’s table… and possibly a marriage proposal, though I do not think I will go through with it unless there is a dowry involved… and if she’s still alive… but I’m getting ahead of myself.
When Montgomery made his requisite appearance at the feast, I slipped him a note informing him that I was aware of why his shipment was delayed and that we could discuss it outside the gates of his home after the feat. Once there, I met with Montgomery and his personal valet, and uncouth, unpleasant-looking man named Loomis. I informed him that we managed to get his shipment into the east side of the city but could not deliver it due to the involvement of the counter-revolutionaries. If he wanted his goods, he would have to empty the abandoned temple of Abadar of anything hostile with a penchant for tasty brains and I would leave the goods for his use. He agreed to this conditionally: If we could give him a demonstration of the goods to prove that we were on the up and up. We agreed to meet at dawn on the North Bridge.
I immediately returned to my companions and we traversed the river, wherein I went to the caravan and found Chevon. With Fik as his generally intimidating self, we got Chevon to admit that he was not in fact carrying coffee across country borders, but black powder. This offense is punishable by hanging, so I gave him the option: Allow me to confiscate his powder and live, or be hanged and then I confiscate his black powder. He made the wise choice, and was then arrested by Surefoot.
From the black powder, the gnome Prank devised two gnomish fireworks, and I bartered a direct exchange from Tasilon: Three kegs of black powder for three kegs of coffee. I got the lesser end of that deal by far, but my respect for Tasilon is such that I do not much mind. I did manage to retain two kegs of black powder for my own uses.
I then set three trusted caravan denizens to work grinding the coffee beans to a similar consistency to the black powder and headed off to the North Bridge with Prank and Fik. Prank was positioned just to the west of the North Bridge with one of his fireworks, and I took the other with Fik and myself. We met with Motgomery and Loomis and after Prank set off his firework for the revolutionary’s benefit, we agreed upon the plan. They would take three days to empty the temple, I would deliver the goods. I also required a writ of passage for myself, Fik, Prank, and Tasilon to walk on the west side of the river unmolested by his followers. I offered him the other firework to signal us that the work was done.
With these terms agreed upon, we parted ways. The next three days were a busy time. Fik did some research at his local temple, I readied the kegs of “powder” for shipment, and I spent some time on the west side spreading a little rumor… that the attack on the heretical east-siders was imminent, so that Montgomery would find his hand somewhat forced in the matter of overtaking the nonbelievers, perhaps causing him to treat his shipment with a touch less scrutiny that he would otherwise attend.
I also spoke with Stormbeard about Kimbote and learned some interesting details about their visit to the World Wound. Evidently, Kimbote the Elder and Kimbote the Younger, his squire, pushed on ahead into the World Wound, not waiting for his companions. There was some kind of collapse, and Kimbote the Younger pulled his brother out of the proverbial fire. Stormbeard said he believed Kimbote the Younger walked a little taller that day… and without his telltale limp. He always suspected that the young man had his eyes set on greater things than squiring for his elder brother, but being Kimbote the Elder’s bosom friend, he would not speak ill of the man’s family.
After, Prank and I crossed the river to speak with Steelbeard the blacksmith on the matter of Kimbote the Elder’s infirmity. He told a similar story, confirming what Stormbeard hinted at. That Kimbote the Younger definitely experienced a change in the World Wound, with the added detail that the young man smelt of sulfur long after they had left the vicinity of the Wound…
While speaking with Steelbeard, Prank began to engage the dwarf in conversation about the twin cannons in the shop, and I, in the interests of quelling the revolution of course, divested him of some of his firearm stock, netting 3 blunderbusses, 2 muskets, and 10 pistols. We returned to the east side of the river and I gifted Stormbeard with one of the blunderbusses… in exchange for his fealty.
And on the third day, I finished my gold-threaded rope, and waited. When the firework came, we were not long about it: Fik, Prank and I made our way to the temple where we deposited the kegs of “powder.” While there, we searched for a couple of items needed for a special project put to me by Tasilon, which we found: A gold-plated embosser of the priest of Abadar, and 3 sheets of vellum.
And then we returned to the east side of the river to watch the fur fly. We did not have to wait long. The very next day, the battle was met. It turns out that the revolutionaries had a trebuchet, but Prank, Fik and I sneaked across the river and a well-placed summon of a fire elemental thanks to Prank made short work of the siege engine.
In the end, the revolution was short and bloody and over. Coffee does not a catalyst make, and Stormbeard’s forces were more than a match for the surprised revolutionaries. We managed to scavenge 2 more blunderbusses, 2 more muskets, and 10 more pistols, as well as 200 balls from the battlefield.
While Stormbeard was grateful for our assistance, he begged one more favor of us, offering full membership into his little club. He believed the comet was the harbinger of the zombie attack, and he asked us to investigate the landing site. He assigned Prank and Wonky to join us by way of assistance. I like Prank well enough, but given our history with the shambling dead, I am uncertain how useful he will be. Wonky, on the other hand….