1206 Spring - A Giant Problem

A story where giants cause problems for the covenant.

March 24th, 1206

The previous year, under the orientation of Clusius, a representative of the covenant went to Basel to let the Redcaps know of the existence of Tugurium and give them directions for reaching the valley. The covenant hasn’t seen visitors during the winter, but at late March, with the snow already gone, a man wearing the traditional head gear of house Mercere walks the valley. He brings a hand up to shield his eyes from the setting sun as he looks around, before following the cold streams in the direction of the mess of houses and towers east of the valley.

After introducing himself to a few grogs and stating his purpose the man is led to a warm room, while the servants go warn the magi of the arrival of a certain Orell of Mercere, bringing news from the Order and a request.

(OOC: I’m leaving the description of the Redcap purposefully vague so that the troupe can contribute as deemed fit. If anyone wants a Redcap companion in the future, we can easily retire or relocate Orell.)

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Missing the warmer weather at the cyclades, Regulus wrote several letters during the winter. With no surprise, as soon as he heard of the arrival of a redcap he left his laboratory with a neat stack of parchment, being the first one to talk to the man.

"Mister Orell of Mercere? I'm Regulus Petraeus, of house Guernicus."
Seeing no mage around and realizing he was the first one, Regulus adds: "let me be the first to welcome you to the covenant of Tugurium. I hope your travel was agreeable."

"Thanks, Regulus. An easy journey, but I must confess, not much agreeable. Horrible, horrible rumors going around."

As the redcap insists in waiting for the other magi to deliver his news, Regulus sees himself waiting with Orell while talking about the preparations for the upcoming Tribunal, and takes the chance to tell the redcap that he is available if there is any last minute dispute to be settled, or if any magus wants legal consultation. As such, the minutes went by...

Informed by the grog on watch of the arrival of a redcap, Wolfgang is the next to arrive. He enters the room behind a servant bearing refreshments for the guest, and joins the others, eager as always for any news or rumors.

Clusius arrives a few diameters later, having come as soon as he learns a redcap has arrived.

Orell greets Wolfgang and Clusius as they arrive, with the due distinction to Clusius as the princeps of Tugurium. After taking a last sip from his cup he opens a leather bag and produces a stack of letters, delivering each to its recipient.

"These are the letters that arrived since you communicated the magi who would be residing in Tugurium. These are also the last letters to be delivered, I'm afraid, unless something is done about the giant."

"You see, the path between Basel and Laymunt isn't that safe these days. People in the roads should be happy with the winter gone. However, as I passed through Laufen, I saw apprehension and fear. I heard - and let me be honest here, this might be just a rumor - but I heard that a giant has been on the loose. Attacking cattle, even people, travelers! Since the middle of the winter!"

"Now, I might have dismissed this as attacks from a wolf and an imaginative mind from the common people, but as I passed by Liesberg, the same story was told. There are some who swear by the straw they saw the giant. I have seen nothing, to be fair, but how could I do my job in fear of being attacked while traveling here?"

"My guess is that, if there is a giant, he has come down the Alps, fleeing from the harsh alpine winter, and settled somewhere nearby. I may return to Basel alone, but I'd prefer to be escorted by a few warriors if that is possible. And if you desire to keep receiving visits from the redcaps, I must ask someone to investigate if the claims about this giant are true, slay anything that poses a threat to travelers and make the roads safe again!"

He finishes his speech in a passionate tone, grabs his cup (which a servant has already conveniently filled up) and empties it in a gulp.

"Thank you for bringing these news to us, as well as our letters," says Clusius with a nod. "We will certainly look into this and make sure to resolve this issue quickly. You say these stories are being reported in Laufen and Liesberg? Do you know if the villagers have reported them to the Burggraf?"

"Would you prefer to stay here for a day or two, while we organize a party to hunt down this giant? This way, you would be protected as you travel back. And be able to see that the situation has been resolved."

Turning to Wolfgang, "Sodalis, are you available to take charge of this expedition? It seems to suit your skills more than mine. I would be willing to join you, but my combat magics are limited. Who knows, perhaps the giant can be talked into going back to its lands. But we must have the ability to kill it if we must."

"I imagine they have, for in Laufen I heard that a few armored men came and asked about the sightings. Alas, this was a couple of weeks ago, but the people are still afraid, so I reckon nothing was done. Typical."

"I'd very much like to stay as long as you think it's wise, if possible until there is reasonable proof that the roads are safe. And if you keep bringing the wine I will even sing while I'm here! Hahaha!" He gestures for the servant to fill up his cup.

Regulus suggests:

"If we find an arcane connection to the giant, or to something he took, I might be able to point the hunting party in the right direction. I'm afraid, however, that I'd be mostly useless after that, unless we need to accuse it at Tribunal."

Wolfgang nods. "It would be my pleasure to take up the hunt." He takes a long drink of his beer, ruminating. "It might be helpful to have someone along to speak with the village folk, but that could be anyone but me, really. Of course I'll bring the ladies... anyone else who wants to come is welcome, but nobody else is really necessary. We'll get some camping gear put together and head out in the morning."

He turns to Orell. "Do you want to wait here, or shall we escort you, then double back and hunt?"

If he is affected by your gift he is hiding it well.

"I'd be glad to wait, if that doesn't trouble you."

((OOC: If/when there are no more questions to Orell, feel free to describe any preparations prior to heading out and the what approach the hunting party takes. Regulus Intellego can be useful, but it's not essential. Since he is not the focus of this story I think it's better for him to stay at home or go with the party as the troupe sees fit.))

Wolfgang nods. "Of course. Your safety is important, I just wasn't sure how much of a hurry you were in."

Wolfgang asks a servant to go and fetch Dagny and Gwyneth, and a map. When they arrive, he explains the situation, and starts formulating plans, talking to them on a far more equal footing than many magi might. He looks over the map, mulling over what he knows of the area in his mind, and idly commenting as he thinks.

"I won't be able to detect the giant directly with magic. We'll have to ask villagers about sightings, and perhaps arrange bait."

[OOC Liesberg and Basel are very close together, but Laufen is about 1000 km away - is that intentional?]

Area Knowledge: Swabia (Legends): 1D10+5 = [9]+5 = 14

((OOC: there is a Laufen closer to Delemont, following the Birse towards Basel. In the valley map you will find it with the name Laufon.))

You heard stories of giants in the alpine mountains, of course, but no particular legend comes to mind, or at least none that seem relevant at the moment. You do have a good grasp on the local geography however, and this should prove useful when you are looking for your quarry later (I'm going to lower the EF in relevant further tests due to the good roll).

What's Wolfgang's next step? Take the road to Basel, reach Laufen and ask around?

In the morning, Wolfgang heads out, grogs in tow. He and Kiefskala have had a discussion of strategy, and the linnorm stays in the air, flying low along the treetops to make himself difficult to spot, and is searching for signs of the giant. If he finds it, he will return to Wolfgang, not engage on his own, but only if the magus is alone out of sight of town or mundanes.

Meanwhile, Wolfgang walks to Laufen in his simple robe, chainmail mostly hidden underneath. He brings one of the covenant's grogs, along with his two long-time companions, and the grog carries an extra sword and shield; as it is easier to explain armed guards than an armed pilgrim.

The morning is cold, as if the land doesn't want to let go of the winter, but Wolfgang barely registers that. A benefit of his expertise in Ignem. The grogs keep their eyes open for trouble, but the most you get is a traveler taking wary glances at you and scuttering away after a few threaths from Dagny. It takes you the morning, and then a bit more, to reach Laufen.

You smell and hear the village well before reaching it. Food and drink and animal and human noises.

"Tsk. No terrified screams. It would have made thinks a bit easier" says Gwyneth, still a bit grumpy after awaking so early. After a few moments Dagny turns to Wolfgang:

"Should I go ahead and try to ask someone if they have seen a giant, since I'm the only one who speaks the language and doesn't... well...?"

Wolfgang nods. "Yes, please. That would be helpful."

"Very well, master," replies Dagny. "Any specific question that you want me to ask them?"

After receiving her instructions from Wolfgang, the tall grog-woman strides confidently into the village. As soon as she sees an adult that looks like a local inhabitant, she heads towards him or her.

The first few men walk away as soon as it is clear that Dagny is going to ask about the giant, but finally she finds someone willing to talk.

"Yes, I saw him. Taller even than you, at least double your size."

And then he looks arpound and screams, to no one in particular: "And no, I wasn't drunk!!!!"
His glare defies Dagny to say otherwise.

"What do you want to know?"

Dagny looks at the man speculatively, then speaks bluntly. "Everything you can tell me about the giant. Where you saw it, when, what it looks like. My master is interested in learning more about it, perhaps hunt it down."

"If he does, and kill it, we can shut up those who mocked you."