Chapter 2: Travel to Kolberg

As the caravan approaches the crossroads the caravan master turns to Yannick and asks; [color=red]Where to master, Kolberg or the residence of Aldrik? The sun seems to set and the darkness begins to fall, as the light diminishes the shadows of the Pomeranian forest seems to get longer.

[color=red]Aldriks residence. Id like to say hello to our immediate neighbours.
We won't be reaching Kolberg today anyway.
And for the toll they asked, they can surely afford some hospitality.

[color=green]And I want to know how many moonbeasts there are, Yannick thinks.

The caravan rolls on along the right path and after a while comes to a small settlement that is dominated by a large longhouse. As the caravan in noticed before it enters the settlement a group of men assemble in the yard in front of the longhouse. There are ten men each of them are armed, perhaps visitors means trouble in these parts of Pomerania. One of the men are exceptionally larger then the rest of the men and strikes the approaching characters as the leader of the village, next to him there is a young woman in plain clothing. The large man has his bulk from muscles not fat and could even rival Hans in terms of bodily strength but is far taller then any normal man. As the caravan approaches the leader of the men calls out, [color=red]I am Aldrick of the Claw who are you who come when the night begin to creep up on us?


My name is alberich, and here's my master, a humble scholar. We are travelling, and, as the night comes, we thought to seek shelter in your village.

The chieftain speaks: [color=red]Welcome travellers into my hall. My men will take care of you wagons for the night and we will eat and drink in the hall.

The travelling party are escorted after a while into the grand hall and are served beer, bread and salted meet around a wooden table. [color=red]Aldrick the speaks and asks the travellers, Please indulge us and tell us of your journey, where are you coming from and where are you heading? The chieftain seems interested but there seems to be something odd with his eyes, they are somewhat misty almost like if a thin veil of mist covered them.

[color=red]Thank you Aldrick for awarding us your hospitality. My name is Yannick, we're from the newly founded scribe-school...

[...]Yannick will tell him how we got here and that we're going to Kolberg, to do the paperwork everybody hates...

[color=blue](He'll be casting shiver of the lycantrophe occasionally, and revealed flaws of the mortal flesh on Aldrick. I know, it's getting a bad habit...)

[color=red]So i thought it would be a good thing to make a little detour to visit one of our close neighbours and introduce ourselves.
If you need anything from Kolberg, we could get that for you and bring it here on our way back.
But tell me, why do people call you Aldrick of the claw? You look more like Aldrick the giant?

[color=blue]The entire male population seems to be lycanthropic… but none of the women.

Alldrick of the Claw replies, [color=red]The claw has been my family name and it goes back into the legends of old about Pomerania. I come from a most honourable family line and all them men around me are my kin. This scribe school that you tell me of is it somehow related to the new settlement that has begun to taken over the land?

[color=red]Yes, indeed. You seem worried? Why is that?

[color=red]Yes there could be trouble, stranger’s coming to take my ancestors lands. We have lived here far of from the rest of the world but, but now the world has come to us. In time we see what action that must be taken. The large man seems to have a sad look on his face. Yannick notices once again that the man seems to have clouded eyes, however its only apparent in certain angles.


[color=red]Well, I don't see why you should worry. My masters have no love for the encroachment of civilisation either, and just want to live in peace with their neighbours.

[color=red]Strange, Aldrick replies,[color=red] I have seen men flock to the city and heard the word about the foundation of a church. I have seen the men cut down trees and clear the forest for farming. This so called civilisation is upon us whether we like it or not, and I can not see any sings of ceasing any time soon.

[color=red]Yes, civilization is upon us if we like it or not.
Could we talk somewhere a little more private? I think I can provide you with some information you'll find useful.
Your lineage and mine do have a little something in common, you know?

Aldrick looks a bit wondering but replies; [color=red]Anything you want to speak of with me you can speak of in front of my men. I trust them and so can you.

[color=blue](Revealed Flaws of the mortal flesh: ist there something wrong with his eyes? going blind or something alike?)

[color=red]This is good to know. Many would envy you :slight_smile:

You probably have already guessed that I'm not really a scribe, so let me introduce myself properly...

Yannick changes into the shape of a black adder and coils a little on the table.
[color=green](Animal Ken) I am Yannick. A pleasure to meet you.
Then he slips back into his clothes and changes back to human.
I am half man, half animal, just as you are Aldrick, and as all of your men are. And I sincerely hope that you and your men will be more tolerant to my shape than the average priest...
An apple anyone? :slight_smile:

I hope they are more tolerant...
Yannick looks around his audience. Any signs of immediate danger?
Erm, forget about that, reckless...

I've been shapeshifting and talking to animals as long as I can remember. Still, I do not have the feeling that I fully understand it. This is why I came to these lands, your lands, and to the new settlement: to meet with your kind, and learn your ways.

The people that have founded the new settlement are magicians, and so am I. Most of us are magi "ex miscellanea". That means we're a pretty random bunch of folk magicians, charm makers, faerie doctors and the likes. Oh, yes, and shapeshifters too :slight_smile:

We have tried to find a place that is far enough from "civilized" lands to be left alone, and close enough to enjoy their benefits. So far, I think we succeded.

You will want to know about the motivations of my fellow magi, and what we are about to do here. To that end, Aldrick, you could send some of your men to meet them, see and hear for themselves, while I stay here, to guarantee your men return unharmed. Would that be acceptable?

We would be very pleased to cooperate with you and your kin, Aldrick, to the benefit of all involved.

What do you think?

[color=blue]There is nothing wrong with his eyes.
[color=red]You are one of us or are you just similar? Have you spoken with the forest yet? Aldrick wonders. [color=red]I will agree to send some of my men meet with your fellow magi. But not for awhile, there are some things that must be spoken of. But for now let’s eat and drink.

[color=red]"Just similar" is what you would call it. All of the magicians of my lineage are shapeshifters, though we do not use magic to this end.
And unfortunately, while I talk with animals sometimes, I do not understand how one would talk to the forrest as a whole. I'd be willing to learn, though. Maybe you can introduce me, when we have worked out a solution to the things that must be spoken of?
Cheers everyone!

Later, with as few people around as possible Yannick whispers:
[color=red]Say, Aldrick, it didn't wnat to mention it in front of your men, but what is it with your eyes? The seem clouded sometimes. Like mist was passing the moon. Did you have troubles with some witch lately?

Aldrik seems to look confused, [color=red]There is nothing wrong with my eyes. When I grow old perhaps I will loose some of their sight but not now. As for talking to the forest you only need to sleep or work in it for a year or two, and then you will hear her whispers in the cold night. Once you hear the whispers the she will instruct you.

Yannick checks if Aldricks eyes are clear of clouds, if so, he speaks:
[color=red]Aldrick, it could be that some witch was spying on us, looking through your eyes. Some of us were attacked by her before, and what i saw in your eyes a few minutes ago looked very much like the magic she used against us. We need to be careful.
Should I notice this again, I will fold my hands like this... (shows him)[color=red] I will tell you some misleading nonsense then. It might even be offending. But please don't take it serious. Maybe we can set up a trap for her. This #!@&%! set fire to my home. :angry:
But enough of that. You said there where things to talk about? What did you have in mind? :slight_smile:

[color=red]There is one thing where my men and your men have and the men of the woods have differencing opinions. You need to stop harming the forest, through the axes bite and soon the tolling of church bells the forest suffers. I need you to stop this from happening, talk to the forest and you will see the wisdom in my words. Aldrik looks at you with a stern gaze, reminding you a little of that time when you dropped a vat of ink on you master’s lab notes.

I'll do what I can to keep the forest intact.
Some of my magic will certainly be helpful there, I think I can manufacture some magic items to properly guide our forresters. It won't hurt to plant new trees for those already cut down, will it?

Now, those church bells were one of the reasons i was traveling to Kolberg. You can imagine that the church does not overly like magicians. Thats why i was to look out for an open minded priest, someone who could understand our needs. We are not able to stop it altogether.
Marriages, baptisms and funerals need to be taken care of to keep our servants happy. But I can make sure the churches influence stays... manageable. Be assured that is a most imortant matter to myself.

Maybe we could take a walk in the forrest, Aldrick? You surely know where it speaks loudest, do you? If i prepare myself a little, and with a little luck and your help, I'm almost certain that I will be able to talk with it. Do you agree?