A New Eberron

Chapter 4: A Merry Little Sidequest

The Birth of a New Tradition

The militia barracks the party had moved into were, in their current state, only the bare minimum accommodations necessary for comfortable living. Seeing their living their as being long term, the groups, all except Dou, Ray, Garrus, and newt Jake remain to watch the town.

Changing back into a human, Jake finds himself in the town with Garrus and Ray, and Garrus explains to him what has happened during his amphibious absence. Suddenly there is a knock at the door, and Garrus and Jake are requested by Chairn Mreuna to search for a powered cart he had recently purchased to speed up his trades. Having no leads, Chairn told them of his suspicions that his second cousin, the self-proclaimed mayor of Greenblade, Haygir Fen, might have taken the cart out of jealousy. The group agrees to investigate the matter, and make their way to the communal farm, making sure to put Ray on mute before doing so.

When Garrus knocks on the door of the commune, it is suddenly blasted open by a hulk sized man, who greets them with a loud and boisterous attitude. Upon hearing they are the town’s new militia, he greets the two with a spine-shattering bear hug, and introduces himself as the mayor. Despite the group’s attempt at approaching the issue of the cart unassumingly, the mention of the incident and Chairn’s request for their aid immediately alerts Haygir he is on the top of Chairn’s list of suspects. Revealing the farmers also had a reaper stolen, and that he has no information, the group heads off to the bar, hoping to find something useful out from Poppy.

The bar turns out to be filled with angry villagers, each trying to figure out where some essential tool of their trade had gone during the night. The Uruke’ai had lost a horse, the Fisherman had lost a net, and the smith had lost an anvil, on top of the stolen cart and reaper. Speaking to Poppy, she first begins their conversation by inquiring about Ray, who she was able to identify as a warforged, revealing an atypical knowledge of the constructs. Upon inquiry, Poppy smiled, and lowered the neck of her blouse to show a tattoo like mark under her collar bone, the Mark of Hospitality, thus explaining her knowledge and choice of occupation. Moving to the matter of the stolent good, Poppy points the group to a fisherman and hunter named Slyrin Fen.

The group ask Slyrin about any information he may have about possible thieves, and he reveals that north of the village he found broken bits of machines and constructs littering the forest, likely the work of a strange old man who appeared a few years ago. Leading them to the area with a high density of the pieces, the group follows the trail of increasingly large piles of robot pieces.

A few miles in, Jake detects a group of small creatures approaching from the west, and they hide. Marching towards them is a small group of gnomes, dressed in strange colors, and carrying unusual red and white-spiraled gadgets. As Garrus walks out of hiding to speak to them, they immediately begin to charge, sparking a battle. The battle quickly resolves, with Ray breaking the weapon of one Gnome who flees, Garrus tripping the remaining with an oil conjuring spell, and Jake finishing off the prone foes with ease. However, as victory is reached, the strange weapons the gnomes carried suddenly self-destruct, but the group manages to dodge the shards of metal narrowly. They than follow the gnome who escaped, soon finding his body, killed by the self-destruction of his own, already broken, weapon.

THey continue west until they come upon a trail left by a powered cart in the mud. Mean while, the area around them, despite remaining to be warm, suddenly experiences snowfall. Granted, none stuck to the ground.

The group follows the cart trail until they come upon a clearing, with a fortress covered in spotlights, some painted red with blood. Seeing that the trail of the cart leads into the fortress, the group devises a way to get Jake into the fortress. Timing a run, Jake sprints to the wall and scales it before a spotlight can reach him. Atop the wall, Jake finds watchtowers with terminal in them, guarded by a sleeping gnome. Inside the fortress are many gnomes carrying scrap metal into a workshop in the center, while many gnomes are carried out, dead. Realizing they are in possession of the Red Raven’s Cloak, Garrus and Ray teleport to the tower, where Jake kills the sleeping gnome immediately.

Ray proceeds to hack into the terminal, altering the targeting parameters for security from gnomes and a single human, to all half-elves, humans, and warforged, and than removing gnomes from the safe list. As Ray does this, an arm of construct creatures drop down and slaughter the Gnomish workers. They had created and witnessed a massacre. There was nothing intelligent to say.

Entering from two sides, the group than charges into the workshop, where gnomes are working at a conveyor belt, and an old man sits in an altered powered-cart, now designed for war. A literal genocide-cart, a slaughter-sleigh. Laughing and yelling, “You think you can turn my fortress against me?!?! I’ll show you the true power of my creations!!” the remaining gnomes attacked as the scientist started up the slaughter-sleigh. The battle ended with many of the gnomes killed by the gunfire of their own crazed master, and Ray shocking the old man to death. The group had rescued the sled, but the unfortunate fate of the tens of gnomes dampened the mood of success, even sparking Ray to inquire about the nature of death, which Garrus and Jake struggled to find an answer to.

With all done, the group drove the sled back to the village. As they came close, the snow began to thicken, and even stick on the ground. The group rode back into town, bearing many items they found at the workshop, and returning the good stolen just the night before. The story of the party’s accomplishments would be told over and over again, spreading far and wide. With its many retellings and thousands of year of slow changing, the groups adventure would come to be the origin of a holiday celebrated all over Khorvaire: Christmas.

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