Here We Go A-Weaseling
Rook tried to ride Mija, who scented something and bolted off and they haven’t been seen since. Clovis and Tsafnur are still accompanying Genesa home, if they can find their way out of the tunnels and passageways beneath Skagway.
As Clovis and Tsafnur led Genesa up through the tunnels, she soon realized that they had no idea how to get back to the surface from the Night Market. But they soon came upon someone even more lost than they were, poor Andrew, human cleric of Kirt the Clean, had been helping carry something for a stranger, while telling them the Good News of Kirt, when they took their stuff back and headed off a dismal looking side passage, leaving Andrew alone in the dark trying to find his way out without actually touching any of the filthy, slimy walls of the tunnels. He was happy to see people, and have light again, and they agreed to let him accompany them to the surface, but were disappointed that he didn’t know the way either, but was certain that Kirt would provide a way.
They continued on, taking the uphill path whenever they could, until they saw up ahead some flickering lights and heard raucous sounds of shouting and whips. As they approached each other, they saw it was a line of six humans and elves chained together, guarded by four orcs, three of them with whips and nets. Genesa tried to hide and was on the verge of running away, but Andrew stayed with her to help her stay calm.
Tsafnur charged the orcs, only to a face full of net (or rather, a net full of Tsafnur). The fourth orc turned out to be a shaman, who hung back giving buffs to the other orcs and firing blasts of elemental fire at Clovis. Clovis charged, tripping over the net, but togther they broke out of the net made with the stabby-stabby, taking out the nearby orcs. The shaman, seeing no profit in dying, ran away. Clovis clipped him with a thrown dagger, but he escaped. They freed the slaves, who were a pitiful lot, mostly beggars and sailors who had passed out in a tavern and woken in orc chains. They too were eager to follow our intrepid adventurers to the surface, as they came up from a subterranean pirate dock and have no clue how to get out.
The increasingly unwieldy troop continued to take any upward passage they could find, and the tunnels began to vaguely resemble those where they entered. At last they went up one which dead-ended, but there were handholds cut into the wall, so they climbed and tried to find a mechanism to open up. The roof did indeed open up, blinding them all with daylight, and a huge foot came through the opening, followed by a leg, and then the rest of a hill giant. The former slaves ran for it and even Andrew and Genesa began backing away toward the nearest side passage. Clovis tried to intimidate the giant out of their way, but he wasn’t having any of it and when she and Rook didn’t get out of his way he began “bowling” by throwing/rolling large rocks from his sack at them. The dodged the first couple and retreated to join Genesa and Andrew in the side passage until the Giant had passed by.
At long last, our party finally reached Skagway, Gateway to the Sea. They found an inn, had baths, and then went out on the town, finding a tavern called the Screaming Weasel. It turns out that the name was a reference to the tavern’s most infamous pasttime of “weaseling”, which is an endurance sport where a group of contestants all have weasels shoved into their trousers and whoever can last the longest before the weasel escapes or is dragged out is the champion. Clovis signed up immediately. It was a tough challenge, but she beat out the reigning champion and now can proudly wear the t-shirt, “Weaseling Champion of Skagway.”
In case you thought I made this up, weaseling is based on the real “sport” of Ferret Legging, which is basically as described, but with ferrets. The difference is that ferrets are domesticated and friendly creatures, whereas weasels are vicious and ferocious hunters.
Clovis spent some of her winnings getting everyone she could massively drunk. She and the former weaseling champion found they had a lot in common and went off to find a room. The rest of the party went off to the rooms they had already paid for.
The next morning they left Skagway to return Genesa to her home. As they travelled, Tsafnur played a song from his mysterious songbook (bound in human skin). It was a beautiful, sad, and haunting melody. The sky grew dark and began bucketing down rain on them as they all scrambled to improvise some kind of umbrellas with boughs and leaves. Soon after that they crossed a trail of slime, nearly washed away, no doubt left by the Grumblehut.
Further down the road, soaked through and getting cold, they came across a caravan of dwarves. They were none too friendly, searching for missing dwarven children. When Clovis told them Grumblesticks was nearby, at first they thought she was making up stories, then they practically accused her of treachery against all dwarves for not chasing down the Grumblehut herself, but settled for insisting to be shown where the slime trail was. They left one dwarf to guard the caravan and the other six took off in pursuit of Grumblesticks. The remaining dwarf was dead set against them coming into the caravan even to dry off for a minute, but finally took pity when he saw how cold and miserable Genesa was. They warmed up a bit, found some tarps to shelter under as they walked, and headed further down the road.
Dark as it was, that was the daytime, but now night was falling and they had to find a place to make camp. They found some dense trees to shelter under and strung up the tarps as a makeshift tent to keep the worst of the weather off. They had just managed, against all odds, to get a small fire going when there was a rustling, like some animal stirring in its burrow, coming nearby tree, with leaves gathered in a hole in its base. The leaves were pushed out as first one, then another huge segmented leg came out, like a giant spider, over six feet tall, but with the head and body of a fat baby. It looked at their fire, then at them, and said, “Mommy?”
And that’s where we’ll pick up next time, folks. Happy nightmares!