Over Bridge Under Bridge

My preacher Eva Saralva and her colleagues are heading out on another mission for the guard captain at Sielzen. Apparently strangers have been seen lurking around in the woods near the bridge on the road to Braumen, and we have been asked to go and investigate in our latest session of Zweihänder.

It has taken us most of the day to reach Hofoyavik. The town is pretty much as we remembered it from last time, and they are happy to see us given that we helped them against the village of Vaskollen, so made sure that we had a room for the night despite the place being full. The road here had been good, and fairly easy to follow. The townsfolk have been pretty happy to talk to us, and confirmed that they’d heard of strangers skulking around by the main bridge who were only seen at dawn and dusk.

Our journey today has been very similar, following the main road until it has brought us to a small village. It is full, and since the people here don’t know us we have ended up sleeping in the common room.

There is lots of talk here, and rumours have reached the villagers that Sielzen keeps on burning down. Dhjarin has spread rumours of fire breathing basilisks, and Calthar and Noreen told tales of the Broo.

Myself, I had a friendly conversation with a couple from Braumen – Helgar and Otto Svensmark. They were followers of the True Faith, which is a rarity in these parts, and happy to talk to a like minded priest such as myself – they even tried out their High Azlant, which was a bit rough but passage. Apparently one or other of them had captured the other’s ship, they fell in love and got married. They were a bit unclear about which of them had been the pirate – possibly both of them had been, and I suspect that whatever they are up to is probably still on the somewhat suspicious side.

But they invited me to come visit Braumen at some point, where apparently there are other folk like them (of the True Faith, not pirates, but the latter may be true as well) who would enjoy a proper Sanshanzium ceremony.

Today we made it to the bridge, and Djarin spotted dugouts which have been used to watch for travellers coming towards the bridge. The bridge itself was pretty impressive, with arches sitting on three pillars that dropped away to the river far below, and wide enough for a couple of carts.

The dugouts were either side of the bridge, as if whoever used them was guarding against people approaching it, but whoever had used it had probably left it around dawn. Djarin was of course able to find tracks that led off into the woods to the side of the road.

Eventually we came across an encampment, of about eight solders and maybe a dozen workers. It was all professionally laid out, and well guarded, with barrels, boxes and ropes stacked around. Djarin thought that they might be trying to damage the bridge, which was better than Calthar’s theory about them being vampires.

Returning to the bridge, we found evidence that a framework had been setup (and since dismantled) to allow people to go over the side and work beneath the bridge. Djarin was brave enough to climb over and take a look, and found wooden ‘pipes’, barrels and tubes stuck into the stonework. It seemed very much like they were planning on blowing the whole thing up.

Worryingly for Noreen, the barrels had an ‘N’ carved into their tops – very similar to her own marking. She admitted to having sold a large amount of rather sensitive and very explosive alchemy to someone recently – an Ernesto Bonetti. Not exactly illegal, since it can be used for mining, but it wouldn’t look good for her.

It appeared that they were maybe two thirds of the way through rigging up the bridge ready to destroy it, and it was at that point I remembered that there were still a large stack of barrels back at the camp.

Our guess is that they do the work at night, and have watchers in case anyone comes down the road, which would be unlikely at night. We wouldn’t have enough time left today to dismantle all that they’ve done safely, so our best bet may be to head back to the camp, and see if we can set off the explosives there with a well aimed crossbow bolt.

We’ve cut a bit of the cabling – it’ll be obvious to anyone who looks, but will hopefully delay them enough so that once we upset the hornet’s nest, anyone running back here won’t be able to easily set things off. Who they are, and what they’re trying to achieve with this we don’t know, but maybe we can ask any survivors later tonight.

Samuel Penn