Upper Fortus

Our original visit to Upper Fortis had been sidetracked by marvelous log rides and late night propulsions into the heavens. But it was time to get to the serious business of this dispute and I saw at once the root of the problem.

While their garments don’t speak of such, the Kobolds are fine innovators with a vast array of inventions for work and domicile. Even their dwellings speak to a fine sense of craftsmanship and durability. On the other hand, the Thugs and Bandits, owing to their nomadic and distrustful lifestyle have yet to master the art of hammer and nail. As such, their dwellings are a spectacular sight of disordered misery. Merely looking at their shanty village fills you with a sense of disease.

Further, since the Kobolds have chosen iron as their material of choice, they taunt the Thugs, who have yet to advance beyond simple wood planks, with catapults loaded with flaming cauldrons of oil. While I admit the fiery payload is an amusing jibe, it does come across as callous and a dash on the dangerous side. Should one of the projectiles be taken off course by a gust of wind, or have a touch too much vigor in it’s arc, the Thug shanty town will be a raging inferno. While that may serve those red sash wearing hooligans right, it will be a blight on the town and most certainly lower property values.

And upon further reflection, it could be considered a senseless waste since there will be no one to loot the bodies for coins and weapons.

I took it upon myself to discuss matters with a Kobold that looked to be in charge. I explained that sending balls of flame across the bridge to the tinderbox known as the thug encampment could lead to a terrible disaster and some might find this to be a cruel prank.

He ignored my reasoning and ordered more flame for the catapult. While it did look spectacular against the evening sky, I insisted this was an improper way to build relations with his neighbor. I offered that perhaps his people could help those less fortunate than themselves and guide the nomads in the ways of metal work and solid home building.

My argument was defeated by the clarion call of, "Fling!" as fire streaked across the sky.

Alley encountered the same resistance. Instead of working to help the Cabalist move off the side of the rocky crag, they felt teasing them with fire and accepting the occasional hit and destruction of their shelters was good clean fun and had no intentions of bringing the gaiety to an end. They even offered Alley a try at the launch arm of the catapult, of which I was much jealous.

It wasn’t a total loss though, I’ll be back for some more log rides and Alley was quite keen on the Air Powered Propulsion System.

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Oh dear me, this will never do. I see why you chaps are living fear of those Kobold Catapults.

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Now look here, I’m trying to help! If I wanted to cause a ruckus, I would merely cast Immolation and mock you for your poor choose in building materials.

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Come now wolves, I have no time for this! This is a terrible place to settle a dispute.

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Oh, steady on. I think I begin to see why the Thugs want to make this their base of operations.

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My thrill and excitement over the log rides was eclipsed by a new discovery, the Kobolds Air Powered Propulsion System. It’s a horrifying device that I bumped into it quite literally.

After many trips over the falls and through the canyons, I was in a slight state of giddy delirium and needed a few moments to gather my thoughts and settle my lunch. While the Kobolds celebrated with fireworks, I took a convalescence on a grassy patch. To my surprise there was the hearty whoosh of wind and wild cries of jubilation. Curious, I went to investigate.

To my amazement I saw Alley leap aboard a platform and launch herself to the stars with a wave and smile of glee. In an instant, she was merely a speck in the grandness of the cosmos.

Bedazzled by the nature of this happenstance, I drew closer. As I did so, I felt the rush of air whip past me. It was a raging gale that knocked me off my feet and into a duplicate platform. I stumbled, twisted and fell. Instead of being savagely injured by the whirling fan, I was whisked up and hurled into the air at a velocity that squeezed lunch from my very being.

I screamed in terror as I was propelled upward. In mere seconds, the ground disappeared and I was suspended at a disturbing height. But for that instant, I could see in every direction. The realm was a wondrous and beautiful place. The landscape stretched as far as the eye could see with houses dotting the patchwork of trails and footpaths. It was truly dizzying.

But the thrill of flight was replaced by the terror of falling and plummeting back to town took the fore of my mind. Those distance specks grew at an astonishing rate and our collision would certainly necessitate a visit to the healer. And while I like healers, I don’t believe I should visit with them on a regular schedule.

Realizing that time was fleeting and I hadn’t finished the mug of ale I left behind, I began to panic. At this speed, I was quite certain Alley would not be able to catch my person. Even with the reflexes and agility of a cat, this might be beyond my means.

The next few moments that did not lead to my demise are a blur as I was saved by a miracle, or rather, an updraft. Just when I had given up hope, a billowing cushion of air embraced me. Though it had done my no harm, I frantically struggled against it, to the point where the air cushion gave up on helping me and tossed me to the side.

Although I was lying in a panting heap, I had survived my first flight. While it had been exhilarating and vomit inducing it seemed best if I kept my feet upon the ground. My thought was pushed aside as I saw Alley stick the landing with grace and precision, then launch into the abyss with reckless abandon.

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Hmm, what manner of strange device is this?

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Alley! Where in the blazes are you going? I’m quite sure this isn’t safe!!

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Holy Dingos! I shouldn’t be here. This sort of business is best left for birds and other things with feathers and less weight than myself. This is going to end in tragedy I can feel it in my bones.

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Oh, catapults.

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

As I made preparations for a night pillaging the pockets of thugs, Alley communicated that our efforts might be better spent in Upper Fortus. A land dispute had erupted into fits of violence between the Thugs and Kobolds. Alley thought we could be the voice of reason and offer solutions to the discord. I am keenly savvy with negotiations and packed my trusty cask of ale.

Upper Fortis is quite lovely with a sweeping landscape and majestic waterfall. I could see why those both laid claim to the area. It had been an arduous journey, so I stopped a moment to rest and refresh my feet in the rejuvenating waters of a nearby spring. While I was giddy with excitement with the simple pleasures, Alley was being far more adventurous.

Taking into account angles and trajectory, she exclaimed, "Look, a log ride!" and hurled herself into the rush of the waterfall and was immediately swept away. Needless to say, I stood in stunned silence. As I looked into the swirling mist, I saw Alley carried by the current heading toward a more placid inlet.

Since she was unscathed by the adventure and always up for a waterslide myself, I eased into the swell and let the current carry me. In an instant I was at a breakneck speed hurling toward the edge. It was both terrifying and invigorating and after several moments of not knowing which way was up, I found myself in the calmer waters, Alley waiting for me to arrive.

Judging me not to be drowned, she raced on and over the next terrace, a yell of glee echoing through the canyon. Caught up in the excitement, I followed suit and went over the side.

As I came to wade in this second pool, I noted the "log" comment Alley had made earlier. From the side, tree trunks swept along and by standing on an outcropping, it was possible to jump aboard and take a pleasant tour of the canyon.

I was keenly interested to give this a try, so setting myself in the appropriate place, I judged the speed of the log, took in account wind resistance and made my leap.

My first try was not a success. The speed was greater than I expected, the surface more round and slippery, and I found myself hung up among the protruding limbs. This not being my first time being suspended under water by my short pants, I had experience in getting myself free.

Undeterred, I took my position again, and set about for another try. This log welcomed me with an open embrace and I was soon drifting through the canyon taking in the unusual sights of the luminous mushrooms and looming rock structures.

All too soon the ride was over. Some of the Kobold caretakers waited at the launch to help bring me aboard. They even launched fireballs in celebration and welcome.

Back on dry land, I thanked them for a wonderful experience and eagerly said I would like to give it another try. With that, I tossed the chap a coin and dashed back up the hill.

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This is quite a lovely valley. Of course, if they don’t knock off their diabolical ways, I’ll just have to burn the entire lot of this.

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Alley what are you doing? Where are you going? This is madness! Oh, rainbow.

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That was indeed a spirited ride. Although, I fail to see any log.

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Oh, that’s where the logs come in. This seems a bit high to actually line up and grab one. But you go ahead Alley, you have a knack for these things.

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Haha! I am the captain of this vessel and none shall take it away from me!
Oh curses, the ride is over already. Look here chaps, I’m going to run back and try it again!

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