An Irregular Campaign
The Story So Far
Brasmath, Hethdor, Eleonora and Keon were settling in for the evening of 24th Zirden at the temple in Millstead – Brasmath having arrived in Millstead a week prior to help do the work of Alhanar, the other three newly arrived that evening, Hethdor as a caravan guard for a merchant caravan from Felhold looking to perform devotion to Terrun before resting that night, Eleonora and Keon as travelers from Stoneport looking for a quiet place to shelter. They were alone in the temple other than Ogwerd, the Devoted of the temple, when the peace of the evening was broken by a loud knocking at the roadside door.
Brasmath was first to head to the door, discovering a small, terrified girl at the threshold crying for help. Before she could be calmed to explain what she was doing there, she fell limp as an arrow struck her in the back. As Brasmath dragged her into the temple and healed her, Hethdor rushed out to find who had shot her, followed closely by Eleonora and Keon. Spotting a lone figure in the long grass across the way, they quickly overpowered him and discovered he had been part of a group of bandits that had attacked the caravan of the girl's parents, and had left his fellows a couple of miles along the road to pursue and silence the girl before she could bring others in search of the bandits.
Hethdor wasted little time in leading his new companions into the evening sunset to deal with the bandits and possibly rescue the girl's parents, or otherwise see them avenged. Half an hour of travel later, the merchant's caravan was spotted, at which point the party moved to the woodland surrounding the road to sneak closer – Keon proving particularly adept at this, while Hethdor struggled to avoid twigs and branches in the gathering gloom, so opted to hold back and wait for a signal to rush forward. Discovering 6 bandits finishing a ransacking of the 2 carts, the horses already taken from the scene, Eleonora created the sounds of more attackers in the woods opposite while Brasmath, Keon and Hethdor took advantage of the confusion to begin attacking the bandits.
Before realising they had been ambushed, only one bandit remained standing, who confessed that the group had killed all the caravan members – something also evidenced from a look around the scene – and that the bandit camp was hidden a short distance into the woods. After leading the group to the outskirts of the camp, he was tied to a tree while gagged as Keon moved forward to scout the camp. Spying 5 figures, one evidently in charge of the group, resting at the camp, a similar ambush plan was quickly formed to create confusion in the camp to decisively set the odds in favour of the group. Eleonora would free the tethered horses taken from the caravan using her arcane powers, and then terrify them into stampeding through the camp through creating the sounds of wolves approaching the horses from the woods. Unfortunately, a wild magic surge turned the entire camp invisible, leading Keon to run out from cover into the camp to try and discover what had happened, quickly followed by Hethdor. While taken unawares, the bandits quickly rallied against the attack, and a fearsome battle ensued.
As the battle concluded, the bandits were all defeated, but not before grievously injuring Hethdor and Eleonora, and leaving Keon dead. Devastated, Brasmath implored Alhanar to intervene and return life to this brave youth who had followed his adventurous spirit to such a tragic end, and his prayer was apparently answered as Keon rose, although still weak, shortly after.
The danger at the bandit camp seemingly passed, but with all but Brasmath barely alive, the group took some time to look around the camp and rest for the journey back to Millstead. Eleonora discovered a letter on the body of the bandit leader, signed by "M", providing direction to some kind of shrine and advising that they take a suitable tribute. 3 chests, marked by a symbol Hethdor recognised as being the seal of The Wessun Artisans and Trading Company, and each filled with furs and pelts were discovered, as were some coins and a locked strongbox.
As the group discussed their next move, the one bandit who had gone to search for an assailant in the woods returned and quickly surrendered to the group. After some debate over whether to camp overnight or return in the dark to Millstead, the party opted to gather their prisoners and head back that night. On returning to the road, they discovered the horses turned loose during the attack on the bandit camp waiting near the carts, and decided to hitch these back to the carts to allow them to easily transport the dead merchants and their guards, as well as their 2 prisoners, to Millstead.
While preparing the carts, Eleonora noticed a group approaching along the road from Millstead. As Brasmath moved to greet them, he found them being lead by Parl, the blacksmith of the village. As they approached, explaining they had been rallied by Ogwerd to support the group after the news of bandits nearby had reached them, Hethdor recognised 3 of the 8 as being his fellow caravan guards, while the other 4 were all farm hands from the village. With some help from this group, the 3 chests were moved from the bandit camp to the carts to be transported as well, and the whole party then proceeded back to Millstead, Parl advising that they would need to report this incident to the mayor, Tren Millman.
During the journey back, Brasmath confirmed with Hethdor that Keon had indeed died during the battle, and his return to life was as it had appeared – miraculous. With his sanity reaffirmed, Brasmath left the group as soon as they reached the outskirts of Millstead to return to the temple and discuss what this event could mean with Ogwerd. The rest of the group continued to the Turning Wheel Inn, securing the carts nearby and allowing the horses to be stabled as Goleena Summerland, the halfling owner of the establishment, greeted them and took the group inside to report to Tren Millman. The party were told that Milonia, the now orphaned girl who had alerted the group to the bandit attack originally, was asleep in one of the rooms in the inn, while the bandits who had been captured would be secured with the one that had been left crippled in the field near Millstead ready to be taken to Lord Hew Felson for trial. Tren suggested that they all rest for the night and discuss what to do next in the morning, and the group then all returned to the temple to sleep.
Overnight, each of the party dreamed – with Keon screaming himself awake during the night before succumbing to sleep once more as the only other disturbance that night. In the morning of 25th Zirden, after Brasmath had completed his early devotions, the mayor visited to state that he felt it best for the group to journey to Felhold in order to report their actions to Lord Felson and ensure no suspicion of wrong-doing would follow them. Agreeing this, the group then spent the rest of the day preparing for the journey, planning to take one of the carts with both teams of horses in order to cover the 60 miles in one long day with the prisoners chained in the back. Having discovered the key to the strongbox on the body of Milonia's presumed mother, and finding several gemstones stored inside, this was passed to Tren Millman for safe keeping, as Milonia, they decided, was to be left in the care of the village – at least until some other family might step forward to claim her. The 3 chests were also planned to be left on second cart, and to be reported to the Wessun Artisans and Trading Company in Felhold so they could collect their goods. Hethdor also arranged for word of the bandit attack and Milonia's whereabouts to be passed to Stoneport with the trade caravan he was leaving in order to return to Felhold.
During the day, Keon also wandered off into the nearby woods and discovered a small pond, in which he decided to wash and vigorously scrub himself. When Eleonora and Hethdor eventually tracked him down, he was taken to the inn to have a fresh bath along with a meal. Brasmath also quietly confided with Eleonora that Keon had died during the fight, and seemed to have been brought back to life miraculously. Eleonora also shared the letter she had found on the bandit leader with Brasmath, although neither could make much sense of the directions at that time.
The funeral for Milonia's parents and companions was also held that day, conducted by Ogwerd with Brasmath, Parl, Goleena and Milonia attending, and the bodies all being interred in the graveyard near the temple.
That evening, the group all settled down to sleep early, except for Keon who sneaked outside the temple in an attempt to stay awake. Eventually he drifted off to sleep, ready to be awoken at or before first light to begin the journey to Felhold.
After waking before dawn on 26th Zirden and rousing Keon, the group set off on the wagon with the prisoners loaded in to make the 60 mile journey to Felhold, Keon dozing in the back of the wagon where the prisoners were chained, accompanied by Eleonora while Brasmath and Hethdor shared the driver's seat as the 4 horses made easy time along The Great Stone Road. The group reached Pell's Farm, a small holding about halfway between Millstead and Felhold, as noon approached, providing a welcome excuse to pause to get some food, as well as sampling the farmer's own-brewed ale. Keon, feeling somewhat more rested, took the opportunity to stretch his legs and run alongside the wagon as it continued towards Felhold for a few minutes, as the journey continued uneventfully before arriving at the gates of Felhold shortly before the sunset. After presenting the prisoners to the guards at the gate, along with the letter from Mayor Tren Millman, they were directed towards the Lord's Head Inn as the suggested overnight lodging, and requested to present themselves to Lord Hew Felson in the morning. Brasmath and Hethdor also stopped at the temple to perform their evening devotions, meeting Devoted Ribbart as the resident priest.
Presenting themselves at Felson Keep in the morning of 27th Zirden, the trial of the captured bandits was brief with a sentence of death proclaimed by Lord Felson before his court, including Nole Fairhewn, his sworn shield, Colm Trant and Tsoldar the Arcane, his most trusted advisors. Keon spoke up to request clemency, but was overruled by Lord Felson, explaining the need to deter such crimes in future. The actions of the group being viewed sympathetically by Lord Felson when their actions in killing so many of the gang those few evenings ago were raised by the bandits, and they were charged by Lord Felson to act as his deputised investigators, so as to enforce the law within his realm, and requested to return to Millstead. The execution of the condemned were carried out shortly after at the central square by a Justicar of Terrun, witnessed by Hethdor and Brasmath while Keon and Eleonora had returned to the inn to regather their supplies.
The group visited the office of the Wessun Artisans and Trading Company to report the chests currently at Millstead, along with the deaths of Tem and Hastreyid leaving Milonia orphaned. Meeting Tarven Shiel as the proprieter, he advised that he was unaware of any family that would claim Milonia, but also offered the group the 150gp offered for the 3 chests of goods if they can transport them to Felhold by the month's end. The group then departed Felhold with the now empty wagon, and reached Pell's Farm as dusk approached, ready to settle for the evening.
Setting out on 28th Zirden from Pell´s Farm with fresh supplies, including a small cask of the farm´s own brewed ale, the newly proclaimed Agents of Justice made their way back to Millstead to check on the village and pick up the hides and furs that were packed to continue along to Felhold so as to collect the reward for delivery to the Wessun Artisans and Trading Company. After confirming it was OK for them to borrow the wagon and horses to transport the goods on to Felhold with Mayor Tren Millman on behalf of Milonia, Brasmath and Eleanora also discussed the possibility of collecting a cask of ale from Pell´s Farm to sell to Goleena Summerland as a guest ale at The Turning Wheel Inn. After a quick sampling from what remained of the small cask they had traveled with, Goleena agreed to the deal, at a price that would provide a small profit to the group for their trouble. Parl, the local blacksmith, also reported a concern about having not received any deliveries of iron from the dwarf clans who live in the mountains north of Millstead, who would usually have made their first delivery to the smithy by this time in the season. Brasmath requested a sharp cutting blade, giving Parl some work and also planning to make sure the group would be prepared for traveling through woodland for when they would go to investigate what had befallen this group.
While in Millstead, Eleanora also paid a visit to Tymor and Arrenna Nimblehand, an elderly gnome couple who ran the watermill and the oldest inhabitants at the village, to ask about any tales of pilgrims or nearby shrines that they might know of, as well as the nature of the device that kept the wheel above the inn turning. While the Nimblehands had not heard of any shrines or pilgrims in the area, Tymor was happy to discuss the ease by which he could create such a system mechanically, although not certain that there was no magic involved in the continual motion of the inn´s sign.
The following day the group set out once more from Millstead along the Great Stone Road, pausing only briefly at Pell´s Farm to strike the bargain for the cask of ale to collect on the way back, and spent the rest of 29th Zirden travelling to Felhold, delivering the goods to the Wessun Artisans and Trading Company and collecting the 150 gold pieces in payment for their service. When asked by Brasmath about any other contracts for transport, Tarven Shiel replied that he would let them know if there were any supplies required if they came up, but might be able to offer a reasonable price for any manufacturing supplies they might come across.
The next morning, having slept at the Lord´s Head Inn, Eleanora and Brasmath set off to investigate the libraries at Felson Keep to try and find further information about the Pilgrim´s Path mentioned in the letter found on the bandit leader, while Hethdor took Keon to the Sanctum of Terrun to spend the morning training and catching up with his fellow novices and mentors. While Hethdor and Keon easily demonstrated their superior abilities to some of the more brash novices keen to test themselves against the newest Agents of Justice, Eleanora and Brasmath eventually found some joy when invited to peruse the private library of Tsoldar the Arcane, one of Lord Hew Felson´s trusted advisors. One of Tsoldar´s books made reference to moon carvings marking the Pilgrim´s Path to the shrine where "Those who value knowledge offer what you choose it´s worth", according to the inscription on the altar set at the shrine. The group then joined up again to head out to Pell´s Farm to rest for the evening before continuing to Millstead.
Picking up the cask to be delivered to The Turning Wheel Inn on the morning of 31st Zirden the party set out from Pell´s Farm once more to Millstead. Arriving later that afternoon, they delivered the cask to Goleena Summerland, then decided to investigate the Pilgrim´s Path. Locating it easily near where the bandit ambush had been, they followed the somewhat overgrown path to a clearing in which a single stone obelisk stood near an unspoiled stone altar. The altar was smooth and flat-topped with the exception of a bowl-like indentation with an inscription within the rim that none of the group could decipher but seemed to match the description found from Tsoldar´s book. After investigating the clearing further, Eleanora noticed that the obelisk was set onto a stone slab that ran along the ground to near the altar, but no further information seemed to reveal itself.
As the party seemed prepared to leave the clearing, evening beginning to draw in, Brasmath decided to flip a gold piece into the bowl of the altar. The coin vanished, as Hethdor then bore down on Brasmath and pinned him to the floor, incensed by the lack of caution shown by his comrade. As the group began to argue about the action taken, a satyr arrived at the clearing, seemingly familiar with the area, accompanied by a panther. The altar also now had a small vial with some brown liquid clearly visible within it, the satyr declaring it to be the gift provided in exchange for the sacrifice made. Further inspection of the vial by Eleanora showed it to be a non-magical liquid, although the stone altar was strongly enchanted.
The arguments as to what to do continued between the group, with the satyr eventually offering his stone knife in exchange for the vial of liquid. Brasmath agreed, and the satyr promptly drank the contents and declared it to be particularly good ale. Hethdor then walked away, heading back to Millstead for the evening, while Keon, Brasmath and Eleanora decided to join company with the satyr for the evening at the nearby bandit campsite.