The party continues to head north towards Harland. At this point, they have managed to make it out of the range of the city of Holyton and its current siege but still have quite a way to go to get to their next destination. About an hour or two before dawn, Lune manages to spot a group of sentries. Attempting to pass by again slowly and quietly, the party managed to make just enough noise to alert the sentries. The party can see that they are starting to prep their weapons and begin spreading out into the forest, waiting for whoever their heard to come into sight.
A dozen or so men come forward, out of the wood, yelling at the party to halt. As a group, the party slows to a trot and then stop completely when they meet up with the group of sentries. They begin to surround the party, with one of them stepping forward to start asking a few questions of the group.
“What is your business here friends? You don’t appear to be from around here.”
“You are correct sir, we are from far away from here. We are but travelers heading north to Harland, Adventurers if you will.”
“You are coming from the South though, aren’t you? You are aware of a war going on to the south?”
At this point, Jimmy attempts to talk to the local leader about the nations around the area and how they are always waring and how it just so happens that it’s going on in the South, but we have no party in in so let us go through. The guards all seem a little uneasy and the leader asks the group to unmount from their horses.
“I am but a feeble Gnome sir, please, we do not mean any harm.”
With a grin on his face, the leader replies, “that is right little one, you do look rather small and feeble, however you are all still traveling from the south. I believe it is time that you all dismount like your small friend here so that we may have a reasonable chat.”
Lune decides that he has no reason to hop off his horse, none of these men are mounted and he could easily ride right through and be gone before they could even pick up our scent. As he begins to ride on, the rest of the guards begin to tense up and everyone can feel the tension in the air. Fortunately, that tension did not last long.
Poor little Illusionist Ulthar breaks the silence with a Color Spray spell that manages to knock out four of the guardsmen with great ease. Lune then spurs on his horse, to the point that when his spear hits the guard Lune was aiming for, it slices clean through his chest, instantly killing him. The guards, while caught off guard in the first round of battle, were able to fight back, though causing little damage of their own. As if out of nowhere, Ulthar hurls a Chromatic Orb of Emerald towards the next closest guard, blowing him away in a flash of lightning. Jimmy, from his horse took aim and stuck an arrow in one of the other guards, but not before the furthest guard, who appeared to be running away at this point, managed to grab his horn and give it one long blow. Unfortunately for the guard, that would be the last action he would take. Shortly before drawing his next breath, he felt a sharp stab in his chest and had just enough time to look down to see Lune’s spear burst through the front of his chest and begin to hoist him into the air.
After the last conscious guard was slain, the party set to slay the rest of the guards before continuing off to the North. Keeping their pace relatively slow to give the horses a bit of a break, Lune was able to assist the party in avoiding the additional sentries that were scouting the area, presumably searching for who or whatever slayed their brothers in arms. As dawn was started to rise, the party made their way to a town by the name of Delton.
As they approach, they notice there is little, if any, traffic flowing into the city. Most traffic is headed out, likely to work the farms or tend to the encampments that surround the city. It is clearly a staging area for the Sendaran Army, as they regroup after their defeats at the hand of Count Juss and his Mordavians.
When the party approaches the gate, a strong force of soldiers greets them, one of which stops them to ask them some questions.
“State your business. Why are you trying to enter the city?”
“We are adventures looking for places to explore and fame and gold to be had.”
“You are aware there is a war going on, this area isn’t exactly the best area to go adventuring right now.”
“We are aware, we came here to see if this area would work. If it is too unstable, maybe we’ll look elsewhere.”
“It makes no difference to me, just thought I’d warn ya. How about instead of adventuring you come and join the Army. We are about to ride south to the city of Holyton. There will be plenty of fame and fortune to be earned down there.”
“No, no, that’s quite all right. We’d much rather catch a boat out of the city since this doesn’t appear to be what we are searching for.”
“Suite yourself, cowards…Anyway, you will wait here while I go speak with the captain of the guard to ensure that we can let little sissys like you into our city. He may want to have a word with you himself. I will be back. Please, unmount from your horses and make yourself comfortable”
After some time, much longer that you would expect it to take for the guard to speak to the captain of the guards, he returns and lets the party know that they may enter, but it will cost them.
“Right now, it will cost each of you 5 SP to enter the city. This is a time of war after all, and we can’t just let people go in and out without making them pay the price.”
The party immediately pulls out the coin to pass, as 20 SP was little more than pocket lint to them. With a smile on his face, the guard gladly accepted the coin and let them through. As they passed, they could see the guard laughing and passing some of the money around to the rest of his crew.
Not too concerned with the guard at the gate, the party proceeded into the city to find passage to Harland. None of the troops inside the city seem to pay any mind to the party, as they were much to occupied with their current orders. Once they made it to the docks, they found that there was plenty of river traffic to assist them in getting to Harland. They easily find some nice passage in return for the horses that they rode in on. Just as quick as they had entered Delton, they were leaving up the river towards Harland.
Along the way, Perudo cast some healing spells to help get the party back closer to full health, as they really haven’t had much rest since they discovered the secret entrance into the city of Holyton. The ride took a few hours, 4-5, but the party was completely unmolested during their float down the river. Around mid-day, the party were able to spot Harland on the horizon and not long after, they were closing in on port.
Once the party arrives in Harland, it was easy to see that this was a great place to secure passage to their next destination. There were many large sea fairing boats that were docked and around the city. They also noticed how many soldiers there were around the city as well. Since it was such a big sea port, it made it rather convenient for people to be shipped here and then sent either by foot or small ferry down the river to the impending battle.
The party decided that their first task would be securing said passage north. They managed to find 1 ship that was headed for Karella in two days time. The Elphinstone would sail on the dawn of the second morning hence. The cost would be 5 GP per passenger for board and food. Once they secured their passage, they asked the captain for a good place to stay for the few days and set off to The Minotaur’s Horn. After this, the party decided to split up the money they had earned over the past few weeks, as they were in town for 2 days and figured they may as well stock up if they can while they’re in town.
Jimmy and Perudo decide to go carousing, nothing special, just throwing some money around. Both members of the party manage to make it home safe that night, though they did have to pick Jimmy up from the tavern next door.
The next day, Ulthar thanks the party for this adventure, but it is about time he ships off to continue the work that he has been neglecting to do over the past few weeks. He buys a few rounds of drinks and the room for the night and heads off into the city.
Perudo decides to not go carousing the next evening and is relaxing at the tavern when he is greeted by a middle aged man in dark blue colored robes. They chat for a minute and then this mysterious man states: “By his wisdom are we protected?” Having been through a few cups of mead himself, Perudo stumbled through his response of: “By staff book and scroll, he shall be known.” to Ash Whateley, a Wizard and agent of the Holy See, sent to search for the party and assist them in their next step of the quest.
Unlike Perudo, Jimmy decided to carouse again that evening, throwing some more of his wealth around.
This section is directly taken from Welleran’s AAR as there was a side conversation between Welleran (the DM) and Jimmy during this time that the rest of the party was unaware of.
Jimmy decided to carouse again that night (Perudo declined). As the night drew on, and his senses were dulled, he was accosted by a few scurvy men who dragged him off. they proved to be wererats of the group the party had tangled with, sent to watch the port for any sign of the party. Jimmy claimed repeatedly that the party had left already, bound for Corinth or some such city, leaving him behind. Being still quite inebriated, perhaps, he was quite belligerent to the wererats, who now dispatched one of their number to apparently alert their leaders somewhere else (they apparently were not in Harlond, as no one came back with the rat messenger). The wererats tried a number of interrogation techniques to get some information, including cutting off the small finger of Jimmy’s left hand, but he told them nothing. He made several attempts to escape by thieving skills and brute force, but was too tightly bound. All this time the wererats spoke of the return of Kavkaz and how he would spread fire and darkness, and other such talk. They refused to loosen the bonds on Jimmy despite numerous attempts to get them to do so.
Ash doesn’t have a chance to meet Jimmy, as Jimmy never made it home that night, but he is introduced to Brother Lune. While the party waits for Jimmy, the start to grow concerned, but Perudo decides that they may as well “let him carouse.” and they set up a smaller watch and rest through the night.
As the party awoke the next morning, still early to ensure they could find their missing friend, they had a terrible feeling in their gut that Jimmy had not made it home for a reason, not just due to his drinking. They start by asking the barkeep whether he’d see Jimmy or anything that might help us find him. No? Perudo cast Locate Object in hopes that Jimmy would again be right by the tavern but that turned up nothing.
They proceed to go to a tavern nearby, who’s owner Ash knew quite well. After speaking with him, he was quite sad because, “Jimmy was throwing money around all over the place in the tavern and I was quite excited about that. He did manage to leave this,” as the barkeep hands them an empty pouch, “but nothing else. He just up and disappeared during the night at some point,” but the barkeep couldn’t say when. “It looked like him and a few friends were leaving the tavern but it wasn’t exactly smooth but I was a little too tied up with all my customers to really get a good look at who was helping him out of the bar.”
Leaving the second tavern, Lune drinks a black potion, made from the leaves of a black lotus, which allows him to see what other can’t. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help him see anything special. At this point, Lune starts to talk to a few horses, who do mention that they’ve smelt/seen some were-folk around the area but were not able to assist any further.
The party is starting to worry at this point they may need to leave Jimmy behind. They go to the ship and offer 100 GP and Perudo asks for 3 hours’ delay. The captain was less than happy to wait, but he would wait for the 3 hours but that was it.
Running back into the city, Lune happens to spot a suspicious looking person who was trying to hide in the shadows as the party was searching for Jimmy. Lune pulls him aside and Perudo managed to cast a Hold Person spell on him. Before they begin to question him, Perudo casts a Detect Lie spell.
“Is Jimmy dead?”
Lune delivers a swift but precise punch to the were-rat’s head.
“I’ll ask you again, is Jimmy dead?”
“Jimmy who? You seemed to have knocked something loose in my head..”
“Where is Jimmy? Is he still in the city?”
“No. He’s dead. He is far beyond any of us now.” [Lie]
Lune cuts the were-rat. He squeals about how that’s not fair but before he could say another word, Lune slits his throat. Using the power of The Finger, Lune beings to Speak with the Dead to ask their fresh corpse a few questions. This leads to the party finding out that Jimmy is being held in a nearby shop under the watch of a small guard of were-rats.
With this new information, the group set out to find the shop. Lune is able to pick the lock and the party proceed into the building. They pass by what they assume were the bodies of the shop keeper and his wife, both their throats slit. Perudo said a quick prayer and the party continued upstairs where they found Jimmy bound and surrounded by a few were-rats.
Lune jumped right into battle, slashing at one of the were-rats while Perudo attempted to cast a spell and Ash stayed back to keep guard over their way out. One of the few were-rats decided to go after Jimmy, as he was bound to the chair, slowing cutting him up as Lune and Perudo blew through the rest of the were-rats. Once they were all dispelled, Lune made one final charge at the remaining were-rat with his spear and managed to land a blow right between the were-rat’s eyes and pinned his now lifeless body to the ceiling. With Ash confirming the way out was clear, Perudo cut Jimmy loose as Lune was attempting to pull his spear from the ceiling.
This process didn’t take long and fortunately, they were able to find all of Jimmy’s possessions before they left the room and headed back to the Elphinstone. They all climbed aboard and the ship set sail on their waay to Karella in the distant Kingdom of Karelia.