Session 8 (21st July 2014)
Having handed over their prisoner to Sir Annear and the garrison at Kerensa’s Hold the group trudged the last few hundred yards down the hill to The Wolf’s Head. The roaring fire and warm welcome of Maban were a nice change from the chilly austerity of The Priory and soon all were supping pints of the local ale and telling exaggerated tales of their adventures to an eager audience. The afternoon passed into the evening and as the inn became more crowded the group found they were called on again and again to give renditions of their brave battles in the evil caves below the abbey. The beer was already flowing freely before a huge cheer was given as Adan and Caja arrived with all six of their children in tow. As can be imagined the festivities went on well into the night.
A little tired the group still awoke at a reasonable hour, breakfasted and prepared for a second day of trekking, this time along the coast road to Wolverton. They decided to call in again at Karensa’s Hold (as requested by Sir Annear) early before saying their goodbyes to Adan and making a quick stop at Tryfenna’s to see if she had any shipments that needed to be escorted to town.
They were shown into see Sir Annear by Gloriz one of the garrison’s Sergeants at Arms, a down to earth dwarven warrior. Sir Annear greeted the party in a business like way before asking if the party would be able to take Ythel to Wolverton for questioning. Hederas realised that he was embarrassed to have to ask the group but as he explained he had no patrols due to go to Wolverton in the near future, especially with the increased bandit activity on the road. Having arranged a fee of 25gp each for the task and the loan of a donkey they left to head to say farewell to Adan, they’d be back for the prisoner in an hour or so. Dvadi told the group to go ahead while he stayed behind.
Dvadi spoke to Sir Annear about his original reason for travelling The Lonely Coast, that of finding work as a weapon smith, but it was suggested that he spoke to Gloriz who would be more in tune with details like that. Gloriz was friendly, in a gruff stereotypical dwarven way, and advised that while they didn’t have a post for a full time armourer they might on occasion be able to do a deal on maintenance and servicing but he’d probably need to speak to Myghal Endean (the local blacksmith) about using his forge as the one at Kerensa’s Hold wasn’t in full working order. Unfortunately Dvadi didn’t have time to track down Myghal but the conversation with Gloriz left him in a positive mood and he felt that she’d help him get work there if she could.
The Keast’s were very welcoming of the party and sorry to hear that they were leaving so soon. After brief goodbyes and promises that they’d come for a meal next time they were in Swallowfeld they met up with Dvadi outside Tryfenna’s.
The guards at Tryfenna’s were a surly and gruff bunch but directed the party to the main building with unspoken threats that trouble would not be a good idea. Tryfenna by comparison was entertaining and relatively friendly. The store was an odd mix of adventuring gear and general day to day items, acceptable quality weapons and armour were on display close to bags of grain, tools and farming implements. Tryfenna didn’t have anything that she needed transported to Wolverton and the group decided not to advertise that they were taking a prisoner with them. She seemed amused by the idea that “old sour puss” Annear was lending them a donkey and obviously felt that there was something unspoken about the arrangement. With warnings from villiagers about Tryfenna’s prices and no task on offer from her the group went back to Kerensa’s hold to collect their prisoner and head off for Wolverton.
Gloriz had Ythel ready for collection and sitting him on the borrowed donkey (to be handed over to the garrison at Wolverton with their prisoner) they headed out of town.
The Clifway from Swallowfeld to Horsford climbs steadily for around four miles through scrubland with the eaves of The Tangled Wood always on the left. At times the steep and at other times less so the seemingly perpetual climb is enough to bring out a sweat even on a chilly day towards the end of winter. All were pleased when they finally saw the brow of the final climb ahead of themselves signalling less than three miles to go, all of it either flat of gently downhill. As they neared the top they were mildly concerned to see four figures, spread across the trail, walking towards them. Their eyes took in the studded leather armour, morning stars and crossbows and then Elrohir and Armatage suddenly realised that behind them a very similar band of four had quietly crossed from the eaves of the forest to the path, cutting off their retreat. Hederas tried swapping pleasantries with them but as it became quickly obvious that there was little on the minds of these ruffians but violent robbery Armitage loosed a sleep spell on the group behind. The effect of three of the four bandits crumpling suddenly into unconsciousness certainly had a marked effect on all their remaining compatriots and violence may have been averted if one of the bandits at the top of the hill hadn’t panicked and let off his crossbow. As it ricocheted from Dvadi’s breastplate (leaving a sizeable dent) both groups exploded into action.
Elrohir took down the bandit who had attacked with two arrows in rapid succession as Dvadi closed with the leader of the group. Dvadi quickly cut down two of the remaining bandits while fending off their boss. He turned his full attention on the leader as the last of his henchmen fell at his side and while brutal the fight was short and Dvadi victorious.
While Dvadi did battle at the top of the slope the one still concious bandit lower down the slope started trying to wake his leader. Armitage cast sleep for a second time and all four of the bandits finally lay sprawled upon the ground. Hederas reloaded his crossbow and ran to ensure that any who revived would regret it while Elrohir, realising that Dvadi had things well in hand, grabbed some rope from the donkey and used it to tie up the bandits still alive.
It was a strange sight an hour or so later that met the residents of Horsford. Four adventurers, only one of whom was human, led a donkey down into their village. On the donkey’s back sat a hooded figure with his hands tied while the donkey itself was loaded high with shields, weapons and armour. Tethered behind came a line of four tied prisoners who showed signs of being recently stripped of armour and weapons but otherwise seemed unharmed. As they stopped in front of Hoslo’s Rest to buy some lunch the village reeve Pio Varrin rushed down to meet them and find out who they were. Explaining their odd appearance and showing that they carried letters from Sir Annear and the Abbot of the Priory to Meylor Vosper and Hols Nance at Wolverton Pio wished them well and sent them on their way.
Several hours later the group was similarly conspicuous as they arrived at the gates of Wolverton. By this time the captured bandits were foot sore and resigned to their fate and the companions were looking forward to taking care of business as quickly as possible and then finding a tavern to rest at. The guards were surprised and impressed by the strange caravan at the gates and after the introductions and explanations had been made they were led the short distance to Wolverton Jail. After the solitude of both The Priory and the various recent journeys the noise and bustle of Wolverton was shocking. Waiting for the guard to return with the commander the sights and sounds, not to mention smells, of the town slowly sunk in.
A grizzled figure in plate mail armour with a large sword strapped to his back descended the steps to meet the group and Elrohir recognised him from time previously spent in Wolverton as Hols “No Nonsense” Nance, the Captain of the Town Guard. Having heard the group’s story the dour warrior read the letter from Sir Annear and took charge of their prisoners. As the Justice Of The Light (the local temple of Darlen) was only a few hundred yards away they decided to deliver their letter to Meylor Vosper before finding a decent tavern for the night.
The Justice Of The Light serves Wolverton as a court as well as a place of worship and the guards on the doors were very professional in their sizing up of the group. When they met Meylor they told the story of what had taken place at the Priory and gave her the letter Ruan had sent. The High Priestess asked intelligent questions and was obviously concerned for the safety of Ruan above other considerations. Checking where the group were to be staying she bid them farewell and they left to find their way to The Hare And The Ass.
We leave our heroes preparing to order some of the dwarven ale The Hare And The Ass is famed for and pondering who could possibly wield the huge dwarven urgrosh hanging behind the bar…