Having been lead to within sight of “The Fort” by their new acquaintance Jiffar, the Party is greeted by the Headmaster and informed that their final challenge is to rescue the student Jaren, held captive within the walls of the training complex. “The Fort” itself is an imposing structure, with a sturdy palisade and a man-made moat. Posted guardians stand at key points atop the wall – armed with longspears and missile weapons.
Pelsday, Second of Declarations, 1044 Y.K.
The Party substitutes their arms for non-lethal practice weapons, under the trained eye of Academy weapons instructor Frenid Rolcon – and are provided with one charge wands to replace destructive spells…it is only a test after all.
Dividing their resources, the group splits up to learn what they can about “The Fort” and its defenders, as well as to seek out aid in the form of additional manpower. Burdon and Brendolm scour the grounds, seeking willing participants to help siege the defensive position. Meliantan seeks help of a different sort, but his attempt to reinforce the Party with Cosolen city guardsmen is ultimately unsuccessful. Stoat and Gram slip away for a scouting mission, while Maldus distracts “The Fort’s” wall guardians with holy scripture. Hilg seeks greater weaponry, but is unable to acquire it.
The scouting mission takes a turn for the worse when Gram is spotted by “The Fort’s” defenders and forced to withdraw. Alone at the base of the defended walls, Stoat puts his small size to good use and finds a point of entrance in a drainage pipe. With no way to contact his allies on the outside, Stoat attempts to connect with the only friendly person he can, the prisoner Jaren. A valiant attempt to liberate the hostage ends with the Halfling added to the dungeon’s cell.
Outside, Brendolm and Burdon return with a dozen willing hands and ladders to mount an assault of the mini-complex. Gram, unwilling to leave his friend stranded behind enemy lines, redoubles his efforts and manages to infiltrate the compound and join Stoat and Jaren in a fight against the dungeon’s jailors. The struggle goes unheard by the rest of “The Fort’s” occupants, who find themselves preoccupied with the arrival of a much larger raiding party than anticipated.
The battle begins and the Party finds that despite being outnumbered, the guardians of “The Fort” are tough defenders and give no quarter. Their fortifications even the playing field and the invading force suffers many unconscious ‘casualties’, including five of the seven group members. In the end, the battle is won and “The Fort” overcome. Meliantan laid “The Fort’s” captain low with wand in hand while Stoat withdrew with Jaren to the safety of the Headmaster’s observation post. A horn sounds the end of the clash and the party is declared the winners of the Academy challenges.
A brief celebration precedes a trip to the Palace of Prince Sevlen, where Burdon finds that a past performance has earned him great esteem in the eyes of the Prince – who quickly demands a song to be played for his Court. The Bard’s performance awes the crowd and validates the Prince’s words of praise, allowing the group to move onward to the details of their commission.
Away from the eyes of the Court, Prince Sevlen reveals that the disappearance of a squad of guardsmen in the small town of Itven has hampered the movement of valuable minerals mined from the Napalago Hills. Unable to distribute the ore to the northern territories of the kingdom due to the lock down of the valued port, the Kingdom stands on the verge of being economically cut in two, which would surely lead to even greater difficulties in undoing the damage caused by the great tidal wave.
Provided with a payment for traveling expenses, and the Golden Alliance teamster Roth to track the journey’s finances, the Party strikes a deal with both the Prince and the powerful merchant guild. A 60/40 split with Prince Sevlen and the Prince’s cut made up to the group on behalf of the Golden Alliance for maintaining their lucrative trade routes. The agreement is signed and the party rests, ready to depart at first light.