Once again on the outskirts of the goblin-occupied town of Bolnven, the Investigators had maintained their camp for two days in anticipation of the Prince’s arrival with reinforcements. The “Dark Lady” Guldella had either not been suspicious of the odd eight day interval between meetings or had chosen to stand her ground. In either case, the day’s events would surely come to decide the fate of the town and its citizens…
Diaday, Eighth of Mid-season Harvest, 1044 Y.K.
Having scouted the location where the hostage-children were held, the Party was given the task of assaulting the building and defending it from enemy reinforcements while the Prince and his men attacked head on and liberated the town and its people. With the knowledge that their children were no longer in danger, Prince Sevlen thought it likely that freed townsfolk would aid in reclaiming their home from the wicked goblins.
To that end, it was decided that a signal would be needed once the Town Hall was taken and the children secure. A short discussion preceded the announcement that an arrow lit by magic would be the sign. The powerful sorceress Flamarze gifted Maldus with an invisibility spell and the Party made its way to within running distance of the wall. Meanwhile the Prince and his soldiers set off to prepare their invasion and make a sufficient distraction for the Group’s entry.
As the goblins shouted back and forth of human warriors being sighted, Stoat snaked his way through the grass and into bow range of a wall sentry. With a shaft placed through the creature’s neck, the way was clear for the remainder of the Party to advance on the town. Hilg’s Dimension Stride Boots made scaling the wall easy, as the large Half-Orc simply appeared atop the structure and held a climbing rope for his allies to use.
A mad dash through the back alleys placed the Party on the Town Hall’s doorstep before the Death Snake tribe even knew their lines had been breached. The lone goblin standing watch outside fell before he could level his spear at the Group. Once inside the Hall, Relmir and Brendolm held the door fast while the others pressed onward to free the hostage children. Cosdrelita’s bardic song reverberated through the building as Zeph and the combatants attacked.
The goblin guards sought to even the odds, quickly summoning additional defenders from the rearmost rooms. The terrified children huddled in groups along the walls as the chamber was swarmed by goblin beserkers, worgs and even a trio of plate armored hobgoblins. Concurrently reinforcements attempted entry through the front door, hammering away at the erected barriers and wildly attacking Relmir and Brendolm.
Shielded by the invisibility spell, Maldus slipped about the room, avoiding attacks and healing his allies with impunity. Stoat and Hilg attacked at range, the former concealing himself amongst crowds of children and letting arrows fly from everywhere and yet nowhere, the latter hurling bolts of summoned lightning. Meanwhile, Sendrita Fordril and Hurthral Galborn helped hold the line, as Zeph cleaved his way through the goblin ranks.
Back at the entrance, Relmir and Brendolm held fast all who would assist the defenders inside. The goblin assault was persistent, but ultimately futile, as the heroic pair would not be defeated. Even the arrival of a large size skeletal minion did not succeed, as the undead servant was deterred by the Paladin’s powerful turning spell. Shortly thereafter, the final goblinoid fell, and the Town Hall, with its hostage children, was liberated.
As the Party regrouped and kept the children orderly, Hurthral Galborn stepped outside, firing the magically lighted arrow, signalling victory. The sounds of battle soon heightened as more bodies joined the fray; the men of the town had indeed joined the fight as Prince Sevlen had predicted – now that word had spread of the children being safe. Their mission now complete, the Party barred the door once again, and stood guard, awaiting word from the Prince.
With the fighting drawing toward a close, a prisoner of opportunity soon presented herself to the Group. The “Dark Lady’s” mouthpiece Bralana Elbren arrived at the Town Hall and attempted to enter – thinking it still under goblin control. Tied up and relieved of her possessions, the Party held the acolyte and maintained their position, waiting for word from Prince Sevlen. The eventual sound of celebration informed the Investigators that Bolnven was once again free.
Releasing the town’s children back into the general population, the Party made their way through the crowds and reconnected with Prince Sevlen and the elven sorceress Flamarze. Despite the success of the mission, the “Dark Lady” had apparently slipped away during the fighting, allowing the goblins to take the brunt of the punishment. The Group handed over the acolyte Bralana Elbren, stating that she might know of Guldella’s fallback position.
For her part, Bralana was defiant, yet cooperative for the interrogators. She insisted that the Time of the Void was at hand, and that they would all soon fall before The Dark One. The townsfolk seen being carried out of the defiled temple had been victims of sacrifice, their eyes taken by the “Dark Lady” in Manfred’s name. She told Sendrita Fordril that the impending Time of the Void was the reason for her lack of abilities, that Bleslelna was weakening.
Elbren went on to tell Maldus that he would likely lose his abilities next. As hope died and was replaced by the certainty of The Dark One’s victory, so too would the followers of Selandi lose their abilities. When prompted for proof of these claims, Bralana stated that Manfred’s will was made flesh upon the face of Tellene, she had not seen this personally, but such was the word filtering down from the hierarchy of the Church of Endless Night.
Finally weary of the acolyte’s preaching, Prince Sevlen ordered Elbren taken away, stating that she would die for her treason against the crown. He then bid the Party return to Cosolen where he would meet them in a few days time. As the Group departed the area, they said goodbyes to both Sendrita Fordril and Hurthral Galborn – who had located his father Dolran in the aftermath of the fighting. Young Taldred was still missing, but finding her would have to wait.
Pelsday, Ninth – Fireday, Eleventh of Mid-season Harvest, 1044 Y.K.
With the ships in Itven required to transport the Prince’s soldiers back to the capital, the Party took the now-familiar path down the coastal roadway to Cunvden and chartered a boat across the Bay to Cosolen. Stoat and Brendolm’s hired work detail had already made progress on some of Cunvden’s main thoroughfares and there had even been word that Duke Ilthan might soon return. The group arrived to Cosolen late, and quickly found rooms to escape the thunderstorm outside.
Homeday, Twelfth of Mid-season Harvest, 1044 Y.K.
Following the return of Prince Sevlen’s ship near the midday hour, the Group assembled in the Estates district and entered the Palace as instructed. The defeat of Guldella Olmlor’s forces and the retaking of Bolnven effectively concluded the objectives of the Party’s commission and so the time had come to move forward from that document. The “Dark Lady” was still at large, and the need to bring her to justice for masterminding the treason at Bolnven was great.
Sevlen insisted that the Party’s efforts along the coastal roadway and the successful investigation of the disappearances in Itven had done much to display that the Crown hadn’t left the so called “Broken Lands” to their own devices. However, if the one responsible for the near destruction of a town was free to walk the kingdom, the entire effort would be for nothing. Guldella Olmlor needed to be found and brought to the capital.
Under the terms of a new, longer commission the Party would act as agents of the Crown, authorized to seek out the Dark Rider and bring her to justice. Additionally, per Brendolm’s request, the commission would entitle the Group to further investigate Regila Minel’s abduction, and bring her captor, Grusenomar Vleddril to heel as well. The Group consented and Prince Sevlen instructed a page to draw up appropriate letters.
In the interim, those remaining from the original Academy Investigative Unit were immediately, by Princely decree, commenced from the Academy. The time spent on the previous investigation would count as time served toward their mandatory military service and all within the Group were rewarded with an appropriate payment of gold. With that done, Prince Sevlen instructed the Group to return again the following day and departed.
Assuming a high likelihood of a quick exit from the capital, the Party acted quickly to settle various businesses before the second meeting. Stoat visited his poisoncraft instructor Plenthal Levnis briefly before heading to the Academy to discuss a future in instruction with Headmaster Volren. He also procured a new line of employment at the Academy for the cook Malmir Rondnel, as the Party had little further need for his service.
Hilg dropped by Cosolen’s temple of the Founder’s Creation to call on his mentor Welitryn Harrobalaea again. Relmir once more paid homage to The Old Man at the Temple of Armed Conflict. Meanwhile, Maldus took the opportunity to hire the teamster Roth for an extended tour with the Party. The “Bauble” had originally been set to resume his previous duties for the Golden Alliance given the end of the official investigation.
Elsewhere, Brendolm dispatched a runner to visit the Minel Farmstead and check on fellow Truthseeker Grandon Minguld and his sisters. The boy reported that all was well, and the Paladin returned his attention to other matters. Calling upon the services of the illusionary elf Dokari, Brendolm scryed Regila and saw her in a bedchamber under guard. Her captor’s face was out of the spell’s range, so the projection agreed to maintain concentration and watch for an identity.
Godday, Thirteenth of Mid-season Harvest, 1044 Y.K.
Again meeting Prince Sevlen at the royal Palace, the Party accepted the letters of their new commission and swore appropriate oaths to carry out the terms contained within. As a special dispensation for the loss of his original body, and for service to the Crown, Brendolm received the honor of knighthood, with a land privilege to follow. The ceremony concluded and the Group boarded a chartered ship for passage to Cunvden.
Veshday, Fourteenth – Diaday, Fifteenth of Mid-season Harvest, 1044 Y.K.
En route to Itven once again, Gram approached the Party with an announcement. He would be, with their permission, taking a minor detour from the mission to travel to Grumstone, the home of his people. He declared that he did not wish to sidetrack the Crown’s mission, but had to know if his people were safe and vowed to rejoin the Group as swiftly as he was able to. The Party consented and all agreed that the dwarf was free to split company for the time being.
Given the potential danger of Gram’s destination, Relmir suggested that the dwarf not go alone. After brief deliberation, it was decided that the rogue Defon would accompany him. Defon nodded his acknowledgement, and readied his things. As he did so, Hilg took the opportunity to lord over him once again, prompting not so veiled threats from the twice mind wiped criminal. The two squared off for a moment before Gram called for Defon to join him and the Group parted ways.
As the Party arrived in Itven for the second time, Dokari informed Brendolm that her concentration on Regila had paid off, and that the vile Grusenomar Vleddril had been seen in her company. She did not yet know Regila’s location, but Grusenomar still had possession of her. If they could find the abducted Minel, they would find Vleddril as well.