Acting on information gleaned from the henchman Fordal, the Investigators made their way to the outskirts of the small town of Bolnven. The welcoming party of the goblin scout and his worg riding reinforcements were less than hospitable, but quickly fell before the swords and spells of the heroes. The “Dark Lady” Guldella would assuredly be inside, and she was certain to possess far more knowledge than her lowly minion…
Homeday, Twenty-sixth of Declarations, 1044 Y.K.
Preparing to withdraw from the immediate area to set a new ambush, the Party soon spotted a lone rider advancing slowly from the town’s gate. Robbed in black, the figure bore a white flag of truce, and approached without hesitation. The Group took up positions along the path and readied to talk to this new arrival. Only Gram was kept in reserve, sent to hide in the brush. He would be an ‘unknown face’ later if necessary, or a last ditch ace in the hole if things turned ugly.
Arriving at last, the rider introduced herself as Bralana Elbren, acolyte to the “Dark Lady” Guldella. She informed the Party that her master was interested in speaking with them, and offered a meeting under the protection of a truce flag. Despite her assurances of safety, the Group was hesitant and turned her away for the time being, bidding her to return tomorrow for their final decision. Bralana turned with a nod and departed.
As Guldella’s mouthpiece made her way back, Stoat slipped away from the Group and headed her off, coming out from his hiding place and notifying her that he would accompany her inside and meet the “Dark Lady”. The pair made their way into the town, past the myriad defenses of the “Death Snake” tribe. Inside, the humans of the town were in a state of captive slavery, forced to manufacture arms and armor for the contemptible creatures.
Elbren lead the visiting Stoat near the center of town, where a defiled temple to Bleslelna, The Eternal Lantern served as the base of operations for the “Dark Lady” and her entourage. Human acolytes, goblin tribesmen and skeletal undead all stood as one force around the vile Guldella. The evil association was cloaked in the darkness of the temple, lit only by the feint crimson light of a single lantern covered by red cloth.
The “Dark Lady” introduced herself as Guldella Olmlor, Dark Rider of the Knights of the Black Pit. She informed the Halfling that she was aiding the “Death Snake” goblins by helping them acquire metal arms and armor from the humans of Cosdol. Embroiled in a bloody war with the orcs of the Odril Hills, the goblins could ill-afford to not take action and continue to let the human merchants arm their bitter enemies.
As the discussion continued, Stoat played the role of diplomat well, giving enough information to satisfy his host while maintaining the secrecy of his mission’s specifics. Once he was contented with his understanding of the goings on in the town, he brought the meeting to a polite close. Guldella seemed to feel that the Party was no threat, and permitted the Halfling to leave without incident. He made his way out of Bolnven and rejoined the Party.
Weighing their options carefully, the Investigative Unit decided that the best course of action was to withdraw and inform Prince Sevlen. Attempting some sort of risky liberation attempt was at best inadvisable, at worst foolhardy. The Group pressed a forced march back to Itven arriving well into the night. Their stay was a brief one, resting just long enough to regain spells before moving out once more, along the damaged coastal roadway toward Cunvden.
Godday, Twenty-seventh of Declarations, 1044 Y.K.
Traveling at a brisk pace, the Group trekked along the familiar damaged coastal roadway toward Cunvden. As on their last trip, the terrain required a great deal of maneuvering to avoid pitfalls that would disable their wagon. A little better than half the distance was covered before the Party made camp and set watches for the night. Tomorrow they would once again arrive to the fief seat of Duke Ilthan and seek passage aboard a ship to Cosolen.
Veshday, Twenty-eighth of Declarations, 1044 Y.K.
Arriving to Cunvden in the mid-afternoon, the Party found an increase in population from their last visit. The hired workers of Brendolm and Stoat had arrived, and were in the process of cementing their staging area in the village/town. Lanop was also found here, having arrived previously and been awaiting a ship to dock in port. Passage to Cosolen was booked aboard the “Harvester’s Folly”, set to depart the following day.
En route to the “Hopping Sailor” to once again acquire rooms, a familiar face was spotted amongst the workforce setting up shop. The Golden Alliance Trinket Lanodar Trolenren was on the docks, directing workers and administrating the materials being unloaded. Brendolm and Stoat were less than happy that the Alliance had apparently taken control of their project, but this was no time to quibble over such things.
Diaday, First of Mid-season Harvest, 1044 Y.K.
Boarding the “Harvester’s Folly” in the early hours of the morning, the Group took places in the galley and settled in for a day’s sail across the Voldor Bay. Lanop, still in the employ of Brendolm was on board as well, and made small talk with various members of the crew. By day’s end, the “Folly” had docked in Cosolen, and the Investigative Unit had once again arrived to the capital. The meeting with Prince Sevlen would be a top priority after a night’s rest.
Pelsday, Second of Mid-season Harvest, 1044 Y.K.
Sending Lanop ahead to meet with Forberon to conduct the purchase for which he was hired, the Party made its way into the Estates, to the Palace of the Prince to give their report. Both the Prince and court were outraged, and immediate action was called for. Prince Sevlen ordered the Investigators return on the first possible ship, and maintain eyes on the captured town. They were also to delay the enemy in any way possible should they attempt to leave.
As the Group exited the court, members of the Golden Alliance approached, and requested that the Party report to them any information they should acquire regarding merchant selling arms and weapons to the orcs. A tenuous agreement was reached and the Investigative Unit headed out to meet with Forberon, and spend some gold. Additional magical items were purchased, and both Celdren and Lanop delivered their items to Brendolm.
Elsewhere in the capital, Relmir made a visit once again to the Temple of Armed Conflict donating another hefty sum to the Clerics there. Maldus visited his own temple, where Telerai informed him that the hierarchy of the Church of Everlasting Hope had seen fit to promote him. He was gifted the rainbow pin of the Tender rank, and an Idol of Selandi to take with him and defend. Stoat devoted some time to visit Plenthal Levnis, selling a store of poisons to the alchemist.
Meanwhile, dealings with Forberon were going well. The Party had acquired numerous items, with more to come. Hilg requested the antiquities dealer seek out a coveted Dragon Hide Cloak, while Zeph placed an order for a magically enchanted breastplate. Forberon agreed to seek out the Cloak, and informed Zeph that his breastplate would be ready on the 12th.
Katarday, Third – Homeday, Fifth of Mid-season Harvest, 1044 Y.K.
Reboarding the “Harvester’s Folly” alongside additional building materials bound for Cunvden, the Investigators made the return trip toward Bolnven intent on following Prince Sevlen’s orders to maintain a watch and delay the “Death Snakes” as necessary. Tensions gradually mounted on the otherwise uneventful trip.
Godday, Sixth of Mid-season Harvest, 1044 Y.K.
Arriving to Bolnven at midday, the Party hoisted a flag of truce and made their way toward the town. As before, Bralana Elbren came forth and escorted them inside. Being the unseen “ace in the hole”, Gram once again hid, waiting in the heavy brush and staying outside. Maldus and Hurthral Galborn made their way around the streets, seeing if Dolran was among them, while the others met with the “Dark Lady” Guldella Olmlor.
The meeting was tense, with Guldella showing signs of frustration and perhaps a touch of mental instability. She reiterated her points from the earlier talk with Stoat and offered the captured merchant Avdenbren as proof of her claim. Avdenbren explained that he was selling weapons and armor to the orcs; not to the violent Broken Fang, but instead to the more peaceful Iron Skulls. The Skulls had, according to him, proven themselves peaceful.
Wrapping up the discussion, the Party regrouped and exited the town, taking up a position within sight to make camp and keep watch. With any luck, Prince Sevlen would arrive with the promised men on the morrow. With the sun down, Stoat slipped inside for a scouting mission and pinpointed the location of the hostage children. The information would surely come in handy once the Prince arrived.
Veshday, Seventh of Mid-season Harvest, 1044 Y.K.
Maintaining their vigil over the town of Bolnven from afar, the Investigative Unit waited for the Prince, but he did not arrive this day. From a distance, minions inside the walls could be seen dragging hostage townsfolk into the defiled temple, and then later carrying them out. The “Dark Lady” was up to something, but there was no way to tell what until the Prince arrived.
Diaday, Eighth of Mid-season Harvest, 1044 Y.K.
Still monitoring the town from their encampment, the Group was thrilled with the arrival of Prince Sevlen – who had brought with him a number of Wizards and Sorcerers, and a hundred or more men at arms.