Now officially declared as the Cosolen Military Academy’s investigative unit, and having been given Letters of Commission from Prince Sevlen, the time has come for the Party to make final preparations for their journey from Cosolen to Itven. The Golden Alliance teamster Roth agrees to meet with the Group once all purchases of equipment and provisions have been made.
Katarday, Third of Declarations, 1044 Y.K.
Moving quickly about the crowded streets and markets of Cosolen, the Party members acquire necessities for the trip, and say goodbyes to friends and family. Stoat returns to the alchemy shop of Plenthal Levnis and purchases equipment to continue his training of poison craft where time permits; Maldus and Meliantan procure tents and travel bedding, while Burdon and Gram see to food, rations and feed – and the hiring of a cook to accompany the team.
Standing firm on the matter of hazard pay in the event of combat, the cook Malmir Rondnel proves to be a bit stubborn, but nonetheless fair, and comes under the employ of Gram Swiftaxe and the investigative unit. He is instructed to meet up with Roth and the party members at the Military Academy once all supplies have been gathered.
Meanwhile, Brendolm receives a pair of visitors – his cousin, the Cleric Thespian Dendrala and his younger sister Leshia. After warm greetings are exchanged, Leshia informs her brother that she has come to request a portion of the money he was given by Prince Sevlen. With their father off seeking glory, their mother dead, one sister taken in a raid and another paralyzed, Leshia states that she and the youngest Minel sibling Briet cannot adequately maintain the family’s farm by themselves.
Requesting 60 gp for the hiring of five field hands, one personal aid and a mercenary to protect the farm over the three summer months, Leshia is overwhelmed when Brendolm instead gifts her with a writ for 300 gp, his entire share of the travel money granted by the Prince. The pair travel to the temple of the Courts of Justice where the services of Grandon Minguld, a fellow Paladin of The True, are acquired to look after the Minel homestead in Brendolm’s absence.
Elsewhere, the Half-Orc Druid Hilg revisits his mentor Welitryn Harrobalaea and uses his portion of the travel money on valuable potions of magical healing. Six potions are granted and the eager Druid makes his way back to the Academy grounds. By mid morning, the Party is finally gathered and ready to depart the safety of the Kingdom’s capital.
Outside the cities walls, the Party’s first obstacle is the shanty town of Eastpeg. Thieves and ruffians alike seek to challenge the Group, but quickly find such efforts fruitless. While Brendolm single-handedly delivers a would be thief to the city’s guardsmen, the remainder of the group stands its ground against an assembly of the vile Pox gang. The arcane arts of Meliantan Daheriel prove potent indeed, and the villainous scum scatter like so many rats.
As the group moves onward a full day’s travel away from the city, their sleep is interrupted when the Pox returns seeking vengeance for their earlier slight. Standing his ground against the charging thugs, Burdon yells forth a warning, rousing his slumbering companions. Even with the element of surprise, the criminals prove no match for the Party and are soundly defeated. Of the attackers, three remain. Two in custody and one – the roguish Defon – amongst the Party’s number, having lost his memories to the witchcraft of a summoned Fey.
Fireday, Fourth of Declarations, 1044 Y.K.
Scouting ahead of the Group’s wagon on the back of Kir, his faithful companion and riding dog, Gram spots a large force bearing the banners of the Young Kingdoms nation of P’Bapar. Known to be trading allies with the kingdom of Cosdol, the caravan of merchants and mercenaries soon makes camp for the night and contact is made with the Party. The language barrier between the Party and the caravan’s forward guard is overcome by Meliantan Daheriel, and the group is invited to share the campsite and learn of the caravan’s run in with the bloodthirsty Broken Fang Orcs.
As Maldus offers the gifts of his healing magic to injured caravan guardsmen, the mercenary captain of P’Bapar tells of the orcish attack, a host of some four hundred or more orcish warriors. Worse still, the body of one of the fallen orc leaders is brought forth, and shown to be wearing fully plated armor, custom fitted to his humanoid corpse. While potentially a random acquisition on the part of this particular orc, both the Party and the P’Bapar mercenary captain suspect something more. None sleep easily that night, but they manage, all except Hilg who is plagued with nightmares of vicious slaughter from rampaging orcs.
Homeday, Fifth of Declarations, 1044 Y.K.
Bidding farewell to the merchant caravan, the Party resumes its journey with a renewed sense of urgency. The heat of the summer sun begins to take its toll on the Group, but they persevere, unwilling to be deterred. Pressing on a full two hours past their normal day’s travel, the Party comes at last to the walled town of Ldamven. Exhausted and in need of rest, the Group is happy to turn over their Pox prisoners to the local constabulary and take up rooms at the “Silver Pony Inn” where the comfort of civilization and warm beds await them.
Godday, Sixth of Declarations, 1044 Y.K.
Rejuvenated after a night of peaceful slumber, members of the Party are approached by the town’s constable with good news, the Pox prisoners were wanted men, with prices on their heads. Going forth with ledgers in hand, Brendolm and Roth make their way to the office of Ldamven’s magistrate who issues forth a tidy sum of 140 gp. Brendolm is also given a listing of two hundred names, people who have been reported missing both in Ldamven and from neighboring farms and villages.
Containing no obvious pattern, the listing of missing persons is added to the Group’s documents and the Party prepares to investigate the next matter brought to their attention, word of ruins a scant four miles to the north, after an ogre sighting on the outskirts of town.