Victory at the Battle of Bolnven had liberated the town, and driven the Dark Rider Guldella Olmlor away – preventing her intended “grand rite” to Manfred Blacksoul and devastating her power base of followers and allies. The “Death Snake” goblins were forced back into the Odril Hills, halting their slave-powered production of war-time metalworks, and most of the “Dark Lady’s” loyal acolytes were slain or imprisoned. Many – like Bralana Elbren – had been executed for treason.
Under the terms of the new commission with Prince Sevlen, another criminal, the vile slaver Grusenomar Vleddril, was to be captured alongside Olmlor. Unlike the “Dark Lady”, he operated openly, raiding from all points of the “Broken Lands” to the very boundaries of the capital itself. His backers were active and his reputation remained fierce. Of all who would see him brought to justice, none were more determined than Brendolm Minel.
Diaday, Fifteenth of Mid-season Harvest, 1044 Y.K.
Opening his eyes to find himself laying down on the bare ground, Gram shook the proverbial cobwebs from his head as Kir’s barking echoed at approaching riders. As the men advanced, the dwarf took stock of his possesses and quickly realized that he had been robbed. Drowsy visions of sharing rations with Defon resurfaced and suddenly Gram deduced what had happened. The rogue had drugged him and made off with his gold and magically enchanted items!
Arriving at last, the riders – who turned out to be soldiers from the fort at Nurden informed Gram that they had heard his companion’s yelping while out on patrol and had come to investigate. The dwarf thanked them profusely and notified them of the thief Defon before turning toward Itven and riding hard. If he were fortunate, he could catch up to the Group before Defon did. His trip to Grumstone would have to wait, a would-be murderer was on the loose.
Pelsday, Sixteenth of Mid-season Harvest, 1044 Y.K.
Waking up to find that Gram had arrived in the earliest hours of the morning, the Party listened as the story was recounted. Angrily, Hilg marched to Constable Plonnor’s office to place a bounty on the rogue for his crime. The Constable was found to be absent, having been forced to resign by the Alderman Council when word of his having released Ervaln Norforn surfaced. The Constable’s pro tempore replacement, Sergeant Nuron took the report dutifully.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Group once again met up with former companions Hurthral Galborn and Sendrita Fordril. The young Galborn had proven himself more willing than capable before, and thus the Party suggested other avenues for him aside from their mission. When asked about the search for Taldred, the orders from Prince Sevlen were given precedence. Hurthral was hurt, but understood the obligation that royal service commanded.
On the other hand, Sendrita was allowed to rejoin the Group, albeit reluctantly on the part of Brendolm – who felt that slaying Guldella Olmlor was less than a satisfactory method to atone for the young Paladin. The conversation was cut off as Hilg returned with news of a large predatory cat reported as roaming the area in the last few days. He went on to explain that Lord-Mayor Thalrel informed him of two attacks in as many nights.
Taking the advisory into consideration, the Group left Itven bound for the last known destination of their quarry.. the village of Ldesden. As the Party bed down following their day’s travel, Maldus and Hilg took the first watch, under the three bright Moons. Both Diadolai and Veshemo were full, with Pelselond only just starting to wane. It seemed like a peaceful night, until Maldus detected strange sounds and a possible intruder in the camp.
Eliciting a scream from the Bard Cosdrelita, a large tiger was spotted in the camp, and quickly attacked Gram, who slept closest to the beast. Maldus charged forth into the fray and quickly found himself outmatched, being mauled and cut down in a matter of seconds. As the cleric fell to the ground dead, his companions surrounded the creature, boxing it in. With little healing available, more injuries were suffered, the worst of which was a wicked bite on the arm of Zeph.
As a final strike brought the tiger low, it fell to the ground and began to change. Its fur receded and it decreased in size. The investigators watched in growing concern as the creature became a woman, the Paladin Sendrita Fordril! She had been a lycanthrope the entire time without knowing of the affliction. Brendolm removed the girl’s head as a matter of safety and vowed to take it to a temple for last rites. Zeph buried her corpse while the Group prepared Maldus’s body for travel.
Katarday, Seventeenth of Mid-season Harvest, 1044 Y.K.
Returning to Itven with all haste, the Group entered the local Church of the Life’s Fire to obtain a reincarnation for Maldus. The girl Sendrita was left deceased, as none knew whether her affliction would still be present were she to be brought back. As new life filled the Cleric’s body, the Party was amazed that Maldus had kept his original human form. Saying a blessing to Selandi, the Merciful Fate once again joined his friends.
Fireday, Eighteenth of Mid-season Harvest, 1044 Y.K.
Traveling briskly to make up lost ground, the Party was startled to come across a flock of sheep apparently abandoned in a narrow valley. The shepherd, soon located hiding under a tree, motioned for the Party to stay back, and perhaps to get down. Stealthing across the field, Stoat made contact and learned that the man hid from “dragons” who had taken to consuming part of his flock. He stated his intention to hide until sundown and bid the Group do the same.
Watching from relative concealment, the Party observed the creatures returning for more animals. Brendolmattempted communication with one of the smaller beasts, but after a tense moment, it flew away. Seeing as the creatures possessed feathers on their reptilian bodies, the Group could not confirm or deny them as dragons, and thus thought better of engaging them further. Once the beasts had flown away, the investigators resumed their journey to Ldesden, arriving late in the night.
Homeday, Nineteenth of Mid-season Harvest, 1044 Y.K.
Rising early from the communal floor of the common room, the Party made focused inquiries regarding Grusenomar Vleddril and his men. They learned that the locals were positively terrified of the man, and that he and his entourage passed through the village on a roughly monthly basis, leading caravans of young women through the town and to the west. Wasting no time, the Group took to the trail, tracking the caravan and leaving the village behind.
Godday, Twentieth of Mid-season Harvest, 1044 Y.K.
Continuing westward, the Party maintained their journey, traversing the landscape in the footprints of Vleddril and his slavers.
Veshday, Twenty-first of Mid-season Harvest, 1044 Y.K.
Following the trail up to the very coast of the Voldor Bay, the Party discovered a small makeshift dock large enough to service a boat that might carry the captive slaves, but hardly large enough to permit horses. The mounts had to possess a stable of some variety, and the Group became determined to find it, scouring the area for additional tracks. The persistence paid off and the Group was once again on the hunt.
Tracking the riders inland, a hill was soon encountered that lead a few miles off the coastal roadway and increased in elevation. Further investigation soon revealed a stabling compound a few miles from the shore. Some thirty or more horses were stabled, with posted hands and even tower guards. Keeping out of sight, the Party set up a camp and tasked Stoat with studying the compound and learning the routines of the guards.
The Halfling took to the job, memorizing the layout and scouting the defenses in exacting detail. He noted some twenty men in total, on various tasks guarding or taking care of the horses. When nightfall came, he slipped back to the Party’s camp and made his report. The attack plan took form, and soon came time to rest, all would need their strength for the coming fight. A few hours into their rest, the watch detected the sounds of someone approaching, multiple someones.
Standing fast against the new arrivals, the Group was shocked to find Constable Plonnor coming into the camp. He spoke of tracking the Party and that he and his companion were glad to have found them. With the arrival of the former Constable shocking enough in its own right, nothing could have prepared the Group for his travel companion, Ervaln Norforn “The Architect”.
Demanding an explanation for this turn of events, the Party listened as Plonnor and Norforn described their previous discovery that Wulalta Plonnor, wife of Grond and sister to Ervaln, had not perished in the great tidal wave as both had previously thought, but instead had been taken captive by Grusenomar Vleddril and his men. They wished to get her back, but were unable to do it without help, help that they hoped the Party would provide.
Diaday, Twenty-second of Mid-season Harvest, 1044 Y.K.
Moving swiftly in the last moments of darkness, the Group began its assault on the stabling compound. As Stoat engaged one tower guard, The Architect attacked the other, sending a makeshift ballista bolt into the treetop structure. The others charged forth, using the element of surprise to its fullest advantage. Inside the garrison units, the reinforcements found themselves locked in, courtesy of Stoat’s latest scouting mission shortly before.
Despite their disadvantage and being caught unaware, the defenders refused to give up or surrender, stating that they would die a thousands deaths worse than the Party could deliver them if they failed their employer. With no option to accept prisoners, the Group was forced to slay the minions down to the last man. They took the horses for their own and retreated south to Cunvden knowing that reinforcements were likely on the way.
Pelsday, Twenty-third of Mid-season Harvest, 1044 Y.K.
Requiring storage for their new mounts while they traveled to Cosolen to inform Prince Sevlen of their discovery, the Party met with Captain Birorn, offering him five of the horses in exchange for stabling others until their return. The Captain agreed, but insisted on choosing the five animals himself. With the deal struck, the Group boarded the sailing ship “Zymur’s Hood”, and set sail – arriving to Cosolen late in the evening.
Katarday, Twenty-fourth of Mid-season Harvest, 1044 Y.K.
Informing His Highness Prince Sevlen of their discovery regarding Vleddril and his men, the Prince ordered forth the formation of a task force that would sweep the area and seek out any sign of the slavers. Meanwhile, Sir Minel received word that he was to be named Lord and Protector of the Hamlet of Tigden, some thirty miles south of Cosolen, near the border of the Avdoron Mires. The Truthseekers also announced they had seen fit to elevate him to the rank of Arbitrator.
Elsewhere, the remainder of the Party once again met with Forberon, identifying acquired items and buying and selling where currency permitted. Of particular interest, the antiquities dealer informed Hilg that his Dragonscale Cloak had been located and was en route. Cosdrelita also had gold to spend, a substantial bonus granted her by Brendolm – who had also sent an additional payment to his family’s homestead, with a letter regarding a possible move to Tigden.