Pressing onward in their hunt for wanted slaver Grusenomar Vleddril, the Agents of Prince Sevlen coped with a seemingly ever-changing lineup of allies and companions as best they could. The unexpected return of Gram Swiftaxe had preceded the forced slaying of the unknowing lycanthrope Paladin Sendrita Fordril by a mere handful of hours. Maldus Randorian had been lost during that encounter, and only retained his original form post-reincarnation by sheer luck.
Stranger still had been the unforeseen arrival of in-law brothers Grond Plonnor and “The Architect” Ervaln Norforn. Their revelation that previously assumed dead Wulalta Plonnor – wife to Grond and sister to Ervaln – was in fact alive and held captive alongside Brendolm’s sister Regila, had turned the one-time enemy “Architect” to the heroes’ cause. Their alliance had been cemented in a bold strike against the slaver’s stabling compound.
Katarday, Twenty-fourth of Mid-season Harvest, 1044 Y.K.
Furiously moving through the smoldering ruins of his slave ring’s horse stabling facility, Grusenomar Vleddril approached hired tracker Holcrel for a report of his findings. The reputed expert had spent nearly two days combing over the compound, retracing steps and piecing together an outline of the battle fought days before. When the slaver finally demanded to know what the tracker’s eyes had seen, the reply began simply enough… “a lot”.
As Vleddril listened intently, Holcrel recounted the events of the battle in detail, citing attributes and capabilities of the Party members based on their footfalls and actions during the fight. In a final, grand display of expertise, the tracker even announced that he had learned the most probable identity of the attackers. He stated that during the course of his fact finding, one of Vleddril’s newest slavers had recognized the descriptions.
The man in question proved to be none-other than Ichrinthan Stroon, leader of the now defunct Night’s Shadow thieves, and one who had faced the Party before. He had escaped from the hard labor of his prison sentence, but not before having his right hand removed for his crimes of thievery. He identified the attackers as appointed agents of Prince Sevlen, and told of how they had been making headway along the coastal road for some weeks.
With the tracks of the Party’s exit leading south toward Cunvden, the villain’s course was clear. Holcrel and a small contingent of mounted men assembled and followed as the large slaver charged forth on a massive black warhorse.
Meanwhile, back in the capital, Brendolm – newly appointed Lord and Protector of Tigden – had much business at hand. Word of his holdings in the southern hamlet had become the topic of much discussion amongst his siblings. Eldest Amillia became angry, believing her brother desired to move the family away from the comforts of Cosolen. Leshia, more level-headed, agreed to survey the land with an eye for estimating a second farmstead.
In addition to his duties to the Crown, a familial matter made its way to the young knight’s ear. Grandon Minguld, in his position as defender of the farmstead had come to feel strongly for sweet Leshia, and with her father off seeking to end the family’s curse, the responsibility of approving potential suitors fell to Brendolm. His blessing to the fellow Truthseeker’s proposed courtship filled the man with joy and the pair shared a firm handshake.
Elsewhere in the city, a runner from the Founder’s Creation located Hilg and passed a message to him. Welitryn Harrobalaea had need to see the Half-Orc straight away. Leaving the business at hand, the Druid made his way to the temple, where his High Elf mentor revealed that an animal messenger from the elder Druid Nilu had arrived for him. The elder spoke of needing Hilg’s assistance, as soon as possible, as a great threat had made itself known in the Voldorwoods.
Back in the marketplace, Stoat spotted a familiar face in a jeweler’s shop. The merchant Avdenbren, last seen during the Group’s meeting with the “Dark Lady” Guldella Olmlor in Bolnven, stood discussing the benefits the jeweler could reap by involving himself with Avdenbren’s weapons trading with the “Iron Skull” orcs. He insisted that an initial investment up front would more than repay itself in the long run. The Halfling noted the discussion and slipped away unobserved.
The day’s final order of business was a second meeting with His Highness Prince Sevlen. The Prince informed the Group that he had arranged for a ship to carry them as necessary, and it would be waiting for them at first light. The task force discussed at the previous council was still incomplete, so the Party would be forced to go alone for the time being.
Fireday, Twenty-fifth of Mid-season Harvest, 1044 Y.K.
Arriving at the docks to board their assigned ship, the Party found a familiar face awaiting them. Captain Alon and “His Majesty’s Audacious” greeted them, and the voyage was soon underway. Their first destination was Cunvden, a familiar and friendly port that put them within striking distance of their final target, the lighthouse island off the coast of the Bay. The trip went as expected, with the Group arriving late into the evening.
Homeday, Twenty-sixth of Mid-season Harvest, 1044 Y.K.
Staying in Cunvden long enough to time their journey to the lighthouse island with the darkness of night, the Party bid Captain Alon maintain his distance with the “Audacious” and they set themselves toward their destination in one of the ship’s dingeys. They approached a ways from the dock, aiming to retain the element of surprise for as long as possible. The tactic proved effective, with the first watch post falling to the heroes quickly.
In securing the building after its taking, a discovery was soon made. A number of captive women, stripped of both clothing and dignity were located in a locked side room. Among these unfortunate ladies being transitioned into slaves was young Taldred Sterond. Unable to leave a force to guard the watch post and continue onward, it was decided that the women would need to be evacuated. Plonnor and Norforn were tasked with rowing the women back to the “Audacious”.
Having seen the captive ladies safely away, the next order of business became the large slaver’s ship that arrived to pick up its “merchandise”. The ship’s lead villain was a towering figure, made all the more so by the massive pair of horns affixed to his helmet. He lead a detachment of riders and caged carts away from the ship and toward the primary slaver’s location, a small complex nearest the lighthouse. Seizing the opportunity, the Party moved against the few remaining defenders.
Feigning allegiance to the slavers from a distance, the Party approached the large vessel and tallied the number of guards that they could see. Zeph propped an arm around Cosdrelita to better his falsehood while Brendolm and Relmir directed themselves to the nearest guard. Though ultimately unsuccessful, the ruse did permit the Group enough ground to launch an attack on the posted men. The battle went well, until a signal horn sounded from the ship’s deck.
Still fighting the last of the ship’s defenders as the horned rider and several followers returned, the Party braced for the worst. The battle began anew, and the Group found itself in a desperate struggle for survival. The enemy commander proved fierce indeed, inflicting massive wounds to Zeph upon his arrival to the melee. Acting quickly, Stoat and Hilg took to the ship’s rigging, climbing out of reach of numerous swords.
Calling upon his strongest healing magics, Maldus stood sentry over Zeph’s life’s blood as the burly fighter squared off against the towering horned commander. The remainder of the Group hammered away at the commander’s minions with sword and spell alike. Stoat rained arrowed from above as Brendolm and his summoned steed fought with blade and hoof. Relmir took to the enemy leader as well, moving cautiously and angling his shield to intercept his enemy’s strikes.
With the lesser minions falling steadily, the tide of battle slowly turned to the Party’s favor. Zeph, still serving as a human bulwark against the monolith of evil, swung his greatsword with all his strength, ignoring the onslaught of punishment he himself received. Summoned animal allies courtesy of Hilg began to enter the fray, and soon the horned commander stood alone against a veritable army. Still he refused to relent.
The enemy attacked until his final breath, falling from his horse and landing hard upon the ship’s deck. The Party was victorious, but many enemies surely remained at the lighthouse stronghold. With little remaining resources and nearly exhausted of spells, the Group contemplated its next move…