On the road north to Old Fawn, I and Belaldur and Boraen discussed our philosophies. From very different backgrounds, we all still hold remarkably similar outlooks. We hold ourselves as trusted allies, and we won’t be stealing the bread from each other’s tables. Those we don’t see as friends or kin, though…
And as we rode, we discussed the prospects for mutual profit in checking out the jeweler’s shop and house in Old Fawn. Belaldur had dealt with him, and is sure he hides something. I asked to check the place as we headed to the Hound and Nixie; my initial survey lead me to think a rear entrance would give the best chance for success. We decided Belaldur and I would try getting through the back window, on the shop level, while Boraen held our horses. We’d do a quick smash and grab, ride for the woods, come back and carouse in the bars to throw off suspicion.
Alas, what the jeweler was hiding was that he is well-connected with the Old Fawn Thieves Guild. A warning was writ, for those with eyes to see, so Belaldur and I aborted the break-in. Talvi gained, though – I’d been ready to charm a guard dog, so had a hunk of fresh meat in my pouch. Hoping Talvi may remember I may have the stature of a child, but I’m not her dinner!
Boraen and Belaldur did stop in and pick up the proceeds from the sale of all the armor and arms we;d left with Amifrey – except a couple of bows he’d not been able to fence. Boraen took those back. We rode to Enonia, and glad I was that Boraen held the gold. No one was likely to accuse him of skimming the take.
Over breakfast in Enonia, we heard the news from the South, pretty much all bad. Fergus and I had left a travelling companion locked up in a keep somewhat past Draycott, where Lord Winright was concerned about trolls raiding his mines. Wikton, this companion was, a cleric of some god of metalwork. He had few manners and less patience. Fergus and I talked Ostlen, Belaldur, Boraen, Ragar, Grel, and Pyria to head to Winright’s Keep, where we could check on Wikton, the trolls, and rumors from further abroad. Galub resigned with Belaldur to continue training us in tracking, to which Ragar raised an eyebrow, and Wille and Josef accompanied us, continuing to learn fighting and tactics and a bit more, if the noises from the room they shared with Fergus meant anything! I’ll not begrudge them their fun – the innkeeper’s son in Draycott was happy to see me again, too. The rules against rishathra protect us littlelings from entanglements with the big folk, but it is hard to resist Klaus’ cooking and caresses.
Delayed a bit by some pilgrims on the road ahead of us, we arrived midday at Winright’s Keep to find Raelin’s Roughnecks ranged around. Wikton had been sentenced to work in the mines, but at least he’d kept his head attached. Is it possible he’d learned some tact? But the trolls had continued to raid, and Raelin had not been able to stop them – or do much more than harm the men she threw at them. Promised a substantial reward by Winright, we essayed to do better and set up our smaller camp on the other side of the castle.
First watch that night, Ragar and Pyria rouse us as a group of terrified and emaciated, abused elves darts along the edge of the forest. Pyria callms them and gathers them to our camp. We give them food, and hear of the capture of Coralton and their enslavement by a force of orcs of the red eye – or was it fist? – and allied trolls, goblins, and men. When shown the ore, they told us that it was used to make the deathsticks some of our company had heard of and seen. The elves were exhausted, though, so we settled them in for the night.
I took watch then with Fergus. I heard mounted horses and orcish muttering. Talvi alerted and growled early in the shift, which woke Boraen, who shook awake the rest of our force. He asked Willie and Josef and Galub to keep the elves safe. The rest of us prepared for battle with the 8 orcs who emerged and tried to take back the elves. Night battles are confusing, but I called on the land to limn the enemies by me with faerie fire, which I think helped the archers’ aim. Pyria cast sleep on the center of the force. Talvi raced for the right flank. Those orcs not yet engaged tried to flee, but missiles – magic and otherwise – were flying, and I called on the plants to rise and stop the escape. A couple got away, but Ragar and I dispatched those who had fallen asleep – bloody slavers! Boraen and Beladur tried questioning the one prisoner, but he didn’t survive long enough to tell us anything useful. We gathered in 8 horses, though – enough for the elves to ride back to safety in the morning. I was ready for sleep, and handed the watch over to Boraen, Talvi, and Belaldur.
We weren’t done yet, though – a couple hours later, the trolls showed up. I had already used my spells, but archers with flaming arrows dispatched them. In the morning, bleary eyed but triumphant, we returned to the keep. Much was made of the elves, and we received our reward, but mostly we wanted sleep. The next day, our hirelings began the trip back to Jakar’s Rest, via Draycott and Enonia, with the elves. But the rest of us decided to scout out Coralton, to see what danger was on the other side of the woods.
A longer ride than we’d expected, we came to appreciate Ragar for putting food in the pot – well, me perhaps more than the others. Some three days from Winright’s, we came upon a large human fortress, overrun by orcs. A large patrol surprises Belaldur and Ragar, but they lure the orcs back to the rest of the party, and we use missile and spell attacks to take out most of the force. Boraen jumped on one, Talvi devastated two, and Belaldur neatly stabs one in the back. Pyria slits the throats of those she’d put to sleep, but securely binds one prisoner, with whom we return to Winright’s Keep. Belaldur, Fergus, Boraen, and I ride through Enonia to look in on Jakar’s Rest, and see how the elves and our hirelings are doing. We will need to think on how best to protect all these peaceful folk, and keep the orc taint out of the land. And I will seek out the peace of those goblins Jakar and I rescued.