The cast of player characters:
Agnes O’Thalley – Dwarf barbarian and former innkeeper
Joruus Kynes – Human cleric and former mercenary
Ronnag, the Steelseer – Half-Orc fighter and former pit fighter
Edward Salt (Needs to put their character on ObsidianPortal!) – Human rogue and former smuggler
Aeneas Harrington (Needs to put their character on ObsidianPortal!) – Half-Elf paladin and former….paladin?
Our adventurers find themselves traveling with a small caravan of merchants making their way through the land of Ordale headed east to Greyholt and the lands beyond, along the old Imperial roads of the great Eastern Traverse. Lacking sufficient funds to secure safe passage of their own, they were recruited to act as additional guardsmen to ensure the safe passage of the merchants through a particularly rough bit of the journey, through an area that has fallen prey to attacks by bandits, goblin tribes, and other elements that their temporary employers described as being “bad for business.”
Furthermore, the caravan leader offered each of them space for a single item to be stored in a strongbox carried by one of the wagons. Each of them took the opportunity to store not items of great monetary value – as their current fortunes preclude all of them from possessing such an item – but rather items of great personal importance to them.
Although they have been promised little coin for their services, they took the job for the prospects of safer travel in numbers. Richter, the captain of the caravan guard, welcomed them and the other temporary guards warmly, telling each of them in private to that if anything were to happen, just to listen to his orders and you would have no problem. His professional guardsmen, he assures, them, can handle just about anything thrown at them.
However, that his masters would hire such a group with such clearly mixed fighting talents to protect the caravan doesn’t sit well with each of them, and for the first few days of travel they each try their best to keep a careful watch and sleep with one eye open.
Around midday on fifth day of travel, the caravan has halted due to one of the lead wagons breaking an axle and needing to be repaired before the journey can continue. The surrounding terrain has become wilder as the days have passed, and the current stopping-point is no exception. Our adventurers have been told the hilly country you are in will soon flatten as you approach the Argent River (or the Silver River) and the village of Pont Rivière (Riverbridge). The caravan has halted in along a bend in the road. To the left of the caravan is the hilliest terrain they’ve yet seen today, and the ancient builders of the road they travel clearly must have put considerable effort into carving almost an artificial cliff face into the side of the hill. It has fallen into disrepair, as several sizable boulders have dislodged themselves and have fallen to the base of the cut stone or have fallen into the road itself – undoubtedly what the carless wagon driver must have struck his axel on. To the right of the caravan is thickly forested, and what appears to be a dried stream bed at a right angle to the road, over which lies a now unnecessary small stone bridge.
They are told by Richter that the axle might take a few hours to repair, as the wagon has to be unloaded completely in order for the repair to be made. Them they will be in charge of the second watch, and for now should gather around the center of the wagon column, eat their midday meal, and drink from their waterskins. He suggests the shade provided by the small bridge in the creekbed might be the most relaxing place.
Shortly after they have finished eating their ration of bread and cheese after having taken his advice, they hear a strange sound, like a far-off hunter’s horn being blown, but the sound resonates deep within each of them, as if the horn was blown right next to them.
After a few moments of complete silence, as the adventurers look around the nearby wilderness, they hear a whistling sound nearby, accompanied by a meaty ‘thunk.’ The more experienced of them draw weapons, while the others look over and see, much to their horror, that the merchant in the wagon nearest to them has been stuck in the neck with an arrow, and crumples to the ground as his lifeblood freely pours from the wound.
Before they react, they suddenly find armed men running from the surrounding woods, some screaming war cries as they descend upon the caravan. They hear the guards screaming “bandits!” and the unsheathing of weapons. From what they can see from their limited view, the caravan is outnumbered, and the caravan guard even more so.
Three bandits emerge from the dense wood, and are seemingly taken aback by the adventurer’s presence in the shadow of the bridge. That doesn’t stop them long, however, and they quickly charge the group, weapons raised.
The bandits were dispatched with relative ease. Only Ronnag suffered a wound by being caught unawares, while the rest of the party escaped unscathed. After frantic fighting, in which Agnes crippled a bandit at range with her crossbow with a bolt to the thigh, Ronnag punched a bandit in the face, and Edward appeared to have fled out of the creek bed, the three bandits were killed. Aeneas managed to kill a bandit as he attempted to flee by climbing out of the creek bed, only to be caught in the leg by Aeneas’ trident, which Aeneas used to pull him down and deal the finishing blow. Joruus finished another of the bandits after an impressive show of swordsmanship from both parties. The last of the bandit trio was finished by Edward, who leaped from above and caught the bandit completely unawares.
Realizing that more bandits could be upon them at any moment, they decided to exit the creek bed and try to meet up with the caravan guard. They soon met Richter, who told them the situation was untenable and that much of the caravan had already fallen in battle. The battle seasoned Richter was disturbed that some of the attackers seemed unnatural in appearance and strength. Richter revealed an avenue of escape, as the creek had cut a small canyon into the hill. Soon thereafter, an Abomination appeared, killing Richter. The party fled into the canyon.
Quickly met with a dead end, the party noticed a stone archway in the canyon wall they had not noticed before, and entered the passage beyond. Upon entering the Unknown Sanctuary, the party felt as if they had passed through a comforting magical barrier. Much to their surprise, the bandits who pursued them could only see the stone archway, but only saw the cliff face rather than the passage.
After gathering their wits, the party discovered a stone tablet in an ancient language, which Joruus was able to decipher a rough translation: “For the lost: lay hands on stone and be found.” After some attempts to touch the stone tablet with no effect, the party explored the Sanctuary, finding it it a state of disuse and containing little of value not already looted. Agnes managed to find an Ornate Dagger, the origins of which are unknown, but Ronnag was able to determine it was very old and came from a desert climate. Agnes, wary of the item as potentially cursed, gave it to Edward, who had lost his dagger fighting the bandits. Edward was also able to find a false stone in another room, revealing a bag of 100 silver and a wooden idol of a kneeling Veiled Woman holding a resting or wounded man. Joruus was given the item, and was able to determine it had some unknown magical properties.
Upon finding a small ventilation hole, Agnes and Ronnag were able to hear the Bandit Lieutenant call out to the party, saying he will execute three captives from the caravan if they don’t reveal themselves. He proceeded to slit their throats, and the party moved on, knowing that revealing themselves could mean certain death.
The party eventually discovered a shrine containing a stone statue of the same image as the wooden idol, noticing that it, unlike the rest of the room, was completely clear of dust. Aeneas touched the stone, and vanished. Initially alarmed, the others soon followed suit, discovering they had been transported out of the Sanctuary to a hilltop near Pont Rivière.
The party entered the village, which they discovered had been under constant threat of bandit attack, and had erected a crudely-built wooden palisade. The constable, you learn, has enacted strict rules about passage over the bride that separates Westown and Eastown.
The party ended their adventure at the Sheppard’s Inn, owned by a portly man named Giles and his wife. Joruus spent the night at the nearby pauper’s chapel, attending to the wounded from the most resent attack, which are taking a toll on the village.