The party is found deep into their cups at the tavern. A lyrical note catches the ears of the patrons. For a few copper, the bard sings the tale of the party – perhaps a little inappropriate given the losses everyone has taken recently.
Noticing a new face in the tavern, Anastasia heads over with a mug of ale, and offers it to the stranger.
“My name is Nitsuj. I am a healer. I am just traveling through and stopped here for the night.”
“Your clothes are very distinctive. I could tell you weren’t from around here. Just be warned, we have been fighting the undead. This area is not safe.”, Anastasia warns, the words delivered with sadness. “We are adventurers ourselves. You are welcome to join us. A healer is always welcome – consider joining us. The Anointed One has fated our paths to cross. A blessing indeed! “
“I come from the desert, heading west.”, Nitsuj quietly replies, rubbing his chin between sips of ale. “I will join you.”
Everyone heads to their bed with the plan of meeting with Brother Godwinn at first light.
Unfortunately, Brother Godwinn could provide no additional guidance, despite days of fasting and prayer. Nor had he heard word from Arwel. Frustrated, Godwinn sits in the nearest pew, landing heavy. Apoqulis declares that he will stay and dutifully help the town. “There are few seasoned warriors left. My vows require me to defend the weak. I will remain here, putting my experience to good use. Rest assured, we will share a keg of good Dwarven upon your return! “.
After weighing their options, the party decides they will head to Noscar Fort, home to a dwarven mining company. Dwarves might know where the black glittery rock comes from.
Riding west upon the hard packed dirt road in a wagon stocked and provided by Apoqulis. Gwan, typical dwarf, threw a tantrum until he was allowed to ride in the wagon. The rest of the party take turns riding horses, or relaxing in the wagon until it sun starts to set. Sparkles of lights twinkle in the far distance. “That must be Cadon!”, notes Sebastian, as he points to the map.
Not wanting to risk riding into a town late at night, the party camps for the night just off the road. All through the night, the party felt like they were being watched, but other than the feeling, they could see or hear nothing out of the ordinary.
At first dawn, it is discovered that a sack of food has been stolen from the wagon – a few cat like prints left in the mud. The foot prints head toward the treeline where the the trail is lost.
As the party starts toward the town, a rider is spotted riding toward them. Pleasantries exchanged, the party is informed that the hamlet ahead is indeed Cadon. Asked about the undead, the man chuckled at the idea that the undead were real and not just scary stories. When told that they were indeed real, the man nearly fell off his horse. Pointing down the road toward town, he excitedly blurts out, “We are going to have a stoning today! I am really sad I am going to miss it, but I have to get to Old Morgansfort. We have the murderers chained in the city, if you hurry you can throw a stone or two.”
Telling the man that Old Morgansfort is under undead siege, the man turns around and rides back to town, offering the party conversation.
Dropping the party off at the mayor’s house – Iden Artys greets the party warily asking if the party are pilgrims heading to Noscar Fort. Eventually the conversation leads to the chained human teenage, and older woman in the center of the town.
“They are being held for trial. They are charged with the murder of their neighbor’s farmhand, Galius. As local law dictates, they will be tried, judged, and punishment rendered. The trial starts very soon, stick around if you want to see the fate of these two.” – Mayor Artys gleefully says.
Asking about the parliamentary procedures, the party declares they will represent the charged, Marget, and her son Kendon. They quickly investigate the assumed murder scene, and Galius’ house.
Upon the trial start, 3 people are elected to the jury by drawing stones. The prosecutor makes a convincing case. Anastasia equally delivers a convincing case. During the trial, Morgane perceives that Kendon is hiding something. Casting command, she compels Kendon to tell the truth – whatever the consequences could be.
Kendon, eyes glazed over, admits to killing Galius. He had discovered that her mother and Galius had been having an affair, disgracing the family name.
Anastasia successfully argues that Kendon be sentenced to conscription in the defense of Old Morgansfort.
Continuing west, the terrain gains elevation, forcing the party to leave the wagon by the side of the road. Hearing children’s voices, and a yipping off road, Anastasia sneaks over to investigate. She sees several children throwing stones and sticks at a kobold. A bear trap’s teeth are dug deep into the thigh of the adolescent kobold’s leg. Anastasia, pitying the creature, springs out from behind the log, screaming at the children. Scared, the children flee into the tree line and disappear from sight.
Gwan heads over to the sound, sees the trapped kobald and reads his mace to finish off the creature. Anastasia yells at him to stop, and reaches down, and releases the trap, pulling his damaged leg clear of the teeth. Anastasia asks Morgane to heal the kobold. Morgane’s hand glows as she touches the wound. Instantly the damaged leg, rejuvenates.
“Klip Kip”, the kobald yips out, hands beating against his chest. Pointing at Anastasia – “Master, you master”, and runs over and wraps his arms around Anastasia’s legs.
“You have a pet now! Good luck with that flea infested beast!”, Gwan roars with delight. Anastasia retorts that a flea infested kobald is still cleaner than a dwarf. After several grueling hours of hiking on foot they come across a dwarf talking to a group of pilgrims, wearing orange and red robe over their coats.
“10 silver each, or you take the long way.. very treacherous. Icy. Very dangerous. Your choice”, the dwarf tells the pilgrims. The pilgrims, plead that they they have no money, and head the more dangerous way, heads hung.
Bargaining with the dwarf to allow them passage across the bridge, as well as stable their horses, the party agrees. Crossing the bridge, they look down and can see tattered orange and red material embedded partially in the ice – dangerous path indeed.
Noscar Fort’s smooth stone walls come into view. The walls look to be 10 to 12 feet tall. The smoothness of the stone combined with the cold would make scaling them near impossible. This is a very defensible fort. A greeting party marches out to greet them.
“Hate to tell you folks but no weapons are allowed in the fort. Period. You can check them in the guard house. Or you can stay out here. Either way, no weapons in the fort.
It would be wise of you to steer clear of the dwarves. They are an unfriendly bunch, especially when drunk. No fighting. I warned you. “
Not wanting to leave their weapons with the captain of the guard, the party leaves Gwan, Klip Kip, and Sebastian outside. Exploring the fort, the party finds the Temple of St. Rodin, patron saint of miners. Heading to the market, they sell their furs, and buy warmer gear for the elements.