Thursday, November 17, 2005


Wood, Steel and Shadow
The Dargossian adventures of the the mercenary trio

SESSION THREE. "Honor Among Enemies?"

Having watched the rest of the battle that evening from their safe position in the woods, the three adventurers witnessed the circle closing on Beorne and the defenders. The last they saw was the dwarves taking to the tunnels beneath the city before moving back along the enemy's trail and making camp in a hidden patch of forest and awaiting the dawn.

In the morning, after speculating on the fate of the miners and villagers they decided to investigate a little further. They thought it possible that the tunnels beneath the village would head towards the mines. Stowing their gear and setting a careful march they headed towards the mines.

Coming close near midday, they spied movement near the entrance and sneaked closer to observe. More foul redcaps manned the small guard towers of the mine. Villagers seemed to be working under their watchful eye. A wagon came up the road (presumably from town) and dropped off a shift change before taking the ore back down.

The trio discussed the possibility of attacking the wagon but instead decided to explore the mine. To do this, they needed to get in. Anglend spoke of air shafts and suggested they look for one that they could climb down. Moving over the mine they scoured the top until they found one. Setting to with ropes and gear they descended into the shaft.

The shaft terminated in a large chamber with several tunnels. Redcap guards patrolled the area and they witnessed Rot Reavers, the dreaded 'Lickers' of the night's previous attack, also moving up and down the passages. In addition to these creatures were more workers, apparently unmolested by the goblins or reavers and going about their work. It was decided to have a talk with one of these workers and find out what in hells was going on.

Descending carefully to the floor of the chamber the three adventurers disguised themselves as miners (most difficult for Virlana) and moved down a tunnel after a lone worker. Accosting the man, they learned that his name was Jacob and he told them of the deal that had been struck with the conquerors.

The leader of the attackers was a man named Shadow Crow. This was indeed Rhayfe, the man Alexi knew as a boy. His Lieutenant was a man named Malkior and Malkior had given the villagers an ultimatum. All those who wished to continue living in the village had only to continue with their work. The Shadow Crow would now rule but life would change very little.

Those who wished to leave, would be allowed to do so. Beorne and his daughter were among those who had decided to leave and were supposed to be gathered in the field outside of town come nightfall. Jacob was charged to stay and keep an eye on the village. He told them that Beorne had things in place. Should the Shadow Crow prove deceitful, they would collapse the mines and ruin the village.

All three of the adventurers had great trouble believing the Shadow Crow would simply let his enemies walk away. They suspected the field was to be used as some sort of mass grave. After more deliberation they decided to investigate a little further.

The next stop was the village itself, and to get there before dusk they had to hurry. Once there, Alexi and Virlana waited nearby while Anglend attempted to enter. He played like a worker and walked in, helping with the repairs and whatnot. Eventually he made his way to Beorne, who was being kept separate in the Untapped Keg with his men.

Beorne told him that he too doubted the Shadow Crow, but his magical detections all pointed to the warlord being honest. He gave Anglend a bundle of messages, to be delivered should he be killed. The first was to Calahan the Wizard, in his tower nearby. After visiting briefly with Helga, Anglend returned his companions and told them all that he had discovered.

Once more they set off, this time to Calahan's tower. When they got there they found nothing but ash and rubble - and a aged man who turned out to be the Wizard himself. The Shadow Crow's strange trio of magic users had done battle with Calahan and destroyed his tower. The man was looking for a ring that would allow him the use of some of his magic. With his tower had gone his spellbooks.

After the group helped him find his ring, they hurried back towards the town through a magic portal and were in time to see Beorne and all those who wished to leave being gathered on the field. The other villagers had gathered as well and the three wizards opened a gate. On the other side was a moonlit field. Malkior walked through it to show its harmlessness. With Calahan's aid the companions likewise teleported to the other side and checked it out. By all accounts it really was a simple field.

After checking it out himself, Beorne led his contingent through and the gate was closed. Together with a large group of surprised at not being dead warriors, they stood in a field three days walk from the capitol. Calahan attempted to teleport back and found that some sort of barrier had been placed around the village. He instead went to his tower and from there to the village, reporting back that no crimes were being committed on the populace in their Beorne's absence.

By all outward appearances, the Shadow Crow had remained true to his word.

After traveling to the capitol they were led to an audience with the King. Beorne, with the aid of the companions, explained what had happened. The King told them what he knew of the Shadow Crow, which was very little except that he wasn't always so kind and had left no one alive in the other two villages he sacked. Alexi told him about Rhayfe and suggested they look to the Shadow Crow's past to discover his intentions.

Indebted to the the three adventurers for helping, the King offered gifts. Anglend's axe was enchanted, Virlana's scimitar was likewise honed and Alexi took his own reward (though he was hesitant to reveal its nature). The three offered to take service with the King and help delve into the mystery of Rhayfe Shadow Crow. After a night of carousing and shopping, they are prepared to set out once more on the road to adventure.

Where will our companions head now? The west coast seems to be where their query began his attacks. Why did the Shadow Crow change his mode of operation? What are his goals anyway? All this and more, next time.


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