Neth 6-Neth 17, 4707 AR
Using their connections in town, Sheriff Godfrey and Sir Evered, our heroes were able to procure the items they needed for their journey to Fort Rannik, most of the mundane items were gotten at a discount. After getting that gear organized in the stables for their early morning departure, the five headed to the Black Panther Inn and Tavern where the Lord-Mayor had reserved five rooms for them.
As they finished the evening, sipping ale and eating a late dinner, Erekhil icing his sore buttocks, Lindin received a Sending from the elven ranger, Shalelu Andosana. It seems she, too, has business at Fort Rannik and will meet the group at The Lean-To in Wartle on the road to the fort.
So, as the dawn rose on the morning of Wealday, the 7th of Neth, and after receiving their Official Charter from the City and a letter of introduction to Sir Durand de Quincy of Castle Remigius, the five Heroes of Sandpoint headed out of Magnimar, beginning their trek to Fort Rannik.
The first few day of travel, while primarily rainy and cool, went by quickly and uneventfully. The first night was spent in the Lazy Goblin Inn, where rumors of goblin raids were plentiful, but any facts of goblin raids, few. On the second evening, the group made their way to Castle Remigius, overlooking the quaint village of Remigius. Since the castle marks the end of Varisian independence in their own country, Deivon decided to stay in the inn in town.
So, he missed a fine feast and wonderful evening. Sir Durand and his wife, Aelflaed, were gracious hosts and wonderful dancers, with Sir Durand taking Ayra for a spin on the dance floor, while Lindin showed off his moves with the Lady Aelflaed. Food and wine flowed and the in-house bard regaled the crowd with her bardic skills.
And later, she regaled Erekhil with her boudoir skills.
Then, as dawn rose, it was back to business. The air was clear and pleasant, but it looked as if storms were brewing on the horizon. The group passed through the small, rustic, swamp village of Endorwic, a town where Ayra spent a few days working as a healer when the village priest went missing. Although some claimed he was eaten by giants, most assumed that the drunkard priest had a little too much to drink and drowned in the river. Sad. But, the villagers were happy to see Ayra and provided the traveling band with a bowl of lukewarm, overly greasy and bland, fish stew. Yum.
Thanking the villagers, Ayra and the party departed soon after lunch was finished and headed to Wartle. Upon arriving at the frontier trading post town, which sits on stilts connected by creaking boardwalks above the swamp, the party left their horses at the stables and headed to the Lean-To to meet Shalelu. They found the elf easy enough, and she warmly embraced Lindin, while politely shook the remaining heroes’ hands. The six adventurers caught up and swapped stories, with Shalelu, somehow and very subtly, claiming joint credit for all the group did at Thistletop to stop the goblin assault.
Lindin, admiring the beautiful elf, let it go and listened when she said she wants to talk to the Black Arrows about goblin, giants, ogres and ogrekin.
Bog grog and fish stew, this version warm and satisfying, was served and the night began to get raucous. Bounder was being rolled and the group, minus Deivon, produced their silver and joined the gambling. Deivon, instead, was cornered by a young Varisian couple who thought the Chosen One could help with the woman’s apparent infertility. Deivon’s attempts to pawn the couple off on the healer, Ayra, were unsuccessful as nothing was getting her off the Bounder table, so he listened to their woes…
Meanwhile, those at the Bounder table had a ball, with our heroes making friends with several drunks as they gambled the night away.
Over night, the weather turned and the next morning terrible storms wracked the land, delaying the group’s departure by several hours. When they finally managed to saddle their horses and go, a cold air gripped the land and the group headed into the forestland between Wartle and Whistledown.
After an hour of riding through the dense woods, the group found themselves face to face with one of the drunks from the previous night, however now the drunk was barring the road along with a group of brigands. With a hearty, “Ho, there!!! Stand and deliver!!!” the brigand leader demanded, “Your money or your life!!!”
The group stared, incredulously, at the brazen highwayman and his 8 companions. After an awkward bit of silence, with the brigand, named Thorgood Lovehandle, still expecting the group to give him their money, Lindin slowly dismounted and strolled toward the bandit.
Leveling his gaze at the bold Lovehandle, Lindin gave him his own ultimatum. Something along the lines of, “How about, you leave or I bury arrows in you…” Visibly shaken, the bandit leader couldn’t lose face in front of his rabble, er…men, and ordered them to attack.
As, ineffective arrows nicked the ranger’s gleaming mithral, Lindin place two arrows in Lovehandle’s throat; the bandits looked shocke, but, not hearing an order to stop, they kept up the fight. Another arrow killed Lovehandle, his body twitching on the wet, muddy road. Erekhil, dismounting with a flourish, took the spear he claimed from Xanesha and plunged it deep into the abdomen of the nearest brigand, unwittingly setting off the same wave of despair among his party that Xanesha did. Erekhil made a mental note not to do that again.
Shalelu rolled her eyes and killed a bandit with a wave of arrows.
By this point, the bandits began to regret their decision and started to flee.
Ayra blinded a bandit who was charging from the shore of the river, causing him to fall over himself, roll into the raging river and drown, his lifeless body carried away by the flow.
Bahne led Rosu into the fray and replaced a bandit’s head with his hammer while Deivon casually let a few Magic Missiles fly.
Letting the rest of the bandits run away, Lindin walked up to Erekhil, motioned for the spear, then, after Erekhil handed it to him, deposited it in his magic quiver for safe keeping.
A few chuckles, head shakes and a quick search of the bodies then the group headed off, traveling late to make up for time and finally taking shelter in The Lost Varisian, with its blatantly racist signpost of a dirty, bucktoothed, kilted, goofily tattooed Varisian looking very lost while holding a map directing him to the location he is standing next to. The group as a whole laughed at the funny sign.
Deivon didn’t find it as humorous and stayed with the horses.
Bright and early the group was up and at it again. As they made their way out of the inn, they noticed the proprietor and his help standing at the front door. They were all intently staring at the now charred remnant of the signpost, mysteriously burned, as if by some ray of flame. Odd.
The following two days were pleasant and uneventful, with the group taking shelter at Aed’s Inn on the fifth night and The Sword and the Club on the sixth. At the Sword and the Club Erekhil noticed a particular poster on the wall and, very subtly, without drawing attention to himself, took it down.
The seventh day brought an owlbear attack by day and greater drama at night.
Riding in to the gnome town of Whistledown, the group decided to first drink with the gnomes. After an hour of fun, the gnomes noticed the group was getting a little cramped in the wee quarters, so they decided to move the party to the human-sized inn, The Azure Cup. Strolling into the Azure Cup, with Lindin leading the way, the group entered and took seats, but Lindin lingered by the door for a moment, a particular “Wanted” poster catching his eagle eye.
Deftly removing it, he stared at it and there was no mistaking the face of Erekhil staring at him from the parchment that stated: “Wanted for Murder, Saeril Whoreson.”
Taking it to the group, he confronted the young sell-sword. With his past exposed, Erekhil (Saeril) tried to explain that he was framed for this murder and that he left Korvosa with the law on his tail and changed his name to avoid any entanglements.
Passions flew among the group, Shalelu, not caring, decided to let the Heroes of Sandpoint discuss this among themselves. Bahne went from anger, to acceptance; Lindin was wary of a murderer among his comrades; Ayra took the opportunity to blast the government of Korvosa; and Deivon stated that Erekhil has “earned [my] trust as a member of the party, however, [I’ll] need to know the full truth…”
It was agreed that Erekhil would subject himself to Ayra’s Zone of Truth in the morning, with Lindin saying if Erekhil is in fact guilty of this crime, he’d give him 24 hours to leave, after which point, if their paths cross again, Lindin would apprehend him as the law would expect.
With that, Erekhil left the group for the night and became the subject of a sad, late-night, rain-filled, sad music video montage of him walking the streets of Whistledown and being comforted by his horse.
Morning came, Zone of Truth was cast, and the group questioned their young friend and Erekhil explained that his real name is Saeril, but his last name is not Whoreson, although he is a whore’s son. His mother died and he fell in with the wrong crowd, eventually coming into the employ of a shady “businessman” named Gaedren lamm. Erekhil was used to procure items from the rich and on one job, Erekhil’s crew wanted him to kill the noblewoman who came in on their theft. Erekhil refused, his colleagues killed her anyway and framed Erekhil. After that, he fled Korvosa.
The group accepted this and vowed to help Erekhil get his vengeance on this Lamm character whenever they could. Erekhil was grateful, but reminded his comrades not to call him Saeril and that it’s probably best that they don’t mention this again. Also, it would be best to avoid any Hellknights patrolling the roads.
Then, they mounted up and rode off.
Staying in Ilsurian, their ninth day on the rode, the group then headed north, to finish the trip to Turtleback Ferry. As they rode north, the group began to climb in elevation, the peak of the Hook Mountain on the horizon, and the winds getting stronger and colder, the rain becoming constant and piercing. Winter at the Hook was here.
After a difficult ride, ten days after they left Magnimar, the group arrived at the tiny fishing thorp of Pendaka, on the southern shore of the Claybottom Lake. As the sky darkened, the party was within a half day’s ride of Turtleback Ferry. Resting at the Walleyed Wife Inn and Trading Post, the group savored the oddly delicious cranberry turtle egg pies.
The following morning, with the rain persistently falling, our heroes woke and headed to Turtleback Ferry. Following the road along the shores of the Claybottom Lake, fishing vessels still working on the lake, they reached the small village just after noon and found the mayor, Father Maelin Shreed, working on a treatise in the village church.
The group introduced themselves to the aged cleric who did his best to enlighten them on the situation. Yes, it was true that no Black Arrow has been seen in many weeks, and yes, that is unusual, but, no, he didn’t seem particularly worried as “life on the Hook is hard,” and he’s sure the rangers are just busy “fighting off some ogres.” Then he continued, “But, if they’re not, and some evil befell them,” he said, with an odd calm, “we’re doomed.”
He knows most of the young men and women who are stationed at the grim fortress and had very positive things to say about Lindin’s friend, Gunthred Ullen.
Father Shreed mentioned that just recently a tragedy befell the town, the gambling barge, The Paradise, caught fire and sunk on a stormy night on one of its nightly runs just over a week ago. Over two dozen locals perished when the ship went down, including the proprietor of the ship, a sharp, witty young woman named Lucrecia. The cleric was sad about this, as life on the Hook is hard, he repeated, and the Paradise brought joy to the area.
The group pondered this development and asked if they could investigate the sunken vessel, the mayor said they’re employees of the City, and they’d have free reign in their investigation. Then he made his way to the window and pointed out, roughly, where it sunk.
The mayor informed the group to talk to some of the farmers or foresters, if they have other concerns, since many of them have mentioned odd events and that the woods are getting more dangerous. These events could have a link to their investigation. Also, the town’s inn, the Turtle’s Parlor, has three rooms waiting for the group for their stay in town. “Try the mulled wine,” he suggested, “it chases away the rains chill. Too much rain, already. It came early this year…”
With that the party left the mayor’s church, and glanced at the choppy waters of the Claybottom Lake, then made began to make their way to the Turtle Inn.